• Staub Cast Iron 5.5-Quart Round Cocotte

  • Lodge 4.6-Quart Round Dutch Oven

  • How We Tested

  • Other Dutch Ovens We Tested

  • More Articles You Might Enjoy

Our Favorite Dutch Ovens of 2020

  1. Best Overall

    Staub Cast Iron 5.5-Quart Round Cocotte

    Skip to the full review below
  2. Best Value

    Lodge 4.6-Quart Round Dutch Oven

    Skip to the full review below
Best Overall - Staub - new
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

The Staub Cast Iron 5.5-Quart Round Cocotte is the best dutch oven we tested.

Best Overall
Staub Cast Iron 5.5-Quart Round Cocotte

Solidly built, perfectly round, and easy to clean, the Staub Round Cocotte aced every test. From braising meat and vegetables to simmering a stew, this Dutch oven nailed it. Sometimes there really is a correlation between price and quality — and this is one of those times.

In our tests, the Staub Round Cocotte Oven narrowly beat out the well-known (and well-loved) Le Creuset. This mostly came down to the shape of the Dutch oven, and how much better it fit on the stove and in the pantry. While a little heavier than some of the others, the evenness of cooking and the large sauteing area that doesn’t bar you from putting other large pots on the stove bumped this one all the way to the top.

Lodge 2
Credit: Reviewed / Bethany Kwoka
Best Value
Lodge 4.6-Quart Round Dutch Oven

Despite its lower price tag, the Lodge performed like a much more expensive model in our tests. Our soup tasted great and wasn’t a mess to clean, the chicken and vegetables had plenty of room to cook, and our bread delivered a perfect crust. So at a fraction of the cost of the Staub, the Lodge easily secured our coveted Best Value spot.

In every test, the colorful Lodge was with the top of the pack. However, the only place it faltered was in size. The smaller-than-average base made sauteing onions take longer, and the bowed out sides took up more room on the stove than ideal. This just means that if your stove is already a tight fit, you’ll want to plan ahead for Thanksgiving dinner and not have this on at the same time as 3 other pots.

How We Tested

The Tester

I’m Bethany, an avid home cook who’s skeptical of more expensive products that seem to do the same thing as something half the price. Before I add anything more expensive than a spatula to my kitchen, I want it to be thoroughly vetted and to know it’s worth the cost.

What We Tested

Before testing, I dove into research mode. I scoured the internet and my friends' kitchens to find out which Dutch ovens were top rated, which might be surprise winners, and which were household names.

Ultimately, I choose what I now call the “Fab 4” Dutch ovens that seemed to be highly rated everywhere, and then a few less expensive options that walked the line between a great product and a great deal. I wanted to see if a higher price tag really did make for a better Dutch oven.

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The Tests

To test as many facets of this multi-dimensional product as possible, I tested three recipes in each one. They had to create a perfect pot of a thick, almost chili-like black bean soup, a moist but well cooked braised chicken and vegetables dish, and a puffy but well-crusted loaf of bread. This involved sautéing onions, braising meat, bringing the entire Dutch oven up to 500 degrees, and moving it from stove to oven and back.

I took careful notes of how it was to move each one, how well the ingredients fit, how each dish turned out, whether it was a pain to clean, how it fit on my stove and in my cabinet, and more. I wanted a complete picture of life with each to find the best dutch ovens.

As another quick test, I also made sure that each of them had enough space to roast a whole chicken. With a product like this one, you want to be ready for a fancy dinner at any time.


Other Dutch Ovens We Tested

Le Creuset 5.5-Quart Round Dutch Oven

Le Creuset and Staub fought a mighty battle for to top spot, but the honorable Le Creuset was bested by its fellow French competitor. The Le Creuset — beloved among cooks and kitchen scholars — makes a perfect meal every time. It also offers large handles, which are ideal for moving the pot from the stove to the oven and back, from your stove to the table, or from your house to your friend’s place.

However, its size means that if you’re dealing with tight stove space or want to get multiple dishes going at once, you might run into some problems. It’s gorgeous and does good work—but always needs to be the star of the show.

AmazonBasics Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, 6-Quart

Other than a few hotspots on the bottom of the bread where it burned and handles that immediately got too hot to touch while it was on the stove, this Dutch oven performed admirably in our tests. The chicken was tender, the soup cooked up great. I also loved the large lid handle, which made removing the lid easy — even when it was just out of the oven.

Cuisinart 5-Quart Round Covered Casserole

This Cuisinart is a solid Dutch oven. The flat sides offer a wide sauteeing base for onions and garlic, and the simple construction means you can’t really go wrong. That said, it just didn’t perform as well in our tests. A few black spots on the bottom of the bread, a bit tougher to clean off the soup, and meat that wasn’t quite perfect knocked it down a few spots in our list.

Martha Stewart Collection Enameled Cast Iron 6-Quart Round Dutch Oven

I’m pretty confident Amazon just rebranded the love child of some of the other Dutch ovens. The similarities in look to the Martha Stewart and Cuisinart were startling. That said, it didn’t perform quite as well.

From picking up mysterious black marks on the outside after cooking bread to the handles instantly becoming too hot to touch on the stove, this Dutch oven could use a few more years to mature. I’d call it a solid bargain buy for someone who isn’t sure if they’re ever going to use their Dutch oven.

IKEA Senior (Oval)

While I wasn’t impressed with the performance of the IKEA SENIOR, I’m glad IKEA’s jumping on the Dutch oven train. (If I’d noticed a Dutch oven at IKEA the last time I moved, I may have already owned one.)

But while affordable, I found that the oblong shape caused food in the center to cook more rapidly—or in the case of the soup, cling to the bottom and make a mess for scraping off. As well, the inner coating didn’t lend itself to cleaning as well as the others, and the outer coating tended to pick up dust in the oven that needed to be thoroughly scrubbed. It also chipped immediately, so it might not be something you keep around for long.

Meet the tester

Bethany Kwoka

Bethany Kwoka

Contributor

Bethany is a freelance contributor for Reviewed. An avid home baker and aspiring home cook, she reviews and writes mostly about kitchen gadgets (with the occasional fitness review thrown in). Her specialty might be fancy desserts, but she's never met a batch-cooked dinner recipe she didn't like.

Outside of her work for Reviewed, Bethany is a content creator working on clean energy and climate change at a regional non-profit and runs a tabletop game at her local comic book shop.

See all of Bethany Kwoka's reviews

Checking our work.

We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.

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