When it comes to cooking savory soups, stews, casserole dishes, and other meals in your kitchen, you need a multi-functional piece of equipment that can make your routine easier, faster, and more efficient. Dutch ovens are designed to fit into this job description; they are thick cooking pots known to absorb and distribute heat evenly to all parts of your meal to retain its flavor and moisture.
They are often made of Cast Aluminum or Iron, and they feature thick walls, bottom, and tight-fitting lids, which grants them superior heat qualities. Typical uses of Dutch ovens include baking, frying, and roasting meals; they can also be used for indoor or outdoor purposes.
The best dutch ovens America’s test kitchen are built to provide you with better and more flexible cooking options in your kitchen.
Reviews of Best Dutch Ovens America’s test kitchen 2020
Here are top rated Dutch Ovens on the market today
#1 – Lodge EC1D43 Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
This is a superb piece of equipment that you can use to make all kinds of recipes; this model offers perfect heat retention to keep the flavor and taste of your meals. The Lodge EC1D43 is compactly designed for anyone who needs something they can easily fit in their kitchen storage. The Dutch oven is constructed using cast iron with an enamel coating on the surface.
The coating ensures that the Dutch oven prevents the reaction of the product with your ingredients. You can achieve a cooking temperature of up to 500⁰F with this model; you can also use it in the oven or on a stovetop giving you more options to work with. The manufacturer, Lodge, has been in the business of first-rate American cookware since 1896. This should give you a hint about the kind of products you will be working with.
The knob of the oven is made of stainless steel, which allows you to open your lid conveniently during cooking. The product comes in a single color, red, which complements the overall design.
- Durable and scratch-resistant material
- Perfect sizing for cooking small meals
- Allows temperature up to 500⁰F
- Retains the flavor and moisture of meals
- Incompatible with open-air flames
#2 – AmazonBasics Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
This is another quality model which was designed to grant the users with optimal cooking experience. The model achieves this by evenly distributing heat to all parts of its build to hold the flavor and moisture of your food better.
The material used to build this model is heavy-duty cast iron with an enamel finish making it a very durable option. The product can be used to cook various kinds of food since it is compatible with any cooking surface and ovens. They can withstand temperatures up to 400⁰F; there are two side handles to achieve easy movement.
The enamel coating gives the product a shiny and classy look; the coating also prevents any reactivity with your food. However, this model is not to be maintained through the use of a dishwasher but through hand cleaning. The models come in blue, green, and red colors for you to choose from. The size of this model is 4.3 quart, enough for you to feed up to four people.
- Enough cooking space for a family
- Withstands heat temperature up to 400⁰F
- Has an enamel coating to prevent reactions with foods
- Robust build and easy handling
- Not dishwasher-safe
- Handles get too hot to touch without protection
#3 – Lodge L8DD3 Iron Dutch Oven
This is a high-quality Dutch oven model that offers a lot of unique and complementing features. The product is made of cast iron and comes with a lid, 1.5 inches in depth, which can function as a skillet when needed. The build is very durable and can withstand any force or scratch without leaving a mark.
There are side handles featured in both the lid and oven for easy movement or transfer. Both the lid and base can withstand temperatures of up to 500⁰F without any damage. The Dutch oven is 5-quarts in size, which is perfect for any unique cooking needs you have.
They can be used through a grill, electrical induction, ceramic gas, campfire, and in an oven as well. The heat retention and distribution of this product are very effective aimed at serving you with the best service delivery; the product comes in black color.
- The lid can serve as a skillet
- Tough and durable
- Can withstand any temperature up to 500⁰F
- Features side handles on the lid
- Quite heavy
- Can only be hand washed
#4 – Le Creuset LS2501-2817 Signature Enameled Cast-Iron Round French (Dutch) Oven
The Le Creuset is a top-class oven made in France using cast iron and an enamel coating; the coating allows the model to resist stains better. However, the product requires proper maintenance because they are relatively brittle. You can use the model for cooking all sorts of food in your kitchen.
The craftsmanship and style are remarkable and sure to complement the design of your kitchen. A moisture and heat locking lid with a convenient handle is featured in the package. The Dutch oven can withstand temperatures up to 500⁰F but can be complemented with a replacement silver or gold knob to achieve cooking temperatures above 500⁰F.
The product is dishwasher safe and can hold a capacity of 7.25 quart; you can also monitor your food closely due to its cream interior coating. Le Creuset offers a lifetime warranty on the product, but this doesn’t cover any misuse, not under the instructions provided.
- High-performance model
- Evenly distributes heat
- Elegant and beautiful design
- Lifetime warranty
- Quite expensive
- The resin knob can’t withstand temperatures above 500⁰F
#5 – Lodge L2SP3 2 Quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven
You can get all the benefits of a good cast iron Dutch oven with this model; the pot is durable due to its solid construction. The product is easy to clean and maintain without exerting much effort. The model comes pre-seasoned in 2-quart sizes and the color black.
The lid can be used conveniently by gripping the handle featured on top; there are also two handles on opposite sides of the oven. They can be used outdoors or indoors in any situation that demands its use for cooking.
The product is manufactured in the U.S.; this piece of high-quality heat equipment can be used to cook, roast, or bake any kind of food you desire. After cooking, the pot helps you retain the warmness of your food until you are ready to serve.
- Compact design
- Easy to clean and handle
- Versatile option
- Durable construction
- Size might not be ideal for a big family
- Too small to handle with gloves when cooking outdoors
#7 – Staub 1102485 Round Cocotte Dutch Oven
If you want constant quality performance when cooking, then you should get this high-quality model designed to serve you efficiently. The lid of the oven is heavy and tight-fitting to lock in the full flavor and moisture better than the most competitors in the market.
The oven was constructed using high-quality cast iron, which is strong and durable, a chip-resistant finish is then applied to the surface to give it a smooth look and feel.
The product is made in France and comes with a lifetime warranty to complement its use. The maximum temperature you can reach with this product is 572⁰F, making it compatible with a lot of cooking methods. They can be used on a stovetop, through induction, gas, as well as in glass and ceramic ovens.
- Safe with kitchen utensils
- Self-basting attributes
- Conducts heat well
- Perfect for braising
- Coating tends to peel off after a few uses
#8 – Crock Pot Artisan Enameled Cast Iron 7-Quart Oval Dutch Oven
This is another top-quality Dutch oven guaranteed to give you return value on your investment. The product is built using cast iron with a non-stick finish; the coating prevents your food from reacting with the cooking material. The Crock-Pot can be used for frying, baking, roasting, searing, broiling, and sautéing.
This model is long-lasting due to the durable components; it is also quite easy to clean and handle around the kitchen. Heat is evenly distributed and retained to secure the taste you seek in your meals. It is easy to clean and maintain; this model also features a self-basting design that is activated when you close the oven with the lid.
- Durable, rust-resistant, and long-lasting
- The large size of 7 quarts, enough for any unique needs
- Non-stick coating on the oven’s surface
- Convenient handles
- Excellent heat retention
- Can be quite heavy for some users
How We Tested?
We bought 12 popular and well-reviewed Dutch ovens. We weighed their size and weight, as well as any special features they provided (such as the self-basting lids). Then we put them through a series of tests, including heating 8 cups of water in each and timing how long it took for it to come to a boil.
Then we caramelized an onion to see if there were any hot spots and how easily they cleaned up after handwashing. Finally, we seared a 4-pound pot roast on the stove before braising it in the oven in each. We dish washed everything that said it was dishwasher safe and handwashed everything else.
Types of Dutch Ovens
Because of its ability to retain and distribute heat, this is the material of choice for the best Dutch oven brands. Cast iron is not only extremely durable, but it can also be used on almost any cooktop (including induction) and directly over open fires, such as atop a barbecue grill or over a campfire.
Every time you use a cast iron pot, you season it and improve its surface. However, it is not ideal for acidic dishes because acids can react poorly with the pan’s material, resulting in “off” flavors. Bare cast iron pots need to be hand-washed without detergents (which can remove the seasoning) and re-oiled before storing.
Enameled Cast Iron
This is a popular material for Dutch ovens, bringing a rustic European design element to your kitchen. These ovens are made of cast iron with a glass-like enamel coating bonded to the metal, which prevents rusting and eliminates the need for seasoning the surface.
Because it is non-reactive, unlike bare cast iron, this material is ideal for all types of food. This type of cookware is also compatible with a wide range of cooktops, including induction. Lighter enameled interiors are more susceptible to visible stains, but these can be removed with a non-abrasive cleaner like Bar Keepers Friend and gentle scrubbing.
This type of cookware is less expensive than enameled cast iron but has a similar pleasing aesthetic for your kitchen. These pieces, made of high-fired clay, are also PFOA- and PTFE-free, non-reactive, and thermal shock resistant. They are, however, more prone to chipping and breaking than cast iron ovens.
Because not all ceramic cookware is designed to withstand direct heat, look for a ceramic Dutch oven that can be used on the stove (with an induction disc if necessary). Ceramic’s gentle heating properties make it ideal for slow cooking and flavor enhancement. Most ceramic Dutch ovens are oven-safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and easy to clean by hand or in the dishwasher.
This is another great option for a lighter-weight Dutch oven than cast iron. These ovens are created by pouring molten aluminum into a mold, resulting in a hard and durable oven that is non-reactive and less prone to warping or damage.
Cast aluminum can also be used on electric and gas stovetops, as well as in the oven, and it has better heat conductivity than stainless steel and is naturally nonstick. This material is generally low-maintenance because it can be soaked and washed in the dishwasher and does not require seasoning to keep its surface.
How to Pick The Best Dutch Oven on the Market?
Getting your model requires you to consider some things before making payment for any product in the market. Models differ in terms of shape, size, color, material, functionality, and price; each of these features tells you something about the service delivery provided.
You need to go for an option that suits your requirements based on some of the factors listed below. After making due consideration on the options you have in mind, then you can go for the perfect model for you.
1. Material Used
The models in the market are based on four different types of materials, which include Stainless Steel, Copper, Cast Iron, and Porcelain-Enameled Cast Iron. The most durable being the cast iron, they have a higher lifetime use out of all four materials employed in the construction of Dutch ovens. However, cast iron requires a great deal of effort for proper maintenance.
Porcelain-Enameled cast iron is a better improvement on cast iron, models built using it are known to distribute heat more efficiently. The downside to this material is that the coating tends to peel off after some time. Copper has the best heat conductivity out of all four materials making your cooking time a lot shorter.
They are very durable, but they tend to react with acidic foods making it an unsafe option. You can, however, go for copper models that come with stainless steel lining to prevent contact with food. The last category of models is stainless steel models, which are durable and possess a high heat conductivity. They are dishwasher, freezer, and broiler safe, but they are susceptible to scratching.
There are different sizes to consider when looking at options, but you need to base your decision on how large the eating audience is. If it’s only you, then you need to go for a small size to save unnecessary expenses. A family can get a model with a size of 5½ or 6 quarts; those sizes should serve at least six individuals.
There are non-stick models you can go for if you hate your food sticking with the bottom of your oven. These models are much easier to maintain over time, but they tend to wear out quickly. You should also watch out for the handles on your Dutch ovens because you will need these fitting for convenient movement and use. They need to be large enough for you to easily hold without stress.
4. Oval or Round
This refers to the shapes Dutch ovens come in; you can choose yours based on your preferences. Oval models tend to have a wider range of capacities available in the market relative to round models. Going for oval models, you have access to different sizes you can work with.
Dutch ovens are typically made of thick metal and can withstand daily use, but they are not completely impervious to damage. Taking proper care of your cocotte will extend the life of this important piece of cookware.
If your oven is made of bare cast iron, you must keep it seasoning to protect it from rust and corrosion and to maintain its nonstick properties. Any food particles should be scrubbed away without the use of any additional cleaning agents, as soaps and detergents will remove any existing seasoning.
Wipe the surface clean and lightly oil the inside of the vessel once it is smooth and free of debris. To preseason the Dutch oven, heat it on high (about 400 to 500 degrees), let it cool, and then store it for future use.
Enameled cast iron pieces do not require the same care because the enamel coating acts as seasoning, providing a rust-resistant, nonstick finish. Lighter-colored enamel may stain after simmering dark sauces, but this is usually easily removed with a light scrub with a non-abrasive scouring pad.
For tough stains, make a 1:2 vinegar-baking soda paste or use Bar Keepers Friend. For easy cleaning, put enameled cast iron pieces in the dishwasher.
Cast aluminum, stainless steel, and ceramic cookware all require similar care. To avoid thermal shock in cast aluminum and stainless steel, allow the vessel to cool completely before contacting cool water. All three of these can be cleaned with a nylon scouring pad and dish soap, or they can be placed in the dishwasher (unless the manufacturer says otherwise).
Alternative Video: 7 Ways To Use Dutch Oven
These tools are a necessity for every avid kitchen owner; they are quite versatile in terms of performance and functions. They are compatible for use with stovetops as well as ovens.
Any cooking task can be executed through the use of these best Dutch ovens; most Dutch ovens come with different shapes, prices, sizes, features, and colors, so pick one that suits your needs and requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions
A good Dutch oven is a kitchen necessity, heavy and thick enough to conduct and retain heat while also being deep enough to accommodate large cuts of meat and quarts of cooking liquid. While a Dutch oven is great for braises, stews, and chilis, it can also be used for a variety of other things.
The majority of the chefs we spoke with agreed that a Le Creuset Dutch oven is well worth the money. “It’s also extremely versatile,” Tonkinson says, “you can do everything from slow cooking in a Dutch oven to baking bread, searing, braising, and frying.”
Cleaning and maintenance in general. Use any Stoneware piece on the stovetop or other direct heat source at your own risk. Le Creuset Stoneware is microwave, freezer, refrigerator, dishwasher, oven, and broiler safe.