The Best Dutch Ovens of 2021: Reviews and Recommendations
If you don’t yet have a Dutch Oven in your kitchen, it’s time to pick one up. This heavy-duty piece of cookware is one of the oldest and most classic styles around, and easily one of the most versatile – safe to use on both the stovetop and the oven, and perfect for making everything from hearty stews to fried chicken and even breads and cakes.
Seriously: you can use a Dutch Oven to braise, boil, sear, fry – virtually anything. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even use your Dutch Oven on a campfire. Name another pan you can say that about?
Below, we’ll show you our 10 top picks for Dutch Ovens out there, why we like them and what earned them a spot on our list, as well as how they stack up against each other. That ought to help you learn everything you need to know about picking the right Dutch Oven for your kitchen. Below is a snapshot of the top 10 pans, continue reading for pros and cons on each one.
Dutch Oven Buyer’s Guide
Why Get a Dutch Oven?
Dutch Ovens can be used to make pretty much everything, from soups and sauces to giant pot roasts. They come in handy when it’s time to bake bread, too, giving your loaf thick and crispy brown crust. And they are a no-brainer for making giant casseroles.
This is because they are (generally) made of cast iron – the king of all cookware. Cast iron is a great thermal conductor and does an excellent job of distributing heat evenly through the entire pot; it also holds that heat well over long periods, and can get really, really hot.
What does that mean? It means your food comes out a lot better cooked on cast iron than it does on other pans. The evenly-distributed heat means that food is cooked evenly all the way across. Meats sear faster and better, coming out perfectly browned; cast iron over high heat is pretty much a requirement for good steaks. And the crispier and more browned the meat is, the more potential you’ll have for deglazing; suing all the crispy, tasty bits of meat left on the pan to create even tastier gravies, stews and soups.
5 Things To Look For When Buying a Dutch Oven
Cast iron is also the material of choice for making soups and stews – which require simmering and braising. Since it holds heat so well, cast iron is excellent at simmering stocks and stews at low temperatures for hours on end. Long simmers gives the starchy and fatty ingredients in stews time to break down, creating thicker and more flavorful broths. You can use a regular old stockpot or a Crock Pot for that, too – but cast iron Dutch Ovens are far better at braising and can be stuck right in the oven if need be.
Things you should keep an eye out for when selecting include:
1. Material and Thickness
All real Dutch Ovens are made from cast iron, so we only selected cast iron models for our list. Cast iron is heavy-duty and strong, works on all cooking surfaces (electric and gas stove top, induction, cooker, and oven) without a hitch, and is the go-to surface for excellent searing and baking; foods are evenly-cooked and perfectly-browned foods all the way around.
Thicker iron is usually better than thinner, especially when we’re talking about cast iron. The thicker the metal, the longer it will take to heat up, but the more even and efficient the heat distribution will be. This is especially important for the base of the pot, which conducts heat from the stovetop. The side walls usually taper slightly to cut down on weight.
You may see Dutch Ovens made from stainless steel or aluminum; these are fine pots in their own right but are more akin to regular stockpots than a true Dutch Oven.
2. Durable Enamel Coating
Most of the Dutch Ovens we recommend have porcelain enamel coatings on both the interior and exterior.
Enamel does a few things:
- it increases durability and scratch-resistance on the outside
- adds a smooth, natural, easy-to-clean, non-stick finish that is free of toxic chemicals like PFTE or PFOA
- eliminates any need to season the cast iron
- prevents acidic foods from reacting with the iron, giving your food a slight metallic flavor
Cheap enamels chip and flake easily. Some even bubble on high heat. But quality ones (from brands like Le Creuset, Staub and Landhaus) will last years of repeated use, with nearly a scratch to show for it (it helps to avoid using metal utensils, which can scratch the surface).
3. Large, Comfortable Handles
Not the first thing people think about, but an important consideration. The best Dutch Ovens have cast handles large enough for grabbing securely with oven mitts on without danger of dropping. Small ones can be annoying and uncomfortable.
Just as handles can, a pot’s weight can make or break your experience; the lighter the better. We prefer our Dutch Ovens to tip the scales at less than 15 pounds – which is still heavy for many people.
The lightest we tried was the Le Creuset, which weighed only about 13 pounds. Lodge’s Porcelain Enameled model was the heaviest at a whopping 18 pounds.
5. Cooking Area and Size
Most of the Dutch ovens we’ve tried out are 7-quart pots, but a few were held only 6 or 6.5 quarts. We prefer the larger size as they are taller and better for making soups and stews.
More important than high walls, however, is how large the base is and how sloped the walls are; slightly-sloped or flared sides create a wider cooking surface inside, while steep and narrow walls can be almost claustrophobic when cooking large roasts or browning lots of meat or potatoes.
Best Buy Dutch Oven Reviews For 2021
1. Lodge EC6D33 6-Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
This enameled cast iron Dutch oven comes with 6 quarts of capacity and dimensions measure 4 ½ inches deep by 10 ¾ inches in diameter. It has porcelain-enamel chip-resistant finish and is made of cast iron with loop side handles for secure and safe transport.
You can rest assured of its longevity and durability with assurance of lifetime warranty. It is also oven safe to resist heat up to 500 deg. F. It comes with handle and self-basting cover with capacity to retain heat, moisture and healthy nutrients of the food. It is recommended to hand wash this Dutch oven with silicone or wood utensils.
- Enameled finish to keep this utensil from chipping
- Comes with non-stick coating on the interior
- It also doesn’t stain soon
- Pre-heating may not be safe for its surface
2. Cuisinart CI670-30CR 7-Quart Chef’s Classic Enameled Cast Iron
With Cuisinart Chef’s Classic line, cast iron has absolutely redefined its look. It comes in different sizes and shapes. This appealing and durable cookware is best to use in the oven, on the stove, or under the broiler. It retains heat and distributes it every time. You can easily sear steaks, simmer entrees, or braise. It comes with attractive color optons and enameled finish.
You can buy it for different cooking methods, such as grilling or searing to simmering or braising in casseroles. It retains heat properly and gives best results, be it in the broiler or on the stove.
- Made of cast iron for great heat retention and distribution
- Durable, strong porcelain enamel finish in dazzling colors to give your kitchen décor a new look, which is also ideal for cooking
- It is compatible to induction stovetop and is broiler and oven safe
- Easy to clean and dishwasher safe
- It is heavy and not easy to handle
3. Calphalon Classic 7-quart Nonstick Dutch Oven with Cover
This Dutch Oven from Calphalon comes with warranty for 10 years. It has 2 different layers of nonstick interior and it has silicon handles to remain cool while cooking. It can heat up around 400 Deg. F and has been made oven safe. It comes with tempered glass cover due to which it is easy to keep track on cooking.
- Easy to release food from non-stick interior and cleaning up is very easy.
- Cozy silicone handles to stay cool
- It might not give proper cooking as it is light as compared to heavier bare cast iron ovens
4. Bruntmor 6.5-inch Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven Casserole Dish
Bruntmor 6.5-inch Enameled Cast Iron is the fiery red enameled cast iron Dutch oven is the perfect cookware for your kitchen and campfire. It comes with 6.5 quart of capacity and it will be delightful and entertaining for your guests and family with a lot of food. It retains heat well band saves energy while cooking with lower temperature. You can cook from bread to stews. It is heavy duty and top quality gift for any camper, newlyweds and home cook.
- Made of solid, high quality cast iron
- Red enamel durable nonstick coating
- Product resists heat around 400 deg. F
- Works on gas, ceramic, and electric cooktops
- Lid locks moisture really very well
- You can just hand wash this product
- Many people have compliant that this product comes chipped
5. Le Creuset 5 ½ quart Signature Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
This Dutch oven from Le Creuset is designed to improve the cooking in your kitchen as it distributes heat evenly and locks in proper moisture level. The handles are designed ergonomically and come with world-class interior enamel which is easy to clean and resists chipping. It blends with recent innovations well.
The best part of this Dutch oven is that it has 45% larger handles for smooth grip. It uses sand colored enamel to resist chipping and wear. When it comes to Dutch ovens, it doesn’t get much better than Le Creuset.
- Resists heat around 500 deg. F
- Best used on gas, electric, and ceramic cooktops
- Made of enamel coated cast iron
- There is a complaint about imperfections and spotting after wash
6. Camp Chef DO-14 Pre-Seasoned 12-quart Deluxe 14” Dutch Oven
Make your favorite and flavorful meals with Camp Chef DO-14 Pre-Seasoned Dutch oven. Cook your favorite fruit cobbler and roasted meats. All you need to turn lid off to cook your delicious bacon, eggs, or pancakes and replace lid and cook the potatoes you love for your next flavorful meal.
- Comes with easy loop handle
- Use legs as griddle/skillet on the lid
- Easy to cook your favorite dishes
- There are complaints about poor quality material
7. Tramontina Enameled Cast Iron 6.5 Qt Dutch oven
Prepare hearty stews, soups, pot roast and chili with this enameled cast iron Dutch oven from Tramontina. The 6.5 quarter is the generous and large size to cook your delicious food for whole family and prepare one-pot meals at its best.
When it comes to slow cooking, cast iron is the best choice as it distributes heat evenly and eventually. It is an ideal option to brown chicken, tenderize meats, sauté onions, steam veggies, and simmer sauces. You can also make spicy stews and chili. This versatile pod is also the right choice for baking without its lid.
- Made of heavy-gauge cast iron built
- PTFE- and PFOA-free porcelain-enameled surface
- Even heat distribution
- Enamel needs extra care
- Doesn’t retain heat longer
8. Staub 1102606 5.5 Qt. Round Cocotte Oven
In Alsace, France, the journey for Staub was started. This region is rich in food, history, and craft and is also known for healthy one-pot delicacies. Since 1974, Staub has been manufacturing the world-class cast iron products or aspiring and professional cooks.
This French oven from Staub is timeless piece for roasts, stews, casseroles, soups, and other one-pot recipes. In this signature “La Cocotte” French oven, Staub has successfully retained its tradition. It is the first choice of some of the best chefs in the world.
- Great interior matte finish for great browning
- Oven safe around 900F without lids as lids are oven safe only around 500F
- Tight-fitting, heavy lid to retain moisture
- Smooth enamel bottom suitable for all stovetops
- Seasoning is needed before use
- Dishwasher safe but hand wash is recommended
9. Martha Stewart Teal Blue Enameled Cast Iron 6 Qt. Dutch Oven Round Casserole
This blue enameled cast iron casserole is a versatile Dutch oven which is a good choice to brown meats and you can bake your favorite dishes. It is made of heavy-duty metal which is known to distribute heat well and lock moisture to braised roasts and slow-cooked stews.
This captivating enameled cast iron oven is easy to prep and present food, with well sized handles for cozy, secure grip. The lid has condensation rings underside to redistribute and condense the moisture.
- Very versatile and made of sturdy material
- Used for cooking various meals
- Fully functional and beautiful
- Study and long lasting
- Interior coating needs proper care
10. Anolon Vesta 5-Quart Round Covered Cast Iron Casserole
This durable, cute cast iron cookware from Anolon Vesta will take you to new level of culinary experience and taste. Anolon Vesta cast iron casserole is a casserole known for its great heat retention and absorption with great stovetop-to-table style and durability. It is best suited for all cook tops, such as induction. It is an elegant Dutch oven to prep your favorite potato stews or chicken.
- Easy to clean, gorgeous porcelain enamel finish on exterior
- Stain-resistant black matt finish on interior
- Fuses great heating
- Needs washing by hand
Dutch Oven Cleaning Instructions
-> Let the hot pan to cool down to before you wash and to clean the Dutch oven which has enamel coating. Don’t clean it in extremely cold water because enamel coating might be affected due to thermal shock.
-> If your Dutch oven has food leftovers stuck in it, simply soak it in warm water for up to 15 to 20 minutes to remove debris.
-> Let your Dutch oven to dry and keep away from steam to avoid the build-up of moisture.
-> Check knobs and handles regularly as you need to tighten them over time.
-> It is also important to replace knobs over time as they wear out.
Steps to Season Dutch oven –
- First of all, preheat the cookware to 425 deg. F
- Apply olive oil all around the cast iron pot with a clan rag
- Leave the pot on the oven for one hour until its smoking.
- Remove it from the oven and let it sit in the air to cool down
- Repeat the above steps for two times more
Marinate, bake, fry, and boil almost any food with this Dutch oven. It is best to use over the stove, put it in the oven or use as outdoor cook, or in the grill. If you are brand conscious, we recommend you to go with Calphalon or Le Creusets. These are the best quality ovens. We hope, you’ve liked the above buyers’ guide and best Dutch oven reviews.