Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Enamled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

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The Criteria: What To Look For In An Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

How to season an Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven ( TRAMONTINA )

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.

What Is A Round Dutch Oven Used For

A round Dutch oven can be used for cooking any dish you can imagine! From your favorite winter stew to a summer weeknight one-pot pasta, reach for your Dutch Oven for an unparalleled cooking experience.

Ever considered baking your own bread? Follow a recipe and bake your proofed loaves in a round Dutch Oven! The enameled cast iron of the walls and lid simulate the effects of a true bakers oven, for the best crust possible for a home cook!

High Temps Should Be Avoided

High heat temperatures should only be used for boiling water for vegetables or pasta, or for reducing the consistency of stocks or sauces, says the Le Creuset website. Dutch ovens works best when they slowly heat up and stay warm, so dont preheat it on high. Heating one up on too high a setting can make food stick or burn since the heat is conducted so efficiently.

Related: How To Clean Burnt Stains Off Enameled Cookware

Recommended Reading: Cookies Baking In The Oven

The Best Budget Cast Iron Dutch Oven: Cuisinart 5

Cuisinart’s Dutch oven scored near the top in our cooking tests . Despite this pot’s smaller, 5-quart size, it has a roomy base that was able to comfortably accommodate more food at once than many of the larger contenders. The Cuisinart is a third to a quarter of the cost of the premium French brands, but some online reviews are describing chipping or cracking enamel, meaning you could be rolling the dice on the pot’s longevity. If the Cuisinart is out of stock, we found the 5 and 1/2quart Tramontina to be a very solid choice. Both brands offer their Dutch ovens only in red or blue.

Cleanup: Easy As Un Deux Trois

Lodge Enameled Cast Iron 4.5

This Dutch oven is dishwasher safe, which we know will be a huge plus for some people. Because it is such a special and expensive piece, however, we opted to wash it by hand. Luckily, doing so was super easy. After gently scrubbing the Dutch oven with a warm, soapy sponge, it looked good as new in mere moments.

Read Also: Replacing Heating Element In Whirlpool Oven

How Do You Cook Steaks In Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Ovens

If theres one technique that every owner of an enameled cookware has to learn, its how to cook steak perfectly.

With an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven, you can create restaurant-quality steaks. But you have to use it together with a cast-iron skillet, a stove, and an oven so you can achieve that perfect sear.

As a bonus, well also share how you can create a simple sauce thatll complement the natural juices and flavors of your steak.



  • Preheat your oven. Set it to 350 degrees.
  • Rub olive oil all over your steak until both sides have a light coating. Then, sprinkle some salt and pepper on both sides. Set aside.
  • Get your cast-iron skillet, then set your stove to high heat. Preheat the skillet on your stovetop until its smoking hot.
  • Place your ribeye steak on the cast iron skillet. Cook for three minutes. As your steak cooks, dont move it so you can get a perfect sear.
  • After three minutes, flip the steak, and cook the other side for another three minutes.
  • Afterward, transfer the steak to your enameled cast iron Dutch oven. Then, place it inside your preheated oven.
  • The cooking time depends on your preferred doneness level:
    • Rare: 4 minutes
    • Medium-rare: 5 minutes
    • Medium: 6 minutes
  • Place the steak on a plate. Set it aside and let it rest as you prepare the sauce.
  • Directions

    RELATED: Stainless Steel Vs Cast Iron: Which Is Best For Your Kitchen?

    Competition: The Battle Of Budget Vs High

    Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven: Another highly trusted cookware brand, Lodge makes its own quality Dutch oven at a fraction of the cost of Le Creuset. Ranging in price from about $70 for the 1.5-quart pot to $150 for the 7.5-quart pot, this porcelain-enameled cast iron pot can do most anything the Le Creuset can do. The Lodge also has a lifetime warranty, comes in a variety of colors, and has a creamy white interior. At 16 pounds, it is heavier and bulkier than the Le Creuset and its design lacks the same elegance. The Le Creuset also uses higher-quality enamel thats less likely to chip over time. That said, the Lodge is a wonderful option for people who prioritize performance over Le Creusets signature aesthetic.

    Go for it

    If youve fallen hard for Le Creuset but still have lingering qualms over the price, follow your heart, not your head. The brands iconic Dutch oven isnt only beautiful, but also highly functional and long-lasting, after all.

    Also Check: Microwave Oven Over The Range

    What Is Enameled Cast Iron Cookware

    You may be wondering, what then is an enameled cast iron cookware?

    Its basically an enhanced version of a regular cast iron thats coated with enamel. This coating serves as the cookwares protective layer against unwanted substances like rust.

    It offers the same heat distribution and retention as regular cast iron pans. You may also use any ingredients with it.

    However, an enameled cast iron provides the best results when used on a stovetop. Its unlike traditional cast iron wherein the heat sources can be both indoor and outdoor.

    But the good thing about an enameled cast iron is its maintenance. Unlike regular cast iron, you dont need to season its metal prior to using it. You may also easily clean it up with soap and water.

    Design: A Utilitarian Dream

    Amazon Basics Cast Iron Enameled Dutch Oven | Full Review

    Le Creusets Dutch ovens are all made in France and feature ergonomic knobs and handles that were specifically designed for easy carry with pot holders. The exquisite design and wide array of vibrant, nuanced color optionsfrom matte sugar pink and emerald green to coastal blue and cottonmake this pot an ideal display piece for your stovetop. While the 5.5-quart version we tested takes up a considerable amount of space in kitchen cabinets, the pot is also available in 1-, 2-, 2 ¾-, 3 ½-, and 4 ½-quart sizes if youre concerned about storage. On the other hand, if youve got plenty of room, it also comes in larger sizes like 7 ¼, 9, and 13 ¼ quarts.

    Weighing 11 pounds, 4 ounces , the 5.5-quart pot is heavy but not unmanageably so. The Dutch oven can also be used for storing and serving food, easily transitioning from your stovetop to your table to your fridgeimpressing guests in the process.

    This was our first time cooking with a Dutch oven and Le Creuset pulled out all the promised stops.

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    Le Creuset Signature Round Dutch Oven

    The Spruce Eats / Tierney McAfee

    • Easy to use and care for

    • Retains and distributes heat well

    • Inimitable design adds flair to your kitchen

    • Excellent lifetime warranty

    • Resin knob is only oven-safe up to 500°F

    Le Creusets Signature Cast Iron Dutch Oven may be a splurge, but its best-in-class quality ensures it will last lifetimes. And if it doesnt? Well, theres always the lifetime warranty.

    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.

    Don’t Miss: Lodge Dutch Oven 6 Quart

    Dutch Oven Material Comparison

    Stainless steel makes for a lustrous, simple color and outer design, which will smoothly fit into any existing kitchen collection. Styles with an aluminum core make for even heating and hot spot elimination. Stainless steel is more lightweight than other cookware constructions and basic models are typically less expensive, too, making it an excellent material option for novice home cooks. Because stainless steel is not completely nonstick, most cooking will require added fat, but no-fat and low-fat cooking on the metal will result in a tasty browning on food, enriching broths and sauces.

    Anodized aluminum, with its sleek, smooth exterior, looks chic on a modern stovetop. The anodizing makes the metal nonreactive, allowing you to cook nearly any food on it without worry of leached metals or harm to the bottom of the pot. Models with a nonstick coating provide all the durability of hard-anodized aluminum with the ease of nonstick pans. The nonstick helps you simmer the perfect soup, stew or sauce, as well as makes for easy care and cleanup.

    The Best Budget Cast Iron Dutch Oven: Martha Stewart 6

    Better Homes &  Gardens Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, Red

    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

    Don’t Miss: Dutch Oven With Glass Lid

    A Guide Before Buying Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

    An enameled Dutch Oven is a multipurpose pot that allows you to use for all kinds of recipes that are useful in your daily needs in the kitchen. It is important to invest in a quality enameled cast iron dutch oven and the question is, what should you consider to choose the right one for you?

    Sure we already listed above some recommendations for you but if you want to shop on your own, here are some tips for you.

    Best Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven Buyers Guide

    If you are not bored yet then lets have a discussion regarding guidelines for buying an Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven which is cost saving for you and best suits your cooking needs with respect to size, shape and capacity, which can be cleaned and stored easily enough.

    Apart from choosing between one or more Dutch Ovens, there are some other factors which you have to keep in mind while shopping for the bestCast Iron Enameled Dutch Ovens.

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    How To Clean Enameled Cast Iron

    1. Allow cookware to cool.

    2. Although enameled cast iron is dishwasher safe, hand washing with warm soapy water and a nylon scrub brush is recommended to preserve the cookwares original appearance. Citrus juices and citrus-based cleaners should not be used, as they can dull the exterior gloss. It is not harmful and will not impair the cooking performance, however, the use of these products is not covered by our warranty.

    3. If necessary, use nylon pads or scrapers to remove food residue metal pads or utensils will scratch or chip porcelain.

    4. Always dry cookware thoroughly and replace pot protectors between the rim and lid before storing in a cool, dry place. Do not stack cookware.

    Please note: a small amount of staining is to be expected with enameled cookware and does not affect performance.

    Other Names For Braising

    How To Clean Your Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven | Made In Cookware

    Braising is sometimes referred to as pot-roasting. The difference is what size the meat is: If its cut up, its braised if its whole, it is pot-roasted. On the other hand, stewing means the food is totally immersed in liquid its not necessarily seared or sautéed beforehand. Stewing is performed on the stovetop, and braising can be done on the stove or in the oven. Pressure-cooking and slow cooking are forms of braising, too.

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    Who Should Buy This

    A Dutch oven serves as a very versatile pot and I would recommend one in every kitchen. The range of things you can do in it make it a must have.

    The 6 Quart version I reviewed here is perfect for most small families. If searing large cuts of meat is important to you, buy the largest one with the greatest surface area. Obviously, if you need to cook for more than 4 people, buy the largest version.

    What Do You Need To Know When Cooking In Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Ovens

    Before you turn up that flame on your stove, there are some things you need to know about enameled cast iron dutch ovens.

    Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven Works Best over Medium Heat

    Regular cast iron cookware works well on low to high heat, but enamel prefers mostly medium temperatures. This means that enameled cast iron isnt ideal for searing meat.

    What you can do instead is sear the meat using a cast-iron skillet, then move it to your Dutch oven.

    You may use an enameled Dutch oven for searing, but this might result in staining, which can be tough to remove.

    Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven Can Be Fragile

    We mentioned before that cast iron cookware is almost indestructible. However, its enamel counterpart can be a bit more brittle.

    Bump it on your stove grates and you might scratch it. Slide it on your burners and you might damage it.

    Keep in mind to treat your enameled cookware kindly, and avoid putting it over high heat. Otherwise, surface chipping and cracking might occur, and you dont want that to happen.

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    Enameled Cast Iron Cleaning Faqs

    What is enameled cast iron?

    Lodge Enameled Cast Iron is cast iron with a smooth porcelain surface bonded to the iron. Enamel is resistant against acidic and alkaline foods and can be used to marinate, cook, and refrigerate.

    Why is my enameled cast iron stained?

    Stains are to be expected when you use enameled cookware and does not affect performance.

    To remove slight stains:

  • Follow the steps above to clean your cookware.
  • Rub with a dampened cloth and Lodge Enamel Cleaner or another ceramic cleaner according to directions on the bottle.
  • For persistent stains:

  • Follow the steps above to clean and remove slight stains.
  • Soak the interior of the cookware for 2-3 hours with a mixture of 3 tablespoons of household bleach per quart of water.
  • To remove stubborn, baked-on food, boil 2 cups of water and 4 tablespoons of baking soda. Boil for a few minutes, then use a pan scraper to loosen the food.
  • The rim is rusting on my enameled cookware what do I do?

    How do I remove baked-on food?

    To remove stubborn baked-on food, boil 2 cups of water and 4 tablespoons of baking soda. Boil for a few minutes, then use a pan scraper to loosen the food.

    What Size Dutch Oven Do You Need

    Lodge Enameled Cast Iron 6 Quart Dutch Oven, Green, EC6D53

    Dutch ovens come in a large range of sizes for different households and cooking needs, but anything below four quarts isnt going to give you enough room to get a great sear on a chuck roast, or make enough lentil soup for a weeks lunchno matter how few people you need to serve. If you host often and want your Dutch oven to come in handy for occasions where youll be cooking a whole bird, something in the 9-quart range might make more sense. A happy medium would be somewhere in the 5- to 7 1/2 -quart range.

    Have a favorite Dutch oven? Let us know below!This post contains products independently chosen by our editors and writers. Food52 earns an affiliate commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to.

    See what other Food52 readers are saying.

    Read Also: Le Creuset Large Dutch Oven

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