The Best Dutch Ovens of 2018

By Bethany Kwoka

A dutch oven is the true workhorse of any kitchen. These bad boys can make pots of soup or stew, saute vegetables, braise meat, and even bake a loaf of crusty bread. If your kitchen only has room for a single pot or pan, it should be a dutch oven.

But how do you choose which one? Not only do they range in price from $50 to $350, they range in quality too. While most of them follow the same basic design — a deep, cast iron pot coated in nonstick enamel — the shape and construction make a huge difference in cooking experience. That’s why I tested seven of the top dutch ovens on the market. And, after putting each through its paces, concluded that the Staub Round Cocotte (available at Amazon) is the one I want on my shelf and would recommend to friends.

Rankings of the best dutch ovens, in order:

  1. Staub Round Cocotte Oven, 5.5 quart
  2. Le Creuset 5 1/2 Quart Round Dutch Oven
  3. Lodge 6 qt. Dutch Oven
  4. Martha Stewart 6 Qt. Round Dutch Oven Casserole
  5. Cuisinart Chef's Classic Enameled Cast Iron 5-Quart Round Covered Casserole
  6. AmazonBasics Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven - 6-Quart, Blue
  7. IKEA SENIOR - Casserole with lid
— Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Updated July 11, 2018

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Staub 5 Best Overall
Credit: Reviewed / Bethany Kwoka

Staub Cast Iron 5.5-Quart Round Cocotte

Staub
  • Editors' Choice

Staub Cast Iron 5.5-Quart Round Cocotte

Best Overall

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 Best Value
Credit: Reviewed / Bethany Kwoka

Lodge 4.6-Quart Round Dutch Oven

075536469430
  • Editors' Choice

Lodge 4.6-Quart Round Dutch Oven

Best Value

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 great product and great deal. I wanted to see if a higher price tag really did make for a better dutch oven.

Our Tests

To test as many facets of this multidimensional 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 sauteing 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 dutch oven.

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

Le Creuset 5.5-Quart Round Dutch Oven

Le Creuset and Staub fought a mighty battle for the 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 the be star of the show.

AmazonBasics Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, 6-Quart

Amazonbasics

Where To Buy

$44.99 Amazon Buy

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

Cuisinart

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

Martha stewart

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)

Ikea senior

Where To Buy

$49.99 IKEA Buy

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 a 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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below