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The 7 Best Dutch Ovens, According to Our Home-Cooking Experts

Lady Quarantine has certainly taught us a thing or two in the kitchen.

poppyseed rolls in great jones dutchess dutch oven
Great Jones

It goes without saying that we've all been cooking a hell of a lot more during quarantine. Stay-at-home orders have also meant a cooking-at-home reality for many of us, which means only one thing: We've basically become experts in what cookware actually works. A Dutch oven is one of the most essential (if not the most essential and versatile) pieces of everyday cookware, and if you're anything like us, you've been putting your Dutch oven to work during this COVID-19 lockdown.

Wait ... What Exactly Is a Dutch Oven?

Sturdy, versatile, and considered the workhorse of all cookware, a Dutch oven is a heavy-duty pot with a tight-fitting lid that does the hard work when it comes to slow-cooked dishes like braised cuts of meat, homemade broths, and winter stews. Usually constructed of nonstick-coated cast-iron or aluminum, a Dutch oven can be used on both the stovetop and in the oven. The heavy bottom is ideal for browning meat and veggies and then simmering for hours on the stovetop or braising in the oven. From oven-roasted root veggies to classic beef stew, a Dutch oven is what we reach for when cooking hearty meals.

WTF! Why the Steep Price Point?

Since a Dutch oven is one of those cornerstone pieces of everyday cookware, you might wonder why so many of these tend to be upwards of a $200 or even $300 price point. As our friends at Good Housekeeping explained: "They're often an investment piece that you can use to add a pop of color to your kitchen and keep on hand for a lifetime of use."

In other words, a good Dutch oven is a smart investment given its longevity and versatility. With pretty and colorful ceramic finishes to choose from, a Dutch oven also doubles as an aesthetically pleasing fixture in the kitchen. Even if you store your Dutch oven deep in a cabinet or hang it from a sturdy pot rack, it's one of those cookware staples you'll undoubtedly return to season after season.

How We Chose

When deciding on the below best Dutch oven picks, we kept several key factors in mind:

  1. Longevity. Longevity is one of the most important factors, since we wanted to only include picks that hold up (and hold up well) over time. We considered which Dutch ovens held up best when it came to food stains, rust, and chips in the enamel.
  2. Durability. Durability and versatility go hand-in-hand, as we spent months trying out various recipes with our Dutch ovens both on the stovetop and in the oven to see what models actually work seamlessly into our everyday cooking.
  3. Price point. Last, we considered price point, as there are now lots of fantastic new direct-to-consumer cookware brands offering more affordable alternatives to the hefty price tags of yesteryear. We included a range of price points that we find fair given the quality of each brand.

To find the best Dutch ovens, we did extensive research to find the top-rated picks, scouring reviews and tips from expert sources including Good Housekeeping, Food & Wine, and WireCutter. We included only options with unanimously positive reviews and expert-vetted feedback on quality. We also hand-tested several of the models included in this list, including the Milo by Kana Dutch Oven, Caraway Cookware, and Great Jones' The Duchess Dutch Oven.

The 7 Best Dutch Ovens to Buy in 2021

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The Minimalist
Milo by Kana Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Milo by Kana food52.com

As resident food/drink editor here, I have been quite outspoken about my love for this Milo by Kana Dutch Oven. Direct-to-consumer brand Milo launched in 2018 with their line of more affordable enameled cast-iron cookware, and I instantly fell in love with their Dutch oven from the first time I used it. The $120 price tag simply does not do this pot justice.

This enameled cast-iron pot comes in two sizes: A 5.5-quart size (which I own), and a smaller 3.5-quart size. Beyond its gorgeous, minimalist aesthetic, this pot is dishwasher-safe, oven-safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, and naturally nonstick thanks to its glossy enameled interior. I've noticed a tiny chip or two in the enameled finish with use over time, but overall this has been a game-changer for my everyday cooking, and especially for soups and stews.

More: Quirky Yet Functional Kitchen Gadgets You Need ASAP

Nonstick Pick
Caraway Dutch Oven
Caraway carawayhome.com

Another fantastic direct-to-consumer cookware brand that has recently gained tons of popularityCaraway uses well-designed, nontoxic ceramic to craft their products. Our site director Erica Murphy recently put her Sauté Pan to test and was blown away by how “nonstick” the pan truly was during her testing.

Caraway's 6.5-quart Dutch oven is constructed similarly with  a nontoxic ceramic finish, aluminum core, and contrasting stainless steel handles. Oven-safe up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit, this do-it-all Dutch oven comes in at $125 — a fraction of the cost of more expensive makers. 

The Technicolor Dream Pot
Great Jones The Duchess Dutch Oven
Great Jones greatjonesgoods.com

Our beauty editor Jennifer Hussein recently tested out Great Jones' The Duchess Dutch Oven and was basically drooling over this piece of cookware upon first sight. With a generous 6 ¾-quart capacity, slightly oblong shape which makes for easier storage, and a whole spectrum of dreamy vintage-inspired hues to choose from, it's no wonder Jen fell in love. 

The only drawback: This Dutch oven weighs almost 15 pounds, so keep that in mind as you're deciding. 

Reviewers also love this enameled cast-iron Dutch Oven's nonstick finish, noting that its smooth enamel finish makes it easy to deglaze and clean. At a well-under-$200 price point, we recommend The Duchess for a funky pop of color in your kitchen. 

The Magic Finish
Staub Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Staub williams-sonoma.com

Chef-beloved brand Staub’s glossy, heavy-duty 6-quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven is truly a work of art. A unique multicoat enameling creates a highly-pigmented, vibrant “majolique” finish that makes this piece of cookware stand out from the pack. This finish is not just for looks, though, as it’s resistant to rust, chipping and cracking. The coating also requires no additional seasoning like some other cast-iron cookware.

Although this Dutch oven comes with a fairly hefty price tag, reviewers unanimously attest to its quality and longevity. This is the staple cookware piece (and a worthwhile investment) that our parenting editor, Cat Bowen, swears by.

Cheaper Than Le Creuset
Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Lodge walmart.com

This Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven from Lodge has a 6-quart capacity, is dishwasher-friendly, and is oven-safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Users especially love the oversized and easy-to-grip side handles, the smooth and easy-to-clean enameled interior, and this pot's sleek yet durable exterior. 

Wirecutter recently named Lodge's Dutch Oven as their best overall pick given this pot's ridiculously affordable under-$100 price point, easy-to-grip handles, and slightly curved based which helps prevent food from getting stuck and caked on during cooking. 

At a fraction of the price of Le Creuset's cookware of similar quality, we'd be remiss to not include Lodge on our list.

The Gold Standard
Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Le Creuset williams-sonoma.com

If you had to invest in just one piece of cast-iron cookware, we recommend you splurge on the all-star Signature Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven from Le Creuset. Perfect for slow-cooked meals like root vegetable soups, hearty beef stews, and braised roasts, this durable pot will come in handy season after season, and is sure to become a cherished family heirloom.

A champ at heating evenly and sealing in moisture during cooking, this Dutch oven features a 6 ¾-quart capacity, a generously wide cooking surface, and a stain-and-chip-resistant enameled interior. We know the price tag can be a lot to swallow, but the good news: These Dutch ovens often go on sale.

Lightweight Pick
Calphalon Classic Nonstick Dutch Oven
Calphalon amazon.com

If you're strapped for storage space or looking for a lighter-weight Dutch oven that still has all the functionality of the heavier-weight picks above, don't sleep on trusted brand Calphalon. Weighing under 6 pounds, this smaller 5-quart aluminum Dutch oven is made with two nonstick layers to help prevent food from sticking, making cleanup so much easier.

Food & Wine recently named this Calphalon pot their pick for best non-stick Dutch oven, praising its lightweight, sleek design and easy-to-clean interior. 

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