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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At first glance, you might think that a Dutch oven is a frivolous extra—an outdated favorite from years gone by.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.

Like other cast iron offerings from Lodge, the Dutch oven is preseasoned and offers the natural non-stick surface you’d expect from well-seasoned cast iron. In fact, you can use the pot’s lid as a form of small skillet without any issue. It’s all electrostatically coated with proprietary vegetable oil blend that’s been cured at high temperatures so it penetrates the surface effectively. It rarely needs re-seasoning, saving you some effort.

Like the other offerings in Dutch oven roundup, the Lodge Dutch oven can handle temperatures up to 500F without issue. It’s a good sturdy addition to your kitchen’s pot collection.

Best Square Dutch Oven: Camp Chef Square Cast Iron Dutch Oven ($52)

Camp Chef Square Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Camp Chef

Not all Dutch ovens are round. They don’t need to be, after all. If you have limited space in your kitchen, it can be easier to store a square or rectangular pot rather than find room for something circular. Also, a square Dutch oven is the perfect shape for baking brownies in. Just saying.

All that explains the Camp Chef Square Cast Iron Dutch Oven. A cast iron based Dutch oven, it comes ready seasoned and ready to work for you. With an 8qt capacity, there’s plenty of room here for cooking roasts, casseroles, brownies (of course), and mostly anything you can think of. It’s potentially the most versatile Dutch oven here.

A legless design means it fits in anywhere with specially designed handles for easy lifting. There’s even a thermometer notch that allows you to easily check the temperature of your food without lifting the lid (and letting all that precious steam and heat escape).

The lid, by the way, has raised ribs that makes it perfect for using as a grill on your stove top or on top of your barbecue. Clever, huh? It’s a great twist on the typical Dutch oven format.

Jennifer Allen Jennifer Allen
Jennifer is a freelance writer for ReviewGeek. In the past decade, she's also written for Wareable, TechRadar, Mashable, Eurogamer, Gamasutra, Playboy, and PCWorld. Read Full Bio »