Market Review: Dutch Oven

Last update: Aug 2017
Dutch ovens are the classic tools for any kitchens. The ideal pots are made of cast-iron for benefiting heat retention ability. However, there’re more choices of selection these days for more versatile usages. See more: our guide to find best Dutch Ovens for every task.

Best Dutch Oven

Best Quality Dutch Ovens

For great enameled cast-iron ovens that can ensure excellent craft and cooking performance, go for Le Creuset as a no-regret choice.

Le Creuset Signature (Est.$300 for 5.5 quarts) is a quality standard for serious cooks for decent cooking results, quality materials and insanely durable. Honestly, with proper care, this pot can really last to your next generation. Also, it has been a most recommended Dutch oven for years by many experts, includes America’s Test Kitchen[1]. The Signature series are our preferable because of extra-large and extended handles that make more comfortable to hold with oven mitts.

Another heirloom option is Staub Round Cocotte (Est.300 for 5.5 quarts), irresistible craft and rich glossy color, cooks impressively for all duties, noticeably for browning and braising. Staub has a unique-designed lid that has circular spikes inside. This helps fitting tightly, trapping 10% more moisture for more intense and juicier flavor. While the neat brass/nickel knob that can resist 482°F makes freely allow for oven. However, it has dark finish interior; this is good for hiding stains eventually but may not be preferable for some people.

Best Affordable Dutch Ovens

There’re many cheaper alternatives that perform pleasingly great but have much shorter durability, about 3 to 5 years, as well as heavier than Le Creuset pots. Also, you may find issues about chipped porcelain finish or some scratches. Still, they’re worth the bucks.

For affordable pots, Lodge Enameled cast-iron (Est.$55 for 6 quarts) dominates the market, as a best-selling Dutch oven, for well-made craft and well-done tasks. It comes with good shape for searing and ergonomic handles to grip. Lodge offers various vibrant colors and sizes to choose like those pricier products. Say, the oven is a real Le Creuset alternative.

Honestly, Zelancio Cooking Dish with Self-Basting Lid (Est.$59 for 6 quarts) caught our interest for Staub-like concept. Aside from fine construction and sturdy feel, this oven comes with a tight-fitting lid, which having little nodes inside for self-basting to expect juicier tastes like Staub does. It also has stainless steel knob that has 500°F heat resistant. Feel much like having Staub versions in much cut down price.

While Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Enameled (Est.$79 for 7 quarts), America’s Test Kitchen’s best buy product, offers a good value oven that has good design for searing and simmering and can deliver successful results. This pot has a bit narrow handles to hold with pot holders, less color and size options, and issue about enameled quality, otherwise it’s good performer but pricier than Lodge.

Tramontina Enameled (Est.$50 for 6.5 quarts) is a popular pot as an older America’s Test Kitchen’s previous best buy recommended product. It’s solid performer and has a stainless-steel knob. Still, we prefer Lodge to this oven. Tramontina has quite tall and narrow shape, which makes less capable for browning and searing or cooking chunkier meats. More, it has less color and size selections.

Best Lightweight Dutch Ovens

For lightweight round, we still look for ones that can go both stovetop and oven, as well as has practical shape for searing. For these reasons, hard anodized-aluminum and stainless-steel pots lean the most solid choices.

(1) Hard Anodize-Aluminum

Unlike cast-iron, Hard-anodized aluminum is proficient for heat distribution and evenly heat but poor heat retention. However, with tough nonstick surface and lightweight, these ovens are good to consider.

Calphalon Unison (Est.$70 for 5 quarts) allows for ultra-smooth nonstick finish, wide-based bottom for better searing, and evenly cooking with 500°F heat resistant. As a higher-end model of Calphalon, the Unison pot has a finest construction with reinforce nonstick surfaces, which can expect for superior performance in this market.

Calphalon Contemporary (Est.$70 for 5 quarts) is also our favorite. It yields impressive results and good shape as a good oven with beautiful design. Still, the nonstick outside makes slippery on the stove when stirring.

But, if you want to save more bucks, Calphalon Simply ($50 for 7 quarts) is good to go. It offers short sides and wide base for searing and roomier for fit a whole chicken, but has less durability with 400°F heat proof and not oven-safe.

Cuisinart Contour Hard Anodized (Est.$50 for 7 quarts) is another cheaper alternative. It looks much like Calphalon Unison but has less durability and heat resistance.

(2) Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is extremely tough but poor in both heat absorption and distribution, so pick the ovens that has clad features for improved cooking ability. Pick ones that have practical design: short sides, wide base and tight lid.

Predictably, All-Clad Tri-Ply Stock Pot (Est.320 for 8 quarts), does everything great as a Mercedes Benz of stainless steel oven. The price is high but worth every penny, recommended by America’s Test Kitchen as a lighter alternative for traditional Dutch oven.

If the price is bleeding, Calphalon Contemporary ($Est.100 for 8 quarts) offers more reachable price for an excellent tri-ply stainless steel oven, for cooking ability and better design for easier browning.

Cuisinart French Classic ($Est.70 for 4.5 quarts) offers quality multi-clad construction with real Dutch (French) oven-liked shape. The cooking quality can’t beat but it has only one small size.

Best Specialties

Unlike traditional Dutch ovens, some products are outstanding for utility functions. Lodge L8DD3 (Est.$40 for 5 quarts), an uncoated cast-iron oven, comes with multi-purposes as the lid can be transform to 10.25-inch skillet, for occasional searing steaks or cooking side dishes.

While Lodge Camp Dutch Oven (Est.$50 for 6 quarts), the US-made workhorse, is the best camp cookware ever. It has tripod legs and a wire loop for both hanging over the campfire or perfectly sitting over the hot coals. Plus, it comes with many sizes, from 1- to 8-quart capacity, in very reasonable price.

  1. Equipment Review: In Pursuit of the Best Dutch Ovens, America’ s Test Kitchen.

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