What is a Braiser? How Does It Differ From a Dutch Oven?
A braiser is a wide, heavy bottomed pan with a tight fitting lid. It has shallow sides that are usually sloped. Its wider bottom allows you to sear a large cut of meat. It is made of a heavy duty material...
A braiser is a wide, heavy bottomed pan with a tight fitting lid. It has shallow sides that are usually sloped. Its wider bottom allows you to sear a large cut of meat. It is made of a heavy duty material with handles that can withstand oven use as well as high stove-top temperatures. Meats and vegetables are first seared (browned) at a high temperature on the stove-top. Once the food is sufficiently browned, a small amount of liquid is added, the lid is applied and the food is then braised (steamed) in the oven at a low temperature. The tight fitting lid keeps the steam in the pan, tenderizing the meat and keeping it from drying out.
Transfer your meat to a serving platter, set your braiser back on the stove to create amazing gravy or sauce right in the same pan with the yummy browned bits, left from the searing process, and the cooking liquid.
A Dutch oven is a deep pan with straight sides. It is also made of heavy duty materials to withstand the oven and stove-top temperatures. Smaller cuts of meat can be seared in a Dutch oven. Because a Dutch oven is deeper, it is better suited for stews and soups where the meat is cooked completely covered in liquid.
Both pans are great for cooking tougher (less expensive) cuts of meat which helps to stretch your food budget. Long cooking times coupled with low oven temperatures also allow for more flavor development in your dishes. Both braisers and Dutch ovens also allow you to cook an entire meal in one pan for less clean-up after.
A braiser has the added advantage of doubling as a great frying, poaching, sautee, or casserole pan. Its large cooking surface as well as its ability to hold heat evenly make it a natural for all of these additional uses.
shutterstock braiser: Image ID: 187198520
shutterstock dutch oven: Image ID: 92133001