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The Best Dutch Oven

By Anna Perling, Kevin Purdy and Ray Aguilera
A blue dutch oven and a green dutch oven with garlic and spices.
Photo: Michael Murtaugh

A Dutch oven is a kitchen workhorse—it’s the one pot that can turn out savory soups and stews, braise meats until they’re fall-apart tender, and also bake crusty bread. A good Dutch oven will last for years, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. After spending hours searing, braising, steaming, and sautéing, we think the Lodge 6-Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven cooks just as well as more expensive pots. With design details like roomy handles and a wide cooking area, it stands out from the other ovens we tested.

How we picked

  • Easy-to-grip handles

    Most ovens we tested turned out similarly delicious breads and stews, but what really differed was maneuverability. The best pots had large, comfortable handles for a solid grip.

  • Well-fitting lids

    Our picks had secure lids that still let out a little bit of steam so that liquids could properly reduce, resulting in richer, more flavorful braises.

  • Durable coatings

    We looked for pots that didn’t chip in the course of testing. Our pick, the Lodge, out-performed more expensive ovens, and our upgrade pick, the Le Creuset, can last a lifetime (or more).

  • Light-colored interior

    Light-and dark-hued enamels heated similarly, but we found it easier to read visual cues while cooking in the pots with light-colored enamel.

Our pick

Lodge 6-Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

The best Dutch oven

This inexpensive Dutch oven aced every test, and its design rivals that of pricier models.

Although most Dutch ovens cook similarly well, the Lodge 6-Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven is easier to use than many others we tested. You can comfortably grip the large handles even with mitts or towels, and the slightly curved base keeps food from getting trapped in the corners, unlike more angular ovens we tested. The Lodge, with its shorter sides and wider base, also allows steam to escape more easily than deeper-walled pots, giving you a better sear on meat and helping to concentrate flavors during cooking.


Upgrade pick

Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 5½-Quart Round French Oven

Made to last

Some cooks may want to invest in this exceptionally durable, high-quality pot. It doesn’t cook much better than the Lodge, and it costs far more, but Le Creuset’s oven is the kind of piece people pass down to their kids.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $360.

Le Creuset’s Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 5½-Quart Round French Oven is the gold standard for Dutch ovens. It has a durable coating, is the ideal size for most recipes, and has the roomiest handles of all the Dutch ovens we tested. It’s also lighter than other ovens we tested, and the handle on the lid is a cinch to grab with a towel or pot holder. Over years of testing, we’ve heard fewer complaints about the enamel chipping on Le Creuset ovens compared with others. The high price will be a worthy investment for cooks who want an heirloom piece—for everyone else, the Lodge cooks just as well.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

Lodge 6-Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

The best Dutch oven

This inexpensive Dutch oven aced every test, and its design rivals that of pricier models.

Upgrade pick

Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 5½-Quart Round French Oven

Made to last

Some cooks may want to invest in this exceptionally durable, high-quality pot. It doesn’t cook much better than the Lodge, and it costs far more, but Le Creuset’s oven is the kind of piece people pass down to their kids.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $360.

We’ve been covering Dutch ovens at Wirecutter since 2015. Ray Aguilera, who wrote the original version of this guide, had been a professional product reviewer since 2006, in addition to being an avid cook and home brewer. Kevin Purdy, a former Wirecutter staff writer, previously updated this guide.

Anna Perling, who wrote the most recent version of this article, covered a variety of kitchen items from hand mixers to small saucepans in her time at Wirecutter. To update this guide in 2020, she read new editorial reviews on Dutch ovens, including ones from Epicurious, The Kitchn, The Strategist, and America’s Test Kitchen. She also read up on the science of cookware, consulting Cooking For Engineers and Cooking Issues.

An enameled Dutch oven is a multipurpose pot that you can use for all kinds of recipes, including braising, baking bread, boiling pasta water, and even deep frying. These pots are particularly well-suited to slow cooking not only because they effectively retain (and therefore maintain) heat, but also because they can be transferred from stovetop to oven, so you can sear and then braise meats. Their lids trap in moisture as food cooks, which makes everything inside extra-tender. And unlike bare cast iron, the enamel is easy to clean and maintain.

A 5½- to 6½-quart oven should serve two to four people, and we think this size will work for most cooking tasks. If you’re feeding a crowd, you might want to bump up to a 7-, 9-, or even 13-quart version. Keep in mind that the bigger the oven, the heavier and harder it will be to move around a kitchen, especially when it’s brimming with chili. When it comes to shape, a round Dutch oven will work better on the round burners of most stoves, whereas an oval oven may heat less evenly and be difficult to fit on a small stovetop. However, an oval oven can be useful for large, long roasts like a tenderloin. It will of course fit nicely on an oval burner, and it should also work fine on a large round burner for something like a braise, which you start on the stove and finish in the oven.

Three enameled dutch-oven style pots.
Photo: Michael Hession

A Dutch oven, by its dictionary definition, is simply “a large, heavy cooking pot with a lid.” You can find ones made from ceramic, aluminum, enameled steel, or bare cast iron, but we focused solely on enameled cast-iron Dutch ovens because they’re durable and ideally suited to low and slow cooking. Cast iron holds a tremendous amount of heat, more than those other materials. That makes it perfect for braising, a cooking technique that relies on consistent heat over time to slowly break down and tenderize meat.

An enamel coating is easier to care for and clean than bare cast iron, which you’ll need to season. Enamel also has a smooth finish that will quickly release stuck-on food for easy cleanup or deglazing the pan (although it’s no match for nonstick Teflon). After previously testing a couple of pots that had dark interiors, we decided to focus on ones that had light-colored enamel interiors, because light interiors make it easier to monitor the color of the fond—the accumulation of the browned bits that make the base for flavorful sauces.

Dutch ovens come in a wide variety of sizes, from single-serving round mini-cocottes to oval ones that are a whopping 15 quarts. Even though oval ovens are fairly common, we primarily stuck to testing round models, which fit better over a standard stove-top burner. Size-wise, we narrowed down to testing 5½- or 6½-quart ovens, which offer a happy medium that works for most recipes. You’ll struggle to cook large cuts of meat in pots that are much smaller than that; meanwhile, you may have a harder time carrying a much bigger oven when it’s full, or cleaning it with wet, soapy hands. (If you need something bigger, Lodge offers round models up to 7½ quarts, and Le Creuset goes all the way up to a 13¼-quart round Dutch oven, which serves 10 people.)

We looked for squatter, wider pots because their shorter walls allow more steam to escape than those of taller, deeper pots, making it easier to brown meat for stews or chili. Plus, a wider pot can save time since it allows you to brown more meat at once without crowding.

The best Dutch ovens have lids that rest securely on the pot but that still let out some steam, so soups and stews can reduce and thicken. A few manufacturers—such as Staub—put bumps or ridges on the underside of their lids, which supposedly enable evaporated moisture to drip back into the pot to baste whatever’s inside. In our 2015 tests, the Staub pot with a nubby lid did retain more moisture while braising (though this may also be the result of a tighter-fitting lid), but we preferred the more condensed stews we made in ovens that actually let out more liquid. In 2020 we didn’t test any ovens with nubby lids.

For our 2020 update, we checked for any new models from brands like Lodge, Le Creuset, Staub, and Dansk, as well as from newer companies like Milo and Great Jones. We considered best-selling models from Amazon and other retailers. We also pored over reader comments from prior reviews and ultimately chose two new ovens to test against our picks, after considering 17 new models.

Carmelized onions in a dutch oven.
In Dutch ovens, a light-colored cooking surface, like those in our picks, makes it easier to monitor the cooking process, such as when you’re caramelizing onions. Photo: Michael Hession

We wanted to test how well each oven distributed heat, how easy each was to pick up and move around, how simple each one was to clean, and whether the lid allowed for enough evaporation to make a condensed stew or braising liquid. For our original, 2015 testing, we started by making identical batches of long-grain white rice to evaluate how evenly each model distributed heat across the base of the pot. We were hoping to find some scorch spots, so we checked the rice after 15 and then 20 minutes, but none of the ovens burned our rice. As a second test for even cooking, we caramelized two large onions in each pot over low heat for an hour. Because the rice cooks for only 15 minutes, we hoped the slower cooking process for onions would show some differences among the contenders, but we didn’t notice many.

To test whether the pots with dark interiors heated to a higher temperature, we placed each pot in turn on the same stove burner, over a low flame. We checked the temperature after 10 minutes, using an infrared thermometer, then three more times at five-minute intervals (for a total of 25 minutes). We found that the pots with dark and light interiors heated about equally. The difference in browning (or burning) really comes down to visual cues, and it’s much easier to see what’s happening in ovens with lighter interiors.

Ultimately, the real differences we noticed were with how easy each Dutch oven was to use and maneuver. We eliminated the ones we found more difficult, either due to their shape or dark interior, then made a simple beef stew in the remaining contenders. Making stew involves sautéing, searing, deglazing, and braising, and the nearly three-hour total cook time gave a good real-world look at how difficult each oven is to clean after longer cooking sessions. We also measured how much weight each stew lost after cooking, which indicated how much liquid evaporated. In doing so, we learned that some evaporation is necessary to make a flavorful, concentrated dish. The stew we made in the Staub lost only 6 percent of its weight and was the most watery-tasting. Stew made in the Lodge lost about 16 percent of its weight, and stew from the Le Creuset lost 14 percent—and both of them tasted thicker and richer.

For our 2020 testing, we repeated our rice test, and we made a pot roast in each oven to test for even searing, caramelization, and liquid retention. Although all of the ovens made equally succulent roasts, only Le Creuset’s oven avoided burning the rice—but that discrepancy may be because we used a different stove that got hotter at a low setting, so we don’t give those results much weight.

In 2020, we also baked no-knead bread in each pot (after first preheating the pot while it was empty), since that’s another popular use for Dutch ovens. We wanted to see whether there were any differences in how well each loaf rose and browned, which could depend on how well a pot holds heat and traps steam. A hotter pot could cause more oven spring (the initial rise you get when the dough hits the hot pan and water vaporizes, generating bubbles in the bread). And a pot that traps more steam could allow the bread to rise higher before the crust crisps up. But ultimately, we didn’t notice much of a difference among any of the loaves we baked in our tests.

As we cooked with each oven, we evaluated how cumbersome they were to lift when full. After testing, we took note of how easy each was to clean, and we looked for any chips in the enamel coating.

A green Lodge dutch oven.
Photo: Michael Murtaugh

Our pick

Lodge 6-Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

The best Dutch oven

This inexpensive Dutch oven aced every test, and its design rivals that of pricier models.

For the best value in a Dutch oven, get the Lodge 6-Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven. It cooks foods just as well as other, much pricier Dutch ovens we’ve tested, and it’s one of the easiest ones to use and to move around the kitchen. You can firmly grip the large handles to lessen the strain of moving a full pot in and out of the oven or to the sink. A whisk or spoon reaches easily into the Lodge’s rounded corners to prevent foods from getting stuck when you deglaze the pan. The Lodge’s light-colored enameled interior makes it easy to see your food browning, and like most enameled ovens, the Lodge is a breeze to clean.

There’s just not that much of a difference in performance between the lauded, more expensive European brands of Dutch ovens, like those from Le Creuset or Staub, and cheaper ovens like the Lodge. All of the Dutch ovens we’ve tested performed similarly well at most tasks. In our first round of testing, in 2015, none of the ovens scorched rice, and the lids retained enough moisture to keep the grains from drying out. (In our 2020 tests, all of the pots except Le Creuset’s oven burned rice, but this may be due to using different stoves.) In our 2015 testing, they all browned onions nicely, too, and in our 2020 tests, they made similarly toothsome loaves of bread.

Every oven we tested also made a tender beef stew, but we did notice a difference in how much each stew reduced over many hours in the oven. The lid on the Lodge allowed for enough evaporation to leave concentrated, rich cooking liquid behind. In our 2015 tests, the stew we made in the Lodge lost a total of 15¾ percent of its weight during cooking. By contrast, the stew cooked in Staub’s Dutch oven lost only 6 percent of its total weight during cooking, and the resulting stew was our least favorite, with a dull, watery flavor and thin texture. The Lodge hit the sweet spot for evaporation, creating a thick and flavorful stew. The more expensive Le Creuset yielded a similarly concentrated stew (losing 14 percent of its weight), so even though it has a few nicer features, such as a lighter weight and a more durable enamel coating, we don’t think it’s worth the enormous price jump for cooking performance alone.

Beef stew cooking on a range top stove in a blue Lodge dutch oven.
The Lodge 6-Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven is roomy enough to make food for about four adults. Photo: Michael Hession

The Lodge also has some design features we like. For one thing, its shape makes cooking in it particularly easy compared with other ovens we tested. It’s wide and squat enough to allow for searing (rather than steaming) meat, and the gentle curve from the bottom to the side of the oven helped onions brown more evenly because they didn’t get trapped in the oven’s corners. By comparison, we had to stir onions more attentively in Le Creuset’s Dutch oven, which has a more pronounced angle between the bottom and sides that can trap food around the edges.

A person stirring food in a blue Lodge dutch oven.
Thanks to the Lodge’s rounded sides (where the base meets the sides), it was easier to stir aromatics and scrape the browned bits of food—called the fond—so they didn’t burn in the corners. Photo: Michael Hession

In our tests, the Lodge’s light-colored interior made it much easier to judge the color of the onions and meat browning, as well as the fond developing on the bottom of the pan. With the same technique and timing, onions we cooked in darker-colored ovens like the Staub burned slightly, because the dark surface made it difficult for us to judge the color as it developed. Using the infrared thermometer, we found that the pots with dark and light interiors heated about equally, so it was really visual cues that made the difference between browning or burning.

Beef searing in a blue Lodge dutch oven.
The Lodge has a wide enough base to sear meat without crowding it, which can lead to less-flavorful steamed chunks. Photo: Michael Hession

The enamel finish on the Lodge was smooth and even, and it has remained intact over several rounds of testing and years of long-term use in our test kitchen. By comparison, the enamel on both the bottom and the handle of the Milo Classic Dutch Oven we tested chipped after just a few washes, and we noticed that the surface was pitted in a few places. The glossy surface of the Lodge is also painless to clean, but we found that matte interiors like the one on the Staub gripped onto food and required more scrubbing.

The Lodge’s wide, looped handles are among the easiest to grab securely, even with a folded towel or an oven mitt (which you’ll need, since cast-iron handles heat up during cooking). We struggled to hold onto the spindly half-moons attached to either end of the Great Jones Dutchess or the stubbier handles on the Milo. Not only do the Lodge’s handles make the pot easier to lift (it weighs just under 15 pounds when empty) in and out of the oven, but you can also grip them more comfortably while stirring what’s inside. The only model we tested with better handles was the much more expensive Le Creuset.

Lodge offers a satisfaction guarantee for all of its products that’s a little vague, but Lodge spokesperson Mark Kelly told us, “The enameled cast iron Dutch ovens are covered by a limited lifetime warranty as long as all use and care recommendations have been followed.” Over years of testing, we’ve had mostly good experiences with Lodge’s customer service, and the Dutch oven we use in our test kitchen is still in good shape. But we have heard from some readers and Wirecutter staffers that the enamel on their Lodge ovens has chipped. If you absolutely want the longest-lasting pot, we recommend Le Creuset’s Dutch oven.

The bottom of the Lodge has a slightly curved surface compared with Le Creuset’s oven. That’s an asset when sautéing vegetables or caramelizing onions, but the Lodge required a few extra minutes to achieve the same level of sear on large cuts of meat, compared with other ovens with flatter surface areas. The base is an inch smaller than that on Le Creuset’s oven, so you have a little less room to brown meat if you’re cooking in large batches.

We’ve seen complaints from Amazon reviewers, our readers, and a few Wirecutter staff members that the Lodge’s enamel chips easily. We haven’t experienced any chipping ourselves, and Lodge told us that its warranty covers cracked or chipped enamel. But one Wirecutter writer with a damaged pot did not hear back from Lodge’s customer service. The Lodge is much more affordable than our upgrade pick, but it may also have a shorter lifespan. Price isn’t always a tradeoff for quality, but in the case of Dutch ovens, it may be something to consider.

A worn-down, scratched Dutch Lodge oven.
“I love the Lodge! It’s about four to five years old. I can’t tell the difference while cooking between the brands (Le Creuset and Lodge.) The Lodge does show its wear and tear much more though.” —Alex Vaughn, product manager, who tested it from 2018 to 2022 Photo: Alex Vaughn

We’ve also used the Lodge Dutch oven in our test kitchen regularly since 2014, and it performs as well as ever. Repeatedly moving the pot from stovetop to cabinet has caused some exterior scratching on the bottom, but the enamel finish is unmarred. The interior is still free of any major scratches, and the enamel finish has no cracks or chips. However, as the photos show above, the Lodge’s finish can wear down and discolor. This won’t affect the pot’s functionality, unless the enamel flakes off. To remove stains on the light interior, you can use a bleach solution or a baking soda paste.

A blue Le Crueset dutch oven.
Photo: Michael Murtaugh

Upgrade pick

Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 5½-Quart Round French Oven

Made to last

Some cooks may want to invest in this exceptionally durable, high-quality pot. It doesn’t cook much better than the Lodge, and it costs far more, but Le Creuset’s oven is the kind of piece people pass down to their kids.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $360.

Le Creuset’s Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 5½-Quart Round French Oven is the best Dutch oven you can buy. It’s the most durable oven we’ve tested, and we think it’s the best option for cooks who want a heritage piece of cookware. Le Creuset’s oven turns out great food every time, and it’s the most enjoyable to use of any we’ve tested. Le Creuset’s oven is one of the lightest we tested and has the largest handles, which makes it the easiest oven to cook with and to clean. Le Creuset’s pots have a durable enamel coating—with a smooth finish for even cooking—that’s backed by a lifetime warranty. Le Creuset’s oven is expensive, and if you get it, you’ll be investing in longevity. In our tests we didn’t find that it cooked that much better than the Lodge, but in our experience its enamel has far more staying power.

Compared with the Lodge Dutch oven, Le Creuset’s oven has a slightly larger cooking surface and straighter sides. Although it’s a bit easier for food to get stuck around the edges of Le Creuset’s oven, we were able to reach a whisk far enough into the corners to scrape up most bits while deglazing the pan. We got a great sear on meat, too, since there was a little more room on the bottom. In our testing, Le Creuset’s oven cooked foods the most evenly, although the differences were mostly minor. It turned out perfectly caramelized onions, and it made bread with a burnished crust and even crumb. In our 2020 tests, it was the only pot that didn’t scorch rice, although none of the pots burned rice in our 2015 tests (this discrepancy may be due to using different stoves). When we used Le Creuset’s oven for braising, the lid let out a balanced amount of evaporation, making a flavorful, concentrated beef stew—about on a par with the one we made in the Lodge.

A blue Le Creuset dutch oven and a green Lodge dutch oven.
Compared with the Lodge (right), the Le Creuset (left) oven has a slightly larger cooking surface. Photo: Michael Murtaugh
The handles of the Le Creuset and Lodge dutch ovens side by side.
The handles on the Le Creuset (left) are wide and easy to hold onto, even with an oven mitt. Photo: Michael Murtaugh

We prefer the roomier handles of Le Creuset’s oven, even over the Lodge’s generously sized ones. The oven’s handles are the most comfortable to grip with mitts or towels, for a seamless transition from the stove to the oven. The lid comes with a stainless-steel knob that’s oven safe at any temperature. You can also get a phenolic (a type of heat-proof plastic) knob, which the company says is oven-safe up to 500° F. (Until 2021, Le Creuset’s Signature series of Dutch ovens came with phenolic knobs, but now the stainless-steel knob is standard on the ovens.) Wirecutter’s Winnie Yang told us that the knob on her vintage Le Creuset melted when she baked bread, but we haven’t had issues baking bread or braising foods with the phenolic option on newer pots. At 11.9 pounds, Le Creuset’s oven is one of the lightest we tested (it’s 3 pounds less than the Lodge), making it the easiest to lift even when full. Le Creuset makes ovens in a wider range of sizes and colors than Lodge. The company also makes unique pots in whimsical shapes, like hearts, but we don’t recommend those from a practical standpoint.

At the time of this writing, Le Creuset’s oven costs nearly five times as much as the Lodge oven. But for home cooks who want the absolute best pot, this oven’s durability and generous lifetime warranty may be worth it. If your pot is damaged, even if the fault is yours, the company will generally offer you a replacement for 75 percent off the suggested retail price—as Wirecutter deputy editor Christine Cyr Clisset discovered when she sent her chipped pot to Le Creuset’s warranty department. The brand is beloved by professional and home cooks alike, and in our experience these pots can last for decades. We’ve used these ovens for years in our test kitchen, and the enamel hasn’t discolored or flaked. Winnie told us that she’s had her ovens since 2007. “I use them at least twice a week, and they’re all going strong. I look forward to passing them on to my kids,” she said.

“My spouse, Carter, says the Le Creuset is the best. When he’s braising for a dinner party, he can cook for around eight people with it. Since it’s not a skillet, there’s enough depth and surface area on the bottom so that the braising liquid reduces down to a rich gravy and the meat has room to cook.” —Joshua Lyon, supervising editor, who tested the 9-quart model from 2013 to 2022 Photo: Joshua Lyon

Le Creuset Dutch ovens are among the most durable of any we’ve tested, and with proper care, they can last for decades. They don’t need to be babied, but we do have tips for how to preserve both their function and their looks. And though senior engineering manager Polina Grinbaum’s Dutch oven still works well after 16 years, she tells us she’s been hard on it, and the oven’s internal enamel has taken some damage (see photo below).

Most Dutch ovens are dishwasher-safe, but manufacturers warn that dishwashing can wear down the enamel finish. Anyway, we prefer hand-washing Dutch ovens, to get into the corners. But before you wash your pot, be sure to let it cool. Putting a hot pot in a sink of cold water can lead to damage from thermal shock: The rapid contraction of the cooling cast iron can warp or crack the pot or cause pieces of the enamel coating to pop off. You should avoid heating an empty pot for similar reasons, since adding cold ingredients to a very hot pot can also cause thermal shock. That said, there are plenty of home-baked bread recipes that call for preheating an empty Dutch oven. We haven’t had issues with baking bread in our picks, but you should keep in mind that manufacturers advise against it, so you may not be covered if your pot does get damaged.

The orange Le Creuset without its top shows scratches and chipped enamel.
Wirecutter staffer Polina Grinbaum admits that shocking her Le Creuset Dutch oven with cold water or removing burnt-on food with a brush on an electric screwdriver may have caused its enamel to chip. Her pot still works great, but the chips, which started small, have grown over time. Photo: Polina Grinbaum

Enameled cast iron is durable and should last a long time, but it needs to be treated with some care. To prevent the coated finish from chipping or cracking, you should stick to using utensils made from wood, silicone, or other soft materials. Metal tools can scratch the surface.

Similarly, we don’t recommend using metal scrapers, steel wool, or electric brushes to clean these pots. For stubborn scorch marks, you can make a paste of baking soda and water, or use a mildly abrasive cleaner, like Bar Keeper’s Friend, with a sponge. The light-colored interiors of most enameled cast-iron products can darken slightly with use, but you can remove stains by scrubbing with a baking soda paste or soaking in a light bleach solution for a few hours.

Our picks are oven-safe to 500° F, so if you decide to use them in a hotter oven for something like bread baking, proceed with caution.

If the enamel develops large chips or cracks that expose the cast iron below, it may be time to replace your oven. These spots can rust and will lead to uneven cooking.

The Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Enameled Cast Iron 7-Quart Round Covered Casserole, our previous also-great pick, has a larger cooking surface that allows for more evaporation. It produced the best stew of all of the ovens we tested, with a more condensed broth. But this oven is larger and heavier, with small handles that are harder to grab, and you might get similar results by simply using a larger Lodge Dutch oven.

Although The Dutchess oven from Great Jones looks sleek, we found its design impractical. The company makes only a 6¾-quart oval-shaped oven, which will work if you have a large range with oval burners. Otherwise, it may cause foods to cook unevenly: In our tests the Dutchess scorched rice most noticeably and made it hard to evenly caramelize onions for a pot roast. Both the thin, looped knob on the lid and the looped handles are tricky to grab because they’re so thin. And it was a strain to lift the heavy lid, or to get the Dutchess out of the oven when it was full of meat.

The 5½-quart Milo Classic Dutch Oven is relatively inexpensive, but it was of lower quality than our picks. Its outer enamel coating chipped after just four hand-washings, and the inner enamel coating was also pitted and bumpy, which can lead to uneven cooking. This oven has smaller handles that aren’t as easy to hold, and we don’t love that a rubbery ring surrounds the base of the lid’s knob, since this can trap foods. We’ve also noticed some stock issues, which is a common problem with newer cookware startups.

We found that the dark, slightly textured interior on the Staub Round Cocotte makes the oven hard to use. It’s difficult to judge the color of seared meat or caramelized onions against the black finish, which also grabbed on to food particles and required harder and more lengthy scrubbing to get clean. Staub advertises that its nubby lids keep liquids inside the pot, yielding moist, tender braises. In our 2015 testing, the Staub did lose the least amount of liquid during cooking, but that left us with a watery, less concentrated stew that we didn’t enjoy as much as the richer stews made from other ovens.

Compared with other ovens, the Tramontina 6.5-Quart Covered Round Dutch Oven is narrower and taller. It’s less convenient for browning and too small to sear larger cuts of meat.

We tested the Marquette Castings 6-quart Dutch Oven in 2016, but we found that it didn’t evenly cook foods like onions. The knob on the lid is uncomfortable to grasp.

Other Dutch ovens we considered but didn’t test

The Martha Stewart Collection Enameled Cast Iron Round 6-Qt. Dutch Oven is more expensive than our picks and is available only at Macy’s and on the Martha Stewart website.

The Emile Henry Flame Top Round Oven is made of clay. It weighs significantly less than a cast-iron model, but it won’t be as durable. It’s also pricier than our picks.

We considered the AmazonBasics Enameled Cast Iron Covered Dutch Oven, but reviewers complained that the enamel chips and is uneven.

The beautiful Dansk Kobenstyle casseroles are made from thinner enameled steel, rather than cast iron. They’re lighter than our picks but won’t retain heat as well, and they may heat unevenly on the stovetop. Reviewers also complain that the enamel chips.

  1. J. Kenji López-Alt, Equipment: The 7 Most Essential Pots and Pans, Serious Eats, October 30, 2019

  2. Large Dutch Ovens, Cook’s Illustrated, September 2018

  3. Lodge Color Porcelain Enamel on Cast Iron Dutch Oven, Good Housekeeping, February 4, 2013

  4. The Best Dutch Ovens, Epicurious, February 2019

  5. Danielle Centoni, Are Lodge Dutch Ovens Really as Good as Le Creuset and Staub?, The Kitchn, August 3, 2019

  6. Dutch Oven Shopping Guide, America’s Test Kitchen, January 24, 2017

  7. Common Materials of Cookware, Cooking For Engineers, July 15, 2015

  8. How to Clean A Dutch Oven, Bon Appétit, September 27, 2017

About your guides

Anna Perling

Anna Perling is a former staff writer covering kitchen gear at Wirecutter. During her time at Wirecutter, she reported on various topics including sports bras, board games, and light bulbs. Previously she wrote food and lifestyle pieces for Saveur and Kinfolk magazines. Anna is a mentor at Girls Write Now and a member of the Online News Association.

Writer Kevin Purdy

Kevin Purdy

Kevin Purdy is a writer, editor, and repair advocate at iFixit. He previously reviewed products at Wirecutter, including mattresses, standing desks, and bike-commuting gear. He has also written for Lifehacker, Popular Science, Fast Company, and other publications.

Ray Aguilera

Further reading