The Best Dutch Oven (2023), Reviewed by Our Experts

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The best Dutch ovens are good for so many things: braising meat, stews, sauteing, deep frying, heck even baking bread. And while we think you should consider getting a stainless steel stock pot, one of these will work in a pinch. Regardless of which one you choose though, a Dutch oven will prove an investment. It’s not a purchase to be taken lightly (no pun intended). This is a hefty piece of cast iron cookware often with a hefty price attached to it. But purchase the right one and you have a kitchen workhorse that will last for decades but that also adds a bit of curb appeal to your cooktop.

The best Dutch ovens

Le Creuset 5.5 Quart Dutch Oven

Amazon Basics Enameled Cast Iron Covered Round Dutch Oven, 6 Quart

Table of contents

Top tested Dutch oven: Le Creuset Signature Dutch Oven
Bon Appetit Test Kitchen pick: Staub Cast Iron Dutch Oven
The pro’s pick: Amazon Basics Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
What other Dutch ovens are out there?
What size Dutch oven should you get?
What shape Dutch oven should you buy?
But wait, how do you clean a Dutch oven?

Top tested Dutch Oven: Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 5.5-Quart Round Dutch Oven

The Good: Durability, easiest to use
The Bad: Price point

In a way Le Creuset functions as the Levi’s jeans of cookware—even if you don’t know very much about the French brand, it possesses enough of a long-earned cult-level backing that you to know of it. At first glance, a Le Creuset Dutch oven will catch your eye for the rainbow of pretty enamel coatings you can choose from. But it doesn’t stop at just looks. The high-quality enamel cast iron pot has impressed testers at our sister site Epicurious for years. It seared, braised and caramelized with the best of them, resisted chipping (though testers did note the light-colored enamel finish on the inside does get “dull and ruddy over time”), and features a tight-fitting lid—important for heat retention—topped with a phenolic (plastic) knob that can be replaced with a much heartier stainless steel knob for projects like bread baking at high temps in the oven.

What set this classic Dutch oven apart from its competitors in the testing though was not its performance on the stove or in the oven, it was design. Testers loved the wide loop handles and (relatively) light weight that make it easy to move around the stove and into the oven with pot holders. That small details like handle shape are so considered on this pot makes sense. Le Creuset got their start in the 1920s, so the heirloom brand has had over a century of practice to craft the perfect Dutch oven for home cooks. Its lifetime warranty doesn’t hurt either.

Le Creuset 5.5 Quart Dutch Oven

Diameter: 10.25”
Height: 6.5”
Weight: 11.5 lbs.
Warranty: Lifetime

Bon Appetit Test Kitchen Pick: Staub Cast Iron 5.5-Quart Dutch Oven

The Good: Most durable interior, high walls that prevent splatter
The Bad: High price tag, slightly heavier than Le Creuset

Le Creuset may have a cult following, but the Staub Dutch oven holds the heart of BA’s Test Kitchen. Not one but two different staffers named it as one of their top picks, with food editor Shilpa Uskokovic even saying she’d “lay down” her life for the Staub over the Le Creuset any day. The reason? Better durability.

“It’s not to say the Le Creuset is not durable, but I do think it shows it’s wear more readily,” food director Chris Morocco says, pointing to the Le Creuset’s cream enamel interior versus the Staub’s more discreet matte black. “The interior of the Staub is not raw cast iron. It is just a very hard wearing surface and yet it’s one that things release pretty easily off of it.”

This means you can go to town when hand washing it and put it through more (not only is the Staub oven-safe, Morocco even says he’s put a model with a matte black exterior directly on to hot coals) knowing that the dark interior will keep it looking brand new. That heavy-duty quality combined with its performance combined with the palette of colors you can purchase it in makes the Staub the sports car of Dutch ovens for Morocco.

Diameter: 10.24”
Height: 6.57”
Weight: 11.9 lbs.
Warranty: Lifetime

The pro’s pick: Amazon Basics 6-Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

The Good: Super affordable, nice color options, quality performance, ideal for a beginner cook
The Bad: Not as durable as the pricier competitors, no lifetime warranty

If you’ve ever visited or searched anything on Amazon, then you’ve probably seen the retailer’s eponymous Basics brand. You might think “how good can Amazon cookware be?” According to Katie Hale, The Complete Dutch Oven Cookbook, pretty good. With a 15-year-long background in food blogging, Hale built her own site in 2018 and also writes cookbooks—including one about her favorite piece of cookware. To Hale, the Dutch oven stands as the most versatile and heavily used item in her kitchen.

She opted for an Amazon Basics Dutch oven because it was so affordable and five years later, she says she thinks it’s just as good as a Le Creuset or Staub. Available in an array of colors, it’ll look nice on any cooking surface while still delivering quality results—giving the perfectly even sear on meats no matter how much time has passed. Hale only stipulates that, because it’s got an enameled interior, you shouldn’t use an Amazon Basics Dutch oven on an open fire, like you could with a Staub. Other than that she says it wears well, even after she accidentally dropped it, and comes at an unbeatable price point.

“Especially if someone is just starting cooking or just supplying their kitchen, it’s a perfect choice to start with,” Hale says.

Amazon Basics Enameled Cast Iron Covered Round Dutch Oven, 6 Quart

Diameter: 11”
Height: 4.7”
Weight: 13 lbs.
Warranty: 1 year

What other Dutch ovens are out there?

Le Creuset and Staub are perhaps to the two biggest names in Dutch oven land, but given the explosion in cast iron cookware from smaller boutique brands, direct to consumer (DTC) start ups, and classic cast iron skillet brands like Lodge, there are now a lot of Dutch ovens to choose from. Our colleagues from Epicurious tested 17, braising, stewing, slow cooking and (importantly) cleaning all of them before picking the Le Creuset Dutch oven we recommend above. Here’s a full rundown of every Dutch oven we’ve tested.

Milo by Kana Dutch Oven (Epicurious budget pick)
Emile Henry Dutch Oven
Marquette Castings Dutch Oven
Dansk Dutch Oven
Ikea Dutch Oven (discontinued)
Cuisinart Dutch Oven
Great Jones Dutch Oven
Caraway Dutch Oven
Misen Dutch Oven
Denby Dutch Oven
Vermicular Dutch Oven
KitchenAid Dutch Oven
Tramontina Dutch Oven
Our Place Dutch Oven
Italic Dutch Oven
Lodge Enameled Dutch Oven

To find more information on how they all performed and why they couldn’t best the Le Creuset, check the testing details in the Best Dutch Ovens, Tested and Reviewed.

What size Dutch oven should I get?

With the Le Creuset and Staub specifically you’ll find they come in seven or eight different sizes. We think the ideal size Dutch oven for most people is between 5 and 6 quarts. If you have the space to spare, then by all means size up to a 6-quart Dutch oven. A 5-quart Dutch oven fits a sourdough boule perfectly, and at 5.5-quarts and above, you can fit a standard-size whole chicken inside. Smaller than that, and you’re not giving yourself sufficient room to brown meat or enough depth to simmer stock, soup, or beans. Bigger than that though is a bit of overkill. Larger Dutch ovens, with say, a 7-quart capacity, will also be much heavier and tougher to store when not in use.

What shape Dutch oven should I get?

You may have noticed that every one of the best cast-iron Dutch ovens we’re recommending is round. We’ve found that while oval-shaped Dutch ovens are nice for roasting oblong cuts of meat in the oven (hi pot roast), the elongated surface area can easily lead to uneven heat distribution and cooking on the stovetop, unless they’re large enough to stretch over two burners. So if you’re choosing only one to purchase, swing for a round option over the oval Dutch oven to get the most out of your shiny new cookware.

But wait, how do you clean a Dutch oven?

While some Dutch ovens are labeled dishwasher-safe, we recommend hand washing for peak longevity. Because they’re practically nonstick, you should be able to clean them with just a bit of (gentle) scrubbing. Use a sprinkle of Bar Keepers Friend if you’ve managed to scorch the bottom—just make sure you’re not using something abrasive enough to damage that beautiful ​​enamel. For more on how best to clean your Dutch oven, read our piece here or check out the video below.

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