- 1 Why Is A Dutch Oven Dutch?
- 2 Why Is A Pot An Oven?
- 3 Are Dutch Ovens Healthy Cookware?
- 4 How Does A Dutch Oven Work For You?
- 5 Bare Cast Iron Or Enamel Coated?
- 6 How To Season A Traditional Dutch Oven
- 7 How To Clean And Care For Your Dutch Oven
- 8 Reviews Of The Best Dutch Oven To Buy In 2019
- 8.1 1. 6-qt Zelancio Dutch Oven In Red —Best To Buy In 2019
- 8.2 2. Lodge 5-qt Cast Iron Dutch Oven — Best Cast Iron
- 8.3 3. 360 Americraft Induction Waterless Dutch Oven — Best Stainless Steel
- 8.4 4. Camp Chef Deluxe 9 ⅓-qt Dutch Oven — Best For Camping
- 8.5 5. Tramontina Round 7-qt & 4-qt Dutch Oven Set — Best Value For Money
- 8.6 6. Staub Cast Iron 1.5-qt Petite French Oven — Best Compact Oven
- 8.7 7. Le Creuset Signature 9-qt Round Dutch Oven — Best Large Oven
- 9 Top-rated Best Dutch Ovens Comparison Chart
In today’s fast-paced world of pre-prepped foods and frantically rushed dinners, the time-honored art of slow cooking should not be thrown to the wayside.
Slow cooking isn’t just about a healthier lifestyle either. Good food brings people closer together and Dutch oven cooking requires minimal preparation and supervision. This gives you the best of both worlds, and taking time out to select the best dutch oven for your needs is also just as important.
These often flamboyantly colored pots don’t come cheap, but as true pieces of heritage cookware, they last and their memories never fade.They come in all sizes from large enameled Dutch ovens for festive occasions, to rustic ones for camping and even compact Dutch ovens for simple stews.
Why Is A Dutch Oven Dutch?
The root of the name is unclear—some suggest it comes from when Dutch cast iron techniques found their way over to England in the early 1700’s. The name could also have come from early Dutch settlers in the US peddling their cookware, or perhaps the origin derives from Dutch communities in Pennsylvania.
Regardless, Dutch ovens today refer to a variety of heavy, usually enamel-coated, cast iron pots, and they are often the most highly treasured items of chefs and home cooks alike. Le Creuset, the renowned French company, were the first to coat this black, crude-looking vessel in a more durable and attractive enamel. These were declared ‘French ovens’, but by this time the Dutch part had already become stuck in the vernacular!
Highly respected as a cultural icon, no kitchenware can claim such an illustrious book title as Dutch Ovens Chronicled: Their Use in the United States. Suffice it to say, there is no shortage of Dutch oven cookbooks, from Southern cast iron cooking, to bread making and 101 uses for your Dutch oven!
Why Is A Pot An Oven?
Well, the sources say that any hollowed-out cavern can rightfully be called an oven. The spatulas may have a different opinion, but this pot is so versatile, it can do anything you’d expect from an oven. It can sear, broil, roast and fry meats, make stews, casseroles, risottos and even bake bread.
Are Dutch Ovens Healthy Cookware?
There’s a mystique around Dutch ovens with their enduring use and historical status. However, at HealthyKitchen101, we’re not just about peddling cookware – because that is what anyone can do. We’re here to ask the hard questions so you can make the best and healthiest choices for yourself, your friends and your family.
Modern-style Dutch ovens, which are coated in high-grade enamel, are perfectly safe and many are FDA-approved. There is some discord, however, around the safety and efficacy of bare cast iron cookware. Why? You may ask. Because according to official studies, a certain amount of iron will leach into the food. This is particularly true for pots not properly seasoned, or when used with acidic foods like tomatoes.
For growing children, menstruating women, or those who are iron-deficient, this may not be such an issue. For adult men and menopausal women, however, iron accumulation in the body can be problematic. If you think regular use of bare cast iron is not for you, just stick to the enameled pots.
How Does A Dutch Oven Work For You?
Although they are pots and don’t actually do much, Dutch ovens are colloquially referred to as the workhorse of the kitchen. Dutch ovens are lazy intelligence! The non-stick, sealed interior traps in flavor and juices, and while things cook a little more slowly, you have the time to relax and catch up with good company.
The key feature is the low and slow conductivity of the iron, as well as its heat retentive properties. This means that your food will not be subjected to rapidly changing temperatures and heat loss, so they are great for braising, frying, roasting and simmering.
The heavy, concave lid also traps in heat and moisture. As a result, they make wonderful stews, casseroles and soups, turn ordinary rice, risotto, and quinoa into a dream, and also make amazing breads with a perfect crust.
Bare Cast Iron Or Enamel Coated?
Most people prefer enamel-coated Dutch ovens not so much for health issues, but because the pots are so versatile and colorful. Make sure the enamel is high-grade, otherwise it will chip easily and expose the iron beneath.
Bare cast iron requires special preparation, or seasoning, before you cook with it. In addition, it requires more attentive care in order to prevent rust formation. Most cast iron pots these days come pre-seasoned, so you can usually use them straight out the box. Many people, though, prefer to give their pots a second seasoning.
How To Season A Traditional Dutch Oven
Proper seasoning of bare cast iron is necessary to prevent rust forming and to create a safe, non-stick cooking surface. Makers of these kinds of pots, such as Lodge™, will have detailed instructions included in the box. They also claim that, over time, a well-seasoned pot will leach minimal iron into your food.
Seasoning involves lightly rinsing your new pot and drying it, coating it with a grease-like shortening or an organic oil, then baking at 400-500℉ for an hour – not 350℉ as often recommended because this will not properly polymerize the oil, thus creating a sticky, rather than a non-stick surface. Over time, the coating on your pot will become darker and smoother, and this will impart a distinctive flavor to your food.
If you want to remove an old or bad seasoning job, you have to use a furnace, a fireplace or the self-clean cycle of your oven to reach at least 800℉ or 425℃.
How To Clean And Care For Your Dutch Oven
- Never use a coarse scourer and be careful not to scratch or chip an enameled Dutch oven.
- Cool down and soak in warm water before cleaning–never subject your pot to extreme temperature changes. For tough foods, burns or stains, add baking soda when soaking and sponge with a little soap.
- Do not soak a bare iron pot. As soon as it has cooled, wipe out excess food with a paper towel and wash straight away under warm, running water. Also, don’t use soap with bare cast iron as it will damage the seasoning.
- Gently dry your pot straight away. For bare cast iron, dry in an oven, and afterwards, lightly layer with oil or grease. For enameled pots, take care to protect the rim.
- Store in a cupboard that is free from humidity and don’t stack pots one on top of the other with a Dutch oven. A good tip is to place a large tea towel around the rim before resting the lid.
Popular Brand Names In Dutch Ovens
LeCreuset – the creators of the enamel-coated Dutch oven. Founded in France in 1925, they make a wide range of top-end cookware and utensils including cast iron, enameled cookware, stoneware, and even silicone.
There flagship large Dutch ovens are the benchmark against which all other brands are evaluated.
Staub – another French company specializing in enameled cookware as well as traditional cast iron and ceramics. They usually market their product as French ovens or ‘cocottes’. Their leading cocottes were designed in 1974 and were the first brand to use nub or droplet designs on the base of the lid for a more even distribution of condensation.
Lodge – one of America’s oldest cookware and traditional cast iron makers. They have an extensive range of cast iron cookware, including their sought-after Dutch ovens, enamelware, stoneware, and carbon steel cooking implements. Lodge are the go-to brand for outdoors and camping cookware. They also have a nice collection of cookbooks.
Tramontina – this company dates back to 1911. They manufacture a huge range of products across industries, but their US division is focused exclusively on kitchenware. They specialize in non-stick cookware, especially high grade improvements to aluminium.
Their range includes anodized aluminum which is coated with stainless steel or ceramics.
Other names that might ring a bell are Better Chef, Martha Stewart Cookware, Calphalon, Camp Chef, Denby, and Cuisinart. There are also many newcomers such as Milo, Zelancio, Anolon, and Bruntmor.
Reviews Of The Best Dutch Oven To Buy In 2019
For the best Dutch ovens in 2019, we have the recognizable top brands and some strong newcomers too.
- Zelancio 6-qt Enamel Dutch Oven In Red — Best To Buy In 2019
- Lodge 5-qt Cast Iron Dutch Oven — Best Classic Cast Iron Model
- 360 Americraft Stainless Steel 6-qt Dutch Oven — Best Stainless Steel Oven
- Camp Chef Deluxe 9 1/3-qt Dutch Oven — Best For Camping
- Tramontina Round Dutch Oven 7 & 4-qt Set — Best Value For Money
- Staub 1.5-qt Petite French Oven — Best Compact Oven
- Le Creuset Signature 9-qt Round In Cerise — Best Large Dutch Oven
Here are our top picks for the best Dutch ovens to buy in 2019
1. 6-qt Zelancio Dutch Oven In Red —Best To Buy In 2019
The best Dutch oven to buy is not always the most popular, nor the one with the highest manufacturing standards. We feel it needs to be the very best combination of style, quality, size, affordability, and top customer ratings. For our top selection, we present to you the Zelancio Cookware 6-qt Dutch Oven in Red.
A Modern, Classic Look
Nothing is worse than a stone in a shoe, especially in the kitchen when you have a great piece of cookware, but it’s an eyesore or looks out of place. You won’t have this with the Zelancio because the shading and design are a touch modern, yet stylishly classic. The well-blended red color is eye-catching, yet not garish—which makes it more elegant than the gaudy, though highly popular, Lodge Quart Enameled. The circular designs on the lid rim and top of the body are simple, classic, and not too busy.
Simply Pleasing And Not Over The Top
Some brands try too hard to please and go over the top with the color choices, which kind of makes things feel a little cheapened. The Zelancio color range is basic but sufficient, coming in polished shades of green, red, orange and teal which blend in well, yet are confidently noticeable. They don’t scream for attention, but rather draw people in and make for a richer conversation.
While the price tag on top brands like Le Creuset or Staud is out of reach for many, a 6-qt Zelancio is often more competitive than the overly promoted Lodge models. There is also an oval-shaped model, which for retails at $10 more and the oval red is some $30 extra! Oval pots are more difficult to forge than round ones.
Style Which Also Delivers Quality
A noticeable feature of the Zelancio is its large, easy to grip handles and this is pretty essential for a big, heavy pot– something that other makers surprisingly forget. It also has condensation dimples on the bottom of the lid for a more even distribution of heat and moisture.
Users report excellent results even when compared to the Le Creuset benchmark. It braises well, stews, simmers and bakes bread to perfection. Most of all, it is super easy to clean and many are impressed with its high-quality enamel finish—which Zelancio attributes to its three-layered finishing. Customers also loved how nicely and securely packaged the item is.
The Zelancio 6-qt Dutch oven is very competitively priced and its blend of the modern and classic suits all kitchens. First and foremost, however, it cooks great food and the 6-qt size is the most versatile of all.
2. Lodge 5-qt Cast Iron Dutch Oven — Best Cast Iron
The competing models in this category are all very similar, but this particular Lodge model has one feature that sets it apart—the domed lid that makes it perfectly versatile for larger roasts, baking bread or doubling up as a searing pan.
Although a very mid-ranged size for a Dutch oven, the domed, dual function lid adds a little extra that is always appreciated in an ergonomic kitchen. Dome-shaped lids are also better at retaining heat and moisture.
Most people love how this oven bakes the best bread ever, especially sour-dough, and the extra height makes it all the more easier. Some people don’t like the factory seasoning and would rather do their own, but nowadays, it is difficult to buy a bare cast iron pot that hasn’t been pre-seasoned.
Although advertised as dishwasher-safe, it’s always better not to put bare cast iron in the dishwasher. Wash lightly with a non-course sponge, dry out in the oven and layer with some oil before storing. Lodge also assures that these models are made in the USA—their more popular enameled ovens are made in China.
3. 360 Americraft Induction Waterless Dutch Oven — Best Stainless Steel
People choose stainless steel for its durability and affordability, but don’t cheap yourself with cookware that can also be a risk to your health. This 360 by Americraft has the quality and robustness that lives up to the true experience of a Dutch oven.
Truth be told, a stainless steel ‘Dutch oven’ is just a wannabe gate crasher at a fancy dress party. Dutch ovens are about low conductivity and slow cooking, however, this 360 Americraft compares well in a number of ways.
Slow conductivity is not one of them, because the 110-gauge stainless steel with a double aluminum inner-wrapping makes this pot thicker than most, and highly conductive. It’s ‘cheaper on the gas’ and like a Dutch oven, operate best on low to medium heat. Its signature, waterless lid traps natural juices inside and only a minimal amount of water or oil needs to be added to your food.
Consequently, this pot retains heat just like a true Dutch oven, and can easily handle temperatures of up to 500℉, including the lid. It is dishwasher-proof, EPA-certified, and proudly designed and manufactured in America. As with a Dutch oven, this 360 Americraft is an investment that will last you a lifetime, and the lifetime warranty gives the same assurance too. It comes in 4, 6, 8,12 and 16-qt sizes, but 5 and 6-qt sizes are the best.
4. Camp Chef Deluxe 9 ⅓-qt Dutch Oven — Best For Camping
When you go camping, you want equipment that is both functional and versatile– that is why we chose this Camp Chef cast iron pot over other popular brands. It has a dual function lid, a thermometer port and comes pre-seasoned.
As you can see in the picture, this pot comes with standing legs and there are also legs on the lid – the oven will sit securely in embers and the lid doubles up as a searing or pizza pan. This lid was the feature most liked by happy campers, second to the thermometer port. A lid-lifter is also included, so there’s no need to worry about extra purchases.
Its comfortable 9.33-qt size can hold up to 5 chicken breasts and can cook bread for a small group. There are two additional sizes—a 6-qt pot and an extra large 12-qt one —depending on whether you are a loner or a crowd pleaser.
Some people thought the pre-seasoning was not so good, but the most dissatisfaction came from the fact it is made in China. Unfortunately, even makers such as Lodge are now making some of their products in China.
5. Tramontina Round 7-qt & 4-qt Dutch Oven Set — Best Value For Money
One Dutch oven is great, how about a match made in heaven? The Brazilian maker Tramontina makes quality Dutch ovens and their matching set, although not exactly two for the price of one, is the best value your money can buy.
It’s not everyday that you can pick up a quality Dutch oven at a discounted price, not to mention a nicely priced set. This set comes in teal, graded red, blue, gunmetal gray and slate gray.
The 7-qt pot is a great size for braising meats or frying chicken as well as making full roasts, stews or bread. So, while you’re cooking up a storm in the 7-qt pot, the 4-qt pot can do sauces, vegetables or steam some rice. The pots, the lids and the knobs are all oven safe to 450℉.
Most of all, people love the color and shading of these pots, and find them very easy to clean. Also, users who tested the pots found that the heat was very uniformly distributed. There were, however, a number of reports of pots that arrived chipped or where the enamel came off after a few uses.
6. Staub Cast Iron 1.5-qt Petite French Oven — Best Compact Oven
The smallest Dutch oven you can easily find is a 1-qt. Staub does produce a mini 0.75qt, however, the 1.5-qt is a lot more versatile and we chose this model with more vertical height for a number of reasons.
Firstly, this dainty Staub is very pretty and elegant, and loves to go straight onto your table. Not many ‘Dutch’ ovens have this unique French look! Secondly, its slender shape is more suited to what people generally use these smaller ovens for, namely: rice, sauces, making oatmeal, small treats of mac and cheese, quinoa, vegetables, soups and reheats.
Its craftsmanship is Staub’s expected high-standard. It features the signature Chistera drop-structure lid which ensures a more even distribution of moisture throughout the pot and not just the sides. There are a number of colors available including dark blue, white and grey. If you require a more horizontal mini Dutch oven or something more affordable, we can recommend the Lodge 1.5-qt which only comes in red.
7. Le Creuset Signature 9-qt Round Dutch Oven — Best Large Oven
From small to large! If you want a Dutch oven larger than 15-qt, then we recommend you go camping with a traditional bare cast iron pot. For the more homebound epicurean, this epic Le Creuset 9-qt is the best choice for you.
For daily use, a 6-7-qt pot will usually suffice, but this superior size will cater for all special occasions and is really excellent with things like full pot roasts and large quantities of fried chicken. It measures some 15.75” across the handles, has a diameter of 12.252” and is 7.75” high– so it squats firmly on a stove top or counter. Le Creuset are the only quality maker of such large-sized enamel ovens.
While it likes to boast about its special sand-colored, non-stick interior, the real plus here are the large and comfortable handles—pretty essential for its size, but be aware that you should not lift this pot with the heavy lid on when full.
Although rather costly, long term users especially are completely sold on the value and performance of this pot. It is oven-safe up to 500℉ and dishwasher-safe, although it’s always better to just lightly sponge after a good soaking.
Top-rated Best Dutch Ovens Comparison Chart
Conversion aid: 1 US quart = 0.95 litres
|1.5 qt = 1.4 l||4 qt = 3.7 l||6 qt = 5.6 l||7 qt = 6.6 l||9 qt = 8.5 l|
|Model||Size Reviewed||Colors||Key Feature|
|Zelancio||6 qt||4 - teal, green, orange, red||3-layer enamel finish|
|Lodge||5 qt||1- cast iron black||Dual function lid|
|Americraft 360||9 qt||1- stainless stee||Waterless inductio|
|Camp Chef||9 ⅓ qt||1- cast iron black||Dual function lid|
|Tramontina set||4 & 7 qt||5 - teal, blue, graded red, gunmetal gray, slate||Oven-proof to 450℉|
|Staub||1.5 qt||3 - grenadine, dark blue, graphite gray||Slender, vertical shape|
|Le Creuset||9 qt||6 - cherry, flame, marine, Marseille blue, oyster, white||Highest quality and excellence|
A Dutch oven in your kitchen brings great versatility. It is also an investment in healthier, slow-cooking and the best non-stick cookware available. This is a pot that will last you a lifetime and beyond, so listen to your heart when you choose your new best friend.