A Dutch oven, a term often interchangeably used with French oven or cocotte, is a staple in the kitchen. If you're not familiar with these pots, they typically feature thick walls and a tight-fitting lid with a handle, and most are made from cast iron or enameled cast iron. They can be used on a stovetop or in the oven and are a favorite vehicle for baking,?braising or browning meat or cooking?soups?and stews.?
But don't be fooled, you can accomplish almost any cooking task in a Dutch oven. They're truly one of the most versatile pots you can own, and a lot of home cooks will tell you it's their favorite cookware tool. Folks get rather attached to their Dutch ovens, likely because a good one from an expert producer like Le Creuset or Marquette Castings will last you decades, if not longer.
If you're in the market for your first Dutch oven or are replacing/upgrading your current model, here are a few of our favorite Dutch ovens in various styles and price ranges to buy:
- Our favorite overall: Le Creuset Signature Dutch oven
- Our budget pick: Lodge 6-quart enameled cast-iron Dutch oven
- Our favorite splurge: Staub round cocotte
- Our favorite new brand: Milo classic Dutch oven
- Our favorite for fun colors: Martha Stewart Collection enameled cast-iron Dutch oven
- Our favorite non-enameled: Lodge preseasoned cast-iron Dutch oven
- Our favorite stainless steel: Calphalon Contemporary stainless steel Dutch oven
- OUr favorite nonstick: Calphalon Contemporary nonstick Dutch oven
- Our favorite for camping: GSI hard anodized Dutch oven
- Our favorite for the holidays: Staub cast-iron pumpkin cocotte
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What to look for when buying the best Dutch oven
When shopping for a Dutch oven, you'll first want to consider the best size for your needs. The most popular sizes are between 5 and 7 quarts, but you can find products as small as 3 or as large as 13 quarts. If you tend to make large meals for your extended family, a bigger Dutch oven might serve you well. Just keep in mind that larger pots will be quite heavy.
Speaking of weight, Dutch ovens are supposed to have thick walls, so don't shy away from products with a bit of heft. You may also see round vs. oval Dutch ovens, and the best option here depends on how you plan to use it. If you do a lot of stovetop cooking or frying, sauteing and browning, stick with a round model, as it will fit on the burner better.
Finally, it's generally better to choose a Dutch oven that's short and stout, rather than one that's skinny and taller. Why? A wide diameter gives you more surface area to brown meats, and it can also save you time by cooking ingredients faster.
We read dozens of reviews for each product, compared pricing and product specs and, of course, drew from our own experiences with the brands to curate a comprehensive list of the best Dutch ovens on the market. No matter your needs, you're sure to find the best Dutch oven on this list.
If you're at all familiar with Dutch ovens, you've probably heard of Le Creuset. This French brand is arguably the gold standard when it comes to Dutch ovens, and you can rest assured you're getting a quality piece of cookware when you buy its signature Dutch oven. This product comes in 5.5-, 7.25-, 9- and 13.25-quart sizes, as well as a rainbow of beautiful colors that will make it a showpiece for your kitchen.
These cast iron Dutch ovens are covered in vitrified porcelain making them easier to clean and resistant to stains, odors and acids. The nonreactive interior and cooking surface don't need to be seasoned like traditional cast iron, and you can use these pots on essentially all cooking surfaces, including induction cooktops and even an open fire. Additionally, Le Creuset Signature Dutch ovens have large, easy-grip handles and a heat-resistant, stainless steel knob.
Every detail of these beautiful pots has been considered, and their unbeatable quality is reflected in reviews, where happy chefs swoon over their beloved Dutch ovens. Many claim it to be the most-used item in their kitchen, from preparing meals to baking bread, and most agree this product is worth the investment. Plus, it has a "limited" lifetime warranty, which means that if it's defective, Le Creuset will replace it free of charge.
You don't necessarily have to spend an arm and a leg to get a great Dutch oven for your kitchen. The Lodge enamel cast iron Dutch oven is a top-rated product with close to 7,000 reviews. And the Lodge is widely heralded as the best Dutch oven for the price, hands down. The Lodge comes in several sizes, ranging from 1.5 to 7.5 quarts, as well as a wide selection of pretty Lodge colors.
The Lodge Dutch oven is made from enamel coated cast iron, and it delivers superior heat distribution and retention. It's oven-safe up to high temperatures of 500 degrees Fahrenheit, and while you can technically put it in the dishwasher, the manufacturer recommends you hand wash your Lodge to reduce the risk of chipping the enamel finish or damaging the steel lid lifter. Reviewers say this Lodge Dutch oven is high-quality, especially considering its affordable price, and many say it's versatile and a joy to cook with.
If you're willing to spend top dollar on an investment piece for your kitchen, you won't be disappointed with the Staub round cocotte, which delivers both in terms of performance and appearance. (It's a gorgeous addition to your kitchen decor.)?Cocotte is the French term for a Dutch oven, and this European brand certainly knows how to make a beautiful piece of cookware! Its 5.5-quart cocottes come in more than 10 colors, all with durable enamel finishes.
These Dutch ovens feature a self-basting lid with spikes on the underside to deliver continuous distribution of juices while cooking, and the oven-safe enamel and cast iron construction ensures effective heat distribution and retention. There's no seasoning required, and you can easily wash down your cocotte with soapy water.
The Staub round cocotte is an ideal vehicle for your favorite soups, casseroles, roasts, and braises and reviewers rave about it, writing, "This pot is as close to perfect as a pot gets. It's sturdy, durable, functional and flat-out easy to use."
Direct-to-consumer cookware companies are popping up left and right, and Milo is an up-and-coming brand that sells high-quality Dutch ovens at affordable prices. The Milo classic Dutch oven rivals products from some of the most well-established cookware brands, thanks to its cast-iron construction and durable enamel finish.
The classic Dutch oven has a 5.5-quart capacity and comes in black or white enamel finishes. It's oven safe up to 500 degrees, and it can even go in the dishwasher. Milo offers a lifetime guarantee on its products, and it claims this pot is ideal both for kitchen newbies and professionals. Happy buyers say that the pan is "heavy and solid like you would expect from Staub or Le Creuset" with a smooth, easy-to-clean finish.
Bring a pop of color into your kitchen with this 6-quart Dutch oven from the Macy's Martha Stewart Collection. There are a wide variety of colors to choose from, and many of them feature a subtle ombre finish. These Dutch ovens are made from enameled cast iron and come with a tightly fitted lid that has a condensation ring to help circulate moisture while cooking. A large handle on each side makes the pot easy to move from stove to table, and reviewers call it a "kitchen essential."
Many of today's Dutch ovens feature a porcelain enameled finish that makes them nonreactive, easier to clean and impervious to stains and odors. However, if you like the taste imparted by nonenameled cast iron, you may want to consider the Lodge preseasoned cast iron Dutch oven.
This product doesn't have an enamel exterior -- instead, it's been preseasoned with vegetable oil. It has a 7-quart capacity that reviewers say is perfect for bread, soups and many other dishes. It needs to be taken care of properly -- that means careful washing and reseasoning as needed -- but the sturdy construction will last for decades.
Read more:?How to clean cast iron
Cast iron is the most common material for Dutch ovens, but there are also stainless steel options available, such as this model from Calphalon. The 8-quart covered Dutch oven is made from stainless steel and features an aluminum core for excellent heat conductivity, and it's oven- and dishwasher-safe, even with its glass lid. The brushed exterior will look sleek and modern in your kitchen, and reviewers love the large capacity and see-through cover, which lets you monitor your meal without letting heat escape.
No need to break out your scrubbing brush with the Calphalon nonstick Dutch oven! The unique product features a non-stick coating that will ensure food slides right off when it's time to clean up. This 8.5-quart Dutch oven is made from heavy-gauge, hard-anodized aluminum that delivers quick, even heating, and it has a stainless steel handle on each side that stays cool, as well as a tempered glass lid. The whole unit is oven-safe up to 450 degrees, and you can put pot and lid in the dishwasher if you choose.
Not only can you use Dutch ovens in the kitchen, you can use them in the great outdoors, as well. Many campers choose to bring a product like the GSI hard-anodized Dutch oven along on their adventures, as these pots can be used over an open flame or campfire.
This particular Dutch oven is designed for camping with fixed legs for increased stability and a deep edge around the lid where you can place coals from the fire. The pot is made from nonreactive, hard-anodized aluminum, and it weighs 66% less than traditional cast iron, so it's easy to carry out to your campsite. Additionally, this Dutch oven is rust-free and scratch-resistant, ensuring it will survive even the toughest outdoor excursions.
If you plan to use your Dutch oven for Thanksgiving and other holidays, you might want a festive design, like that of the Staub cast-iron pumpkin cocotte. This adorable pumpkin-shaped dish has a 3.5-quart capacity, and it comes with all the features you'd expect from this high-end brand. It has the smooth enamel bottom, tight-fitting lid and superior heat retention and is oven safe up to 500 degrees. Plus, it makes the perfect centerpiece for your holiday table!
This article was written by Camryn Rabideau for Chowhound's Cookware Week