The 7 Best Dutch Ovens

The Dutch oven is a real workhorse in any kitchen. These bad boys can make a pot of soup or stew, sauté vegetables, braise meat, or even bake a loaf of crusty bread. If your kitchen only has room for one pot or pan, then it should be a Dutch oven. But how do you choose which one? Not only do they range in price from $50 to $350, but they also vary in quality.

While most of them follow the same basic design – a deep cast iron pan coated with nonstick enamel – the shape and construction make a huge difference in the cooking experience. That’s why we tested the top Dutch ovens on the market.

1.Lodge 6-Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

While most Dutch ovens cook similarly, the Lodge 6-Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven is easier to use than many of the other ovens we tested. You can comfortably hold the large handles even with gloves or a towel, and the slightly curved base keeps food from getting trapped in the corners, unlike more angled ovens we’ve tested. With shorter sides and a wider base, steam escapes more easily from the Lodge than from pans with deeper walls, allowing you to roast meat better and helping to concentrate flavors as you cook.

2.Le Creuset Signature Round Dutch Oven

Le Creuset has quite a fan base, and for good reason. For starters, it’s a trusted brand that sells some of the finest cookware on the market – and its Dutch ovens alone are beautiful. While Le Creuset’s iconic round Dutch ovens are pricier, anyone who owns one seems to agree that they’re worth every penny, as they’ll last not only for years, but decades (talk about durability). What’s more, the enameled cast iron material allows for advanced heat distribution for fast, easy, consistent meals every time. The interior coating also prevents food from sticking and makes it easy to clean, while the exterior is less likely to chip, crack or break. This 7.25-quart option is a little larger than other Dutch ovens, making it a great choice for disposable feeding groups or families.

One shopper called Le Creuset’s famous Dutch oven “the Bentley of cookware,” while another said, “It’s a classic.”

Speaking of its longevity, one buyer said, “I’ve had mine for almost 50 years and it’s been heavily used, but it still looks great and works perfectly. I have a lot of Le Creuset and think each one [is] worth the price.”

3.Tramontina Enameled Cast Iron 6.5-Quart Round Dutch Oven

If you’re not willing to spend a lot of money for a stove, this Dutch oven offers many of the same features as competing models at a much lower price. Its large capacity is perfect for large families or large roasts and poultry, and the cooker has a durable enamel coating. Although it has a metal knob, the cooker is rated for an oven temperature of only 450 degrees, so you won’t be able to use it for some no-knead bread recipes that require higher temperatures.

Although this Dutch oven is much heavier than others, our home testers were pleased with its design and its evenly distributed heat. It handles acidic foods like tomato soup and nice browned beef stew proficiently and requires little to no seasoning (the edges of the pans and lids are not coated, so seasoning or oiling them occasionally helps prevent rusting).

Our lab ran some tests on the 5.5-quart version of this oven and found that the pot didn’t get as hot as some other models, resulting in a lighter, “golden” char on the chicken. In addition, cooking rice in this model was not ideal – it came out overcooked, presumably because it lacked insulation compared to the other pans we tested. Another thing to note is that the enamel on the outside of the pot started to show signs of wear after being hit with a metal spoon, so we don’t think it lasts as long as some of the higher-end versions. Regardless, its overall performance is still satisfactory, especially when considering its moderate price point.

4.Marquette Castings Dutch oven

While the Lodge is a great fit, my favorite value Dutch oven is the 4-quart Dutch oven from Marquette Castings for $80. It’s the perfect size if you regularly cook for two or three people, but may be a bit small for larger groups. I hammered and scraped it for months and found the enamel to be as durable as more expensive models, including Le Creuset and Staub. It is also available in six attractive colors at an affordable price.

5.Great Jones The Dutchess

During testing, Great Jones’ The Dutchess scored high marks across the board, making it the best Dutch oven for your kitchen. The stove is available in a variety of vibrant colors, and testers found it to be the right size for cooking food.

First, the browning process test for chicken produced a nice crispy brown skin. Because the oval shape was so large, our testers increased the heat of the burner slightly, but also liked how the oval shape allowed great spacing for the chicken pieces. It also didn’t stick and the chicken pulled apart easily. The Dutchess also cooked the rice perfectly, with no sticking, burning or undercooked spots.

Dutchess also passed our durability test with flying colors. It stood up to the pounding of the lid and the metal spoon inside, and was strong, sturdy and would not scratch. Testers noted that the handle was too small to easily pick up the pan while wearing oven mitts. However, they still felt it was durable and sturdy.

6.Cuisinart 5-Quart Chef’s Classic Enameled Dutch Oven

This Cuisinart Classic Dutch Oven passed all our tests with flying colors, making it our overall winner. In our jambalaya preparation test, this Dutch Oven scored high: “The browning was very good and it didn’t stick to the pan at all,” said our product tester. She also cooked the rice in the Dutch oven and said it was “cooked very well. No burning, just a nice, nice, even cook. “Great cooking performance – two thumbs up!”

The oven mitt fits comfortably and securely under the handle of this Dutch oven, and it also performed well in our durability test. After several taps with a metal spoon, there was only very light crumbling on the lid coating. This piece proved to be both strong and sturdy.

“As the owner of Cuisinart and ‘equipment blender,’ this Dutch oven performed very well. The flavors of the ingredients sing in harmony,” said our product tester. “It’s well built and durable. It’s a beautiful, durable product.”

After testing this Dutch oven, our tester said she would use it for braising, browning and roasting. Plus, the price is fantastic. “I really thought this was a more expensive product, especially for cast iron. This is really good value for the money.”

7.Staub 6-Quart Enameled Cast Iron Round Dutch Oven

Stefano Velia, a chef and owner of Pala Pizza for more than 30 years, says his favorite Dutch ovens are Lodge’s enameled cast iron offerings, noting that they are a more affordable alternative to the Le Creuset option. “The heavy lid is great for braising meat and keeping heat and liquid in, and the flat bottom means it can be used on a gas or glass-topped electric stove,” he says. The Lodge Enamel Dutch Oven has an average rating of 4.6 stars out of more than 360 reviews from Target.

What is a Dutch oven good for?

The high sides and tight-fitting lid of the Dutch oven make it an ideal environment for locking in heat and moisture for stews and braised dishes. These dishes require long, slow cooking times and benefit from the excellent heat retention of heavy-duty cast iron. Dutch ovens can also be used to bake crusty bread, as the high heat capacity around the perimeter shapes the bread and crisps the exterior. The high sides also hold a lot of liquid, so you can fry and make soups and sauces in a Dutch oven.

Why is it called a Dutch oven?

The name of these cauldrons came from an Englishman named Abraham Darby, who discovered that the Dutch used a high-sided, covered “oven” for cooking. When he brought the ship back to England, he named it the Dutch oven.

What size Dutch oven should I get?

The right size for you depends on what you intend to make in your new pot. Generally speaking, larger containers are more versatile because you can fit larger pieces of meat and have a larger capacity. However, if you typically cook for one or two people, a smaller 3-quart pot will suffice and is easier to store.