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Dutch ovens. They’re the kitchen “must have” of the moment. Sure, your Instapot can make a ton of stuff, but if you’ve not tried a Dutch oven you’re really missing out on a great cooking experience. Despite their longevity, many home cooks don’t know that a Dutch oven is, or why they really are a kitchen essential So, before we get on with our reviews, here’s a bit of info on what a Dutch oven is, and why you need one.
There are many different types of Dutch ovens, but the version that we’re most familiar with was developed in the 17th Century in England. While the early versions were made of brass, most Dutch ovens today, are made from cast iron, aluminum and stainless steel. Early Dutch ovens were made to sit directly in the fire, so almost all early versions have legs.
Dutch ovens are usually round and sometimes oval in shape. They have a thick bottom for even heating and a tight fitting lid to keep all of the good juices in the pot. Most Dutch ovens have a handle or two of some sort, and many come with legs, though legs are a feature that have become less popular as we’ve moved away from cooking on fire.
What do you cook in Dutch oven? Well frankly, you can cook just about anything in a Dutch oven. Their construction allows for even heating and Dutch ovens that are made of cast iron or enameled cast iron can go from your kitchen to the campsite. Things we love cooking in a Dutch oven include soups, stews, rice and slow cooked meats. They can also be used for some desserts and casseroles.
Dutch ovens come in a range of sizes, so you can get a great one for just two people, or one that is perfect for making enough for a crowd. The best part about Dutch ovens is that they keep flavors in. Try your favorite soup or stew in a Dutch oven, and you’ll be surprised how much tastier it is.
Here are the best dutch ovens you can buy:
- Best Overall - Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron Round Dutch Oven
- Runner up - Lodge 6 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
- Best Budget - AmazonBasics Enameled Cast Iron Covered Dutch Oven
- Best Non-Enameled - Lodge L8DD3 Cast Iron Dutch Oven
- Best for Camping - Lodge L10DO3 Cast Iron Dutch Oven with Iron Cover
- Best Square - Camp Chef 13" Square Dutch Oven
- Best Large - Cuisinart Cast Iron Casserole, Dutch Oven
For the complete product list, please continue reading...
Top 9 Best Dutch Ovens (2020 Reviews)
1. Best Overall - Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron Round Dutch Oven
Le Creuset. It’s the cream of the crop when it comes to Dutch ovens. This company has been making amazing cast-iron cookware since 1925, so you know that they are a quality product, made to last. Le Creuset was one of the first companies to create a porcelain enameled cast-iron product. The joy of enameled cast-iron is that it doesn’t need to be seasoned. So, it’s more appealing to many chefs.
There is little bad that we can say about the Le Creuset Dutch oven. They make a line of Dutch ovens ranging in size from 4.5 quarts to 13.25 quarts, so you can easily find the perfect option for your particular cooking needs. This pot comes in a variety of colors, so not only will it be a workhorse in your kitchen, but it will look great sitting on your stove.
Our one complaint about this Dutch oven is the price. It’s high, and the price can make it inaccessible to many amateur chefs. However, you get what you pay for with this cooking tool. They are well made and have a good reputation, so they’re worth the investment.
This pot comes with a removable knob on the lid that is safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. The composite knob can easily be replaced with a metal one, for direct flame cooking. Otherwise, this pot goes seamlessly from the stove top to the oven, or even in your campfire. These pots have really robust handles, so you can securely move them with oven mitts. The large handles are also great because these pots are heavy. Just like any cast iron pot, the Le Creuset Dutch ovens can weigh-in around 9 pounds when they’re empty. Add food and you’re looking at a pot that can weigh as much as 20 pounds.
By far, this is the best Dutch oven on the market. With the long standing reputation of this company, you can’t go wrong buying a Le Creuset.
The interior prevents sticking and resists stains
It’s 45% larger handles
No seasoning required
2. Runner up - Lodge 6 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Lodge is making really great cast iron cookware at an affordable price. Their Dutch oven is no exception. This is a great alternative to the Le Creuset if you’re on a budget and want to add a Dutch oven to your kitchen.
The Lodge Dutch oven comes in a variety of sizes, ranging from the smallest at 1.5 quarts to a giant, but still manageable 7.5 quarts. With this modest range of sizes, you don’t have to wonder if your Dutch oven will fit in your oven. Like other Dutch ovens, this one from Lodge is rated up to 500 degrees Farehnite, and can be used on the stove or in the oven. Lodge doesn’t recommend you use this enamel coated version in a campfire or in a charcoal grill. They do make a raw version for this purpose.
The Lodge Dutch oven can be put in the dishwasher, but the manufacturer highly recommends that you wash it by hand, in order to protect the enamel coating. The Lodge enamel coated Dutch ovens come in a variety of attractive colors, so they fit well with any kitchen décor.
The enamel is chip proof
It’s dishwasher safe
Multiple sizes and colors to choose from
Manufactured in China
It’s not intended for outdoor use
3. Best Budget - AmazonBasics Enameled Cast Iron Covered Dutch Oven
AmazonBasics is making really great, affordable products for the home, including Dutch ovens. This one is our pick for the best budget Dutch oven. Use this versatile tool for baking, roasting, stewing and even marinating. The enamel coating ensures that food tastes won’t stick in the pan, and even the stickiest baked delights will release easily from the pot.
We really like the snug fitting lid, and heavy duty looped handles that make it easy to carry this pot, even when it’s hot. The cast iron core of this AmazonBasics Dutch oven provides even heating, and makes cooking a variety of foods a breeze.
It’s affordable price
Exceptional tight-fitting lid
Oven, refrigerator, and freezer safe
Only oven safe to 400 degrees
It’s enamel non-stick function is poor
Only has 1 year warranty
4. Best Non-Enameled - Lodge L8DD3 Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Our first two options are enamel coated Dutch ovens. Our pick for the best raw cast iron Dutch oven is from Lodge. Enamel coated Dutch ovens look great, and are perfect for stovetop and oven cooking, but a raw cast iron Dutch oven can take your cooking to a whole new level.
Lodge raw cast iron Dutch ovens come pre-seasoned, so you don’t have to do all of the work that is required to make old-fashioned cast iron cook well, and be non-stick.
This 5-quart version is perfect for soups and breads, but can easily roast your favorite meats or make delicious desserts. The domed lid extends the capacity of your Dutch oven, making it perfect for large cuts of meat or proofing bread.
And if you’re in a pinch, the lid of this Dutch oven converts to a skillet, so no extra cookware is necessary for many of your cooking adventures.
This is a great piece of cookware, just remember to care for it properly so that it maintains its non-stick surface. Lodge provides great care instructions for all of its raw cast iron products.
Conducts heat evenly and efficiently
It’s lid converts to 10.25 in. skillet
Handles get hot
It needs maintenance over time
5. Best for Camping - Lodge L10DO3 Cast Iron Dutch Oven with Iron Cover
Another great option from Lodge is this traditional style Dutch oven. It has many of the same features that Dutch ovens have possessed for more than a century.
Like other raw cast iron products from Lodge, this Dutch oven is pre-seasoned, so it’s ready to use, right out of the box. The snug fitting lid keeps in moisture while cooking, so meats are moist and tender, and soups are amazingly flavorful.
When cared for properly, this pre-seasoned piece of cookware will be virtually non-stick for many years, without the worry of synthetic coatings.
This Dutch oven can easily go from your kitchen to the campfire or grill. It’s made to handle higher heat, so don’t be afraid to put it directly on hot coals, instead of your kitchen stove. The wire handle makes this handy pot easy to move around, but don’t forget your hot mitts, because it can get hot.
6. Best Square - Camp Chef 13" Square Dutch Oven
Sometimes, you need something different than a round Dutch oven. For those times, your best answer is the Camp Chef 13” square Dutch oven. This is a great option if you are wanting to make amazing rolls, brownies or cornbread, and don’t want to use a round pan. And while we like this square pan for baking, it does an equally great job at cooking roast or even casseroles.
This raw cast iron Dutch oven is pre-seasoned so it is ready to use right away, though we recommend a quick wipe down before using it for the first time. It comes with a great, tight fitting lid that allows you to cook a variety of flavorful foods. The lid is also ridged so it can convert from a lid to a stovetop grill.
This Dutch oven is a favorite of campers, because it provides two pieces of cookware in one, and the ability to use it directly over open flame or hot coals is a bonus. Besides, there’s nothing better than fresh roll or cornbread at your favorite campsite.
Long lasting and versatile
Not exactly square
Heavy to carry around
7. Best Large - Cuisinart Cast Iron Casserole, Dutch Oven
Cuisinart is a trusted name in cookware, so it’s only natural that we include their 7-quart covered casserole to the list. Yes, it’s called a casserole, but it feels more like a Dutch oven. This great enameled cast iron pan is everything we love about a Dutch oven. It has a snug fitting lid, deep sides and robust handles. The porcelain enamel comes in a wide variety of colors so not only will it cook great, but it looks great in your kitchen, too.
This Dutch oven is perfect for cooking just about any family sized meal you’re thinking of. It can handle everything from large roasts to delicate broths or soups. This Dutch oven goes seamlessly from the stove, to the oven to the table. And at a reasonable price, this Dutch oven is more budget accessible than some of the other options on our list.
Multiple colors to choose from
Light for its size
Enamel not as durable
8. Best Small Capacity - Staub Cast Iron Round Cocotte, 4-Quart
This is a really cool, unique option for your kitchen, and is the perfect size for the chef that is cooking for a small family, or just themselves. The Staub 4-Quart cocotte (another term for Dutch oven) is an enamel coated, cast iron pot that goes from stove to oven with ease.
It also looks great, so it will be a beautiful addition to your kitchen or your dinner table. It comes in 10 colors and if you don’t love the small size, you can add one of their larger ones to your kitchen.
One of the coolest features of this Dutch oven, that many others don’t have, is the self-basting lid. The spikes on the underside of the lid, puncture cuts of meat, and distribute a continuous stream of juices back to your meat. This results in incredibly moist and flavorful meat dishes.
The enamel coating means no seasoning, but Staub doesn’t recommend washing their products in the dishwasher, so before you use this Dutch oven for the first time, wash with soap and warm water.
Excellent heat retention
Least amount of evaporation
Best at browning
Easy to clean
9. Best For Stews - Marquette Castings 6 qt. Cast Iron Dutch Oven
What we really like about this Dutch oven from Marquette Castings is the size. It’s wide diameter and deep sides make it perfect for cooking soups and stews. Start your stew on the stove, and transfer it to the oven without another pot, for perfectly slow-cooked, flavorful stew.
This Dutch oven has a heavy-duty cast iron core, covered in porcelain enamel. It is oven safe up to 500 degrees, and is non-stick, right out of the box. There is no seasoning required.
This Dutch oven comes in five colors, so you’re sure to find the right one for your kitchen. And the lifetime warranty means that you don’t have to worry about breakage or damaging your Dutch oven.
The flat bottom
High cooking temperature
Lid handle can be tricky
Hand wash only
It’s hard to go wrong when you add a Dutch oven to your kitchen. Whether you’re cooking for a crowd or just want a delicious and easy weeknight meal, a Dutch oven is the answer.
You’ll never be disappointed with the delicious soups, stews and slow cooked meats that are possible in a Dutch oven. And they’re a perfect cooking tool for your next camping trip, too!
Our pick for the best Dutch oven, the Le Creuset LS2501-2467, is the perfect combination of function and fashion. It looks great, but also performs well under a variety of cooking temperatures.
Frankly, when a cooking tool has been around a long time, and it’s still known to be reliable and useful, it’s hard to find a reason to not own one. That’s how we feel about Dutch ovens.
And, we hope that this review has helped you find the right addition to your kitchen, or at least given you a good place to start.
How to Choose the Best Dutch Oven
Before we jump into our other favorite picks, here is a list of things you should look for when you’re shopping for a Dutch oven. We’ve taken these features into consideration for our favorite picks.
Sure the porcelain enameled cast iron looks great. And frankly, there’s little difference between enameled and raw cast iron when it comes to cooking quality. However, if you don’t want to deal with chipping or destroying the coating if the pot bangs into other things, go with raw cast iron. Cleaning enameled cast iron is easier.
You can also select aluminum or carbon steel, but neither are durable enough for a variety of cooking situations. But both options are lighter weights, so that’s a consideration.
You’re not going to get a ton of variety when it comes to shape. Round and oval are going to be the most obvious options. Both round and oval will hold larger cuts of meat, but round fits better on standard stove-top burners. For the best cooking results, look for round with extra deep sides. This will ensure that your food is fully submerged in the cooking liquid.
When you’re selecting a Dutch oven, a good rule thumb is one quart will feed one individual. If you are going to be cooking for a larger group, on a regular basis, consider a 6-quart Dutch oven. This should be plenty of room for the most versatility. If you need something larger, you can do 8 or 10 quarts, but keep in mind the bigger the pot, the heavier it will be.
Amount of Evaporation
You really want to look for a Dutch oven that has a snug fitting lid. It shouldn’t lock closed, but it should be made specifically for your Dutch oven, and not just some random lid. A tight fitting lid will keep more of the liquid in your pot. This means foods are juicier and more flavorful. Too much evaporation will result in dry meat, and soups and stews that are unremarkable.
You’ll notice when you’re shopping for Dutch ovens, that most enameled cast iron ones are rated to a maximum of 450 degrees. This is the highest temperature that; a) most recipes call for and b) is the safe high temperature for the porcelain coating. If you are planning on using your Dutch oven directly in a fire (think campfire), then you’ll want a raw cast iron Dutch oven. They are capable of handling heat as high as 1,000 degrees. Don’t forget your pot holders or oven mitt gloves to avoid any burning accident.
If you are interested, we have the complete cookware sets reviewed here.