Best Dutch Ovens for new and experienced cooks.

What are the best Dutch Ovens?

In this article you are going to find out about the best Dutch Ovens on the market. Also you will learn if those fancy pants Dutch Ovens from France are really worth the extra cost.

Yes, there are a ton of different cast-iron manufacturers making fine Dutch Ovens. So you might be asking, if I buy one, which one should I get? Actually my top pick is not the most expensive, and it’s made in China. Why is it so good? Read on to learn more.

By the way, I’ve used many of the Dutch Ovens recommended and cook with cast-iron every day. The list of incredible cast iron Dutch Ovens are selected in terms of price, durability, usability, and overall quality. So get the best oven for your needs before you pay top dollar or waste your cash on an oven that’s going to chip on the first use.

Table of contents

  • Trust and expertise
  • How are the ovens ranked
  • Best overall Dutch Oven for family cooks (Lodge)
  • Perfect Oven for experienced cast iron users (Staub)
  • Best long lasting enamel cast-iron Dutch Oven (Le Creuset)
  • Top-notch and budget friendly ovens (Victoria, Utopia, Denby)
  • Japanese ironware (Iwachu, Vermicular)
  • Choosing a vintage Dutch Oven (Griswold)
  • Ideal oven to go camping
  • Where to buy your oven
  • Conclusion

Why trust my recommendations? 

I have over 10 years of experience collecting and using cast iron. Including vintage and modern cast iron from different manufacturers. How many Dutch Ovens do I have? Probably around 20, and I have to admit, I have a soft spot for Staub cookware. But I also use top brands such as Le Creuset and lesser-known Dutch Ovens such as Oigen and Oisei. 

Brett Standeven a.k.a. Boonie Hicks holding a cast iron Dutch Oven.
Brett Standeven also known as Boonie Hicks. This oven was made by the Oisei foundry and the company was established in 1683. Very cool.

How do you rank the ovens?

Although I have my favorite brands, many ovens not on the list are likely to do you proud in the kitchen. However, I have selected from a few well-known manufactures that are readily available to purchase online or at a retail store. After all, I could recommend a brand such as Oisei. But the Japanese company does not sell directly to the public, so adding it to my list of recommendations would be redundant.

Also, price has is a large factor in the ranking. Price to quality ratio must be balanced to find the best overall ovens for most users. Hopefully, on this list, you will find the ideal Dutch Oven you your needs.

Another factor to take into consideration is your experience using cast-iron. Many people researching the best Dutch Ovens are most likely newer cast iron cooks. Or they are looking for a gift for a loved one. Really I want you to have the best oven for your needs without purchasing a dud or paying for a premium oven if you are unlikely to need it. 

Best Dutch Oven: Lodge (6 Quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven)

For the overall choice of Dutch ovens, I recommend the Lodge. I am not the only one to endorse the Lodge. In fact, many people who use Dutch Ovens make it their number one choice. 

First of all, the Lodge Dutch Oven is perhaps the best one you can get for the best price. Premium Dutch ovens cost around $300, and even up $600. But the Lodge enameled Dutch Ovens are cheaper. And in many cases, on par in terms of quality to more expensive pots.

The Lodge is durable, long-lasting, and user friendly. The cooking surface is not as large as other ovens, but this no reason to look past this little beauty. This Dutch Oven is probably the best option if you want a quality oven without the hefty price.

Finally, I suggest the 6-quart oven because it is big enough to cook almost anything your heart desires. But it is not as heavy as, say, the 7.5-quart. These larger pots really jump in weight. The 6-qt is in the Goldilocks zone in terms of weight and size. 

The Lodge has been the best option for Dutch ovens for years, offering users the benefit of the expensive, classic kitchen appliance at an affordable price. I recommend the Lodge for any kind of cooking—from pastas to stews to soups to breads to meats. This is a perfect oven for those new to Dutch Oven cooking.

Table: Lodge 6-qt enameled cast-iron Dutch Oven

Lodge 6 quart Dutch Oven

Place of Manufacture

China

Coating

This Lodge has a colorful exterior and a light interior coating of enamel.

Weight

14.88 pounds

Dimensions

13.25 x 11.6 x 6 inches

Positives

Lodge Manufacturing is one of the most trusted brand for making quality cast-iron cookware.
This pot is much cheaper than the high-end French manufacturers.
The large 6 quart capacity should be big enough for the needs most families.

Negatives

The 6 quart is a large oven and could be too large and heavy for many users.
I’d also like to see Lodge manufacture their enamel range back in the States.
The enameling won’t be to the same standard as Le Creuset and Staub.

Recommendations

This a large capacity oven and best suited for family use.
If you are cooking for less than 3-4 people I would opt for the smaller 4.5 quart oven available on the Lodge website.
However, the Lodge oven offers a great entry point to cast-iron cooking without the price tag of high-end brands.

Available on Amazon

This oven comes in a range of colors and sizes and is available on Amazon.
Click the link to see current prices (affiliate link).
Lodge 6 quart, Ideal Dutch Oven for families.
The Lodge sells at a great price point. And is ideal for families wanting a large capacity oven without the cost.

Second Place: Staub 5.5 quart Dutch Oven

My second-place ranking goes to the Staub Dutch oven, which is sometimes called a Cocotte or French oven. 

The enameling on these Staub ovens are gorgeous. You can check out the colors available on their website. But to give you an idea, they include dark blue, graphite gray, turquoise, and basil. It is almost worth checking out their website just to see which color is your favorite.

The Staub Cocotte includes lids with small basting spikes underneath to retain moisture. Staub claims this can help drop condensation back into your cooking, stopping it from drying out.

Staub even promises 10 percent more moisture retention than any other Dutch oven because of this feature. Also, Staub ovens offer darker interiors, where most enameled Dutch ovens have lighter interior colors that range from white to cream. 

The matte finish used on the inside of the pot hides food stains better than lighter colors. Many cast iron users still like to naturally build up a seasoning layer even on enameled ironware. So the iron becomes more non-stick over time. So a dark interior is much better for this purpose.

However, these ovens are dishwasher safe. So when your Staub becomes a little grubby, you can simply put it in the dishwasher.

This Dutch oven is often considered the high-end, best-of-the-best choice when it comes to enameled ironware. And cast-iron enthusiasts like myself really find Staub ovens a joy to use.

If you want the no-holds-barred, high-end option, the Staub is well-worth your hard-earned cash

Staub 5.5 quart cast iron Cocotte

Staub enameled 5.5 quart Dutch Oven

Place of Manufacture

France

Coating

Enamel Matte or glossy exterior with matte black interior.

Weight

12.13 pounds

Dimensions

12.87 x 10.24 x 6.57 inches

Positives

The 5.5 quart oven is slightly heavier than the 4 quart but is a better over size for family cooking.
Extremely high quality enamel that is less likely to chip compared to other brands.
These French made ovens are thoroughly checked for any imperfections.

Negatives

Staub cast-iron is generally heavier than other brands.
I would not recommend very large ovens because they get too heavy.
I’d like to see better smoothing on the inside of the handles.

Recommendations

If you love cast-iron you’ll love Staub cookware.
I find the dark blue beautiful but it’s so glossy it can leave finger prints.

Available on Amazon

If you go for a Staub you’ll you won’t regret it.
Here’s an Amazon link to their signature matte black Dutch Oven (affiliate link).
The Staub is the perfect Dutch Oven if you want to use it for everyday use.
Staub cookware is on the heavy Dutch side. Slightly heavier and cast thicker than the Le Creuset. This oven is made to be used as your everyday pot.

Third Place: Le Creuset 5.5 quart Dutch Oven

Le Creuset Dutch ovens are also a fabulous option if you are willing to spend a little more. The pots are classic-looking and colorful, much like the Staub.

Triple glazed and thinly cast iron surly this is the best Dutch Oven, right? 

If price was no factor, then I say go for it. These ovens are superb. And I have to say a love my Le Creuset Oven. These ovens really are class on its own. But is it the best Dutch oven for your needs?

In many ways, the Le Creuset is still considered the industry standard of Dutch ovens. It is the most well-known brand, it has wide handles on signature line. Although I have to confess, I have the classic design with smaller handles. But it still does me proud, and it is easy to handle.

Le Creuset offers one the most chip-resistant enamel of the options available. So, if you wanted to give a Le Creuset as a gift, it should last a lifetime, if well taken care of, that is.

Unfortunately, Le Creuset sells for a premium over other brands. But they often have discounts on their online store. If you sign up to their mailing list, there will be some online bargains from time to time. 

Table: Le Creuset 5.5. quart enameled French Oven

Le Creuset 5.5 quart Dutch Oven

Place of Manufacture

France

Coating

Beautifully colored enamel on the exterior and a light enamel interior.

Weight

11.44 pounds

Dimensions

10 x 10.75 x 4 inches

Positives

This pot has larger handles that make moving this pot easier.
Many people love the wide selection of colors available.
Le Creuset is cast thiner and lighter than Dutch Ovens on comparable size.

Negatives

Le Creuset ovens are definitely more expensive compared to other pots.

Recommendations

Le Creuset is great if you want a cast-iron pot without the weight of cheaper brands.
The company also sells a classic line with smaller handles but the price is considerably less.
Yes, I have a classic Dutch Oven in the Dune color.

Available on Amazon

Do you want one of the finest Dutch Ovens without the extreme weight?
Then Le Creuset could be you. Here’s an Amazon link if you want to check availability (Affiliate link).
Best overall Dutch Oven
If you have the income the Le Creuset is one of the best ovens available. It’s lighter than other pots and the colors are quite special. People that have Le Creuset ovens love them.

More Top-Notch Dutch Ovens to consider 

Although I believe these Dutch Ovens would suitable for most cooks needs. This by no means covers the entirety of the best Dutch ovens out there. 

My top three choices are all enameled pots, as I feel most people want their Dutch ovens to be dishwasher safe for easy cleanup. 

But there are many more options available. So here are some other great Dutch Ovens that includes lesser-known brands and traditionally seasoned ovens. I have also included a camp oven in case you are the adventurous type.

Victoria (4 Quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven)

The Victoria Dutch oven is a bit cheaper than most. So I would recommend it if you are not sure how often you will use your pot. But you still want to give Dutch Oven cooking a try.

While the Victoria has the nubby basting spikes on under the lid, similar to the Staub, it does not have the enamel coating most modern Dutch ovens have. Victoria ovens are seasoned with polymerized flaxseed oil to protect the cast-iron from rust. And if you are experienced seasoning cast-iron, this will be no problem. 

However, with a traditionally seasoned Dutch Oven, you simply will not be able to give your pot a good scrubbing or be able to throw it in the dishwasher.

However, Victoria specializes in cast iron, and they manufacture fantastic ironware. If you are looking for a traditional non-enameled oven, it is hard to look past the Victoria. 

Utopia (5 Quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven)

Utopias Dutch Ovens are seasoned with polymerized soybean oil. Which some people love, and some people hate. But I prefer soybean oil to flaxseed oil, as I think it is more non-stick and less likely to flake.

While many experienced cast-iron users prefer seasoned ironware, the fact that it is not enameled can be a big drawback for some. But if you are looking for a cheap option for your family, the Utopia will cook just as well as other more expensive brands.

Denby (3.5 Quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven)

Denby Dutch ovens can be purchased from the Denby website and from online stores such as Amazon. 

Unfortunately this famous English company has decided to manufacture their products offshore. This is a real disappointment as the company steeped in heritage and tradition. It would have been brilliant to see manufacturing of quality ironware back on British shores. 

However, offshore production does not mean substandard ovens. It is just an economic reality, and Denby strives to supply quality cast-iron at a price customers will enjoy. 

If you want a different oven from everyone else. You might want to consider a Denby. Also, keep an eye out for online discounts, as sometimes they have fantastic deals available.

Iwachu Dutch Oven

As you probably guessed, Iwachu Dutch ovens are Japanese. The website calls this product a one-pot wonder. And claims it can cook rice as well as it can braise meat. 

Iwachu is made in the famous cast-iron region of Iwate. Ironware made in Iwate undergoes a rustproofing process. This involves forcing air into red hot iron to form an oxidation layer. This is one reason why Japanese cast-iron is admired as some of the best ironware made today. 

If you decide to buy an Iwachu Dutch Oven, you will be please with the craftsmanship that goes into each piece. However, Japanese ironware tends to be heavier than other manufacturers, so please check the weight carefully before purchasing. 

Vermicular (3.9 Quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven)

The small but powerful Vermicular Dutch Oven offers a precision machined lid to lock in nutrients. Yes, here is another Japanese manufacturer that sells premium cast iron cookware. 

The company uses graphite iron to produce their cookware. And the end result is a finely make oven that competes with the world’s best cookware. Dutch Ovens made with graphite cast-iron will be lighter than many other Japanese and Western Dutch Ovens. 

Vermicular is considered the Japanese Le Creuset. So you can expect the enameling on Vermicular to be impeccable. Vermicular Dutch Ovens only recently launched in the US. Yes, they are expensive pots, but they are certainly some of the best Dutch Ovens you are likely to use. 

If you are shopping online, please be sure to inspect the interior of the oven. Vermicular Dutch Ovens are known to have raised indentations on the cooking surface. I have seen similar designs on late 20th-century French ironware. And it looks like Vermicular has adopted these grill bars on the inside of some of their cookware. You may like the design for searing meat. But it is worth mentioning because this feature is a little unusual in modern Dutch Ovens.

Griswold Cast Iron (Various Prices for Various Sizes)

If you are looking for something a bit different, try to find a Griswold Dutch Oven or roaster. It does not even need to be in good condition as you restore it to its former glory.

But I recommend buying one that sits flat on a hard surface. This could be hard to find with antique ironware. However, Griswold made some great pots back in the day. And company was the name to have in the early to mid 20th century.

Online stores such as eBay is probably going to be your best bet when searching for Griswold cookware. Keep in mind Griswold ironware is vintage and very collectible. Prices can get insane even for the more avid collector, ranging from $90 to $400 or so, depending on the rarity. 

Many people collect Griswold like myself, and antique cookware is a real joy to use. The cooking surface tends to be much smoother than modern ironware, and lighter too. 

But if you are not interested in this kind of thing, I would recommend sticking to newer options that will be easy to maintain and clean.

Do you want to learn the history of Griswold Manufacturing? Please click the link for an in-house article.

Best for Camp Oven: Lodge Logic Camp

One of the reasons many people buy Dutch ovens is to take them camping. They are easy to use over an open fire, and they were often used by pioneers who had little-to-nothing else in terms of cooking. 

Today to cookware of choice is still the ever-popular camp oven. And this Lodge is cast thick to reduce the chance of warping over open flame. Needless to say, this is a traditional Dutch Oven that is seasoned with vegetable oil rather than covered with an enamel lining. 

This oven is made rugged that withstand high temperatures. The lid has a lip, so you can put hot embers on top to ensure even cooking. The pot also has feet to raise the oven out of direct flame. 

The two-quart oven should be plenty big enough for most camping adventures. And the style of cooking means the pot is always on the go. Bubbling away, ready for when you and your friends feel peckish. The smaller size makes it easy to clean and pack away when it comes time to return home.

Where to Buy Your Dutch Oven

You can buy your Dutch oven almost anywhere, from high-end cooking and home goods stores to places like Bed Bath and Beyond, Walmart, Target, etc. You can also purchase items straight from the website of the manufacturer in most cases. This will ensure the best quality and customer service. However, shopping direct from the manufacturer may not be the cheapest option. I still recommend shopping around.

One More Thing…

I want to help you make sure you choose the Dutch oven that best suits your situation and needs. However, these appliances are all cast iron, durable, and low-tech. So there is not a big difference between the iron used in one pot to another. 

Higher prices come from the amount of expertise required to make enamelware. Dutch Ovens with multiple layers of enamel usually cost more. However, these pots have higher quality control and are less likely to chip. 

But the cheaper Lodge can do nearly everything the Le Creuset can do for less than a fifth of the price. And for this reason, I rank the humble Lodge above the Le Creuset. But if you have cash, those fancy French ovens are a lot of fun. And the enameling is craftsmanship rarely seen on modern cookware. 

But as long as you choose the brand, color, and size you think will best suit your lifestyle, you will be happy with any of the Dutch ovens mentioned above. 

References

  1. https://www.insidehook.com/article/cooking/review-lodge-dutch-oven
  2. https://www.delish.com/food/a51858/things-you-should-know-before-buying-le-creuset/
  3. https://www.lodgecastiron.com/product/enameled-dutch-oven?sku=EC4D33
  4. https://www.thekitchn.com/pros-and-cons-le-creuset-versus-staub-dutch-oven-253845

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