Friday, September 22, 2023

6 Qt Cast Iron Dutch Oven

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A Note About Warranties

Equipment Review: The Best Dutch Oven & Our Testing Winners

Serious Eats / Will Dickey

Most of the enameled cast iron Dutch ovens we tested are backed by a lifetime warranty. Despite some big price differences, they are fairly consistent from brand to brand. Does spending more get you a better warranty? No, but it might buy you a warranty without a lot of loopholes from a company with a better reputation for honoring it. We don’t have much evidence beyond anecdotal information that the best-known brandsLe Creuset, Staub, and Lodge come to mindare pretty good about it. Whether that’s worth considering when you plunk down your card for a new pot is up to you.

Can You Put A Dutch Oven In The Dishwasher

It depends. Most enameled cast iron-type ovens can go into the dishwasher, but because they tend to take up a lot of space, you might find it easier to hand wash them instead. Non-enameled cast iron should not be put into the dishwasher, as the water and detergent will strip away its seasoning. For more details on caring for raw cast iron, check out this guide.

Best Splurge Dutch Oven: Le Creuset Round Dutch Oven

While we certainly recommend those on a budget or not focused on handing cookware down to their kids consider the Lodge Enameled Dutch Oven, the impressiveness of the classic Le Creuset Round Dutch Oven is undeniable.

Whether youre a longtime Dutch oven user ready for an heirloom-quality upgrade or just open to making a splurge, this beautiful, durable piece of cookware is built to last and aced all the tests we threw at it. To start, it brought water to a boil much faster than any other model, and while all the recipes we made turned out well, Le Creusets results were always just a little bit superior. For example, all the pans produced fluffy, light rice, but while the others left at least some of the grains sticking to the pan and had variances in heat distribution when we tested different areas of the Dutch oven with an infrared thermometer, Le Creuset left nary a trace of rice behind and displayed perfect heat distribution.

Noted for its wide array of colors, the iconic Le Creuset Dutch oven comes in sizes from 1- to 13 1/4 quarts, but the 5.5-quart version we tested is among the brands most popular. Its also dishwasher-safe, as many enameled models are, and even after cooking red sauce and a multi-hour slow-cook braise, it cleaned up looking good as new . Of course, any enameled pan can chip or flake, but weve owned a similar Le Creuset model for 15 years that has yet to do so. And a lifetime warranty can be put to use in case of any damage.

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But What About Those Pretty Oval Dutch Ovens

If youve made it this far, you might have noticed that every one of these best cast-iron Dutch ovens, from the 5-quart through the big boy 7.25-quart, is round. Weve found that while oval-shaped Dutch ovens are nice for roasting oblong cuts of meat in the oven, they can easily lead to uneven cooking on the stovetop, unless theyre large enough to stretch over two burners. So if youre going to own one only, swing for a round one to get the most out of your shiny new Dutch oven.

Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven 6 Qt Cornflower

Lodge 6 Qt. Enamel Cast Iron Dutch Oven
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    • Free returns are available for the shipping address you chose. You can return the item for any reason in new and unused condition: no shipping charges
  • Go to your orders and start the return
  • Select the return method
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    The Best Dutch Ovens Money Can Buy: Le Creuset And Staub 55

    Into the idea of owning a piece of cookware thatll last for generations to come? Le Creusets iconic Dutch ovens are genuine heirloom pieces. Ive had mine for over a decade, my mom has had hers for 40, and I know lucky folks using Le Creusets that have been passed down from grandparents. Le Creuset Dutch ovens are more lightweight than competitorswhich is key if you have an enormous family and are in the market for a 13.25 quart potand come with that lifetime warranty . We use them in the Bon Appétit test kitchen. The downside is, of course, the pricewhich is partly due to the quality and partly due to the fact that these things are still made in France, where the cost of labor is high. If you dont have a Dutch oven and a $350 pot is not in the cards, get yourself a Misen, Lodge, or Milo and upgrade when youre ready. Le Creusets are built to last, and no doubt when Im 80, Ill be using mine to stew prunes. MacKenzie Chung Fegan, senior commerce editor

    Upgrade Pick: Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast

    *At the time of publishing, the price was $360.

    Le Creusets Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 5½-Quart Round French Oven is the best Dutch oven you can buy. Its the most durable oven weve tested, and we think its the best option for cooks who want a heritage piece of cookware. Le Creusets oven turns out great food every time, and its the most enjoyable to use of any weve tested. Le Creusets oven is one of the lightest we tested and has the largest handles, which makes it the easiest oven to cook with and to clean. Le Creusets pots have a durable enamel coatingwith a smooth finish for even cookingthats backed by a lifetime warranty. Le Creusets oven is expensive, and if you get it, youll be investing in longevity. In our tests we didnt find that it cooked that much better than the Lodge, but in our experience its enamel has far more staying power.

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    Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Ovens

    A flawless pairing of form and function that doesn’t quit, the Lodge Dutch Oven is an enameled cast iron classic that’s great for preparing and serving memorable meals.

    Product at a Glance:

    • The right tool to marinate, refrigerate, cook and serve
    • Unparalleled in heat retention and even heating
    • Smooth glass surface wonât react to ingredients
    • Broil, braise, bake or roast in the oven up to 500°F
    • Sauté, simmer or fry on any stovetop

    Test : Rating Dutch Oven Design

    The Best Affordable Enameled Dutch Ovens

    Serious Eats / Emily Dryden

    As we washed, cooked with, lifted, and examined the pots, we noticed which details made certain Dutch ovens more user-friendly and which frustrated us. As described above, handle and knob design was one of the more important design factors we encountered .

    Some aspects of a Dutch oven’s build turned out to be not as important as we had expected. We measured the thickness of the wall and the bottom of each Dutch oven and found that there wasn’t much of a correlation between those numbers and performance. Our top picks were all over the map in terms of bottom thickness, with the Cuisinart the thickest and the Le Creuset on the thinner side. And yet they all performed well in cooking tests.

    Enamel quality, meanwhile, was difficult to assess. In many cases, failures can occur after many months or years of consistent usenot something we could easily reproduce in our tests. Still, we tried some more extreme abuse trials to see if we could uncover any obvious differences in quality. We banged the pot bottoms together and smacked the insides with a metal measuring cup to see if we could chip the finish. Some pots retained slight scuff marks from the metal, but most wiped clean with minimal effort, and none chipped. The test proved to be a great stress reliever, but it didn’t help us eliminate any of the contenders.

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    Le Creuset Round Dutch Oven

    Several of the chefs we spoke to said they use Dutch ovens from Le Creuset either at home or in their professional kitchens. Todd Gray, executive chef and co-owner of Federal Fritter in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, said hes a fan of the bright color options and the enameled cast iron material. This Le Creuset has a 4.6-star average rating from more than 460 reviews on Le Creusets site.

    Gray also noted that he likes to keep a smaller version on hand specifically for the toaster oven when he wants smaller portions.

    How To Choose And Care For A Dutch Oven

    While we did include some cast-iron pans, the majority of the Dutch ovens we tested were enameled cast iron, which gives the pan a smooth, light-colored finish thats nearly nonstick, stain-free and doesnt hold onto odors or flavors. We found the cast-iron versions, meanwhile, perform well when slow-cooking meat or a stew but are less versatile when it comes to making, say, a long-simmering red sauce, as a tangy metallic taste can be added to your food.

    Oval Dutch oven models are available, but we included the more popular round versions and tested mostly 5- to 7-quart models, with one camp version clocking in at 9 quarts. These sizes are optimal for feeding a family of four .

    As far as cleaning Dutch ovens, all the enameled pans, no matter how covered in red sauce, or browned braising residue, cleaned up beautifully after a short soak in soapy water. Nearly all are dishwasher-safe, but we chose to hand-wash them. If youre still confused or dealing with a particularly pesky mess, weve got expert tips on how to clean and care for enamel cookware.

    The preseasoned cast-iron models also cleaned up nicely, with just a drop or two of soap and some scrubbing. Theres no need to baby cast iron unnecessarily its simple to preserve and restore seasoning. Weve got some tips for the best ways to care for for cast-iron cookware.

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    How The Lodge Has Held Up

    Weve also used the Lodge Dutch oven in our test kitchen regularly since 2014, and it performs as well as ever. Repeatedly moving the pot from stovetop to cabinet has caused some exterior scratching on the bottom, but the enamel finish is unmarred. The interior is still free of any major scratches, and the enamel finish has no cracks or chips. However, as the photos show above, the Lodges finish can wear down and discolor. This wont affect the pots functionality, unless the enamel flakes off. To remove stains on the light interior, you can use a bleach solution or a baking soda paste.

    Lodge Ec6d33 Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven 6

    Lodge EC6D32 6 qt Cast Iron Dutch Oven, Enamel, Indigo
    • Make sure this fitsby entering your model number.
    • A flawless pairing of form and function that doesn’t quit, the Lodge Dutch Oven is an enameled cast iron classic that’s great for preparing and serving memorable meals.
    • WHAT IS PORCELAIN ENAMEL ON CAST IRON. It is actually glass that becomes bonded to the cast iron at high temperatures. A particulate of glass, called frit, is applied to the cast iron vessel and then baked at temperatures between 1200 and 1400° F. The glass frit melts and fuses to the cast iron, forming a bond. Porcelain enamel on cast iron is heat tolerant and impervious to water and other consumables.
    • MAKE EVERY MEAL A MEMORY. Lodge knows that cooking is about more than just the food itâs about the memories.
    • FAMILY-OWNED. Lodge is more than just a business itâs a family. The Lodge family founded the company in 1896, and they still own it today. From environmental responsibility to community development, their heads and hearts are rooted in America. All Lodge seasoned cast iron and carbon steel cookware is proudly made in the USA, meaning youâll get craftsmanship that has been passed down through generations. Lodge Enameled Iron products are made in China to strict metallurgical and casting specifications.

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    Best Dutch Oven For Camping: Camp Chef 6

    Camp cooking doesnt have to just be baked beans in a can and hot dogs roasted on a stick. A cast-iron Dutch oven can be used to make anything from glazed pork chops to peach cobbler over a fire or hot coals. We were impressed with how well this 6-quart preseasoned version cooked corn bread, leaving it beautifully golden on top and coming up clean when we lifted a slice out of the pan.

    We tested our favorite chili recipe in the Camp Chef, getting really, really hungry as the onions, garlic, peppers, ground beef and spices began to brown and then slow-cooked over hot coals with beans and diced tomatoes added in. After a couple of hours, we were ready to feast on the hearty chili that was evenly heated and full of flavor.

    Besides its performance, we gave this model kudos for its special touches. A built-in thermometer notch allows you to gauge heat without having to lift a coal-covered lid. Tripod feet help control the heat. The metal bail handle affixed to the pan stayed firmly in place and never got too hot to handle. It comes with a super-handy lid lifter that saves you from having to purchase the accessory separately. And maybe coolest of all is the lid: It has mini tripod feet on top, allowing you to flip it over and use it as a griddle or skillet to make pancakes, bacon and eggs for breakfast.

    Things To Consider When Buying A Dutch Oven

    Shape:Most classic Dutch ovens come in round and oval shapes. If youll use it mostly for soups, stews and standard-sized roasts, a round Dutch oven will suit you. If you plan to roast whole chickens, braise turkey legs or cook other large cuts of meat, an oval shape may work better for you. If you only have room for one oven, we feel a round Dutch oven is most versatile.

    Slope of the Sides:In addition to oval or round, we also noticed the slope of the sides of the oven mattered in testing. A few ovens were designed with sides that sloped in a bit, which left a smaller base area for browning meat. We preferred ovens with straight sides, and all of our favorite ovens reflect that.

    Color:In testing, we noticed the interior color of the Dutch ovens mattered. Most Dutch ovens have a cream-colored enamel-coated interior, however, we did test others with black and grey interiors. Darker colors made it harder to caramelize onions accurately and determine browning.

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    The Best Budget Cast Iron Dutch Oven: Martha Stewart 6

    What we liked: The is a big pot with good performance and a budget-friendly price tag, under $100. It doesn’t hurt that it boasts a handsome design in nine different enamel colors.

    The beige pot bottom is 9 1/8 inches in diameter and fits all the chicken thighs without crowding, allowing us to develop good browning and fond without any trouble. At nearly 14 pounds, it was the heaviest pot in the test, but it also has some of the best handles, which help make that weight less of an issue. Even with oven mitts, we were able to easily lift and transport the pot without straining or fear of dropping it. The pot’s design is simple and uncluttered.

    We had one concern regarding the pot’s durability: In 2011, the company recalled its Dutch ovens for faulty and potentially dangerous enamel. We spoke to the company about it and were told that they’ve since changed manufacturing facilities in China, which was good to hearthough we did find at least one online review of a Martha Stewart pot that describes the enamel fracturing. What we don’t know is whether that damage was due to user error or a manufacturing defect. We’ll keep an eye on the Martha Stewart Dutch oven as we continue to cook with it and will update this review accordingly.

    Serious Eats / Emily Dryden

    How Big Is The Dutch Oven

    Le Creuset vs. Lodge Enamel Compare and Contrast.

    The experts we spoke to noted that if you have the space, its typically better to size up and get a Dutch oven with a larger capacity since you can always use a bigger pot to cook smaller portions, but not vice versa.

    Dourleijn said that, at minimum, a 5-quart Dutch oven is good because you can use it to cook for as little as two people or as many as six people and its the right size for larger roasts. However, if you know youre only going to be cooking for two people and you want to save space, you can opt for a smaller, 4-quart dutch oven, which is also the ideal size for baking bread, according to Dourleijn.

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    Test : Heat Conduction And Retention

    Serious Eats / Emily Dryden

    The first question we had about our lineup of enameled cast iron Dutch ovens was whether there was much difference from one to the next in how they conducted and retained heat. We know that iron is a poor conductor of heat and a great retainer of it, but given that each pot has a different mass and slightly different build, including variations in floor and wall thickness, it’s conceivable that some would conduct heat better than others, while others might retain the heat better.

    We tested heat conduction by placing each Dutch oven on an induction burner set to a fixed, moderate heat setting. We then snapped photos with a thermal imaging camera and measured floor and wall heat in timed increments with an infrared thermometer.

    We then tested heat retention by preheating each lidded pot in the same 350°F oven, then recording the pots’ loss of heat in both the walls and the floors using the infrared thermometer.

    While our methods of measuring the temperature of the pots weren’t perfect , they gave us a decent enough picture to confidently draw an interesting conclusion: There isn’t a significant difference that sets one enameled cast iron Dutch oven apart from another in terms of thermal properties. They all heated and cooled in remarkably similar patterns and at remarkably similar rates. This is not the area where one pot will distinguish itself.

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