Best Dutch Oven

We spent over 33 hours researching and testing 12 different types of Dutch Ovens and found that material, construction, and cooking capacity were most important. Lodge’s pre-seasoned Dutch Oven scored high marks in every category and is our top pick. The cast iron construction is indestructible and measures 10 ¼”. It is 4” deep which gives the user lots of space for cooking stews, chili, casseroles and much more. The flat bottom makes it easy to use on any stove surface and the dome lid is designed to direct moisture back into the pot. The loop handles make moving the pot easy and safe.


14 mins to read
48 products considered
15 products reviewed
35 hours reviewing

Top 10 Dutch Oven

RankPictureOvenMaterialCapacity (Quarts)
1
Lodge L3
Cast Iron5.00
2
Simply
Aluminum7.00
3
Cuisinart
Aluminum5.00
4
Lodge D53
Cast Iron6.00
5
Utopia Kitchen
Cast Iron3.20
6
Lodge D3
Cast Iron5.00
7
Camp Chef
Cast Iron12.00
8
Lodge L12
Cast Iron8.00
9
Le Creuset
Cast Iron7.25
10TramontinaCast Iron6.50

1. Lodge L8DOL3

Best Overall Dutch Oven

5/5 Product Rating

Lodge is one of the most popular makers of Dutch ovens, and their cast iron 5-quart oven is a multi-functional kitchen tool that works perfectly for a number of slow-cook recipes that are bursting with flavor and comforting ingredients. The diameter of the pot is an ample 10.25 inches and is 4 inches deep, allowing for ample space to cook chicken and rice, hearty chill, or rich fruit cobbler.

The flat bottom of the pot is designed for use over a stovetop burner or oven, and the domed lid allows for moisture to drip back into the pot for the ultimate in flavor. The perfectly designed loop handles make it easy to lift this pot using oven mitts, and the cast-iron construction retains heat for perfectly seared meat at very high temperatures. What makes this Lodge dutch oven really stand out is that it’s versatile enough to be used in the kitchen or while camping, and is so solidly constructed that it should last for many generations to come.

This pot is indestructible, and perfectly distributes heat from the bottom through the sidewalls with effortless consistency. The stylish black color of this pot also means that it shows absolutely no signs of wear and tear, and will fit comfortably into any kitchen decor or color scheme. What you’re also getting when you cook in this pot is a wonderful source of nutritional iron from the materials of the pot. This dutch oven is pre-seasoned, and completely ready for use right out of the box.

The pre-seasoned aspect of this pot prevents food from sticking to the sides, but it’s still best to spray or lightly coat the walls with vegetable oil before using. Lodge seasons their pots with a multi-step procedure where the seasoning oil is dispensed with an electrostatic spray system to thoroughly coat the cookware, and after that it’s baked in a commercial oven at very high temperatures to set the coating.

In conclusion, if you want one of the best American-made Dutch ovens on the market, then purchasing from Lodge is a very smart idea. They’ve been fine-tuning their construction of rugged, high-performance cookware for over a century, and it shows in the quality of their dutch ovens.

“Lodge covers the sturdy oven with a lifetime limited warranty against defects, and when cared for properly, this virtually indestructible pan should last for generations.” – Ann Bie

2. Simply Calphalon

Best Overall Dutch Oven – Runner Up

4.7/5 Product Rating

Calphalon is one of the most trusted names in cooking equipment, and the Simply Calphalon Nonstick dutch oven is a fantastic choice when you’re looking for durability and high-performance in your kitchen. The long-lasting nonstick surface ensures that this pot will last you for generations to come, and consistently delivers delicious and nutritious results that add to the health and wellbeing of your home. The surface is also incredibly easy to clean, and the hard-anodized aluminum construction promotes quick and even heating all throughout the pot. The silicone handles add extra comfort and safety to cooking, as they stay cool when the pot is being used on the stovetop.

Why Simply Calphalon stands out from the rest is because they try to incorporate everything in their cookware that matters most to those who are doing the cooking. That includes aesthetically pleasing designs, delicious results, exceptional durability, and quick clean-up. Their brand is also well-known for being a budget-conscious option for cooking enthusiasts who still want incredible quality. The simple design of the Calphalon dutch oven adds a touch of elegance to any kitchen, and each product seeks to capture the essence of the Calphalon style.

Calphalon has strict standards when it comes to their cooking products, and this dutch oven certainly lives up to these rigorous standards. Since 1968 the company has been creating hard-anodized aluminum cookware, and when the original was created it was considered to be a tremendous innovation. The immense durability of these products makes them able to survive and thrive in even the most rigorous and busy kitchens. You can safely use this dutch oven in either an oven or broiler as well.

3. Cuisinart 6445-22

Best Budget Dutch Oven

4.5/5 Product Rating

Cuisinart makes some of the most versatile kitchen products on the market, and their hard anodized dutch oven is a favorite among cooking aficionados. This premium piece of cookware is constructed from some of the finest materials for remarkable durability and performance that will last for years to come. Each dutch oven is designed for optimal elegance, but still with a robust silhouette for that professional look that works in both commercial kitchens and home kitchens. The style adds a touch of flair while still providing maximum volume. Whether you’re looking to cook large dishes for parties and catering, or you simply have an extra large family that you create meals for, this Cuisinart offers you all the extra space that you need.

This dutch oven is supreme when it comes to even heat distribution, which is key to successfully cooking in a dutch oven. The aluminum core construction will heat quickly and spread evenly throughout the pot, thus eliminating hot spots that can damage the quality of your meal. The interior of the pot is also finished with a nonstick coating, allowing for healthier cooking that requires fewer oils and other fats. This interior also makes cleaning the pot much easier and more efficient.

This pot also provides safe and steady handling thanks to the handles which remain cool at all times, and are professionally riveted and contoured to the hand for the ultimate in comfort. You’ll find that the flat glass lid with stainless steel rims helps to seal moisture into the pot for increased flavor, and the glass also allows you to see into the pot and check the status of your food. Lastly, the versatility of this dutch oven only adds to its performance, designed for use on the stovetop, in the oven, under the broiler, or inside the oven up to 500˚ Fahrenheit.

Dutch Oven Comparison


Lodge L3
View

Simply
View

Cuisinart
View

Lodge D53
View

Utopia
Kitchen
View

Lodge D3
View

Camp
Chef
View

Lodge L12
View

Le Creuset
View

Tramontina
View
MaterialCast
Iron
AluminumAluminumCast
Iron
Cast
Iron
Cast
Iron
Cast
Iron
Cast
Iron
Cast
Iron
Cast
Iron
Cooking
Capacity
(Quarts)
5.007.005.006.003.205.0012.008.007.256.50
ColorBlackGrayBlackMulti
Color
RedBlackBlackBlackMulti
Color
Red
Weight
(Pounds)
13.006.204.7016.0010.1014.6026.2020.0012.8013.80
Temperature
Resistant
up to
5000 F
up to
4000 F
up to
5000 F
up to
5000 F
up to
5000 F
up to
5000 F
up to
4500 F
up to
4000 F
up to
5000 F
up to
4500 F
Warranty
(Years)
Limited
LifeTime
10Limited
LifeTime
Limited
LifeTime
Limited
LifeTime
Limited
LifeTime
10Limited
LifeTime
Limited
LifeTime
Limited
LifeTime

 

Dutch Oven Buying Guide

Dutch Oven Reviews

What is a Dutch Oven?

Dutch ovens are so popular because of their versatility, allowing you to cook meals on the stovetop or in the oven. Having a dutch oven means that you have a bonafide staple in your kitchen arsenal, and allows you to cook amazing dishes such as braises, soups, and all other one-pot meals. There are many sizes to choose from when selecting a dutch oven, and this includes a 4 to 6 quart size, depending upon how large of a slow-cooked meal you’re hoping to make.

Dutch Oven History

Dutch Oven1Dutch ovens are a delicious and traditional way to cook amazing dishes that are bursting with flavor and healthy ingredients. There’s no denying that slow-cooked food made in the comfort of your home is the most nutritious and satisfying on the planet, and a dutch oven is an amazing tool to cook meals that your family and friends will never forget. The ovens are manufactured by many companies and are readily available online or in your local cooking specialty store.

The term “dutch oven” is slightly deceiving, as the pots are neither dutch nor actual ovens, in truth. What the name refers to is the casting process developed in Holland in which the brass ports were cast in dry-sand molds. In 1704 the Englishman Abraham Darby traveled to the Netherlands to better understand how these thick-walled cast-iron pots were made, and he eventually patented a process for use in England, as well as in the American colonies. It is believed that Dutch ovens played a significant role in settling the American West, where cowboys, miners, and prospectors who migrated there to settle the territories were forced to learn how to cook entire meals in a single pot over a campfire.

It is said that Paul Revere was responsible for adding the three small legs on the pot to allow for a ring of coals underneath, and that he also invented the flanged, flat lid to allow for coals to be placed on top without sliding off. They were also created in various sizes to allow for pots to be stacked one upon the other, with room for coals to be placed in between.

Dutch oven cooking fell out of favor in the 1900s, as indoor stoves became more popular and readily available to most families. However, the pots remained quite popular among outdoors people who enjoyed cooking on an open fire. In 1985 a group of ‘black pot activists’ started the International Dutch Oven Society in Utah with the hope of promoting and preserving this highly American form of cooking. Today, the black pot society members are spread all throughout North America, with 30 chapters across the US.

Types of Dutch Ovens

There are a couple of different kinds of dutch ovens out there to choose from, but one thing that you can expect is a heavy pot, with food inside or without. Dutch ovens are made from heavy metals, allowing the pot to retain heat and provide optimum browning. This weighty pot only gets heavier once you fill it to the brim with food. The most popular pot you’ll find is the porcelain enamel-coated cast iron version. Some other models that you’ll find are the straight cast iron type, copper, and stainless steel. No matter what kind you buy, you should get a pot that has sturdy sides and a fine, tight-fitting lid.

Main Types of Dutch Ovens:

Cast Iron

This is the original heavy duty dutch oven, and it’s built to stand the test of time. A new dutch oven of this style will require you to season it with oil, but once it’s used often, it will hold all the seasoning and no more oil will be required. Be sure to never cook acidic foods in the pot as the metal will cause a reaction with the food that you do not desire.

Porcelain Enamel-Coated Cast Iron

When you’re looking for very even cooking and browning, then the porcelain enamel-coated cast iron dutch oven is a great choice. It should be noted that inexpensive versions in this style are known to chip and crack with time. This pot comes pre-coated, and that means that no seasoning is required on your part, and cleanup is easier than ever. The vessel is designed to distribute heat evenly, which eliminates hot spots on the bottom of the pot, and also prevents cold up the sides.

Stainless Steel

This is a durable version of the dutch oven, and it heats up quite well. When you’re looking for superior heat conduction, look for a stainless steel dutch oven that has a copper core encapsulated between the layers of steel. This further enhances the speed and efficiency of the heating process.

Copper

Copper provides superior heat conductivity and more ease when trying to control temperature. Keep in mind that copper does not react well to acidic foods, so if you’re planning on cooking these kinds of foods it’s best to find a pot that’s lined with stainless steel for greater protection.

Purchase Considerations

Always keep in mind when you’re looking to purchase a dutch oven that you’re making an investment in an important piece of cookware that could possibly last for generations to come. It’s best to not let the price tag frighten you, because this investment will bring decades of delicious meals to you and your family. Sodon’t be stingy, because you can experience the amazing benefit of nutritious one pot meals from your investment.

Main Purchase Considerations:

Shape

You can find dutch ovens in either round or oval shapes, and both of these shapes function in the same way. What it really comes down to are your personal preferences, and whether the shape fits comfortably in your oven or on your stovetop.

Size

You can find dutch ovens in a range of sizes from 1-1/2 quarts up to 9 quarts. Everyday, single-batch cooking will only require a standard 4 to 6 quart pot, but if you plan to do some seriously large batches of food, then it’s best to invest in one of the larger pots. Consider the size of your family, and what quantity of leftovers you want stored in your fridge.

Nonstick

Dutch Oven2Many dutch ovens have a nonstick interior that makes cleanup incredibly easy and efficient. The downside to choosing a nonstick version is that you have to be very careful when it comes to scratching and harming the interior of your pot. That being said, this type will allow you to cook healthier meals that require less oil.

Lid

It’s important that you choose a dutch oven that has a heavy, tight-fitting lid to perfectly seal in the moisture for the most tender and flavorful meals possible. Make sure the lid is easy to lift and grasp with a hot pad. There are also many lids that have handles that stay cool when cooking on the stovetop.

Handles

Be sure to avoid handles that are in any way flimsy or made of plastic, as these could pose a safety hazard. Any dutch oven that is not made of cast iron must have two sturdy handles that allow you to safely lift the pot in and out of the oven.

Color

When you purchase an enamel-coated dutch oven, it allows you to be a little creative when it comes to choosing a color. There are dutch ovens that come in every color of the rainbow, so choose one that matches your kitchen and home decor. You can choose to go bold with something that adds a pop of color to an otherwise monotone environment.

Benefits of Dutch Oven Cooking

Cooking with a dutch oven is an amazing North American tradition, allowing you to make hearty and flavorful one pot meals like casseroles, soups, and stews. It’s also great when you want to make slow-cooked roasts and baked beans from scratch. The benefit of using the dutch oven is that you can simply toss all the ingredients for dinner into the large pot and then place it in the oven or on the burner, and the dutch oven does most of the work for you.

The dutch oven is designed for ease and simplicity, and has been around for centuries as a popular form of campfire cooking. Traditionally cooked with coals, this piece of cookery can now be used in a number of different ways, and for countless and diverse recipes. It should be noted that shorter ovens are designed to spread the heat more quickly to the center of the pot, while deeper ones will take more time. These more shallow pots are ideal when you need to make dishes that require higher temperatures, such as fruit pies. Dishes that require lower temperatures include roasts, hams, whole chickens, and the like. With a deeper pot you can also control the amount of heat on top of the oven, which leads to even more browning.

Dutch ovens are famously forgivable, and that means that you can get a pretty amazing meal even when the temperature outside isn’t ideal, you’re new to using the pot, or you simply over or under cooked the dish. So, whether you’re cooking with coals or in the comfort of your own kitchen, you can reap the benefits of cooking with this amazing piece of cookery, no matter what your skill level or culinary goals. It’s hard to make a meal with multiple sides that requires chopping, sautéing, blending, frying, or any other number of processes. The dutch oven is an incredible one-process cooking tool that makes your life easier, and it’s fun to use!

Tips for Getting Started with a Dutch Oven

Dutch Oven3The dutch oven has been popular for over a century because it’s a vehicle for so many cooking techniques, such as stewing, braising, roasting, broiling, baking, and even frying, all with one pot. As Colleen Sloan says in her popular book ‘Log Cabin Grub’, “it’s the most versatile pot in the world”.And not only is it versatile, you can use it to cook outside in the fresh air, if you so choose.

It should also be noted that there are great health benefits to cooking in cast iron. You can use less oil in your cooking when the pot is already well-seasoned, and cast iron also fortifies your food with extra iron. And, once you get the hang of it, using a dutch oven is incredibly easy, even for those who don’t cook much.

Following a good dutch oven recipe is foolproof, because once you add all the specific ingredients and put it at the right temperature, the dish really does cook itself. It’s suggested that you begin with a recipe that is easy, and move-on to more complicated dishes once your comfort level improves.

Some popular tips for those who are new to using a dutch oven include:

  • Use a chimney starter to easily heat up coals when using your dutch oven outdoors or while camping. It will usually take 10-20 minutes to heat the coals, depending upon the wind conditions outside. You’ll know the coals are ready when they stop smoking, and are slightly gray at the edges.
  • Patience is a virtue! Try not to remove the lid before the dish is done, as the steam and heat are responsible for cooking the food properly. The dutch oven basically operates like a pressure cooker, so you don’t want to release the pressure.
  • It’s important to not overfill your dutch oven. You want to leave a moisture barrier at top of at least 1 to 2 inches.
  • If you accidentally burn your food, then you know that you have positioned your coals wrong. You want to line the edges of the pot with coals, and not the middle of the pan. This properly distributes the heat.
  • If your recipe is telling you to grease the pan, then it is best to use Pam spray. This is the best friend of your cast iron pot because it is made from Canola oil, which has a much higher flash point. You want this.
  • You know when your dish is done by the smell. Once you can smell the food, and it smells really good, you know that you’re good to go.

Conclusion

Cooking with a dutch oven is not just for the culinarily proficient, but an amazing tool that every individual and family should utilize. The dutch oven makes one pot cooking more delicious and easy, and with so many models on the market, it’s easy to find a pot that is easy to clean, and in the style and size that you desire. The versatility of this makes it possible to cook in many different ways, and even take on the go while camping or dining outside.

A good dutch oven will last for years to come, and that’s why it’s important to invest in a high quality pot that is designed to be seasoned with time. Once you get cooking, you won’t believe the wide variety of dishes that you can cook with this pot, and you’ll wonder how you ever survived without one! There are many cookbooks and recipes to be found that help you to get the most use out of your dutch oven, so be sure to explore and experiment with what’s out there.

Lastly, the highest ranking dutch ovens are all diverse, but they have many things in common. They’re all made from the highest quality materials that are designed for even and efficient conduction of heat. There’s always a tight fitting lid that keeps the heat inside the pan, acting like a pressure cooker. All the best ranking pots also feature handles that are incredibly safe and make it easy to take the pot in and out of the oven without too much strain. The highest ranking dutch ovens are all incredibly easy to use, because they’re designed to do a lot of the work for you. That means that, at their best, you’ll be able to simply throw in the ingredients, get the heat going, and within no time it’s like an amazing and nutritious one pot meal has just magically appeared.

Resources

  1. Lodge: http://www.lodgemfg.com/
  2. Simply Calphalon: http://store.calphalon.com/
  3. Cuisinart: http://www.cuisinart.com/