A Dutch oven is a pot that is suitable for use on the stovetop as well as in the oven. Whether you are a novice chef who dabbles in cooking from time to time, or you are a very experienced cook who enjoys making a variety of dishes, a Dutch oven is a staple to have in your kitchen repertoire. The Dutch oven is great for cooking casseroles, braises, soups, and other meals that can be cooked in one pot. They can also be used to cook breads and various types of desserts.
When it comes to buying a Dutch oven, you will find that there are a lot of options to choose from, which can make finding the best one for your specific needs a bit of a challenge. With so many different options, how do you know what to choose? To help you on your quest for finding the best Dutch oven, we have put together this handy buyer’s guide for you. In this guide, you will find a wealth of useful information that you can use to find the best Dutch oven for your specific needs. This guide highlights the different types of Dutch ovens, the factors to consider when shopping for one, the different features they can offer and the best Dutch oven brands.
Types of Dutch Ovens
Dutch ovens are usually cast from heavy metals, which allows them to retain heat and brown food evenly. The different types of Dutch ovens can be differentiated based on the materials that they are made of. The four most common types of Dutch ovens include:
- The cast iron Dutch oven
- The porcelain enamel coated cast iron Dutch oven
- The stainless steel Dutch oven
- The Copper Dutch oven
In order to find the best Dutch oven for your particular needs, it is important to understand the different benefits that each of these different materials offer.
The Cast Iron Dutch Oven
First Dutch ovens were made out of cast iron, and this material is still very popular today. The cast iorn is extremely durable, which means that your Dutch oven will be able to take a real beating and will be able to last a lifetime. When new, the cast iron Dutch oven needs to be seasoned with oil before using it. If it is used often enough, the cast iron Dutch oven will hold its seasoning. Acidic foods should not be cooked in a cast iron Dutch oven, as they will cause a reaction with the metal.
The Porcelain Enamel Coated Cast Iron Dutch Oven
The porcelain enamel coated cast iron Dutch oven is the most popular type of Dutch oven. It evenly cooks and browns food. High quality models will last a lifetime and can sustain excessively high temperatures and heavy wear; however, be aware that inexpensive versions may chip or crack. Because the porcelain enamel coated cast iron Dutch oven is coated, it does not need to be seasoned. The coating also makes cleanup a real breeze. This type of Dutch oven distributes heat evenly, eliminating hot spots on the bottom and cold up along the sides.
The Stainless Steel Dutch Ovens
The stainless steel Dutch oven is very durable and heats quickly and very well. For excellent heat conduction, some stainless steel Dutch ovens come equipped with a copper core, which is encapsulated between the layers of stainless steel. The stainless steel Dutch oven is very durable and will last a long time.
The Copper Dutch Oven
Copper offers exceptional heat conductivity and easily controls temperature, which makes it a good material for a Dutch oven. This type of Dutch oven cooks food evenly, and browns it evenly, too. However, it is important to note that copper does react with acidic foods. To avoid this, look for a copper Dutch oven that is lined with stainless steel.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Dutch Oven
There are a number of factors that should be taken into consideration when you are shopping for a Dutch oven. These factors will allow you to choose the best Dutch oven for your specific needs. Some of the factors that you should consider include the shape of the Dutch oven and the size, among other things. To learn more about the factors that we think are the most important to consider when you are shopping for a Dutch oven, please keep on reading.
Dutch ovens come in both round and oval shapes. The shape won’t impact the manner in which the food is cooked inside the vessel; however, it could impact the amount of space that it takes up in your oven. Generally, round Dutch ovens will fit into an oven with greater ease, and it is easier to place other items next to them.
Dutch ovens vary in size from 1 ½ quarts to 9 quarts. If you are going to be cooking in your Dutch oven on a daily basis, or if you are going to be using it to prepare smaller meals, a 4 or 6 quart vessel should suit you fine. However, if you are going to be using the Dutch oven to cook a lot of big meals, than it’s a wise idea to invest in a larger pot.
The lid of a Dutch oven should be heavy and fit tightly on top of the vessel so that it will seal in moisture. The more moisture it holds in, the more flavorful and tender the meals you prepare will be. Also, while speaking about the lid, make sure that it has a handle that is easy to grasp and pull off.
Dutch ovens can vary widely in price, with larger ovens that offer more features being the most expensive. Make sure that you consider how much you want to spend before you start shopping so that you don’t spend more than you are comfortable with.
Dutch Oven Features
Dutch ovens can offer a variety of features. These features are intended to make the Dutch oven easier to use, and to make it more efficient at cooking. As mentioned above, the more features that a Dutch oven offers, the more expensive it will be. It is important to understand the different types of features that this kitchen cookware can offer so that you can determine whether you want or need them.
Here’s a look at some of the handiest, most convenient features that a Dutch oven can offer.
A Nonstick Surface
The best Dutch ovens are easy to use. While it isn’t difficult to fill up any type of Dutch oven, cleaning is another matter. If you want to make sure that cleaning won’t be a hassle, look for a Dutch oven that offers a nonstick surface. With a nonstick surface, foods won’t stick to the inside of the pot, which makes it far easier to clean out.
The best Dutch ovens will come equipped with handles. Handles make it easier to carry the Dutch oven, and to put it into and take it out of the oven.
Ability to Handle High Temperatures
The best Dutch ovens have the ability to handle the highest temperatures. If you want to get the most out of this piece of kitchen cookware, look for a Dutch oven that can easily handle heat in excess of 500 degrees F.
If you really want to make cleaning your Dutch oven a breeze, look for one that is constructed of dishwasher safe materials. With this feature, all you have to do to clean this piece of cookware is rinse it out and place it in the dishwasher. It’s as easy as that!
The best Dutch ovens come equipped with a warranty. Should anything happen to your Dutch oven during the span of the warranty – if it breaks or if it somehow malfunctions – you could have it replaced, or you could even have your money reimbursed. Make sure you read the details of the warranty, though, so you know exactly what it covers.
Though this isn’t a feature that will impact the way the Dutch oven cooks, it will make a statement. Cast enamel Dutch ovens are available in a variety of colors. If you want to choose one that matches your kitchen décor, you will have a lot of color options to choose from.
The Best Dutch Oven Brands
There are several companies that manufacture Dutch ovens. With so many options, it can be difficult to determine which company makes the best Dutch ovens. To help you, we have weeded through the different manufacturers, compared user reviews and tested out several brands ourselves. Our findings indicate that the following Dutch ovens are the best of the best.
Cuisinart is a highly regarded name in the kitchen appliance and cookware industry. This company’s Dutch ovens are constructed of highly durable materials and offer some handy features. They cook food perfectly and can withstand excessive temperatures and heavy use.
Le Creuset is a French company that produced some of the highest quality Dutch ovens on the market. Their Dutch ovens are constructed of high quality, highly durable materials and can last a lifetime. This company also offers a variety of colors, which means that you will have an easy time finding one that will work with the color scheme and design of your kitchen.
This company produces non stick Dutch ovens. They are very easy to use and very easy to clean. They also offer Dutch ovens in a variety of sizes. They cook evenly and can withstand very high temperatures.
Another well known and high regarded producer of Dutch ovens is Lodge. This company manufactures exceptional cast iron Dutch ovens that can handle high levels of wear and tear. We liked how perfectly they cooked the foods we made in them, and how easy they were to clean.
Another company that produces high quality Dutch ovens is Zelncio. This manufacturer makes outstanding Dutch ovens in a variety of sizes, and they also come in a wide range of color options, too.
We also really liked the Dutch ovens that Westinghouse makes. This company is well known in the kitchen appliance and cookware industry, and their Dutch ovens repeatedly received high rankings and rave reviews from those who use them.