In every home, the Dutch oven is a must-have piece of cookware. From braising meats to baking bread to simmering stews, this deep, covered pot fashioned of sturdy cast iron can do it all.
Dutch ovens are perfect for slow cooking at a low temperature, which is required to tenderize meat and vegetables. They also facilitate the development of an ideal interior climate for producing top-notch loaves of artisan bread. And if those two facts weren’t enough to convince you, consider that a quality Dutch oven may survive for decades. But how does one choose from the several versions now on sale? And must we go into debt to achieve it? We investigated and evaluated Dutch ovens, scoring them on a variety of criteria including heat retention and distribution, durability, and ease of use.
Here is a list of the top rated Dutch ovens to assist you choose the right one for your needs and budget, ranging from high-end to affordable and from shallow to square.
1. Best Overall: Lodge 6-Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch OvenGet it now on Amazon.com
What We Like
- Maintains warmth effectively
What We Don’t Like
- With a rounded base, there is less available space for cooking.
Lodge’s cast-iron Dutch oven, which is porcelain-enameled on the outside for durability and aesthetics and cream-colored on the inside for great visibility, is comparable to more expensive models. The inner and outside enamel coatings allow it to be utilized for marinating, cooking, storing, and serving. The new design has bright enamel and broader handles that are easier to hold with oven mitts.
This 6-quart Dutch oven can withstand temperatures up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, making it a versatile addition to any kitchen. Our tasters agreed that the tight-fitting lid significantly reduced moisture loss. Their evaluation of the Lodge’s heating system was similarly positive. Even after hours of keeping a pot of chicken tagine warm in a Lodge pot, the food within was still quite hot. Whether browning chicken thighs or frying onions with spices, our taster found that any stuck-on portions loosened readily with a tiny amount of liquid.
It is safe for use on gas, electric, and induction stoves, but not on charcoal or wood fires. You may put it in the dishwasher, but hand cleaning is preferred.
2. Best High-End: Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron 5.5-Quart Round Dutch OvenGet it now on Amazon.com
What We Like
- Distinctive style makes a statement in the kitchen.
What We Don’t Like
- Expensive price tag
- Resin knobs can only be heated to 500 degrees
This Le Creuset pot is a top-shelf performer in every category, but it does not come cheap. Its 5.5-quart capacity is sufficient for most kitchen tasks without being so huge that it becomes cumbersome to transport. Like other Dutch ovens, it can be used on both the stovetop and in the oven, and its inside is coated with a light-colored enamel that makes it suitable for cooking almost anything. The knob is made of metal or a heat-resistant composite. Since the knob is replaceable, you may choose a metal one if you need to cook at even greater temperatures.
All of the Le Creuset Dutch ovens are available in the whole spectrum of the brand’s color palette, making them suitable for use with any existing collection of cookware. Our tester was particularly impressed with the Le Creuset’s ability to retain and distribute heat: “The pot’s high edges and heat-conducting capabilities made evenly browning an entire chicken a breeze,” she exclaims.
This cast-iron pot is hefty, as is typical for such a vessel; the 5.5-quart version weighs just over 11 pounds, and it may weigh 20 pounds or more when it’s full with food. Le Creuset also manufactures oval and bigger sizes for those who desire them.
3. Best Non-Enameled: Lodge 5-Quart Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Double Dutch OvenGet it now on Amazon.com
What We Like
- Useful for cooking on any heat source
- Already seasoned for instant enjoyment
- A frying pan may be used as a lid
What We Don’t Like
- Needs to be cleaned by hand
- Identical maintenance is required
- The heat from the stove might make the handles uncomfortable to hold
To save you time and effort, this raw cast-iron Dutch oven has already been pre-seasoned. However, it isn’t even the finest part. This Dutch oven’s top can be removed and used as a skillet with two side handles, thus giving you two pots in one.
Now you can prepare cornbread in the pan while the soup simmers in the pot. Using the pan to brown two pieces of meat at once was another huge time saver, as reported by our reviewer. After a second round of seasoning, the cinnamon buns turned out perfectly. Since it’s made of raw cast iron, there won’t be any uneven heating or hot spots.
The top handle on the lid is missing, making it difficult to raise, and our reviewer also noticed that the handles were quite hot when using the skillet function. You may use raw cast-iron cookware in the oven, on the grill, or even over a campfire with no worries. Seasoning may burn off at really high temperatures (oven cleaning temperatures), but this won’t harm the cookware; you’ll simply have to season it again.
4. Best Budget: Tramontina Enameled Cast Iron 6.5-Quart Round Dutch OvenGet it now on Amazon.com
What We Like
- Warms all areas equally
- Indemnity for the Rest of Your Life
What We Don’t Like
- This item can only be baked at temperatures up to 450 degrees.
- Heavy indeed
This Dutch oven has many of the same characteristics as more expensive options, so if you’re not looking to spend a lot on a single piece of cookware, this is a good option. The enamel covering is durable, and the huge size makes it ideal for cooking for large groups or preparing roasts and fowl. However, certain no-knead bread recipes call for an oven temperature of 550 degrees, and this cookware is only oven safe up to 450 degrees.
Our reviewer was delighted with the Dutch oven’s design and how well it distributed heat, despite the fact that it was somewhat heavier than other options. It browns meat excellently for stew and doesn’t need much seasoning at all (occasional seasoning or oiling of the uncoated rim of the pot and lid can help prevent rust).
Overall, our reviewer found very nothing to distinguish Tramontina’s version from other high-quality Dutch ovens she has used. It performed as promised, was simple to clean, and looked nice while cooking.
5. Best Shallow: Staub Cast Iron 6-Quart Cochon Shallow Wide Round CocotteGet it now on Amazon.com
What We Like
- Extensive area at the base
- Self-basting is made possible via an internal nub
- Caution is not necessary while cooking with pot at 900 degrees
What We Don’t Like
- Because of the pot’s dark inside, it is difficult to see any savory growth at its base
Even though it’s a little shorter and broader than standard pots, a standard chicken will still fit in here. More food may be browned at once on the bottom, saving time before braising. Several reviews have noted that this cookware browns food evenly and without leaving behind hot patches, making it preferable to similar products on the market. The inside of this Dutch oven is black, so food stains are less noticeable.
Internal nubs on the lid make it shower condensation on the food, making it self-baste. The little, raised knob on top is comfortable to grab and makes it simple to open the container. The pot can withstand temperatures up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit, but the lid can only tolerate 500. Made in France, you may choose from a rainbow of hues when purchasing this cookware set.
6. Best for Camping: Camp Chef Classic Pre-Seasoned Dutch OvenGet it now on Amazon.com
What We Like
- A flanged lid is used to keep coals in place
- Converts from a griddle to a trivet
- There is a thermometer-sized hole in the rim
What We Don’t Like
- Uselessness across the board
Leave the city for the vast outdoors? Cook up anything your wild-at-heart wants with the aid of this uncoated cast-iron Dutch oven, perfect for use in the great outdoors. It has feet so you can set it on top of your coals, and the flat, secure lid is perfect for placing hot coals on top of to heat the whole inside evenly. The best part is that it comes already seasoned; you can start packing for your vacation right away, but the coating will become even better with more seasoning and usage.
Its 6-quart capacity makes it ideal for single campers or for feeding small parties. In addition to being a pot, you can also use the lid as a pan or griddle. In fact, that’s exactly what our taster did: he heated up some tortillas and fried some eggs on the lid for a delicious meal in the great outdoors. Don’t worry if you’ve never used coals to control the temperature before; our tester wasn’t either. This comes with a booklet that explains how to properly distribute the charcoal. Our taster was able to make delicious shakshuka and cheese enchiladas after she figured out where to put the coals.
There’s no denying that this is the superior option for grilling in the great outdoors. Although suitable for use on a stovetop or oven, its legs may make it inconvenient to store there. Depending on the grates of your stove, it might perhaps function on a gas stovetop, but it’s not advised for use with an electric or induction range.
7. Best Square: Camp Chef Pre-Seasoned Square Cast Iron Dutch OvenGet it now on Amazon.com
What We Like
- Also works as a barbecue for your stove
- Notch for temperature gauge on rim
What We Don’t Like
- The lid might be difficult to open
Although round Dutch ovens are more typical, square ones have their uses as well. Users have praised this square Dutch oven for its adaptability. Its 8-quart capacity makes it ideal for baking large quantities of bread in a single batch, whether you’re cooking biscuits, buns, cornbread, brownies, or anything else.
One convenient feature is a slot on the rim for inserting a thermometer or thermometer probe. The Dutch oven and lid have already been seasoned so you can start using them right away, but the surface will become even more nonstick with continued usage. The inside side of the lid is ridged, so you can flip it over and use it as a grill on the cooktop. It is recommended to wash this by hand.
8. Best Small Capacity: BergHOFF Neo 3-Quart Cast Iron Round Soup Pot with LidGet it now on Amazon.com
What We Like
- Stylish appearance
- It’s compatible with any stovetop
What We Don’t Like
- The highest temperature at which they may be safely baked is 400 degrees.
- Can only use hand washing
Despite popular belief, larger isn’t necessarily better when it comes to cookware. The capacity of this Dutch oven, 3 quarts, makes it ideal for making smaller batches of soup, chili, stew, and other hearty foods. Furthermore, unlike heavier and bigger pots, this one is much simpler to transport and store.
Berghoff gives it an outer enamel coating that shines for years, while the inside is coated with beige so it never has to be seasoned. The stainless steel knob can withstand heat up to 400 degrees and the pots and pans may be used with any cooktop material, including induction. It’s recommended to hand wash this in order to preserve the enamel.
9. Best for Bread: Marquette Castings 6-Quart Dutch OvenGet it now on Amazon.com
What We Like
- Invulnerable to temperatures of beyond 500 degrees
- Indemnity for the Rest of Your Life
- Lid’s metal knob
What We Don’t Like
- Quite heavy
- The carrier is sold separately
We prefer to bake bread in this enameled cast-iron Dutch oven because it has a metal knob that won’t melt in the oven, a large, flat bottom that helps form a crisp crust, and it can tolerate temperatures of up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Despite all of that, it comes in at a price that won’t break the bank, so you can still indulge in some specialty flours, extra ingredients, and delicious toppings.
Since the inside is white, you can easily see the fond (the caramelized brown pieces) forming in the bottom of the pot as the food browns. For a secure hold, even while using oven mitts, Maquette Castings included extra-large loop handles. A pot may be taken straight from the oven to a potluck or party with the use of a carrying bag, which can be purchased separately.
The Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven is our top pick because it is a multipurpose pot that is still suitable for regular use and is simple to clean. The Tramontina Enameled Cast Iron 6.5-Quart Round Dutch Oven is a fantastic alternative that won’t break the bank for people who are shopping on a tighter budget.
Considerations for Purchasing a Dutch Oven
Cast iron, enameled or not, is often used to make Dutch ovens. These containers are often made of aluminum, although ceramic and stainless steel versions are also widely available. Everything from heating capacity and responsiveness to durability, weight, and maintenance depends on the material, as we’ll see in a moment.
Dutch ovens range in size from 1/4 quart (ideal for single serves of French onion soup or cobbler) to 13 quarts (ideal for braising pork belly for a large group). The most common size is between 5 and 7 quarts, since this is sufficient for most families’ needs and can accommodate a whole chicken, a 2-pound loaf of bread, and enough food to serve a family of four, with maybe some leftovers. It’s preferable to have a large enough oven than one that’s too tiny, so keep that in mind while you shop. Cooking a modest quantity in a large pot is far less of a hassle than doing so with a smaller pot that is already at capacity. Keep in mind that a Dutch oven, no matter the size, may be pretty cumbersome, so you’ll need a somewhere to put it while it’s not in use.
Round and oval Dutch ovens are the two most prevalent forms. The most common form is a round one because it allows for equal heating on a single burner, it is often deeper, and it facilitates easy stirring. Oval ovens are often shallower and broader than their round counterparts, making them well-suited for roasting or broiling lengthier portions of meat. Oval ovens don’t heat as uniformly as their round counterparts on the stovetop, but you won’t be able to tell the difference if you preheat the oven.
The lid of a Dutch oven is crucial, since it prevents stews and sauces from evaporating too rapidly and keeps meats from drying out. Most ovens will have a cover made of the same material, however other Dutch ovens will have tempered glass lids so you can see your food while it cooks. Flatter lids with bumps or ridges on the inside give a self-basting function by diverting any condensation right down into the pot, whereas domed lids with smooth interiors will send moisture back down the sides of the oven.
Even though Dutch ovens may be placed in the oven, the knob on the lid (like Le Creuset’s traditional black polymer knob) may melt at temperatures over 400 degrees. If these plastic knobs are overheated, they will shatter, making it dangerous to lift a lid from a hot pot. Either choose a model that already has a metal knob or handle that can tolerate greater temperatures, or purchase a stainless steel replacement knob and swap it out yourself.
In addition to the rest of the Dutch oven being hot while in use, the handles need to be safe to grip onto so that you don’t get burnt. The loop handles on the vessel’s sides should be roomy enough to use with or without potholders, and strong enough that they won’t split or bend while lifting a full stockpot or Dutch oven. A wire bail handle is often seen on camping-style ovens, allowing for easy lifting and rotation over hot coals or for use as a hanging hook. Make sure the wire handle can support the weight of the pot and its contents by confirming that it is made of galvanized tempered steel.
Temp. Heating Capacity
Unglazed cast-iron ovens are the traditional choice since they may be used on any surface, even an open flame. Most enameled cast iron can withstand temperatures of up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas bare cast iron may withstand temperatures of above 500 degrees. High-fired ceramic is rated to around 500 degrees Fahrenheit. At moderate and low temperatures, cast aluminum and stainless steel are optimal. If you’re unsure of how hot your Dutch oven can get, it’s best to consult the manual.
For in-home use, Dutch ovens don’t require many accessories. However, if you are using your pot straight from the stove or oven to the table, you’ll want to invest in a good trivet that matches the shape of your oven and keeps it slightly raised off the table. A trivet will protect your tabletop from damage; because cast iron retains heat exceptionally well, the pot can radiate heat long after it’s removed from the stove. You’ll also want to invest in thick potholders to prevent burns. For camping-style Dutch ovens, you may want a lid lifter, which will allow you to rotate, move, or pull the lid off if it’s loaded with hot coals.
The best bang for your buck can be found in uncoated cast iron; even a large one should cost less than $100. An enameled cast-iron oven of decent quality from France can cost anywhere from $250 to $350. If you are on a budget, you can get a quality 6-quart enameled Dutch oven for around $50 that will still perform beautifully when it comes to baking, braising, and creating soups and stews. Other materials will range in cost depending on where they are made and how heavy they are: imported cast aluminum and stainless steel will typically cost less than European-made versions.
Many major manufacturers give some guarantee against flaws in material and workmanship. Other companies, like as Emile Henry and Staub, have a 10- to 30-year guarantee, while Le Creuset and Lodge provide a restricted lifetime warranty. It is possible that industrial kitchen usage may render these warranties null and invalid, as well as damage caused by misuse, extreme temperatures, drops, and general wear and tear. Make sure the terms and scope of the manufacturer’s warranty are satisfactory before making a purchase.
Dutch Oven Varieties
Because of its superior heat retention and distribution properties, this is the material of choice for the best-selling Dutch oven brands. Cast iron is not only long-lasting, but it can also be used directly over open flames like those found atop a barbeque grill or a campfire. You may improve the surface of a cast-iron pot with continued usage. However, it is not recommended for use with acidic foods because to the potential for off tastes to be triggered by chemical reactions between the acid and the pan’s substance. The seasoning on a cast-iron pot degrades when it is cleaned with detergent, so it’s best to hand-wash and re-oil it before putting it away. The longevity of these containers depends entirely on the care they get.
You may introduce a touch of European rustic style into your kitchen with the addition of a Dutch oven made of this material. There is no need to season the surface of these ovens since they are composed of cast iron that has had a glass-like enamel covering fused to the metal. As opposed to naked cast iron, this substance will not react with your food. This cookware may be used on a wide range of cooktops, including induction. Stains are more noticeable on lighter enameled interiors, but they may be cleaned with a non-abrasive cleanser like Bar Keepers Friend and some gentle washing.
You can have the same classic look in your kitchen with this cookware for a fraction of the price of enameled cast iron. These pieces, crafted from high-fired clay, are not only non-reactive and resistant to heat stress, but they are also devoid of PFOA and PTFE. However, they are not as durable as cast-iron ovens and are more likely to chip or crack. Not all ceramic cookware is made to resist direct heat, so make sure to choose a ceramic Dutch oven that can be used on the stove (with an induction disc if necessary). Ceramic’s low-and-slow heating capabilities make it perfect for preserving nutrients and elevating flavors in low-and-slow cooking. The majority of ceramic Dutch ovens can withstand temperatures in the oven of up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and are easy to clean either by hand or in the dishwasher.
Dutch ovens are often constructed of cast iron, however stainless steel (another popular material for cookware) also comes in pots that are shaped like Dutch ovens. Dutch ovens made from stainless steel are durable and simple to clean. They won’t be able to maintain heat as effectively as cast iron, however. Still, these pots are perfect for the home chef who doesn’t want to bother with lugging heavy equipment to and from the cupboard or the oven every time they need to switch appliances.
An Aluminum Die-Cast
This is a great alternative to cast-iron for a Dutch oven. By pouring molten aluminum into a mold, these ovens are manufactured to be non-reactive, hardy, and robust while also being resistant to warping and other forms of damage. Cast aluminum is inherently nonstick, has a higher heat conductivity than stainless steel, and can be used on both electric and gas stovetops and in the oven. Due to its durability and ease of care (it can be cleaned in the dishwasher and doesn’t need seasoning), this material is ideal for surfaces that get a lot of usage but don’t get much attention.
The Le Creuset Cookware Company
Le Creuset was created in 1925 in northern France by two Belgian manufacturers who combined their casting and enameling expertise to produce the now-iconic Le Creuset cocotte, the company’s namesake product and a symbol of the brand’s success. Currently, the company produces a range of enameled cast iron products, including braisers, grill pans, and skillets in a number of color options; they have also recently added stainless steel cookware and stoneware casseroles to their repertoire. Le Creuset cocottes are still manufactured in France, and they are widely regarded as heirloom-quality heirloom items that may be passed down through the years.
This company began in Alsace, France, and produces high-end enameled cast-iron cookware. The cast-iron French cocotte is double-glazed with enamel for longevity, so it won’t rust and can be cleaned quickly and easily. The nubs within the flat cover of a Staub pot collect moisture that then drips down and bastes whatever you have cooking. In addition to a large selection of enameled and unenamel d cast iron cookware, Staub also makes a wide range of ceramic bowls, baking dishes, and oven-only cocottes.
Lodge is the oldest and longest-running maker of cast iron in the United States, and it has earned a stellar reputation for its uncoated cast iron skillets in particular. However, Lodge also produces griddles, grill pans, woks, and other cooking utensils. The company is well-known for their low-priced and long-lasting uncoated Dutch ovens, which are ideal for use on the stovetop or when camping. Lodge, like many other firms, has diversified its offerings to include enameled cast iron cookware. Its uncoated cast iron pans are made in America, although the company may source components from other countries.
IMUSA, which was founded in Colombia but now ships to all of South, Central, and, most importantly, North America, manufactures and distributes high-quality cookware used mostly in the preparation of Hispanic cuisine. The cast-aluminum Dutch oven called a caldero (or “cauldron” in English) is the company’s best-seller. It may be used for a variety of purposes, including boiling rice, simmering stews and soups, and braising meats. The company offers a wide selection of low-priced kitchen supplies, including cookware made of stainless steel, ceramic, cast iron, and carbon steel, as well as a number of handy kitchen gadgets and small appliances.
Fine porcelain bakeware and ovenware have been produced by this French firm since 1850. The Burgundian clay used to make its Dutch ovens is known for its slow and even heat conduction to the pot’s interior. Dutch ovens, tagines, bread pots, fondue pots, and everything else in the Flame ceramic line can move from the freezer to the microwave or oven without breaking. The induction disc allows the Dutch oven to be used on all stovetops, including induction, as well as on the grill.
Although Dutch ovens are typically made of sturdy metal and can withstand frequent use, they are not indestructible. Your cocotte, like any other kitchen tool, will last longer if you treat it with respect and wipe it clean after use.
Seasoning a naked cast-iron oven is necessary to prevent rust and corrosion and preserve the oven’s nonstick qualities. Food debris should be scrubbed away without the use of soaps or detergents, since they will destroy the seasoning that has already been applied. When the interior of the container is clean and smooth, you should gently oil it. To reseason the Dutch oven, heat it to high temperatures (between 400 and 500 degrees), let it cool, and then store it.
Cast iron that has been enameled doesn’t need seasoning since the enamel covering acts as the seasoning and prevents rusting and sticking. Sometimes, after boiling black sauces, lighter enamel can reveal discoloration, but a quick clean with a nonabrasive scouring pad will get rid of the marks. Use a paste made of vinegar and baking soda in the ratio of 1:2, or Bar Keepers Friend, for stains that just won’t come out. Some types of enameled cast iron furniture may also be cleaned in the dishwasher.
Cast aluminum, stainless steel, and ceramic all need the same basic maintenance. It is important to wait until cast aluminum or stainless steel vessels have cooled down to room temperature before placing them in cool water to prevent thermal shock. Each of these three items can be cleaned individually in the dishwasher or with a nylon scouring pad and dish soap (unless the manufacturer says otherwise).
What is the best way to use a Dutch oven?
Because of the Dutch oven’s adaptability, the menu is rather extensive. Dutch ovens are versatile cooking vessels that may be used on the stovetop, in the oven, and even (depending on the kind of coating) over campfires and BBQ grills.
Which dishes are best suited for a Dutch oven?
Due to its capacity to keep a constant temperature for extended periods of time, Dutch ovens are great for slow-simmering foods like stews, soups, and braised meats, and may even be used as a bread oven. This beef bourguignon or basic pot roast dish is a great place to start if you’re new to the kitchen. Try this no-knead loaf in your Dutch oven for the first time (only make sure it can withstand high temperatures).
When baking bread, what size Dutch oven do you recommend?
A basic single loaf recipe should fit in a Dutch oven with a capacity of between 5 and 7.5 quarts.
A Dutch oven may be used to boil water
Yes. It may take longer than using a pan made of aluminum or stainless steel, but cast iron may be used to bring liquids to a boil.
Does a Dutch oven work for deep frying?
Yes. Dutch ovens are perfect for deep frying because of the cast iron’s ability to maintain a steady temperature and the shape’s generous depth.
Compared to other pots and pans, why use a Dutch oven?
To sum up the point: adaptability. It’s adaptable to several methods of preparation and can shift from the burner to the oven with no trouble at all. Despite their practicality, most Dutch ovens are also aesthetically pleasing enough to be used as serving dishes, bringing a sense of rustic elegance to the table.
Does the dishwasher work with a Dutch oven?
Really, it’s up in the air. While most enameled cast iron stoves are dishwasher safe, their bulky design may make manual washing more convenient. Cast iron that has not been enameled (also known as “raw” or “bare”) should not be washed in a dishwasher since the water and detergent will remove the seasoning. Check out this manual for information on how to maintain raw cast iron.
Can you heat up a cold Dutch oven in the oven?
Temperamental temperature swings may cause cast iron to fracture. If your Dutch oven has been in the fridge, bring it to room temperature or warm it slowly on the stove top before placing it in a hot oven. It is possible to warm both the oven and the Dutch oven simultaneously by placing the latter in the former while both are still cold.