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If you’re still dragging around that mismatched set of cookware you’ve had since college, it's likely time to reassess. If your collection doesn't have a Dutch oven—specifically—you're seriously missing out.
If you’re unfamiliar with Dutch ovens, you can consider them the ultimate culinary multitasker. These heavy, lidded pots are incredibly versatile: They can be used on your stovetop to braise, sauté, and sear, or be slipped into the oven—lid and all—for family-sized portions of stews and roasts, slow cooking them to tasty perfection. The thick walls make for excellent heat retention and, not to mention, superb durability that can withstand years of wear and tear.
Here, the best Dutch ovens for all of your searing, braising, deep-frying, and bread-baking needs.
Best Overall: Le Creuset 13.25 Quart Round Dutch Oven
You can’t talk about Dutch ovens without talking about Le Creuset. The cookware brand is basically synonymous with the vessel, and their round Dutch oven is a continuous bestseller. The enameled cast iron construction is highly durable, minimizes sticking, and delivers superior heat retention.
Not convinced yet? It also comes with a fitted lid and is safe for all stovetops and oven-safe for up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s even easy to clean and dishwasher-safe. Plus, you have an entire rainbow of colors to choose from (we’re personally smitten with the bright Caribbean and luscious berry hues), as well as two sizes, which can produce three to four servings and five to six servings, respectively.
"I’ve had my Le Creuset Dutch oven for years—though admittedly it was one of those items I registered for without knowing exactly why I needed one. While my initial reasoning for wanting one was vague at best, it has become one of my favorite things to cook with. It’s perfect for braising meats, roasting chicken, and cooking stews and other one-pot meals. The surface is also incredibly easy to clean, which is why I tend to reach for it over my other pots and pans."—Allison Bean, Editorial Director
Best Budget: Lodge 6-Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Everyone should be able to get a taste of the yummy meals Dutch ovens can produce—no matter budgetary restraints. While many Dutch ovens are in the three-figure price range, this one is budget-friendly. Despite its relatively small price tag, you can rest assured that Lodge's offering holds its own.
It can hold an impressive six quarts and the cast iron construction is rust and tarnish resistant. It’s also safe for all cooktops (including induction stoves) and, like many of the Dutch ovens on this list, is oven safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Between desert sage, indigo, and oyster white shades (among others)—your toughest commitment will be which color.
Best Oval: Great Jones The Dutchess
If you prefer an oval-shaped Dutch oven as opposed to round, there's no better pick than The Dutchess from Great Jones. The aptly named pot bears some royal features beginning with its oblong shape that provides roomy space and a slightly curved base to prevent food from sticking.
Crafted from enameled cast iron, it’s great at retaining heat and can handle up to 6.75 quarts of your favorite roast, stew, lasagna, or whatever it is that your family is hungry for. We’re also crazy for the Crayola-esque array of colors that range from a broccoli green to a mustard yellow and marinara red.
Best Stainless Steel: All-Clad 6500 SS Copper Core 5-Ply Bonded Dutch Oven
While enameled cast iron is a pretty typical material for Dutch ovens, stainless steel options are also worthy of your consideration as they come with their own serious set of advantages. Our favorite in the category? This 5.5-quart All-Clad Copper Core Dutch Oven.
With a copper core tucked between four layers of highly conductive aluminum and easy-to-clean stainless steel, the pot allows for super quick heat-up times and outstanding heat retention and control. Miraculously, the riveted stainless steel handles will remain cool on your cooktop, so you can also go from your stove to table with speed and ease. Last on our list of highlights is the oven's domed lid which not only aids in circulating heat, but preserving moisture.
Best Non-Enameled: Smithey Ironware Co. Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Clocking in at 5.5 quarts and 14 pounds, this Smithey Dutch oven is perfect for those who prefer the more natural look of non-enameled cast-iron. Besides its matte black exterior, this pre-seasoned Dutch oven also offers even heat distribution and is designed to keep food warmer for longer, making it ideal for tabletop serving.
The smooth interior promises an effortless clean-up job and things just get easier over time as the pot develops a "slick patina". The Charleston-made pot is oven- and induction-safe, and if you love the way it handles, you can even pick up a matching skillet (view on Food52).
Best Large: Sur La Table Staub Le Grande Oven With Glass Lid,7.4 QT
Need to feed a figurative army? Get yourself a Dutch oven that can handle a feast. The Staub Le Grande Oven can hold—drumroll, please—over 7 quarts of food. This means that you can cook large portions of soups, chilis, and other big-batch meals with ease. Better yet, its wider shape allows you to deep fry and braise, too.
The enameled cast-iron Dutch oven is available in red, black, and French blue. No matter the shade you pick, it's finished with an all-black interior which aids in searing. It also comes with a glass lid so you can easily keep an eye on everything as it cooks.
Best Small: Milo Small Dutch Oven
If you’re cooking for one or just really, really hate food waste, a smaller-sized Dutch oven might be right for you. This pint-sized Dutch oven—it's just 3.5 quarts and a mere 8 pounds—from Milo can do everything its larger counterparts can.
Crafted from glass enamel, it’s perfect for slow-cooking a variety of dishes and is oven safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Plus, it’s also dishwasher-safe for supremely easy cleaning. The Milo Small Dutch Oven comes in two colors: eggshell white and inky black (our personal favorite as it's contrasted by a gorgeous gold knob).
Best Innovative Shape: Finex 5-Quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven
While you may typically think of round- or oval-shaped vessels when it comes to Dutch ovens, this one doesn’t play by the rules. The Finex 5-Quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven has a unique octagonal shape that’s totally innovative.
First, there's the angles which can serve as pour spouts and assist in venting, then there's the flat sides make it easy to slip in spatulas and effortlessly extract your cooked food. You don't have to worry about sticking, either, as the interior is pre-seasoned with organic flaxseed oil. Its other equally impressive features include quick-cool handles and handcrafted cast-iron construction that’s oven-safe for up to—wait for it—1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Best Depth: Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast Iron Deep Oven
Doubtful that there’s a Dutch oven sizable enough to handle your extra-large holiday roast? Think again, my friend. This extra-deep oven is outfitted with tall sides which make it perfectly capable of whipping up big-batch meals like stews and roasts. You can even make round breaks in this baby!
Besides its impressive depth, this piece boasts all the typical trademarks of a Le Creuset Dutch oven including enameled cast-iron construction, resistance to wear and tear, and excellent heat retention. Depending on your needs, you can choose between a 5.25- or 6.5-quart pot, the first which feeds five to six people, and the latter which feeds six to seven.
Best Set: Food52 x Dansk Kobenstyle Saucepan
If you’re searching for a one-stop cooking solution, you can’t do much better than this smart set which comes courtesy of Dansk. The brand's Kobenstyle cookware collection comes complete with cooking vessels of three different sizes, including a 4-quart, 2-quart, and 1-quart lidded saucepans, so you’ll always have the perfect-sized ovenware on hand.
You can even use the Scandi-inspired pieces simultaneously, allowing you to cook three separate elements of a dish at once. The teakwood handles are a lovely element in addition to the enamelware construction, and it’s nearly impossible not to swoon over those pretty pastel hues. Once you're ready to serve, you can even transform the lids into trivets and place them right on your dinner table.
Best Nonstick: Calphalon Signature 5 Quart Covered Dutch Oven
You’ve waited all day to finally taste that delicious meal you’ve been preparing—only to have it stick to the bottom of the pot, completely ruining your presentation. To prevent such a cooking catastrophe, invest in a Dutch oven that’s known for its non-sticking capabilities.
This Calphalon Signature number is crafted with a PFOA-free and utensil-safe nonstick interior so you can easily sear, brown, and sauté with less oil and no fear of your food sticking to the bottom or sides. If you want to slow cook in this Dutch oven, that's obviously an option, too; it’s oven-safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit—including the tapered glass lid.