Ask any chef what their go-to cooking pot is, and they’ll likely give you the same answer: a Dutch oven. In fact, this pot is so versatile that many chefs are trained to keep multiple on hand, whether they’re cooking at home or in a restaurant. “I think every kitchen should have at least one Dutch oven,” says Roger Sitrin, lead recreational chef instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education.
Dutch ovens are often made of either enameled or seasoned cast iron, but their shape and tight-fitting lids are what make them so versatile for everything from baking bread to slow cooking meat. “Once that pot heats up, it retains the heat, and because the lid fits tightly and is of the same thickness as the bottom, it creates an even heat situation that completely surrounds the contents,” said Sitrin.
The majority of the Dutch ovens we tested are enameled, including two of our top picks. Enameled cast iron makes for a more versatile pot that lets you cook a wider variety of ingredients without worrying about acidity damaging the cast iron seasoning. Plus, enameled Dutch ovens come in a range of attractive colors that make them great as serving dishes.
Out of the seven that we tested, here are the three best Dutch ovens you can buy.
Best Dutch oven overall: Lodge Dutch Enameled Dutch Oven, $69.51 from Amazon
The Lodge Dutch Enameled Dutch Oven baked evenly browned and crusted bread, continuing to prove the brand’s claim that quality cast iron can be affordable.
Best upgrade Dutch oven: Le Creuset Dutch Oven, $400.00 from Le Creuset
With roomy handles and a stainless steel knob, the Le Creuset Dutch oven is safe to use at any temperature and easy to maneuver, even when full.
Best non-enameled Dutch oven: Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven, $44.99 from Target
If you’re skeptical of enameled coatings, the Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven comes pre-seasoned and produces an even loaf of bread.