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Our Picks for the Best Dutch Oven

Looking for the perfect Dutch oven to nurture your stews and roasts to mouth-watering perfection with? We’ve got you covered there—after reviewing a vast motley of Dutch ovens in the market, we’ve settled for a winning range that will more-than-swimmingly suit your needs.

Of course, we didn’t exactly dive in blind—instead, we adhered to our platinum tenets of Dutch-oven-hunting (which you’ll find right below).

How Did We Pick?

Material

We stuck to enameled cast-iron wares for their superior versatility—plus, they’re easy to clean and maintain. No doubt, you can count on a cast-iron construction to retain a vaster amount of heat. Because it’s got a high emissivity (i.e. a high capacity to radiate heat energy), it’s perfect for braising, a method of cooking that utilizes consistent, prolonged heating. You can verily expect a cast-iron ware to cough up the most sinfully tender batches of meat.

Their porcelain enameled interiors aren’t just there for show either—in fact, their slick finishes make for easy deglazing, swiftly releasing any stubborn, stuck-on bits. You could easily monitor your concocted sauces with their typically light-hued interiors as well.

Size and Shape

You wouldn’t want an oven that’s either too small or too big in your cooking arsenal. Don’t expect a teeny oven to be too accepting of larger chunks of meat, and a too-large oven—on the other hand—will end up being a monster to clean, and you’ll be lugging dead-weight around the kitchen like your life depended on it.

With that being said, we narrowed our selection range down to 5.5-6.5 quarts: a ‘just-right’ sort of ambit for picking the perfect Dutch oven. You’ll be able to accommodate an impressive variety of cooking tasks with wares belonging to this weight range: braising, frying, searing, you name it.

A little note: we’d sooner ally with shorter-and-stouter wares than tall and narrow ones. A broader diameter is guaranteed to facilitate meat browning—a sure imperative when you’re whipping up a meat-based stew. You’ll want a dark, delicious sear on your meat as quick as you can, and wider, shorter ovens can promise you that.

As for shapes, we focused on round models. They heat a little more evenly than their oval counterparts, and fit just a tad nicer over a stove-top burner.

And without further ado, our top pick that reigned prominently in all the criteria: the Lodge Color 6-Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, a durably designed quintessence.

Look below for an in-depth review of our number 1 Dutch oven.

Lodge Color 6-Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Lodge Color 6-Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

This enameled cast-iron baby turned out delectable stews and nicely-browned meat amidst our tests—the best out of all our cast-iron subjects, in fact. As touted in its very name, it’s got a shiny, light-coloured enameled interior that will help you monitor the state of your ingredients, and the bonus of amply-sized handles (so you can carry it easily despite its weight).

$50* from Walmart
$50 from Amazon

Furthermore, this Lodge ware boasts the perfect shape—it is both round and sufficiently squat. Expect it to sear meat beautifully and deal out bigger batches of heavenly-browned chunks. It’s even got a gentle curve at the bottom that prevented the onions we cooked from getting trapped in its corners. ‘Even browning’ might as well be its middle name, ‘cause it’s a guarantee that isn’t going away any time soon.

Here are some worthy runners-up you might want to consider.

Cuisinart CI670-30CR Chef’s Classic Enameled Cast Iron 7-Quart Round Covered Casserole

Cuisinart CI670-30CR Chef’s Classic Enameled Cast Iron 7-Quart Round Covered Casserole

This Cuisinart model produced a fantastic stew during our tests.

Buy from Amazon

It’s got a relatively large surface area that turned up the highest evaporation level out of all of our ‘test subjects’. Bottom-line, this made the stew we cooked in it extra concentrated, and extra flavourful by-delectable-extension.

Unfortunately, this one might be a tad bigger than most people might appreciate. Still, it’s a great option for those needing the extra capacity. There’s a little, glaring downside to this pot’s construction though: its handles are small in relation to its size and weight, and this could make it a burden to handle.

Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 5 ½ Quart Round French Oven

Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 5 ½ Quart Round French Oven

The Le Creuset performed splendidly during our tests—it turned out dazzling caramelized onions and didn’t even scorch when we tried its limits by overcooking.

$300* from Amazon

It’s quite the vision of perfection where Dutch ovens are concerned—it boasts an exquisite enameled finish that surpasses that of the majority of our ‘test subjects’, and even furnishes the best handles out of all of them.

Still, the Lodge doesn’t fall too far back in terms of performance, and costs only one-sixth of the Le Creuset’s far-loftier price (a whopping $330 on Amazon). We handpicked this for those looking for the Absolute, Unadulterated Best in the Dutch oven world.

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