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Food & Recipes

14 Best Dutch Ovens for All Your Cooking and Baking Needs

Braising and roasting and baking, oh my!


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Whether you’re a baking buff or a roasting rookie, there are certain tools that belong in your cooking arsenal. At the top of that list? A solid, sturdy Dutch oven. Dutch ovens are forces of nature when it comes to cooking, and few kitchen tools are as multifunctional. They can braise, bake, sear, sauté, fry, roast — pretty much any task you’d need to do to create a delicious, made-from-scratch meal. They’re essential for experienced and beginner home cooks alike, and we’re strong believers that no kitchen is complete without one.

As enjoyable as cooking can be, it’s sometimes nice to let your kitchenware do the work for you. Enter: the Dutch oven. Most are made with heat-conducting powerhouse materials, like cast iron, aluminum, and steel, meaning they’ll retain heat at both high and low temperatures. They’re also designed for both stovetop and oven cooking, making them true one-pot meal all-stars. While there might be some initial hands-on work, like prepping ingredients and browning proteins and vegetables, using a Dutch oven often means setting and forgetting. Slow braises, soups, and stews can cook for hours without you having to lift a finger. And don’t forget bread: Dutch ovens are great for baking fresh bread from scratch, like this classic no-knead bread recipe from the New York Times. A largely hands-off route to warm, toasty goodness!

Convinced that your kitchen needs a Dutch oven, but not sure which one to buy? We’ve answered some common questions about finding the best Dutch oven below, so read on to find the perfect one for you!

What is the best Dutch oven to buy?

When it comes to choosing a Dutch oven, the options can be overwhelming. Oval or round? Enamel or cast iron? Lodge or Le Creuset? It all depends on what you plan on using your Dutch oven for, and how often you’ll be reaching for it. Important things to keep in mind are the types of dishes you’ll be making, and how much you’re willing to invest based on usage.

For starters, determine if you’ll mainly be cooking for a crowd or preparing smaller meals. This will inform what size you should purchase (more on that below!). Next, think about what you’ll be making in your Dutch oven. Different materials have different benefits, as do different shapes, which we’ll also discuss in a bit. Lastly, decide how much you’re willing to spend. We think a good Dutch oven more than pays for itself, especially if it’s used often. Most are built to last, meaning you won’t have to spend more money to keep replacing them. But you should pick a price point that you feel comfortable with — there are great options for every budget!

What is the most useful size for a Dutch oven?

One of the wonderful things about Dutch ovens is that they come in a wide range of sizes. If you plan on cooking for large groups, a bigger oven (like an 8-quart model) might be best for you. However, the most standard capacity is about 6-quarts, which will typically feed a family of four. For micro-meals, some are even as tiny as a coffee mug!

Another thing to consider is shape. Circular Dutch ovens fit nicely on stovetop burners, while oval-shaped Dutch ovens often have more cooking surface for ample browning and searing. Once you’ve determined which size and shape are best for you and the people you’ll be cooking for, you’ll be able to narrow your options down much more easily.

Which is better, enamel or cast iron Dutch ovens?

This is one of the most common questions people have about Dutch ovens. Most traditional Dutch ovens are made with cast iron, but some are coated in enamel, and some are not. The difference is that enamel has a slicker surface, making food less prone to sticking and it easier to clean. On the other hand, cast iron Dutch ovens without enamel are great for cooking over an open flame or on the grill. Some come pre-seasoned, though seasoning cast iron is not as difficult as you might think!

Another advantage of cast iron Dutch ovens is that they’re often less expensive than their enamel-coated counterparts. That being said, enamel Dutch ovens are so low-maintenance, many fans of nonstick cookware feel they’re worth the extra money.

While cast iron and enamel Dutch ovens are the most common, materials like aluminum, ceramic, and stainless steel are sometimes used as well. We’ve included some options for these in our roundup below!

Is Lodge as good as Le Creuset?

Ah, the age-old question! Lodge and Le Creuset are household names for a reason. Both have been making quality cast iron cookware for decades (Lodge has been in the business since 1896!), and both have dedicated fanbases. The big difference, of course, is how they’re priced. Le Creuset Dutch ovens can easily cost double, if not more, than Lodge Dutch ovens, making them the crème de la crème of kitchen brands. Depending on size, a Le Creuset Dutch oven can cost up to $570, which is quite an investment!

Lodge Dutch ovens are a great option for those looking for a solid cooking vessel that won’t break the bank. They come in both enameled and non-enameled cast iron, and are built to endure most any cooking environment. If you don’t plan on using your Dutch oven very often, this might be a good, affordable fit for you.

On the other hand, Le Creuset Dutch ovens come with a lifetime guarantee, and they’re arguably unparalleled when it comes to aesthetics. With 16 gorgeous colors to choose from, you’ll certainly find one to complement your kitchen — you might even want to display it on your countertop!

Le Creuset not in your budget? No problem. There are many great alternatives that will help turn out delicious meals and fill your kitchen with mouthwatering aromas. We’ve rounded up 14 that we love, and think you will, too. Keep scrolling to shop FIRST for Women’s picks for the best Dutch ovens!

What are the best Dutch ovens for 2021?

Le Creuset Round Dutch Oven

Best Le Creuset Dutch Oven
le creuset round dutch oven
Le Creuset

Buy from Le Creuset, $160-$570

Why we like it:

  • Comes with a lifetime warranty
  • Available in 16 colors and 9 sizes
  • Has ergonomic knobs and handles for easy lifting

When it comes to kitchenware, a Le Creuset Dutch oven is often thought to be the crown jewel — and for good reason. Their gorgeous, artisanal ovens have been hand-crafted in France since 1925, and they’re just as functional as they are beautiful. Made with lightweight cast iron, these pots are both durable and easy to carry, and their snugly-fit lids ensure even steam circulation and moisture retention. Since they’re available in nine sizes, there’s one to fit any cooking task, whether making a large roast for a gathering or preparing individual meals. Best of all, they come with a lifetime warranty, which more than justifies the price tag.

Happy customer: “Absolutely my favorite thing in my kitchen. Cooks food beautifully. I have had my big pot for a year and I use it almost every day. It is still in pristine condition. My husband gave me a smaller one as a gift and that one is perfect for side dishes or if I’m just cooking for me. You don’t know how great they are until you cook with one!”

Modern Cast Iron Covered Round Casserole

Best Dutch oven for beginner cooks
Food52 dutch oven

Buy from Food52, $160

Why we like it:

  • Made of durable cast iron
  • Available in 2 colors
  • Chic, minimalist style

Available in the pictured lovely green shade or black, this 4.4-quart casserole dish is just the right size for beginners who want to cook delicious meals at home. Whether you’re making flavorful stews or creating lovely loaves, the cast iron ensures even heating, and the smooth surface cleans up easily. Plus, you can buy a coordinating steamer insert ($48) that tucks neatly inside for perfectly steamed veggies!

Happy customer: “My chef boyfriend and I were surprised by how quickly this heats and boils for such a large, sturdy pot. It retains heat well and the enamel cleans easily with soapy water or baking soda paste for stains (red wine beef bourguignon!). Can transfer from stove top to oven. It’s my favorite pot. “

The Pioneer Woman Timeless Beauty Enamel on Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Best cast iron Dutch oven
best dutch ovens

Buy from Walmart, $44.97

Why we like it:

  • Beautiful embossed floral design
  • Includes 2 interchangeable knobs
  • Safe for use on all stovetops, in the oven, and on the grill

Don’t be fooled by the pretty floral design on this durable Dutch oven from The Pioneer Woman’s kitchen line at Walmart — from the sheer weight of it, you know it means business! It comes in red or turquoise, and as Ree herself says, it’s “as useful as it is gorgeous.” Made of sturdy cast iron, it’s safe for use on any cooking surface, including the grill, and can withstand temperatures up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit in the oven. To keep this Dutch oven in tip-top shape for years to come, you’ll want to wash by hand, but the stickiest casseroles and roasts are no match for the slick enamel coating, which makes cleaning a breeze.

Happy customer: “This is a must have. This cast iron, enamel coated dutch oven is truly fantastic. It’s sturdy, heavy, very well built and quite practical for all your roasting, baking, stove-top cooking needs … You can unscrew the metal knob on the lid and replace it with a lighter plastic one if you chose. The color is fantastic (very modern and clean), and the insides of the pot are also very smooth to the touch (the enamel). You can use this for a ton of cooking needs and clean up is fairly simple in the sink.”

Staub Round Cocotte

Best Dutch Oven for deep-frying
Staub Dutch oven
Sur La Table

Buy from Sur La Table, from $374.95

Why we like it:

  • Compatible with all heat sources
  • Available in 10 colors
  • Dishwasher safe

This seven-quart beauty is crafted in France and makes perfect soups, stews, roasts, and braises — but we especially love it for deep-frying. The matte enamel finish won’t rust, chip, or become discolored, and can hold its own when filled with blazing hot oil. Thanks to its large size, you’ll be able to fit more ingredients, meaning you can fry to your heart’s content in fewer batches. Best of all, it comes with a limited lifetime warranty, so you can be sure it’ll last.

Happy customer: “This cocotte is the ultimate family dinner size and you may even have leftovers. You can makes soup, steam, deep-fry, pan-fry, bake, or boil in it. The heat capability of the pan is amazing — heats up quickly and evenly, also stays hot for hours. It has self-basting spikes on the interior of the lid which collect and return all moisture back into the dish — nothing dries out and the food stays moist. My favorite thing about the pan is how well it sears meat. Perfect caramelization every time.”

Lodge Cast Iron Enamel Dutch Oven

Best Dutch Oven for bread

Buy from Amazon, $69.90

Why we like it:

  • Smooth glass surface won’t react to ingredients
  • Available in 12 colors
  • Over 20,000 5-star ratings on Amazon

Available in eye-popping colors and neutral tones, this six-quart workhorse is a fantastic, reliable option for cooking up large batches of — well, anything you want, really! In addition to making exquisite bread, you’ll use this one for pot roasts, bean dishes, and anything you want to cook long and slow, filling your home with a tempting aroma. We love the light-colored enamel interior, which makes it easier to tell when food has been browned to perfection.

Happy customer: “Amazing cast iron pot. The quality is superb and the metal is heavy but practical. I used it to bake artisan style bread a couple times and the results were just as if I had put my bread in a brick oven. The color is fantastic and bright… The enamel non-stick surface is so easy to clean, I don’t know why I didn’t buy this before.”

Zwilling Spirit Stainless Steel Dutch Oven

Best Dutch Oven for rice
Zwilling Stainless Steel Dutch Oven
Sur La Table

Buy from Sur La Table, $134.95

Why we like it:

  • Glass lid allows you to see your food cooking
  • Large handles provide a secure grip
  • Thick aluminum core ensures even heat distribution

When feeding a crowd, you’ll want to reach for this eight-quart stainless steel wonder from Zwilling. Its thick, 3-ply construction includes scratch-resistant stainless steel and an aluminum core to quickly and effectively conduct heat. Another convenient feature is the glass lid, which traps in moisture while allowing you to keep an eye on your cooking. It’s oven-safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit (up to 400 degrees with the lid), making it suitable for cooking rice, stews, braises, and most any feast fit for large groups. We’re big fans of the measurement indicators included in the interior of this pot for easy, no-guess cooking.

Happy customer: “Great for those family-style meals or for big Sunday dinners. Stay-cool handles with glass lid, so you can see what you are cooking. Side handles make it easy to transport to table. Cleans easily – soak and wipe clean!

Tramontina Gourmet Cast Iron Oval Dutch Oven

Best Dutch Oven for sourdough bread
Tramontina Dutch Oven

Buy from Wayfair, from $99.95

Why we like it:

  • Oval-shaped to suit a variety of cooking needs
  • Comes in 2 colors
  • Self-basting lid design

When it comes to certain tasks, like baking bread, it’s helpful to have kitchen tools that offer variety, like this Tramontina oval Dutch oven. Its oblong shape makes it ideal for homemade sourdough loaves beyond the typical round boule (or “ball”) for when your toast and sandwich cravings strike. We especially like the seven-quart option for making sourdough, since it has ample room for the bread to rise and expand.

Happy customer: “I’ve been using this mostly to make bread. It’s super easy and the bread comes out perfect each time!”

Epicurious Enameled Cast Iron Covered Dutch Oven

Best Dutch Oven for the money
Epicurious Dutch oven

Buy from Amazon, $49.99

Why we like it:

  • Lid has built-in basting rings for moisture control
  • Available in 2 colors
  • Enameled interior and exterior makes for easy cleaning

A Dutch oven doesn’t have to have a hefty price tag to get the job done, as this six-quart Epicurious option proves. Oven-safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and suitable for stovetop use as well, this budget-friendly dish will surprise you with its quality and durability. For dishes like stews and braises, the lid features special ridges to collect and distribute moisture, ensuring meat and vegetables stay juicy and tender. Bonus: We love the pictured chic gray shade, which gives this affordable pot a more luxe look.

Happy customer: “Great for making bread! It’s heavy duty, oven safe, and easy to clean.”

Great Jones The Dutchess

Best eye-catching Dutch Oven
Great Jones Dutch Oven
Great Jones

Buy from Great Jones, $155

Why we like it:

  • Ovular shape allows for more variety
  • Available in 8 colors
  • Elegant matte finish and gold handle

Need a little inspiration to get you cooking? Look no further than The Dutchess from Great Jones, a Dutch oven so beautiful it’ll make you actually want to spend more time in the kitchen! Don’t be fooled by its regal looks, though — this cast iron oven is designed to do all the heavy lifting, from searing and browning to stewing and baking. The enamel finish is effective for deglazing, and is a cinch to clean (it’s dishwasher-safe!). Its ovular shape also makes it a roomier option, which we love for larger meals like roasts.

Happy customer: “I’m an artist (as a profession) and a cook (as a hobby) and I try to collect pieces for my kitchen that serve as beautiful touches and excellent tools. This Dutch oven serves both of those things on a silver platter. It’s beautiful, easy to clean, heats evenly, and so far everything I’ve made in it has been absolutely delicious. If you’re looking for a new essential multi-purpose addition to your kitchen give this a try. It’s awesome!”

All-Clad Cast-Aluminum Nonstick Dutch Oven

Best lightweight Dutch Oven
Sur La Table

Buy from Sur La Table, $149.96 (originally $220)

Why we like it:

  • Aluminum construction makes it more lightweight than many other Dutch ovens
  • Large surface area is ideal for searing and browning
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty

Few things are as satisfying as a smooth cooking vessel to serving dish transfer, which is why we’re all about this aluminum Dutch oven by All-Clad. Its nonstick coating makes it easy to stir, flip, and rotate ingredients without any mess, while the long shape offers more cooking area, ideal for browning and searing. What’s particularly great about this piece is that it’s considerably lighter than many other Dutch ovens, meaning you can easily transport between stovetop and oven without worry.

Happy customer: “I bought this pot for myself and I use it for many different things to cook. Really like it, not heavy and very easy to clean. Also looks good to serve from.”

Caraway Dutch Oven

Best ceramic Dutch Oven
Caraway Ceramic Dutch Oven

Buy from Caraway, $125

Why we like it:

  • Constructed of non-toxic materials
  • Comes in 5 colors
  • Has a nonstick ceramic interior

If you’re a fan of nonstick pans (aren’t we all?), you’ll love this 6.5-quart ceramic beauty from Caraway. Its slick cooking surface means minimal scrubbing and scraping, and it’s oven-proof up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit, making it the perfect vessel for all of your braising and bread-baking ventures. The wave-shaped handles give this Dutch oven a modern feel, and we particularly love the pictured coral tone for a playful pop of color. You can also be rest assured that your cooking won’t contain any potentially harmful chemicals, as this piece is made with non-toxic materials — win-win!

Happy customer: “Love my Dutch oven! Makes the best bread EVER. It never sticks to the pan, and the crust is perfect — on the bottom and on the top. Wouldn’t bake bread in anything else now!

Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Double Dutch Oven

Best Dutch oven for camping
Lodge double Dutch oven

Buy from Amazon, $49.90 (originally $64)

Why we like it:

  • Lid doubles as a skillet
  • Pre-seasoned with 100% natural vegetable oil
  • Can be used over a fire

If you’re looking for a kitchen tool that will upgrade your cooking — indoor or out! — this multipurpose five-quart Dutch oven is sure to do the trick. Made from thick, heat-retaining cast iron, it’s durable enough to withstand any oven or cooking surface, including an open fire, making it ideal for camping and outdoor cookouts. Best of all, this two-in-one cooker is great for multitaskers, as the lid can be inverted and used as a skillet. Reduce your sauce and sauté your protein and vegetables at the same time!

Happy customer: “This is the single best pan purchase I have ever made! Actually, it is like having two pots in one, since the lid can be used as a skillet. I love how evenly it cooks and I love the fact that I can cook things at lower levels and still be sure the pot itself retains the heat. I can use it indoors on the stovetop or in the oven and I can also use it camping both on top of the grill or in the coals of the campfire. This is truly my favorite kitchen purchase ever!”

Food52 x Milo by Kana Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Best Milo Dutch Oven
Milo cast iron dutch oven

Buy from Food52, from $110

Why we like it:

  • Eye-catching gold knob detail
  • Available in 3 colors
  • Comes with a lifetime guarantee

This stunning Milo Dutch oven has a following for a reason. It’s equal parts beauty and function, making it a great piece for the home chef who wants to cook in style. You can opt for one (or both!) of two sizes: a small, yet mighty 3.5-quart or a larger 5.5-quart. It’s made of enameled cast iron to evenly distribute heat to your slow-cooked meals, and cleans like a dream.

Happy customer: “I love to cook using this pot! It heats evenly and is also easy to clean. I love the color and the look of it on my stove. There is joy in great food from lovely pots and serving pieces!”

Dansk Kobenstyle Casserole

Best mini Dutch Oven
Dansk casserole
Sur La Table

Buy from Sur La Table, from $114.95

Why we like it:

  • Two-in-one lid doubles as a trivet
  • Available in 5 colors
  • Comes with a limited lifetime warranty

When you’re cooking for a smaller Dutch oven this mini two-quart casserole is just right. It’s oven-safe up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, so you’ll be able to achieve a perfectly crispy cheese topping for individual servings of macaroni and cheese, French onion soup, and other comfort foods. Double-duty kitchenware is always a great find, which is why we love that the lid also serves as a trivet. And at just over three pounds, you won’t have to worry about lifting a hot, heavy pot.

Happy customer: “I didn’t know it was possible to describe a casserole dish as gorgeous but this one is! It has a great design and it’s lightweight, making it perfect for everyday cooking. Cleanup is a breeze and I love that the lid doubles as a trivet! Just an all around great piece of cookware.

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