The Best Dutch Ovens for Every Situation

Stew meat cooked in a Dutch oven surrounded by cookies spices
Ari N/Shutterstock

Dutch ovens are a versatile addition to your kitchen arsenal that can handle everything from stews to roasts to even bread. We’ve looked at the best ones for every situation.

At first glance, you might think that a Dutch oven is a frivolous extra—an outdated favorite from years gone by. They’re actually pretty useful though. With a thick bottom, they retain heat well, ensuring that said heat is maintained throughout the dish (and not just in certain areas). Alongside that, their heavy lids keep flavors from escaping, as well as lock in moisture. It’s a potent mix that means they’re particularly great for stews, soups, chilis, and curries. Anything that needs slow cooking, basically, can be put paired with a Dutch oven for fantastic results. You can even use them to bake delicious artisan bread.

Best Overall: Lodge 6 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven ($58)

Lodge 6 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Lodge features quite heavily here because that’s how good (and economical) their Dutch ovens are. Its traditional looking Lodge 6 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven is the perfect addition to any kitchen. A respectable size for the average family, it’s well made so it’ll last years. It utilizes porcelain enamel on cast iron which means the glassy finish is bonded to the cast iron at high temperatures so that it becomes heat tolerant, while also impervious to water and other substances.

Thanks to that, it can rest easy in your oven up to 500F, as well as stay on your stovetop for sautéing or simmering duties. Such versatility means it’ll fast become your favorite way of cooking, no matter what you’re preparing.

For those that love to have a color coordinated kitchen, there are plenty of options here too. The dish looks pretty good on the kitchen top side.

Best Premium Option: Le Creuset Signature French Oven ($375)

Le Creuset Signature French Oven
Le Creuset

Le Creuset cookware is a brand that makes most all cooking connoisseurs go “oooh” in awe, and for good reason. It’s expensive but exceptionally high quality. The kind of thing that you buy as a solid investment for you and future generations in your family. It’s also the ideal kind of thing to ask for as a wedding gift because hey, that’s what wedding lists are made for.

The Le Creuset Signature French Oven withstands the same level of heat as the Lodge (500F) but it’s everything else about it that makes it stand out. It has 45% larger handles than most so you can be sure of an even and steady grip, even when wearing oven mitts. Thick quality construction offers more even heat distribution than the competition. It also has a sand-colored interior enamel that can resist wear and tear for longer than the coating found on budget brands.

Sure, it’s over 5 times the price of the Lodge Dutch oven but the point here is that you (and your children, and maybe your grandchildren) will never need to buy another pot after this one.

Best Small Dutch Oven: Lodge 5qt Cast Iron Dutch Oven ($40)

Lodge 5qt Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Cast iron Dutch ovens are a little different from enamel ones but no less effective. This Lodge 5qt Cast Iron Dutch Oven is the right size for cooking smaller amounts, while still getting the benefits of Dutch oven-based cooking. That means extensive heat retention and distribution.

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