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
A Note About Warranties
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.
Camp Chef 13 Square Dutch Oven
Camp Chef 13 Square Dutch Oven has a true seasoned finish and is made of cast iron to give it long-lasting durability and stability while ensuring even distribution and retention of heat, it also has an inbuilt thermometer notch to help keep track of the cooking temperature without opening the lid.
It has a versatile lid as it reverses with raised ridges which can be used as a grill, it also has a legless design which makes it suitable for home ovens. It has a lid depth of 1 ½, a total volume of 8 quarts, a height of 5 ¼ with an inside depth of 3 ¼.
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How We Chose Dutch Ovens To Test
Serious Eats / Will Dickey
To choose which Dutch ovens to test, we considered best-selling options from major retailers like Amazon and cross-referenced reviews from other reputable brands, like America’s Test Kitchen and Wirecutter.
Our research revealed that the cast iron Dutch oven market falls into three pricing categories: the premium, French-made brands Staub and Le Creuset, which cost $200 or more mid-tier models in the $100150 range, usually made in China and lower-cost brands that come in at under $100, also made in China. More than half of our testing field came from the last category, proving that there is some stiff competition for your Dutch oven dollar.
While an increasing number of brands are producing enameled cast iron Dutch ovens, the pot’s basic design has changed very little over the years. The main differences from one pot to the next come down to small variations in form and more or less stringent oversight of the production process. One of the main selling points of the heritage brands, like Le Creuset and Staub, is that they operate their own factories and are therefore able to maintain higher production standards. The engineers at the Staub foundry, for example, adjust the moisture of the sand in the molds that form their Dutch ovens daily based on the air’s humidity. At Le Creuset’s factory in Fresnoy-le-Grand, about two hours north of Paris, 15 employees inspect every pot before it ships out.
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.
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The Features Of This Large Lodge Oval Dutch Oven
- Made from Cast Iron by Lodge
- Porcelain enamel interior and exterior
- Cook on gas, electric, and induction cooktops also in the oven
- Self-basting cover with handle. Traps in heat, moisture, and nutrients
- Stainless steel knob, safe for oven use
- Dimensions 10.25 inches x 15.56 inches x 7.13 inches
- Available in Red and White
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.
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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.
Simple Calphalon Nonstick 7
If you will rather go for a lightweight product, then Simple Calphalon Nonstick 7-qt Dutch Oven is certainly the ideal Dutch oven for you. It features a nonstick interior for easy release and cleans up too while having comfortable silicone handles that stay cool even on the stovetop. It is made of hard-anodized aluminum hence making it a long-lasting product.
Besides, it is versatile with an oversized vessel and is oven safe up to a temperature as high as 400oF. It works great whether on a stovetop, oven, or table. It has a drawn construction with an impact-bonded aluminum base to give it maximum heat retention.
Furthermore, it features 2 layers of nonstick coating for long-lasting performance and is also safe for use with nylon. Best of all, it comes with a whopping 10-year warranty.
- It is sturdy, durable, and yet lightweight
- Handles stay cool under the heat
- It is versatile and efficient
- The non-stick coating starts to come off after a while
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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.
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Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast
In need of a dependable Dutch oven thats suitable for handling any recipe for many years to come? If yes then look no further than Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron Dutch Oven. It is made of cast iron with a heavy-duty enamel covering. The exterior enamel coating is designed to resist peeling and chipping while the interior is made to resist stains.
Also, the pot features an easy-grip oversized handle, the Dutch oven has an overall size of 5.5-quarts, 4.5-inch-deep and 10.2 inches in diameter. The knob can withstand up to 500oF of heat while the rest of the pot can withstand a temperature of 350oF.
It comes in a variety of fun colors, from the neutral ones to gem tones and every other color in between. The most interesting part is its lifetime limited warranty which inspires a confident purchase.
- Comes in lots of fun colors
- Product is heavy
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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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.
Final Thoughts Lodge Oval Dutch Oven
From browning and sautÃ©ing on your cooktop, to baking in the oven and finally presenting it to the table in the same pot the Lodge Enameled EC7OD43 Cast Iron Oval Dutch Oven is an all-around must-have addition to any kitchen.
The Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Oval Dutch Oven cooks and presents as well as any of the other brands on the market today. Other brands can cost up to $350.00 making this Dutch oven very affordable at a fraction of the cost.
For the best price on the Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Oval Dutch Oven and to see what others have said about the Dutch oven, click on the image below.
CLICK HERE to check out the Lodge Enameled EC7OD43 Cast Iron Dutch Oven for yourself!
If you are still not convinced that this is the Dutch oven for you. Why not go over and read my article about the oval Le Creuset Dutch oven! Just click here.
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Faqs About Lodge Dutch Ovens
If you still have questions about Lodge Dutch ovens, this section should clear things up. Here are the most frequently asked questions about the brand.
Where can you purchase Lodge Dutch ovens?
You can buy Lodge Dutch ovens on , from factory stores, and several other retailers.
Are Lodge Dutch ovens dishwasher-safe?
Bare cast iron should never be washed in a dishwasher. While enameled cast iron Dutch ovens can be washed in the dishwasher, Lodge recommends washing them by hand, so the enamel doesnt chip.
Whats the best way to clean Lodge Dutch ovens?
You can clean enameled Lodge Dutch ovens by hand with soapy water and a sponge. To clean seasoned cast iron Dutch ovens, scrape out large pieces of food with a food scraper or plastic spatula, scrub lightly with a small amount of soap and water, dry thoroughly, and apply a thin coat of neutral cooking oil. For more details, check out my guide to cleaning enameled cast iron cookware.
What is the maximum oven-safe temperature?
Lodge enameled Dutch ovens are oven-safe up to 500°F. The company doesnt state the oven-safe temperature of the bare cast iron Dutch ovens, but I spoke with a Lodge product specialist. Heres what they told me:Our cookware is seasoned with baked-on cooking oil. We recommend using Lodge cookware up to 500°F because anything higher can start to break down the seasoning. However, the cast iron can withstand higher temperatures, but you may have to re-season if used over 500°F.
Can You Make Bread In An Oval Dutch Oven
Yes, all you have to do is shape your dough to fit correctly in your oval Dutch oven. This applies to any shape of Dutch oven the dough needs room to expand on the final âriseâ.
Want to check out the latest information about Dutch ovens and their brands? See them here at the best Dutch ovens available in 2022â¦
One-Pot Cooking Rocks
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Lodge Deep Camp Dutch Oven 8 Quart
You can have all the flavors and tastiness of a pot of sup, bread, ribs, roast and every other meal with this Dutch oven. The body is made of cast iron while the lid has a soy-based vegetable oil giving it a nonstick finish. Its an 8-quart pot with a weight of 20 pounds and 12-inch diameter, it is also 5.5 inch deep hence giving the pot plenty of room to cook a large meal.
The lid can be used as a griddle while being flanged to hold hot coals, also it features three legs at the base for added stability when being placed on the fire. We love its smart design and its loop handle which makes it easy to hang the pot when you are done using it.
Besides, Lodge Deep Camp Dutch Oven, 8 Quart offers a lifetime durability warranty. It is easy to clean just as long as you wash it off immediately after use, it also features suggested recipes.
- The lid also functions like a skillet
- Coals can be placed on top of the oven for even heat distribution
- It is durable and easy to clean
- Not suitable for stovetop and oven use
The Best Heritage Cast Iron Dutch Ovens: Le Creuset 55
There’s a reason Le Creuset continues to be one of the most recommended manufacturers in this category: It has a proven track record. We’ve used Le Creuset for years in our homes and test kitchen, reaching for it countless times to develop hundreds of recipes for Serious Eats, and it’s never let us down. The price is high, but Le Creuset has never failed to make the purchase worth it. While Le Creusets are available in more than 17 core colors, about half of them ship with a black phenolic knob that can handle up to 500°F given the price, we’d like to see all their pots come with the brand’s heavier-duty stainless steel knob option.
Like Le Creuset, Staub has a long history of making handsome enameled cast iron in France and costs a little less. Some home cooks may not like the black enamel interior, which does a fine job of hiding scratches and browns meat well, but can make it harder to see fond developing. Otherwise, this Dutch oven, available in nine colors, is a solid bet with a reputation for durability.
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