I don’t have the largest kitchen, so finding cookware that has multiple uses is a must for me. Enter the dutch oven. All of the ways you can use a Dutch oven really surprised me! Because of its ability to retain heat and it’s size, the Dutch oven is ideal for braising large cuts of meat or large batches of soups and stews. You can also cook sauces, steam vegetables, and cook grains just to name a few.
Given its versatility and popularity, almost all brands of cookware have come up with their own style of dutch oven, which makes it really difficult to know which one to buy that best suits your needs without breaking the bank.
Luckily, the internet has a ton of reviews and has pretty much done the work for you!
From most of the reviews, the big takeaways for a good dutch oven are to have large handles (both on the pot and lid!), a light colored inside to be able to monitor browning and broad bases with straight sides for increased cooking space.
Not all Dutch ovens are made of the same material but the most popular are either made of enameled cast iron, stainless steel or nonstick coated. Enameled cast iron heats slowly and evenly and retains heat but is very heavy and can be cumbersome once it’s filled with food. Aluminum and stainless steel are more durable and lighter but they are more likely to scorch food and dent easily. Nonstick coatings are great at keeping your food from sticking, which makes clean up a breeze but you can’t use metal or rough utensils in order to avoid scratching the coating. Also, food doesn’t brown as well.
Top 6 Dutch Ovens:
1. Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 7-1/4-Quart Round French (Dutch) Oven
This Le Creuset Signature Dutch Oven is the top of the line and offers traditional craftsmanship that many professional cooks look for. They also offer it in so many cute colors. The downside is the cost, coming in at around $370.
2. Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Enameled Cast Iron Round Covered Casserole Collection
The Cuisinart Cast Iron 7-Quart casserole dish performs as close to a Le Creuset as possible and also comes in multiple colors to match any kitchen. The upside to this the price which is a fraction of a Le Creuset at around $130.
3. Cuisinart 445-22 Contour Stainless 5-Quart Dutch Oven with Glass Cover
The Cuisinart Stainless 5-Quart Dutch Oven is sleek and contemporary and the clear lid is great for being able to check your foods cooking progress. It’s also very inexpensive. It’s smaller, so it might be better suited for smaller meals.
4. Simply Calphalon Nonstick 7-qt. Dutch Oven & Cover
The Calphalon Nonstick 7-qt. Dutch Oven is stronger than most stainless steel and incredibly affordable but the nonstick coating requires a delicate touch.
5. Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, 6-Quart
The Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven is the best “bang for your buck” because it’s not only attractive with multiple color options and a moderate price point of $50-$80, but has the heat retention for evenly cooked food. Be careful using metal utensils if you want to keep it pristine condition.
6. Calphalon Contemporary Stainless Steel 8-Quart Dutch Oven with Cover
The Calphalon Stainless Steel 8-Quart Dutch Oven has a more modern feel and it’s made of heavy gauge stainless steel but it’s more expensive than some of the others and a lot of reviewers didn’t feel like the lid poured very well.