The Best Heritage Cast Iron Dutch Oven: Le Creuset 55
What we liked: The Le Creuset cast iron Dutch oven is a beautiful pot that comes in 17 core colors, plus special editions. Weighing just over 11 pounds, the 5 1/2quart Le Creuset isn’t as heavy as many of the other models we tested , but that didn’t appear to affect performance. On the stovetop, it cooks very well: There wasn’t an excessive amount of sticking when we browned chicken thighs, and the fond that developed was easy to see because of the contrast against the interior enamel’s beige color. The Signature line has larger handles than the older Classic model, which we’re all forit makes the pot easier to grab and carry. We can also vouch for Le Creuset products’ longevity, given that we’ve used their pots for years at work and home without any major complaints. Splurging for the Le Creuset means investing in a reputation that’s backed by generations of satisfied users all over the world and a warranty that anecdotal evidence says you can rely on. The Signature pot comes in 1- to 13 1/4-quart sizes.
The Round Dutch Ovens
Cuisinart Chefs Classic Enameled Cast Iron Round Covered Casserole 3-Quart
3-quart dimensions 9.8 inches x 9.8 inches x 6 inches and weighs approx 8 pounds
Cuisinart Chefs Classic Enameled Cast Iron Round Covered Casserole 5-Quart
5-quart dimensions 11.6 inches x 11.6 inches x 6.2 inches and weighs approx 13 pounds
Cuisinart Chefs Classic Enameled Cast Iron Round Covered Casserole 7-Quart
7-quart dimensions 13 inches x 13 inches x 6.2 inches and weighs approx 17 pounds
How Do You Care For Enameled Cast Iron
No doubt, enameled cast iron cookware can be expensive. So you want that investment to last. To keep your cookware at its best, you should avoid using metal utensils. The metal can chip or scratch the enamel.
You should also clean your enameled cast iron soon after use. Prompt cleaning can help prevent stains on the enamel interior. It also means your cookware is easier to clean.
Check Out this video on cleaning your Dutch oven:
You should hand wash most enameled cast iron. Some manufacturers claim their cookware is dishwasher safe. I would still be cautious about putting it in the dishwasher. Hand washing is your safest option.
Enameled cast iron does not like extreme temperature changes. If you plunge your hot cast iron pan into cold water, you might crack the enamel. Yikes.
A good rule of thumb is to heat and cool slowly. Slow and steady will keep your cookware in tip-top shape.
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Test : Cooking Jambalaya
To see how well the Dutch ovens cooked on a stovetop and in the oven, we used them to make Creole-style red jambalaya with chicken, sausage, and shrimp. This one dish tests Dutch ovens in a few key areas: searing meats and sautéing vegetables on the stovetop, then slow-cooking everything in a simmering broth in the oven.
Phase 1: Browning Chicken and Developing Fond Without Too Much Sticking
Serious Eats / Emily Dryden
Using just enough oil to grease each pot, we expected the boneless chicken thighs in our recipe to quickly brown over moderately high heat. Here, we uncovered a rare quality that really does distinguish one cast iron pot from another: the bottom surface area.
A larger surface area is critically important since it reduces crowding and allows better, faster, and more efficient searing. In the end, we just couldn’t abide pots that skimped on surface area for searing. All our winning models had bottoms that were a minimum of 8 inches in diameter or very close to it.
Beyond that, only one pot grabbed a disqualification in this phase of the test because its enamel coating latched onto the chicken so hard that the meat shredded when we attempted to lift it. That’s fine for ropa vieja, but not much else.
Phase 2: Wet Cooking
The rice for our jambalaya requires wet cookingsimmering the rice, meats, and vegetables in the cooking liquidbut it also tests how evenly the pots cook since the goal is to have all the liquid absorbed by the rice by the time it’s all done.
Cuisinart Cast Iron Casserole 55 Qt Oval Covered Enameled Provencial Blue
- Cast Iron Construction Provides superior heat retention and even heat distribution
- Porcelain Enamel Exterior Strong, durable finish in rich colors complement any kitchen decor perfect for cooking, serving and entertaining
- Porcelain Enamel Interior Ideal for cooking surfaces do not impart flavors or absorb odors
- Extreme Versatility Induction stovetop compatible stovetop, oven and broiler safe
- Dishwasher Safe Convenient maintenance and easy cleanup
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Its Time To Fill That Dutch Oven
7qt dutch oven at a 30% discount at Woot!
Youve heard time and time again how useful cast iron is in the kitchen, specifically when it comes in the form of a dutch oven . These versatile pieces of cookware can become the most-used tools in your amateur chef arsenal, allowing you to make anything from stews and sauces to roasted chickens and loaves of bread.
So why dont you have one yet?
Presumably, your hesitance is due to the staggering price tag attached to high-end brands like Le Creuset and Staub, whose dutch ovens can run upwards of $300. If thats the case, youre doing yourself a disservice: Cuisinart makes a surprisingly legit budget alternative, and right now you can grab the 7qt version at a 30% discount over on Woot.
Cuisinart Cast Iron Casserole Cobalt 7
- Cast iron construction provides superior heat retention and even heat distribution
- Porcelain enamel exterior provides a strong, durable finish in rich colors complementing any kitchen décor perfect for cooking, serving and entertaining
- Porcelain enamel interior is ideal for cooking, its surface does not impart flavors or absorb odors
- Safe for induction, halogen, glass/ceramic, gas and electric stove-tops
- Oven and broiler safe 7-Qt. capacity Dishwasher safe for convenient maintenance and easy cleanup
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Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast Iron Round Dutch Oven 725 Quarts
Le Creusets Dutch oven can hold up to 7.25 quarts and comes in several eye-popping colors. From fiery reds and oranges to cool blues and purples, you can find a Le Creuset Dutch oven to match your style.
Depending on the choice, the lid features either a composite or stainless steel knob. I recommend the steel knob as its far more durable.
This Le Creuset Dutch oven delivers superior heat retention, even heat distribution, and outstanding cooking performance.
Its compatible with all cooktops, including induction. And its oven-safe up to 500°F . Le Creuset claims this piece is metal utensil safe, but I would still avoid them.
And the cleanup? Its a snap. You can put your Le Creuset Dutch oven in the dishwasher or hand wash with warm water and mild dish soap. You can read a more detailed breakdown of Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast Iron vs. Cuisinart Dutch ovens here.
If you want the best, the Le Creuset Signature Enameled cast iron Dutch oven beats all the Dutch ovens on the market, in my opinion. But this high-end product comes at a premium cost. For many home cooks, the value of the Cuisinart outweighs the luxury of a Le Creuset Dutch oven.
Le Creuset Round Dutch Oven Sizes
Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 1-Quart Round French Oven
1-quart dimensions 4.5 inches x 4.5 inches x 2.8 inches and weighs 3.9 pounds
Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 2-Quart Round French Dutch Oven
2-quart dimensions 7.4 inches x 9.8 inches x 5.1 inches and weighs 5.6 pounds
Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 2.75 Quart Le Creuset Shallow Dutch French Oven
2.75-quart dimensions 10.8 inches x 9.1 inches x 4.7 inches and weighs 7.4 pounds
Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast Iron Round Wide 3.5 Quart Dutch oven
3.5-quart dimensions 10 inches x 12.5 inches x 5.5 inches and weighs 9 pounds
Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 4.5-Quart Round French Dutch Oven
4.5-quart dimensions 10.1 inches x 12.7 inches x 6.5 inches and weighs 9.9 pounds
Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 5.5-Quart Round French Dutch Oven
5.5-quart dimensions 10 inches x 10.8 inches x 4 inches and weighs 11.2 pounds
Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature 6.75-Quart Round Wide Dutch Oven
6.75-quart dimensions 12 inches x 16 inches x 6.5 inches and weighs 14.3 pounds
Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 7.25-Quart Round French Dutch Oven
7.25-quart dimensions 11.6 inches x 14.1 inches x 7 inches and weighs 12.8 pounds
Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 9-Quart Round French Dutch Oven
9-quart dimensions 14.9 inches x 12.3 inches x 7.8 inches and weighs 16.5 pounds
Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 13.25 Quart Round French Dutch Oven
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What You Need To Know
Is there anything you can’t do with a Dutch oven? We use these large, heavy-duty pots for boiling, searing, frying, braising, and baking food and for sous vide cooking. We turn them into smokers, steamers, coolers, and panini presses. They might just be the busiest pots in our kitchen.
Our longtime favorite, the Le Creuset 7¼ Quart Round Dutch Oven, works perfectly, but it costs a pr… read more
Final Thoughts: Cuisinart Dutch Oven Review
Cuisinarts Chefs Classic Dutch oven is an excellent value. It may not have the same durability as Le Creuset Signature enameled cast iron, but it offers superb performance and versatility at a fraction of the cost.
If youre willing to treat your Cuisinart Dutch oven with care and youre willing to accept the minor dings that may come with several years use, you should be quite satisfied with this attractive, affordable midrange Cuisinart cast iron oven.
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Cuisinart Dutch Oven Review
This article reviews the Cuisinart Chefs Classic Cast Iron Dutch Oven.
During the cold months, I love making hearty soups and mouth-watering stews. Not only are they warm and delicious, but they also heat up well. Our family can stretch a batch of white bean chili over multiple days, making my life a little less hectic. That makes this Momma happy.
And when I need to whip up some enchilada soup, I reach for my Dutch oven. That single piece of cookware is responsible for most of my winter weeknight meals.
So its vital that my Dutch oven perform well, be durable, and go from the stove to the oven, the table, and even the fridge to hold leftovers.
I found the Cuisinart Chefs Classic enameled cast iron Dutch oven to be a solid mid-range choice. It wont give you the luxury of a Le Creuset oven, but it will give you good performance at an affordable price range.
But there are lots of things to consider when purchasing an enameled Dutch oven. You have to consider your cooking needs and how tough you are on cookware, as well as things like dimensions, color, and shape.
Luckily, Ive broken down the features of the Cuisinart Dutch oven, as well as some viable alternatives, so you can get the best Dutch oven for you.
Does the Cuisinart enameled cast-iron casserole deserve a spot in your kitchen? Read on to learn more details.
What Size Dutch Oven Is Best
While enameled cast iron Dutch ovens come in everything from cute 1/4-quart to massive 13 1/2quart sizes, a 5- to 6-quart pot is the most practical size for most homes, as it should make enough food for four to six people. Go any smaller, and a typical recipe might overflow the pot bigger pots can end up underfilled, potentially affecting the outcome of a recipe .
If you often need to feed a larger crowd, sizing up to a 7- or 8-quart Dutch oven may be worth considering. We tested a couple of pots that were only available in 7-quart sizes, but all of our favorite 5 and 5 and 1/2-quart models also have larger 7- or 7 and 1/4-quart offerings.
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Want More Dutch Oven Information
You can see an in-depth article on the signature round 5.5 quart Le Creuset Dutch oven by clicking here
I have an in-depth article all about the signature oval 6.75 quart Le Creuset go and see it by clicking hereto see it out for yourself.
Need some help with choosing the right size Le Creuset Dutch oven clickhereto check out my article all about the various Le Creuset size options.
One-Pot Cooking Rocks
The Verdict Cuisinart Cast Iron Dutch Oven Vs Le Creuset
Both of these brands of Dutch ovens carry out the tasks they are required to undertake. The only real differences are the material quality and price.
If you are new to cast iron Dutch oven cooking Cuisinart is the perfect entry-level oven.
If you are a true cast-iron Dutch oven user and you want an oven to love and last and pass down as an heirloom life is too short to live without a Le Creuset.
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What Features Should You Look For In Enameled Cast Iron Cookware
A piece of cookware is only as good as its performance. When you get down to it, you want your cookware to do its jobcook.
Soup thats scalding on one side and cold on the other is a nightmare. Even heat distribution is key to getting perfectly cooked meals.
If you want tender vegetables, juicy braised meat, and fluffy rice, you need a tight-fitting lid. Why is that?
If the lid is loose-fitting, too much moisture will escape. The result is dried-out food.
Not all pieces come with lids, however. Dutch ovens will come with a lid, while frying pans and skillets often do not.
Whether its a skillet, sauté pan, or Dutch oven, you want comfortable handles. Enameled cast iron is quite heavy. Draining food can get dicey. Having sturdy handles is important.
For cast iron skillets, its good to have a looped helper handle opposite the large handle. This allows you to hold the skillet with two hands, distributing the weight and making it more secure.
A wide loop handle is also a must on a Dutch oven. A beautiful cast iron Dutch oven can go from stovetop to range to table, but only if you can carry it. Good handles are essential.
A big enough loop handle lets you carry your cookware easily, even when wearing oven mitts.
In my experience a metal handle will last longer than a plasticky one. The plastic ones have a tendency to break over time, even with high quality products.
The Criteria: What To Look For In An Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Dutch ovens are made from steel or cast iron, both with and without an enamel coating. For this review, we targeted enameled cast iron only because that’s the type we find to be best suited to the dishes we usually make in this type of potstews and braises, chilis, and hearty ragùs. We prefer cast iron for many of these dishes because of its great heat retention and enamel because it offers a protective coating that’s easy to cook in and clean. Acidic dishes, such as sauces and stews that call for tomato or wine, can develop a metallic taste after spending hours in plain seasoned cast iron, making enamel an even more important factor.
Dutch ovens also come in two common shapes : round and oval. While the latter can be helpful for certain kinds of oblong roasts, a round Dutch oven is more practical for most recipes, so that’s the kind we settled on for this review.
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Test : Rating Dutch Oven Design
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.
Best Enameled Cast Iron Cookware Sets
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Ive researched enameled cast iron and found the 6 best product lines on the market. Among them, the Le Creuset Signature line offers the best enameled cast iron cookware with enviable quality and durability.
Enameled cast iron cookware combines the best parts of different types of cookware: Durable, Beautiful, Low Maintenance, Easy to Clean, Healthy, and Heat Retaining.
Thats why I love it!
Yet not all enameled cast iron is the same quality. Some chips easily, and some just looks better than the competition.
When you look at Le Creuset Signature cookware, it offers a certain je ne sais quoi. Hard to describe, yet you just know it will take pride of place in your kitchen.
Its also durablethe type of cookware you pass down to your children.
Yet, it comes at a steep price. If you need a more affordable option, there are some solid sets out there.
Some are good options for beginners, while others are lighter and literally easier to handle.
The question is: which one is best for you?
Keep reading to find out.
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