The Best Dutch Oven Brands According to Pros Who Know
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For soups, stews, baking and all kinds of cozy recipes, make sure you've got the best Dutch oven. This multi-purpose pot is a must—so make sure you've got one of our Test Kitchen's favorite brands.
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But like any piece of kitchen equipment, Dutch oven brands, their performance and price can vary widely. So before you click “buy now,” see which Dutch ovens really deserve to be called the best and are worthy of a spot on your stovetop.
How We Found the Best Dutch Oven
Because this piece of cookware is so versatile, Taste of Home‘s team of experts tested a lot of recipes and techniques. The best Dutch oven should be able to fry, bake, saute, braise, simmer and much more. We gathered eight brands, plenty of recipes and judged each pot according to these qualities:
- Performance: How does this piece of cookware do with braising, frying, baking, boiling and one-pot cooking? What’s its oven-safe temperature? Can it be used over the fire or on the grill?
- Durability: How durable is the Dutch oven? Does the finish hold up inside and out? Does it feel sturdy? How heavy is it?
- Ease of cleaning: How easy is this piece of cookware to clean? Are there any foods that stain the interior? Are there any special considerations to keep in mind while scrubbing?
- Size: How large is the Dutch oven? Is it large enough to cook a meal for a family or hold a large cut of meat? Does it come in other sizes?
- Appearance: Is this piece of cookware a joy to look at? Does it come in attractive colors? Different sizes? Is it something you would be proud to set on the dinner table?
- Extra features: Details matter. Does the Dutch oven have sturdy handles? Is the knob easy to grip? Does the lid have any ridges or spikes to help funnel liquid droplets back into the food (this is called self-basting)?
Our Test Kitchen-Preferred Dutch Ovens
Best Dutch Oven to Splurge On: Le Creuset Dutch Oven
If you’re looking to treat yourself to a luxury piece of cookware, you can’t go wrong with a classic Le Creuset Dutch oven. An enamel-coated cast-iron Dutch oven like this one has heirloom status written all over it; these durable pots are designed to last a lifetime.
Besides being absolutely gorgeous—a given for any Le Creuset item—this Dutch oven was a top performer. It had exceptional heat-retaining properties. When making fried chicken, this pan kept things hot so our team could keep frying without waiting for the oil to heat up over and over again. And one-pot dishes like macaroni and cheese stayed gooey and warm long after the burner was switched off.
You might think a luxury-end pot like this might require some extra fuss and care—nope! Our testers found that this Le Creuset pot cleaned up easily. Stubborn stains came away easily after soaking in a tub of soapy water for a few minutes.
- Size: We tried the 4.5-quart model for our tests; 1-, 2-, 3.5-, 5.5-, 7.25- and 9-quart models are also available
- Notable features: Dishwasher-safe, safe to use on the grill, available in more than a dozen colors; coordinating cookware is also available
- Price: $370
The Best Dutch Oven for Budget Buyers: Lodge
Weighing in at a little over 13 pounds, this Dutch oven is heavy-duty with generously sized handles that make pulling this pot from the oven easy. Generous weight and grips are exactly what you want from a pot like this: You need stability and heft. Heavy pots heat more slowly and retain heat for longer, which is perfect for braised dishes like this balsamic pot roast.
Our Test Kitchen also admired this pot’s easy-clean finish. Even after frying, sauteeing and browning all sorts of delicious recipes, our pros were able to clean up the inside of this Dutch oven easily with just a regular kitchen sponge—no extra elbow grease needed.
While Lodge came in as the least expensive brand in our test, it managed to keep pace with the spendier options out there.
- Size: Our Test Kitchen tried the 4.5-quart option; 1.5-, 3-, 6- and 7.5-quart options are also available
- Notable features: Available in several colors
- Price: $70
The Most Versatile Dutch Oven: Taste of Home
When is a Dutch oven more than a Dutch oven? When you opt for the Taste of Home Dutch oven with grill pan.
Our Test Kitchen designed this Dutch oven (and the rest of our cookware and bakeware line) with home cooks in mind. So all the features our Test Kitchen craves in the best Dutch oven are here like an easy-to-clean, nonstick surface, generous size, gorgeous color and a multi-functional lid.
You heard that right: The lid here also serves as a grill pan. Just turn the lid over and you’re ready to grill chicken, steak, veggies and more right on your stovetop.
But when you’re not grilling away, this Dutch oven performs with the best. It gets hot fast and maintains that heat so you can bake, fry, stew and simmer to your heart’s content. Some of our Test Kitchen’s favorite recipes to make in this pot are artichoke florentine pasta and winter beef stew.
- Size: 5- and 7-quart options available
- Notable features: The 5-quart Dutch oven’s lid features self-basting bumps; the 7-quart model has a lid that doubles as a grill pan
- Price: $100
The Best Dutch Oven for Easy Cleanup: Cuisinart Chef’s Classic
While we love to use Dutch ovens to make hearty chilis and comforting soups, we don’t always love washing a super heavy pan in the sink. Sure, the food may lift away easily, but big, heavy pots are always harder to wash. Not when it comes to the Cuisinart Chef’s Classic casserole. This Dutch oven is designed to be dishwasher-safe. That’s a huge relief when it comes to cleaning up dishes like a long-simmering beef bolognese.
But there’s more to this pot than just easy cleanup. While heavy (it weighs in at 12 pounds, 6 ounces), this pot did heat up faster than its competitors so you can start cooking just a bit faster. And when your pot is ready for cooking, rest assured that it can compete with the best; braised beef, macaroni, fried chicken and bread all came out as desired when our Test Kitchen crew used this Dutch oven.
- Size: 5 quarts
- Notable features: Dishwasher-safe
- Price: $100
How to Use Your Dutch Oven and Keep It Looking New
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We know you don’t need another reason to love this piece of cookware, but we have one more: Dutch ovens are low maintenance.
When you’re cooking with these pretties, just be sure to stick with wooden, nylon or silicone utensils—the same options you’d use with nonstick cookware. This will help maintain the enamel coating inside.
And when it’s time to clean a Dutch oven, it’s simple. Just hand wash with hot, soapy water and a non-scratch sponge. Stubborn stains can be lifted with a paste of baking soda and water; for extra stubborn stains, use a cleanser like Bar Keepers Friend or cleaning solutions recommended by the manufacturer. Lodge, for instance, makes its own Dutch oven cleaner.
The Tastiest Recipes to Make with the Best Dutch Oven
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We can’t say it enough: Dutch ovens are extremely versatile. Here are a few of our favorite ways to make use of these kitchen superstars:
- Baking: The construction of Dutch ovens is perfect for making crusty loaves of homemade bread.
- Braising: Dutch ovens and braised foods go hand in hand.
- Camping: Yep, you can bring your Dutch oven camping (but maybe leave this heavy pot behind if backpacking). It can make generous portions to restore you after a long day of hiking and time outdoors.
- Simmering: These heavy-duty pots are perfect for long-simmering soups. Make a batch on a chilly day and keep it warm for cup after cup.
- Vegetarian cooking: Nope, these pots aren’t just for making pot roasts and hearty stews. Veggie friends, there’s a lot you can make in a Dutch oven.