The best cast iron Dutch oven is a must-have cookware if you want a sturdy and versatile oven that you can use for different purposes and use for a long period of time. This piece of cookware is with a heavy lid that seals moisture, thick walls that speeds up cooking, and lovely appearance that adds aesthetic value.
Some of these are fairly big pots that accommodate large meat cuts or a batch of food. They are also made of materials that include stainless steel and others cast iron. Many are also enameled and come in a bright color. Due to variations in size, style and material, to name some, it is uneasy to pick a Dutch oven. That is why we’re creating this guide in the following.
Today, learn how to choose a cast iron Dutch oven, the differences between stainless steel and cast iron and the top picks in the category. After reading, we do hope you can select the right cast iron Dutch oven with the right size, cost, weight and other features that you’re looking for.
- I. Our Top 5 Picks for Cast Iron Dutch Ovens
- II. The Difference Between Cast Iron and Stainless Steel Dutch Oven
- III. What is a Cast Iron Dutch Oven used for?
- IV. Top 10 Best Cast Iron Dutch Ovens
- 1. Lodge 6 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
- 2. Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron 5-1/2-Quart Round French Dutch Oven
- 3. Lodge 3 Quart Cast Iron Combo Cooker Dutch Oven and Convertible Skillet
- 4. Cuisinart Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Dutch Oven with Cover
- 5. Lodge 5 Quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven
- 6. Lodge 8 Quart Deep Camp Dutch Oven
- 7. AmazonBasics Enameled Cast Iron Covered Dutch Oven
- 8. Tramontina Enameled Cast Iron Covered Round Dutch Ove
- 9. Crock Pot 7 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Round Dutch Oven
- 10. Staub 4 Quart Cast Iron Round Cocotte
- V. What to Look for When Buying a Cast Iron Dutch Oven
- VI. How to Season Cast Iron Dutch Oven
- VII. Conclusion
I. Our Top 5 Picks for Cast Iron Dutch Ovens
Lodge 6 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven Our #1 Pick
II. The Difference Between Cast Iron and Stainless Steel Dutch Oven
Both materials are metals; they are also common and popular in the manufacture of cookware like the Dutch oven. However, you might be wondering if they have differences for cooking. Unsurprisingly, they do! Keep reading in the following for the main differences between these two materials for a Dutch oven.
Heat distribution and maintenance
Cast iron can distribute and maintain heat pretty well. It is for even cooking, too, even if it doesn’t heat up fast. This material can hold heat longer than a stainless steel does. Nevertheless, it cools down slow, too, and prevents temperature fluctuation. With this quality, cast iron is good for searing meats and making stews. However, take note of hot spots that might burn your food!
Stainless steel is a poor heat conductor, so many of Dutch ovens made of it are made with a copper layer at the bottom to do the work. However, you cannot expect the heat to climb up the sides. So while stainless steel can heat up and cool down fast, you have to do much to get the temperature correctly. You should also not turn up heat fast or you will burn what you’re cooking.
While some cookware with nonstick coating in pans is common, these nonstick properties eventually wear away and not last long. In many cases, 100% stainless steel doesn’t have nonstick coating, so they are hard to clean even if they will last.
On the other hand, you need to season cast iron to keep things from sticking into it. This oil will not constantly run off versus in a stainless steel. However, you need to maintain its surface to keep the nonstick property. If you want less maintenance, go for enameled cast iron for ease of cleaning.
Cast iron pots are heavier and thicker than stainless steels are, but more weight also gives cast iron that ability to hold on to heat longer, which is a good thing.
III. What is a Cast Iron Dutch Oven used for?
You might be wondering what you can use a Dutch oven for, and in the following are some you need to know.
You might be surprised but Dutch ovens are good for baking breads. It has been used for baking for centuries. With it, you can make amazing loaves at home.
You might be surprised but Dutch ovens are also good in braising meats. You also have the option of pairing your braised meat with your favorite green salad. That makes for a healthy dinner!
This cooking method is one of the main reasons to buy a Dutch oven. If you love roasted meat, you might want to take advantage of its ability to helping you make the perfect moist roasted meat.
Stews and soups
Create flavored layers using a Dutch oven. It is indeed one of the most versatile and functional cookware to try all your favorite stews and soups.
Dutch ovens are also ideal for making chicken stock once you’re done in roasting a chicken. You can save its juice as a base for a tasty stock that you can use in making hearty soups, too.
The high sides of this oven make it good for frying without the oil splatter. Its tall sides are your best bet for making frying less messy.
Lasagnas and casseroles
Make awesome one-pot casseroles and your favorite lasagnas using the Dutch oven
It is another dish to make in this oven. Now, you can make them in the comfort of your kitchen.
You can prevent chicken dryness by poaching it to make a moist and healthy recipe version. Its deep design and construction makes it ideal for retaining heat, which can speed up cooking time, too.
There you have the plenty of things for which you can use your Dutch oven! Refer to the following for the reviews of the top picks in the category so that you can later decide on what oven is for you based on its features.
IV. Top 10 Best Cast Iron Dutch Ovens
1. Lodge 6 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
This Dutch oven is a top choice among those who love an elegant but functional cookware. It is versatile for searing, baking and poaching, to name some. The Classic Red Enamel Dutch Oven has a large capacity perfect for serving your loved ones and guests especially on occasions.
This model also has a red enamel coating that makes it a nice addition to your kitchen for its aesthetic appeal. In addition, the cookware is by a reputable brand known by many households in terms of offering quality and heavy-duty cookware.
You can also look forward to long-term use because it is made of high quality and sturdy materials, allowing you to look forward to years of use. Overall, you might want to check it out if you want a durable, elegant and large capacity cookware.
- Large cooking capacity
- Durable and quality construction
- Lovely porcelain enamel
- Can tolerate high temperatures
- Reputable brand
- Enamel coating wears away over time
2. Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron 5-1/2-Quart Round French Dutch Oven
One of the things that make the Le Creuset Dutch oven a great choice is its sand-colored interior that works by allowing proper food monitoring to prevent burning or sticking. It is also with oversized handles that allow for a secure grip and even weight distribution when lifting or placing in the burner or oven.
More so, this model also has ergonomic knobs that have the ability to resist heat for up to 500 degrees. It is a notable feature to consider when buying a Dutch oven. In addition, this item has integrated stabilizers that offer a no-slide fit that you can count on.
The Le Creuset Dutch oven also features the lightest weight for every quart of any cookware like it available on the market. You can also cut cooking time with this cookware because it offers excellent heat distribution and retention.
- Oversized, easy grip handles
- Elegant exterior
- Excellent heat distribution
- Built-in lid stabilizers
- Heat-resistant knobs up to 500 degrees
- Sticking issues
3. Lodge 3 Quart Cast Iron Combo Cooker Dutch Oven and Convertible Skillet
Lodge is a reputable brand that manufactures elegantly designed and durably constructed cookware This item is one of its top offerings on the market. It is a pre-seasoned cookware that saves you time and effort from doing it yourself.
You can also count on the cookware that you can use for a wide range of purposes including baking, poaching, braising and roasting. Check it out if you want a durable and functional cookware also known for its excellent heat distribution and retention.
This model is also ideal for smaller families that do not need large batches of food in one cooking. It is also combo cooker that can do it all as a fryer and a deep skillet, too. Nevertheless, you can bring out your creative side and show your cooking versatility with this dependable cookware.
- Made in the USA
- Elegant design and finish
- Durable and heavy-duty construction
- Pre-seasoning saves time
- Versatile cookware
- Smaller cooking surface
4. Cuisinart Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Dutch Oven with Cover
The 5.5 quart is another top choice for many households because it is made of durable and long-lasting materials. This cookware is made to last and is pre-seasoned to save you time from doing it manually. It is made of durable cast iron known for its excellence in distributing and retaining heat.
It is also a heavy weight cast iron Dutch oven that is built to last. It is ideal for many cooking methods including grilling, frying and baking, too. You can also count on it for its high heat tolerance that you can use it in the oven. It is also good for all stovetops as well as grill and induction.
You might want to check it out if you are looking for a functional and sturdy cookware. Finally, it is with a lifetime warranty that adds peace of mind in every purchase.
- Large cooking surface
- Pre-seasoned cookware
- Ideal for different cooking methods
- Sturdy handles
- Quality and durable construction
- Can be a bit heavy
5. Lodge 5 Quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Lodge has been a household name when it comes to reliable cookware that last! One of its top offerings for many of its customers is the Lodge L8DD3. One of its unique features is its pre-seasoning. In that case, you don’t have to season the cast iron Dutch oven yourself.
This product can work overtime for your cooking needs. It can handle heavy abuse and use in the kitchen. It is also versatile that it can be converted to a skillet, too. You can also use it for non-knead bread recipes and roasted meats.
Another thing that makes it a good choice is that it has superior heat distribution and retention. It can save you cooking time and can help you serve food hot. It can stay warm just like other cast iron can.
- Heavy-duty and quality materials
- Ideal for different cooking methods
- Can withstand high heat
- Can be used in the oven, induction and grills
- Reputable manufacturer of quality cookware
- Sticking issues
6. Lodge 8 Quart Deep Camp Dutch Oven
The 8-quart deep cast iron Dutch oven is another top pick not to miss when trying to compare different products in the category. This item is a portable camp stove that can aid for many cooking methods. It can do it all! You can count on it for cooking in hot coals. It also has integral legs that let it sit over the camping fire firmly.
In addition, it is a pre-seasoned cookware, so there is no need to do it yourself. It seasoning becomes better the more you’re using it. This quality product is also made of thick and durable materials. You can pass it from one generation to the next.
The best part is that this model comes with the Camp Dutch Oven Cooking 101 cookbook that lets you bring out your kitchen creativity to cook delicious and healthy dishes for your family.
- Elegant classic finish
- Ideal for camping purposes
- Large cooking capacity
- Excellent heat retention and distribution
- Not for those looking for a smaller cast iron Dutch oven
7. AmazonBasics Enameled Cast Iron Covered Dutch Oven
The blue and 7.3-Quart Dutch oven is another great addition to your collection because it is versatile and functional. You can use it to marinate and store food as well as to sear, bake and braise meat. You definitely have to take a look at it if you want more out of your spending.
It has a large room for food for its 7.3-quart capacity. You can also use it for making one-dish meals and on many types of stovetops and grills. You don’t also have to worry about a tedious cleaning process because this product is easy to clean. You can also use it perfectly from cooking to serving to the table. The AmazonBasics Enameled Dutch oven is also perfect for the oven for up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Versatile for virtually all cooking methods
- Durable and heavy-duty performance
- Non-reactive to food
- Can be used to marinate and store food
- Ideal for large batch of cooking
- Enamel coating can wear away over time
8. Tramontina Enameled Cast Iron Covered Round Dutch Ove
The round Dutch oven is another favorite in the category for its versatility. You can use it in most stovetops including induction cooktops and ceramic glass cooktops. It is also fine to use with electric or gas stoves. Plus, this product is safe for the oven that it can deal with up to 450 degrees F of temperature.
You will also appreciate that it is easy to clean that you don’t need to spend much time in the process. You can also count it for its safe materials that do not contain PFOA or PTFE; thus, you can have peace of mind that cooking on it will not harm your loved ones.
In addition, this product has self-basting ridges, collecting the vapor and directing it to food for savory dishes. Overall, it is a good pick for its durability and heavy-duty performance to last through the years.
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Self-basting ridges
- Lifetime Warranty
- Compatible with most stovetops
- Can be used in the oven up to 450 degrees F
- Not dishwasher safe
9. Crock Pot 7 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Round Dutch Oven
One of the things to like about the slow cooker pot is that it is made of cast iron that makes it superior in distributing and retaining heat evenly for faster cooking. You will also have ease of use because it has easy grip and large handles that also add to safety. In addition, the slow cooker is with a self-basting lid, adding to a good basting environment for savory food.
It also has a nonstick surface that allows for easy and healthy cooking. You don’t also have to worry about sticking to the surface for this nonstick design. In addition, you might want to check it out if you want a heavy-duty product that is made of sturdy materials for more value of your spending.
Overall, this product is a decent pick for its versatility that you can use it for electric, gas, induction and ceramic cooktops. You can also broil or bake in it in a conventional or convection oven.
- Can retain heat and distribute it evenly
- Moveable and sturdy
- Lovely Sapphire Blue color
- Large 7-Quart capacity
- A bit heavy for some users
10. Staub 4 Quart Cast Iron Round Cocotte
The 4-quart Staub Cast Iron Dutch oven shouldn’t be missed on this list of top picks in the category because it has the solid features that make it a valuable addition to your kitchen. This model also comes with a heavyweight lid that can help in retaining moisture and cutting cooking time.
You can also count on it for its oven safety. It is useful and safe for up to 900F without the lids, while up to 500F for its lid. It is also with a durable nickel steel knob as well as an enamel bottom that can work on all types of stovetops that include induction and electric.
Overall, the dishwasher safe cookware can be for you if you’re looking for a quality and durable Dutch oven that you can use for the years to come.
- Heavy-duty performance and durable for long-lasting use
- Dishwasher safe and easy to clean
- Oven safe up to 900F
- Exceptional quality
- Matte texture interior
- Enamel bottom wears away in time
V. What to Look for When Buying a Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Certainly, the Dutch oven is one of the most versatile cookware to buy if you are an avid cook, whether you’re a seasoned one or a beginner. There is no limit on how you can use this wonderful oven in your kitchen! However, you might be overwhelmed with the wide selection to find and choose from before finally deciding which to buy. Keep reading in the following to know how to choose the cast iron Dutch oven.
Not all cast iron Dutch ovens are the same in terms of shape. Others are shorter; others are wider. There are also narrower pots that accommodate a smaller batch while others are with a larger capacity for a larger need. On the other hand, there are models that have a shallower but wider cooking surface to accommodate more meats.
In addition, searing is also easier in a shallower oven than a taller cookware. However, you might want to opt for a smaller base if you have a smaller burner. In this case, you might want to check out a narrow but tall oven because it can allow for a good heat distribution.
The Dutch oven is heavier than traditional cookware like ceramic or lightweight nonstick of the same size. For example, one with a six-quart capacity can weigh as much as 15 lbs. You might be surprised at first if you don’t have the idea on how heavy this cookware can get.
If you are a strong person, then you might not mind a heavy weight of a durable cookware. If you don’t want it heavy, you can go for stainless steel variants of a Dutch oven. However, take note that it will not be able to retain and distribute heat well as a cast iron version would.
In terms of the size, those with a larger cooking surface but shallower is favored by those who want to cook larger and more meat pieces. However, you also have to see to it that the size of the Dutch oven can fit on your rack. Also, you have to consider its overall height with the lid. In this case, you might find it hard to fit a taller Dutch oven in a smaller oven.
But then, you also have to think of your cooking needs when comparing the different sizes available. You might want to opt for a larger capacity oven if you have a large family or want to cook for a number of people or guests in occasions. For example, you might want to opt for a 7qt capacity Dutch oven if you typically cook for and serve up to eight people.
Look for easy grip handles that adds to the ease of use of the Dutch oven especially that it is quite heavy.
There you have some of the things to look into when shopping around for a Dutch oven cookware that you need to know for the best kitchen experience. Compare your options well and buy the right one for you today!
VI. How to Season Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Seasoning can help you separate your food from metal, and that’s why you might want to know how to season a cast iron Dutch oven. Check out the following on how to do it properly.
Place a foil-lined sheet in the oven’s bottom rack. Place the lid and kettle on the top rack. Be sure to preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Coat the surfaces of the Dutch oven with virgin olive oil using a rag. Put your oven with its face down.
Note – there can be smoke coming out in the process of seasoning the cookware. Don’t worry because it’s normal.
Keep the lid and kettle inside the oven until you noticed that smoke is gone, ideally for an hour. Take the oven from the heat and let it cool down. Add oil again, and repeat the same process two more times to coat the surface of the oven three times.
When done, the cast iron will look more beautiful and of course become more functional. Add more olive oil if you noticed spots that do not have glasslike finish because you have to achieve fully sealed surface. This seasoning will become more resilient as your oven is used.
The best cast iron Dutch oven is versatile and functional. With proper seasoning, you will be able to make a lovelier and resilient cookware that you can depend on through the years. It is useful for baking, searing, frying, stewing and braising meat, to name some. While it is heavier and slower to heat up, it is a perfect heat conductor. It cools down slower, so it can keep food warm for a longer time even when done cooking.
The cast iron Dutch oven is certainly a must-have in the kitchen for plenty of purposes and heavy-duty performance. To get started finding the best one among the choices, refer to our buying guide for the things to check including size, shape and weight. Finally, consider the reviews when comparing your choices and later buy the right cast iron Dutch oven for your needs.