Best Cast Iron: Lodge 5
Also available at and Target.
Many chefs prefer pre-seasoned cast iron cookware because it helps food quickly and evenly, not to mention, it creates meals with tons of flavorand this 5-quart cast iron Dutch oven from Lodge does just that. It comes pre-seasoned and ready to cook in, so you can grab your favorite ingredients and roast, fry, simmer, braise, saute, or bake right away. With superior heat retention and distribution , this versatile Dutch oven can be used in the oven, on the stovetop, on the grill, and even over a campfire. Plus, the cast iron construction means this pan is as durable as it gets. Williams Sonoma shoppers gave this smaller 5-quart Dutch oven an impressive 4.8-star rating, with one writing, “Love my Lodge dutch oven. Excellent quality. Cooked whole chicken comes out so moist and delicious.”
Cast iron can rust if not washed and seasoned properly, so be sure to read the care instructions upon arrival and check out this cast iron guide.
Price at time of publish: $60
- Material: Cast iron
What Is A Dutch Oven
A Dutch oven sometimes called a French oven or a cocotte is a large, typically heavy piece of cookware best known for its ability to slow-cook dishes like beef stew, pulled pork, Bolognese sauce and soup. Dourleijn noted the deep pot is also great for roasting chicken and other big meats.
Atticus Garant, the executive chef at the Fairmont Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, added that you can even bake bread in your Dutch oven. the complete work horse in the kitchen, he said, noting that its thick base is the essence behind how handy a tool it can be in any kitchen.
Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven 6 Qt Poppy
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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.
Lodge Enameled Cast Iron
Lodgeâs century-old tradition of excellence continues as we marry the benefits of cast iron with the beauty of porcelain enamel. Workhorses in the kitchen and show pieces on the dinner table, our enameled iron will become your go-to cookware. And with Lodgeâs pledge to quality, it is sure to be a part of fond memories for many years to come.
Our enameled cast iron is made to our strict specifications by our partner foundry in China.
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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.
The 7 Best Dutch Ovens In 2022 According To Cooking Experts
Though there are many kitchen tools a good chef needs to complete their collection, a Dutch oven is arguably one of the most important due to its versatility. This cooking pot can often be on the pricier side, but as Edith Dourleijn, cooking coach and owner of Creative Cook Co., noted, it can replace virtually every pot and pan you have. You can do so many things : roast big meats, bake your bread, bake your pies and all that type of stuff, she said. If you only need one pan, this would be it.
Before you invest in a Dutch oven which can easily run you upward of $200 for a quality model its important to know what youre investing in. We consulted chefs and cookware experts to break down how to shop for a Dutch oven and compiled some top picks based on their guidance.
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Performance: Just As Good As Its Costlier Counterparts
Aesthetically speaking, all Dutch ovens are not created equal. But when it comes to performance, the Lodge seems to cook just as well as its more expensive competitors, including Le Creuset. This was our second time cooking with a Dutch oven and we were impressed with how versatile and easy to use it was. We made Moroccan chicken tagine in our 6-quart pot, which involved browning chicken thighs, dry cooking onions, garlic, and spices, and simmering the chicken in a mixture of broth and juices.
After making a few meals in the Lodge, we found that it performed just as well as the Le Creuset in terms of heat distribution and retention.
While cooking the onions and spices, we were worried that the fond would be difficult to remove, but they loosened up easily once we added liquids and gently scraped the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. We can honestly say that this was one of the easiest and tastiest dishes weve ever madeand our guests agreed on the latter point.
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.
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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 Best Dutch Ovens In 2022
All of the chefs we spoke to agreed shoppers should invest in a Dutch oven made out of cast iron which provides the best heat retention and temperature distribution with at least a 5-quart capacity and including a lid. Below, we included some expert recommendations for Dutch ovens worth considering and other highly rated options that aligned with their guidance on how to shop for them.
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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
How Big Is The Dutch Oven
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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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.
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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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.
The Best Heritage Cast Iron Dutch Oven: Staub 55
What we liked: Rounding out the heritage set of options, Staub’s Dutch oven performed well in all our testing. While it’s the same 5 1/2quart capacity as the Le Creuset, the Staub is heavier by 1 pound. Large side handles and a tall, easy-to-grab knob on the lid make handling the pot easy.
With a pot floor 8 5/16 inches in diameter, it accommodates more food at once for searing, making crowding less of an issue. The fond that develops comes up easily with just a little scraping from a wooden spoon, making it even more of a pleasure to use.
One signature Staub detail is the flat lid. The underside of the top is dotted with raised dimples, which the company claims helps promote even distribution of condensed water back onto the food, though we haven’t been able to think of a cooking scenario in which this would really matter. Another detail worth noting is the black enamel interior, which, for some less experienced home cooks, might make seeing the brown fond a little more difficult. The Staub Dutch oven comes in sizes ranging from 1/4 to 13 1/4 quarts.
Staub also has a solid reputation for standing behind its lifetime warranty. The company is the only one we found that didn’t mind cooks using coals on their pot lids, which replicates an oven-like environment outdoors. During our research, we didn’t turn up many complaints about Staub cast iron failing.
Price at time of publish: $360.
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Where It Is Made
Lodge manufactures its bare cast iron cookware in the United States at the two foundries in South Pittsburg, Tennessee.
Since its founding in 1896, Lodge has become one of the countrys most recognized cast iron brands. In fact, Ive named it the best cast iron cookware made in the USA.
The history of being made in America is a big selling point. Its also why people are disappointed to find out that Lodge enameled cast iron is not manufactured in the US.
Lodges enameled cast iron products are made in China. However, the quality is still excellent.
Its enameled cast iron products are still manufactured to Lodges high standards, and the Chinese production is overseen by an American third-party inspection company.
Why Use A Dutch Oven Over Other Cookware
One word: versatility. It lends itself well to a variety of cooking styles and can go from stovetop to oven with ease. Its durable construction will help it stand up to frequent use, and most Dutch ovens are attractive enough to act as a serving dish, too, adding a touch of rustic elegance to the table.
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