Whether you are wannabe cook or a master chef, a Dutch oven is something you always want to be with. These solid pots with lids are the perfect staple for every cook. A Dutch oven is truly durable and versatile enough to use for all tasks, whether it is stewing or roasting. It is safe to use in campfire, grill, on the oven, or stove. You can bake, braise, roast, and sauté with ease.
You can make your favorite pizza, homemade bread, scrambled eggs and French fries easily.
About Dutch oven
Made of steel, clay, cast iron or aluminum, a Dutch oven is a multipurpose cooking utensil or slow cooker with tight-fitting lid. The bottom and its thick walls are engineered for even heat transfer. The beauty of Dutch oven is to preserve the taste of food and cook slowly. Its tight fitting lid retains much heat and food stays hot even when it is cooked. Here’s why you should invest in Dutch oven –
- Save energy and time
- Even heat distribution for slow cooking and to retain its flavor
- Resist high temperatures
- Multiuse cookware and compatible to all cooktops, even induction cooktops
- Food remains hot for longer
Buyer’s Guide and Instructions
When it comes to buy the best Dutch oven for your cooking needs, you need to consider the materials and there are bare and enameled materials to choose from.
Stainless Steel and Aluminum
Some manufacturers offer Dutch oven with aluminum core blended with bonding layers of steel to get the best of both metallic properties. It makes a robust cookware with thick walls and tight-fitting lid.
Cast Iron – Bare vs. Aluminum
Cast iron can either be bare or enameled. You need to season the bare cast iron and spread a layer of oil and heat it at a range where glossy layer appears. Dutch oven rusts and food starts sticking to the sides and bottom without it. Bare cast iron usually is factory-seasoned but the layer of seasoning will thin with constant simmering and scrubbing over time. On the other side, you don’t have to season aluminum.
It is believed that bare cast iron adds iron to the food while cooking. It also affects the temperature. For example, Dutch ovens from Calphalon are made with silicon handles. You will always get a manual about safe and maximum temperatures it can withstand. If you are using Dutch oven on camping, look for footed camp ovens which support charcoal briquettes.
Features to Look for
There are different features to look for before buying a Dutch oven –
It is the first feature you need to look for in Dutch oven. Dutch oven comes in varied sizes ranging from 2 quarts to 12 quarts. It’s up to the number of people you cook for.
Dutch ovens are either oval or rounded. It’s up to the purpose to choose the best shape for you. For example, round Dutch oven is good for soups, stews, and other dishes. You need an oval shaped Dutch oven for poultry, spare ribs, fish and other foods.
Choose Dutch oven with tight fitting lid if you don’t want your favorite food to dry out when cooking and top handle must be riveted well. To deal with high heat, make sure handle is made of either metal or silicone. Don’t buy oven with handles made of composite material or plastic.
If you want your Dutch oven to sit properly on the stove or any cooktop, Dutch oven should come with feet to sit flat. Feet are also helpful to put the pot on fire for outdoor cooking. For campers, 3-legged Dutch ovens are best bet. But it is not suited for ordinary stove.
Most people use Dutch cooking oven for simmering stews or soups but there are several other purposes you can use it for
Dutch cooking ovens are mostly oven safe. Make sure their lids are also oven safe before putting it into the oven. You can easily bake your favorite cookies, pastries, and cakes.
Buy a deep Dutch oven to boil your favorite pasta. Simply pour some water, boil it in high heat and your pasta is ready. But it takes some more time than aluminum or steel pot.
You can make hot stew or sauce by simmering it. Steady heat is always required to simmer it well. The heat retention properties and tight lid makes it the best choice for simmering.
When deep frying beef or eggs in these ovens, their depth makes Dutch ovens the best bet.
Dutch oven is the best choice to cook a hot and spicy chicken dish as it heats up the chicken on all sides and gives well-browned, tender, crispy, slow-cooked chicken.
If you choose a cast iron Dutch oven without enamel coating, make sure it is pre-seasoned to keep food from sticking and to maintain its properties. Keep in mind that a cast iron with enamel coating doesn’t require seasoning.
Dutch ovens are pre-seasoned and some have wax coating which must be cared for. You can place the pot upside down to remove wax at 425 deg. F. Cast iron enameled-coated ovens must be heated up to 450 deg. F.
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
Most stainless steel Dutch ovens fall under $100. But you can go lower with enamel-coated Dutch ovens. For outdoor cooking, you can buy pure cast-iron pot in this price range to use on a campfire, grill, or in oven.
Most of the high quality Dutch ovens that fall above $100 are made in Europe and recommended and used by top chefs in the world-class restaurants. If you are brand-conscious, you may want to choose a Dutch oven with warranty.
- 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.
Best Dutch Oven Reviews 2018
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.
- 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
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.