Top 7 Best Dutch Ovens Every Kitchen Should Have

Le-Creuset-Signature-Enameled-Cast-IronQuart-Round

Dutch ovens are known for being timeless, durable and versatile as traditional cookware. In fact, many families treasure the classic seasoned cast iron Dutch oven as a family heirloom which have been used in making the best roasts, stews, casseroles, and even baked bread.

Read on and discover how you can improve your cooking with the best Dutch ovens in the market today.

Dutch Ovens: Their Origin

Dutch ovens have been part of culinary history in various places in the world. It is known as a camp oven in Australia, a cocotte in France, a casserole dish in Britain;  and a potjie in South Africa.

Where did the Dutch oven begin? Way back in the 1600s, the Dutch system of producing cast iron cookware was more advanced than the English system. In 1704, Abraham Darby went to the Netherlands to observe how the Dutch produce their cookware which was later became known as “Dutch ovens.” When he returned to England, he adopted the process and shipped his “ovens” all over Britain as well as to America.

John Ragsdale, an author, suggests that the name “Dutch oven” may have been derived from the original Dutch process for casting metal pots. Other historians surmise that such term may have come from the Dutch traders who traveled from one town to another and sold in the Pennsylvania area who used similar cast iron pots or kettles.

How did the Dutch ovens, then, look like? They were originally designed with feet to sit above the ashes in a wood or coal burning place. They had sloping sides and were usually not as tall as stock pots. Their tight-fitting lids helped hold moisture in. Their thick walls worked to protect the contents. Such design allowed them to be placed in a fire and to have coals placed on top for the actual cooking process.

Dutch Ovens Today

Modern Dutch ovens are cylindrical, thick-walled cooking pots usually made of seasoned cast iron, with tight-fitting lids. It is interesting to know that many cast iron pieces become family heirlooms and get passed down from generation to generation. Dutch ovens made of enameled cast iron or anodized aluminum are now popular options as well.

Best Dutch Ovens of 2018

Product Name

Our Rating

Current Price

Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron Round French (Dutch) Oven

Lodge L8DD3 Cast Iron Double Dutch Oven

Lodge EC6D43 Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Lodge L8DOL3 Cast Iron Dutch Oven with Dual Handles

Calphalon Contemporary Hard-Anodized Aluminum Nonstick Cookware, Dutch Oven

Camp Chef Deluxe 9 1/3-Quart Dutch Oven

Cuisinart Chef's Classic Enameled Cast Iron 7-Quart Round Covered Casserole

Types of Dutch Ovens

To help you choose the particular Dutch oven best suited to your needs, it would be good to know their unique qualities of the three types of Dutch ovens, namely plain cast iron, enameled cast iron and anodized aluminum. The chart below presents the general features of these Dutch ovens.

Characteristics of Dutch Oven Types

Plain Cast Iron

Enameled Cast Iron

Anodized

Aluminum

Non-stick

Nearly non-stick when well-seasoned

Repeated cooking will enhance its non-stick quality

Food may stick

Non-stick

Heat

Heats slowly and evenly

Does not endure high temperature

Heats faster but may have hot spots; loses heat faster

Type of cooking

Best for outdoor cooking; can cook almost anything

Best for kitchen cooking

Not recommended to be used on the grill or over an open flame.

Perfect for overland trail and destination camping

Weight

Very heavy

Less heavy than plain cast iron

One-third the weight of plain cast iron

Care

Can rust so it must be seasoned

Should not be washed with soap or in a dishwasher; otherwise, the seasoning can be stripped

More difficult to clean and maintain

Rust-free

Cannot withstand the use of metal cooking utensils

Easy to clean and maintain

Rust-free

Easiest to clean and  Can be washed with soap and water

Easy to clean and maintain

Tips on Choosing Dutch Ovens

After getting familiar with the overall features of the three materials used in manufacturing Dutch ovens, here are some other factors to consider to help you gain more clarity before buying the Dutch oven that best suits you.

  • Usage

What kind of dishes will you cook with your Dutch oven? Where will you do much of your cooking?  For indoor use, you may opt for a smooth bottomed Dutch oven. For outdoor use, you may get one with short metal legs to place it over charcoal or gas grill.

  • Material

Simon Hoffer, the author of Cooking Makes Delightful with Dutch Ovens, suggests choosing a Dutch oven with thick walls and bottom. It should feel heavy when you hold it. This ensures that it will hold heat and distribute it evenly. Nowadays, Dutch ovens are made of plain cast iron, enameled cast iron and anodized aluminum.

  • Pot Size

How many people are in serving in your home? Do you need different sizes for different occasions? It is important to know which size is the best for you.

Here is a quick guide on choosing the right size for you.

Dutch Oven Size Chart

Capacity in Quarts/Gallon

Number of Persons Served

2-quart capacity

2-3

4-quart capacity

4-6

6-quart capacity

6-10

2-gallon capacity

10-15

31/2 gallon

15 or more

  • Safety and Convenience

Dutch ovens made of cast iron are really heavy, even without hot food. So if you have a small body build or have weak wrists, you may need to get one which is lightweight.

To help ensure that you can comfortably carry it, choose a Dutch oven with strong, sturdy and heat-resistant knobs and handles which are easy to grasp while wearing heavy oven mitts.

Choose from Our Best Picks

Whether you’re planning to buy a Dutch oven for the first time, or you’re thinking of getting a newer model, here are 7 of the most recommended Dutch ovens that would be of great service to you and your kitchen.

Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron Round French (Dutch) Oven

Manufactured by a French premium cookware maker, the Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 5-1/2-Quart Round French (Dutch) Oven is always synonymous with excellent quality and customer satisfaction. This lightweight 5-quart cast-iron Dutch oven is pre-seasoned, making it ready for immediate use. It has sturdy side handles on its base and lid for convenient and safe cooking. It also comes in 7 colors.

Saute, sear, fry, bake and stir fry to your heart’s content. Since it is made of cast-iron, it locks in moisture for tender, succulent dishes. Its cover easily converts to a skillet. It is versatile since you can use it on all cooking surfaces.

It is designed to give you long years of service with its interior enamel that prevents stains as well as its exterior enamel that resists chipping and cracking. It is the exactly like the traditional Dutch oven.

PROS

  • Sturdy, integrated side handles on base and lid for convenient and safe use
  • Cover converts to 10.25- inch skillet
  • Can be used on all cooking surfaces, grill, and campfires

CO​NS

  • Hand washing is recommended to help prolong its lifespan

Lodge L8DD3 Cast Iron Double Dutch Oven

Bring to your kitchen the legacy of an authentic Dutch oven with the Lodge L8DD3 Cast Iron Double Dutch Oven. It continues to draw admiration from cooks, housewives, and anyone who have experienced cooking with it. Since it is pre-seasoned,  it offers a natural, easy-release finish that allows you to limit the oil needed in your cooking.

It is perfect for your oven-to-table presentation of your favorite family dishes. Its domed lid  can be used as a skillet for eggs, bacon, and more.

To prolong its lifespan, it is recommended to constantly re-season it as it wears off. Showing some tender, loving care for this will give you much in return.

PROS

  • Pre-seasoned; ready to use
  • Sturdy, integrated side handles on base and lid 
  • Tight-fitting lid 
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    Can be used  on all cooking surfaces, grills and campfires

CO​NS

  • Constant re-seasoning and hand washing are recommended to help it stay in shape and look good

Lodge EC6D43 Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Discover functionality and style from Lodge EC6D43 Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, 6-Quart. It is made of cast iron with the chip-resistant porcelain-enamel finish. It works on a wider variety of stovetops, including gas, electric, ceramic, and induction. It is designed with bigger handles to provide you with a sure grip. Whatever you cook or bake turns out great because it distributes and retains heat consistently.

For added convenience, it has a slightly curved shape to keep food from getting trapped in the corners of the pot. Keep it vibrant through hand-washing.

PROS

  • Made of cast iron with the porcelain-enamel finish that resists stains, chipping and cracking
  • Great for use on gas, electric, ceramic and induction stoves, and oven 
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    Bigger handles to provide you a sure grip
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    Distributes and retains heat consistently
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    Comes in 7 colors

CO​NS

  • Dishwasher-free but hand-washing is recommended to keep it vibrant

Lodge L8DOL3 Cast Iron Dutch Oven with Dual Handles, Pre-Seasoned

The Lodge L8DOL3 Cast Iron Dutch Oven with Dual Handles, Pre-Seasoned, 5-Quart is a favorite among cooks of all ages. Its looks and functionality make it enduring. Its sturdy and rugged design with its near non-stick interior, make it a must-have cookware.

Its built-in handles, self-basting domed lid, and flat-bottom design make it convenient for daily cooking, especially slow-cooking food. You would be happy to know that is so easy to clean and care for. Just re-season it after cleaning and store in a cool and dry dust-free place.

PROS

  • Loop handles aid in carrying
  • Self-basting domed lid preserves moisture
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    Pre-seasoned with vegetable oil formula    and ready for immediate use
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    Rugged cast-iron construction heats slowly  and evenly
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    Ideal for slow-cooking foods

CO​NS

  • Needs to re-season it after cleaning

Calphalon Contemporary Hard-Anodized Aluminum Nonstick Cookware, Dutch Oven

Discover the benefit of hard-anodized aluminum cookware. Well, what does “hard-anodized” mean? It is defined as “a way of hardening a soft aluminum surface electrochemically so it becomes twice as hard as stainless steel.” This oxidized layer is described as non-stick, scratch resistant, and non-reactive to food.

The Calphalon Contemporary Nonstick 5-Quart Covered Dutch Oven is made with heavy-gauge, non-stick coating – two layers provide durability and the third layer offers easy release performance.

It goes from stovetop to oven with ease while cooking roasts, chili, soups, and more. It has high sides and a narrow opening which minimizes evaporation during stock and soup-making. It also has a non-stick surface so you can cook healthier meals using less oil or fat.

PROS

  • Made with heavy-gauge, hard-anodized aluminum to ensure even heating
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    Three layers of non-stick coating
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    High sides and narrow opening minimize evaporation

CO​NS

  • The non-stick coating may come off after some time and needs to be re-seasoned every now and then

Camp Chef Deluxe 9 1/3-Quart Dutch Oven

Here’s a great find for outdoor cooking – the Champ Chef Deluxe 9 1/3-Quart Dutch Oven. Its seasoned cast iron makes it ready for cooking. Its lid doubles as a skillet. To make your cooking fun, it has a built-in thermometer notch and it comes with a lift tool. Cool, isn’t it?

Since its loop handle on the lid is quite small for mitted lifting,  using the supplied lid lifter for easier handling is recommended.

PROS

  • Seasoned cast iron makes it ready for cooking 
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    Built-in thermometer notch 
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    Includes a lift tool

CO​NS

  • Loop handle on the lid is quite small for mitted lifting, use the supplied lid lifter for easier handling of the hot cast iron

Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Enameled Cast Iron 7-Quart Round Covered Casserole

With its many good features, it is no wonder that the  Cuisinart CI670-30CR Chef’s Classic Enameled Cast Iron 7-Quart Round Covered Casserole makes it to our list of the best Dutch ovens. To begin with, its superb cast iron construction, together with its porcelain enamel make this cookware versatile and convenient to use.

Its wide cast iron handles and oven-safe knob provide comfort and convenience while cooking. It has a bigger capacity for standard-sized recipes. Its porcelain-enameled interior does not affect flavors or absorb odors.

Since the rim of the pot is not enameled, it may rust if not properly cared for. Likewise, it may get a dull finish due to repeated machine washing. It is recommended to give it extra care as needed.

PROS

  • Bigger in capacity than what most people will need for standard-sized recipes 
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    Stove top-safe 
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    Oven and broiler safe only to 350 degrees 
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    The porcelain enameled interior does not affect flavors or absorb odors
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    Dishwasher-safe

CO​NS

  • Needs to be re-seasoned and cared for after washing

Summary of  Our Top 7 Dutch Ovens

Brand

Design

Capacity

/ Usage

Heat / Moisture Retention

Other Features

Current Price

Le-Creuset-Signature-Enameled-Cast-IronQuart-Round

45% larger handles that provide a sure grip, even with oven mitts

A larger composite knob that withstands temperatures up to 500ºF

Lightweight at 11 lbs.

Works for both slow cooking and searing

Distributes hear very well

Locks in moisture for tender, succulent dishes

Sand-colored interior enamel has a smooth finish that promotes caramelization, prevents sticking and resists stains

Colorful, long-lasting exterior enamel that resists chipping and cracking

Comes in 7 colors

Lodge-L8DD3-Cast-Iron-Double-Dutch-Oven-5-Quart

Sturdy, integrated side handles on base and lid 

Tight-fitting lid

Can be used  on all cooking surfaces, grills, and campfires

Holds heat 

very well

Pre-seasoned; ready to use

Non-stick

The domed lid can be used as a skillet for eggs, bacon, and more

Bigger handles which make it easier to take in and out of the oven.

Slightly curved shape  keeps food from getting trapped in the corners of the pot

10-3/4 inches in diameter by 4-1/2 inches deep

Great for use on gas, electric, ceramic and 

induction cook- top stoves and oven

Oven-safe to 500F

Distributes and retains heat consistently

Cover with handle traps in heat, moisture, and nutrients

Its porcelain surface eliminates the need for seasoning

Chip-resistant

Dishwasher-

safe

Limited life warranty

Lodge L8DOL3 Cast Iron Dutch Oven with Dual Handles, Pre-Seasoned

Rugged cast-iron construction 

Flat-bottom; sits perfectly both on the stovetop and in the oven;

Loop handles aid in carrying

Ideal for slow-cooking food

Keeps heat evenly

Self-basting domed lid preserves moisture

Pre-seasoned with vegetable oil formula and ready for immediate use

Calphalon-Contemporary-Hard-Anodized-Aluminum-Nons

Hard-anodized, heavy-gauge aluminum

Heavy-gauge sloped bottom makes stirring easier

Stay-cool

handles

Designed to slow-simmer soups, stews, chili and pasta sauces without sticking or scorching

High sides and narrow opening minimize evaporation during the slow process of stock- and soup-making

The nonstick surface also allows you to use less oil or butter for healthy, low-fat cooking

The lid is made of see-through 

tempered glass allows you to that check food while cooking

Dishwasher safe

Full lifetime warranty

Camp-Chef-DO-12-Pre-Seasoned-Cast-Iron-Dutch-Oven-

True Seasoned Finish cast iron

Handle on lid

Metal bail handle on kettle

Lid doubles as a skillet

Lid can be used over  hot coals

Great for outdoor cooking

Heats evenly

Built-in thermometer notch

Includes lift tool

Cuisinart CI670-30CR Chef's Classic Enameled Cast Iron 7-Quart Round Covered Casserole

Oven safe knob for a durable grip

Bigger in capacity than what most people will need for standard-

sized recipes

Stovetop-

safe

Oven and broiler safe only to 350 degrees

Provides superior heat retention and even heat distribution
The porcelain enameled interior does not impact flavors or absorb odors

Dishwasher-

safe

Easy cleanup

Conclusion

It is hoped that this article has covered the most important features on the best Dutch ovens and it has prepared you to choose the one that meets your needs. Our site’s choice goes to the Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron French (Dutch) Oven. It brings together the classic craftsmanship of cast iron and the modern convenience of enamel cookware. Its 51/2 quart capacity is large enough for family and small group gatherings, whether at home or outdoor settings.  It is sturdy, lightweight, easy to care for and maintain. So, find the right one for you and be an amazing cook with your new Dutch oven for your friends and loved ones.

 

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