From breads to soups, casseroles and everything in between, a Dutch oven makes a great addition to any kitchen. While you’ll find glass, ceramic and non-stick variations of this pot, an enameled cast iron Dutch oven is more versatile, more durable, and easier to clean.
What Are The Main Dutch Ovens Uses and Benefits
The Dutch oven is a thick-walled pot that has a tight-fitting lid. Humans have been using the Dutch oven for centuries, and early versions were made entirely out of cast iron. Ones made out of cast iron can be placed directly over an open hearth or campfire, for slow, long cooking of foods.
These pots have many uses, and there are many reasons to have one in your home kitchen.
Dutch Oven Uses
The Dutch oven is best suited for long, slow cooking. In a way, it’s like a Crockpot, but there are no electrical components or timers. These pots are ideal for:
Just about any recipe that can be cooked in a conventional oven can be cooked in a Dutch oven.
When used over a campfire – and even in a conventional oven – these pots act as true baking ovens. They were often used to prepare:
Today, Dutch ovens are also used for deep frying. The thick, high walls of the pot and the cast-iron material allows for the oil to be heated evenly. Deep frying can really only be used with true cast-iron pots. Enameled versions cannot stand the high temperatures needed to fry foods.
Dutch Oven Benefits
Why bother buying a Dutch oven? Why not just use a regular stock pot. These pots are very different from regular pots and pans. There are quite a few benefits to having one in your kitchen.
Even Heating. One major benefit to having a Dutch oven is that it heats up evenly. Cast iron is a notoriously good conductor of heat, and its surface heats up evenly. Stainless steel and other materials are not as efficient. You often wind up with hot and cold spots with stainless steel.
Even enameled versions conduct heat very well, allowing for foods that are cooked through evenly.
Can Be Used on Most Cooking Surfaces. Dutch ovens are great for recipes that call for browning on the stovetop and baking in the oven – and vice versa. These pots can be transferred from the stove to the oven, and cast-iron models can be used over open flames.
Low and Slow Cooking. These pots are ideal for low and slow cooking, like with braising, stews and soups. You can also use them to cook breads and biscuits, which require a more evenly heated surface.
Our 2 Favorite Dutch Ovens: Le Creuset and Lodge
Now that you understand the benefits and uses of a Dutch oven, you may be wondering which one you should buy. There are many models on the market, but our two favorites come from the most respected brands in the industry: Le Creuset and Lodge.
Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven Review
From one of the most well-known brands in the enameled cast iron world, the Le Creuset Dutch oven holds 5-1/2 quarts of food and can withstand temperatures up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
- 45% larger handles
- Large composite knob
- Available in a variety of colors
- Lid stabilizers
- Interior enamel resists staining
The 5-1/2 quart Dutch oven has an interior enamel that resists staining and dulling. The light sand color also allows you to check the status of the food as it cooks.
Oversized handles allow for even weight distribution and a secure grip when transferring the pot from one surface to another. The knob on the lid can withstand high temperatures, and the built-in lid stabilizers allow for a secure fit.
This model comes in a wide range of colors, and is designed to resist cracking and chipping.
- Lightweight for cast-iron cookware
- Large handles make it easy to carry
- Comes in a variety of attractive colors
- Lid stabilizers prevent sliding
- Interior enamel is stain-resistant
- A pain to clean
The only complaint with this Dutch oven is that it can be a pain to clean because it’s heavy. Yes, this pot is lightweight as far as cast-iron cookware is concerned, but it’s still heavy in the scheme of things (11.2 pounds).
Still, this Dutch oven is made by one of the best brands in the industry. It will last a lifetime if you take care of it, and it comes in a range of colors that will suit your personality.
> Check Out Le Creuset On Amazon <
Lodge EC6D43 Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven Review
Lodge is another well-known brand in the industry, and the EC6D43 Dutch oven is one of the most popular models in its enameled line.
- 500 F maximum temperature
- 6-quart capacity
- Porcelain-enamel finish over cast iron
This pot holds 6 quarts of food, and offers a chip-resistant, porcelain-enameled finish. The pot can withstand temperatures up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. The loop side handles allow for a secure grip when transporting the pot, and the smooth glass surface won’t react to acidic ingredients.
From fridge to stovetop to oven, this is the only pot you’ll need to cook meals.
- Can handle temperatures of 500 F
- Easy to carry
- Comes in a wide range of colors
- Durable design
- High food capacity
Just like with the Le Creuset, the only complaint with this pot is that it’s heavy. It can only be washed by hand – no dishwasher use – so cleaning can be a chore.
Otherwise, this is a durable pot that will give you years of use with the right care.
> Check Out The Lodge On Amazon <