Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
This beautiful 6-qt. pot is ready to go directly from your stove or oven to your table. Youll reach for it again and again because its low maintenance and versatile. The lid has a sturdy handle that makes it easy to manage even with an oven mitt. And the inside of the lid is covered with bumps that redirect the condensation in the pot to drip back onto the food, making it a self-basting pot. This makes your food juicy, tender, and more flavorful.
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.
The Top Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Ovens:
In a rush? Here are our favorite Enameled Dutch Oven recommendations. We go into more detail about why we like them later on in this article.
Our Favorite Enameled Dutch Oven Review
Not nonstick surface
It takes time to heat up
If you read our previous article about Le Creusets Top 7 Bestsellers, you know how valuable an investment it is in your kitchen.
This is ideal for steaks, sauteed vegetables, pasta sauce, and even chicken roasting. This skillet is perfect for feeding a large group or searing big portions of meat. It has the capacity to prepare meals for 3 to 6 persons.
However, this is not nonstick, it still requires a small amount of oil when cooking to prevent food from sticking to the pan.
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Can You Put A Cold Dutch Oven In The Oven
Rapid changes in heat can potentially damage cast iron, causing it to crack. If your Dutch oven is cold , you will want to let it come to room temperature or gently heat it up on the stove before putting it in a hot oven. You can put a cold/room temperature Dutch oven into a cold oven and let them preheat at the same time.
Other Options We Tested
- Great Jones The Dutchess: A previous version of this roundup included the oval-shaped model called The Dutchess by Great Jones. Our tester noted some hot spots when using this Dutch oven on the stove due to its long shape, despite the fact that cast iron should distribute heat fairly evenly. Another concern was that the stylish copper loop handle proved difficult to grab when wearing oven mitts, creating a slightly precarious situation when checking on a braise. Though it’s reasonably priced and certainly very attractive, ultimately, we found that there are better options available.
- : This popular budget option performed well, but our Lab tests made us question its durability in the long run. We noticed some minor cosmetic scratches after cooking with metal utensils, so we’d caution buyers to use a wooden spoon whenever possible.
- Denby Natural Canvas Cast Iron: This seemed like a great, budget-friendly model for beginners, but our Lab tests found a few pain points. It’s got a pretty small cooking surface, so you’d have to batch cook large amounts of proteins. We also noticed some durability issues with the enamelwhile it doesn’t affect the oven’s functionality, we feel there are better options out there at a similar price point.shallow
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Cast Iron Works On All Heat Sources
You can use an enameled cast iron Dutch oven on the stovetop , oven, or grill. It even works on coal- or wood-powered ovens. When youre using your Dutch oven on a direct heat source, like the stovetop or grill, make sure that your temperatures are not too hot or you could scorch it. Which brings us to our next point.
Who This Is For
An enameled Dutch oven is a multipurpose pot that you can use for all kinds of recipes, including braising, baking bread, boiling pasta water, and even deep frying. These pots are particularly well-suited to slow cooking not only because they effectively retain heat, but also because they can be transferred from stovetop to oven, so you can sear and then braise meats. Their lids trap in moisture as food cooks, which makes everything inside extra-tender. And unlike bare cast iron, the enamel is easy to clean and maintain.
A 5½- to 6½-quart oven should serve two to four people, and we think this size will work for most cooking tasks. If youre feeding a crowd, you might want to bump up to a 7-, 9-, or even 13-quart version. Keep in mind that the bigger the oven, the heavier and harder it will be to move around a kitchen, especially when its brimming with chili. When it comes to shape, a round Dutch oven will work better on the round burners of most stoves, whereas an oval oven may heat less evenly and be difficult to fit on a small stovetop. However, an oval oven can be useful for large, long roasts like a tenderloin. It will of course fit nicely on an oval burner, and it should also work fine on a large round burner for something like a braise, which you start on the stove and finish in the oven.
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How The Le Creuset Has Held Up
Le Creuset Dutch ovens are among the most durable of any weve tested, and with proper care, they can last for decades. They dont need to be babied, but we do have tips for how to preserve both their function and their looks. And though senior engineering manager Polina Grinbaums Dutch oven still works well after 16 years, she tells us shes been hard on it, and the ovens internal enamel has taken some damage .
Lodge Enameled Dutch Oven 6 Qt Lilac
- 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
- 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
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.
Why Cast Iron And Why Enamel
Like all cookware, Dutch ovens are available in many materials, including clad stainless, ceramic, nonstick, and regular cast iron . You may own a clad stainless or nonstick Dutch oven that you got in a set of cookware. But even if you do, you should consider investing in an enameled cast iron one.
Why? Because cast iron is the best material you can use for braising and other low-n’-slow cooking methods, both stove top and oven. The heavy construction and heat retention properties also make it ideal for baking bread, too .
Why enamel? Enamel is tough as well as easy to keep clean, so it makes the pot lower maintenance than bare cast iron. It’s non-reactive, so you never have to worry about rusting or acidic foods reacting with it. Enamel also comes in a lot of colors so it’s prettier than bare cast iron, which may or may not be a factor in your purchasing decision .
Clad stainless Dutch ovens are great for stove top uses , but fall short in the braising and baking departments because the lids are too lightweight to hold moisture–and the clad stainless doesn’t hang onto heat as well as cast iron, either.
Nonstick fails for its all-around lack of durability, which is an essential feature of a Dutch oven.
Ceramic Dutch ovens hold heat well and have nice heavy lids, but they’re fragile–a bad trait for such a heavy pot.
And we already discussed bare cast iron.
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The Criteria: What To Look For In An Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Serious Eats / Will Dickey
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.
Our Take On Some Other Brands
Of the dozens of brands we started with, here are our thoughts on the others we looked at.
An asterisk indicates a recommendation.
: At first glance the Amazon Dutch oven looks great, but its reviews got an “F” rating on Fakespot.com, citing insufficient trustworthy reviews and removal of reviews by Amazon. Too bad, because it has a lot going for it: light interior, decent handles, and a budget price. But because of the possibly deceptive reviews, we can’t recommend it.
Anolon Vesta: Great reviews, users love it, and Anolon is a good brand–but we hated the handles. 5 qt. weighs only about 9 lbs .
Ayesha Curry: Nice shape, but hated the irregular shaped lid handle, and the pot handles were a little too small for a safe grip.
Calphalon Contemporary: Aluminum with nonstick coating .
Caraway: This Dutch oven only comes in a set, and it’s coated with nonstick ceramic, not enamel. People love this brightly colored cookware, but the ceramic nonstick was an instant fail for us as it does not stand the test of time and is nowhere near as durable as enamel. The pot is also probably not cast iron .
Crockpot: Too narrow and deep. However, it comes in a lot of pretty colors, gets mostly good reviews, and is very affordable.
Dansk Kobenstyle: Terrible handles and organized by color on Amazon, making it hard to shop for. Steel, not cast iron.
Emile Henry: Ceramic, not cast iron. Terrible, tiny little handles.
Rachel Ray: Oval, only one color .
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The Best Dutch Oven For Big Families And Batch Cooking: Le Creuset 725
Ive been a 5.5-quart gal for the last decade. But this year I decided I wouldnt stuff the entire contents of my freezer stock bag into a too-small pot again: Ive upgraded to a 7.25-quart enameled cast-iron pot. This option from Le Creuset is the ideal size for people who love to make soup, stocks, or big-batch beans, or those cooking for a big group. One note: This Dutch oven is heavy. At 13.1-pounds, I need both hands and a deep breath to lift it from stovetop to oven when its full. But, once I get it there, Im set up to make 68 servings of any one-pot meal, or enough stock for nearly a month of cold winter cooking. L.J.
Why You Should Trust Us
Weve been covering Dutch ovens at Wirecutter since 2015. Ray Aguilera, who wrote the original version of this guide, had been a professional product reviewer since 2006, in addition to being an avid cook and home brewer. Kevin Purdy, a former Wirecutter staff writer, previously updated this guide.
Anna Perling, who wrote the most recent version of this article, covered a variety of kitchen items from hand mixers to small saucepans in her time at Wirecutter. To update this guide in 2020, she read new editorial reviews on Dutch ovens, including ones from Epicurious, The Kitchn, The Strategist, and Americas Test Kitchen. She also read up on the science of cookware, consulting Cooking For Engineers and Cooking Issues.
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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.
About Lodge Cast Iron
Founded in 1896, the Lodge family has been making high quality cookware and accessories for over a century. Lodge Cast Iron operates two foundries on the banks of the Tennessee River in the small town of South Pittsburg, Tennessee a town Lodge is proud to call home. The company is built on family values, American history, and high quality cookware. 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.
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Do More With A Dutch Oven
Dutch ovens are known for low-and-slow braises and special-occasion meals. But they can do much more. Heat-safe up to 500°F , this pot is ideal for simmering sauces and cooking pasta and grains. And, they can even make a delicious loaf of bread. Dutch ovens are known for low-and-slow braises and special-occasion meals. But they can do much more. Heat-safe up to 500°F , this pot is ideal for simmering sauces and cooking pasta and grains. And, they can even make a delicious loaf of bread.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats
From baking pans, iron skillets, and griddles, to the Lodge Cast Iron Double Dutch Oven she tested for this roundup, Donna Currie knows a good cast iron product when she sees one. The Spruce Eats writer is a self-proclaimed lover of all things cast iron: “Ive had cast-iron skillets knocking around in my kitchen for decades, acquiring seasoning and becoming beautifully nonstick,” she says.
This piece was updated by Bernadette Machard de Gramont, an LA-based writer who specializes in global food and wine content. She researches and tests a variety of cookware, bakeware, and wine tools, and interviews field experts for their insight.
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And What Should I Do With My New Dutch Oven
Use it to make tender, gently simmered meaty things like this kimchi bacon chicken braise. Or this rich pomegranate lamb shank stunner. Or pot roasthow you gonna make pot roast without a pot? An enameled cast-iron Dutch oven is perfect for braises because of its heft, which helps with heat retention and distribution. Its ideal for searing meat over high heat on the stovetop and then transferring it to the oven for low-and-slow cooking. Thats functionality and versatility. Youll wonder how you ever got through these miserable winter months without one.
Use it when you make pasta. We all know that the key to glossy, better-than-restaurant pasta is adding starchy-salty pasta water to your sauce and then cooking your noodles right in there so they soak up all that sweet, sweet ambrosia. I used to attempt that in a regular old stainless-steel frying pan, and the pasta would always go everywhere, which is where the Dutch oven comes inits the only vessel in my kitchen that will easily fit a pound of pasta, plus whatever Im doctoring it up with. Sauté a bunch of garlic in plenty of olive oil, throw some cooked pasta in there along with pasta water and a good knob of butter, stir it all around enthusiastically, and youll be sold on this whole Dutch oven thing after one bite.
But maybe the best part? You will cook things in it and then serve those things in it, straight from the oven to the table, because its pretty.