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Best Dutch Ovens From Consumer Reports' Tests

Le Creuset is synonymous with Dutch ovens, but our tests found that Lodge and others—that cost a lot less—deserve a look

Woman welcomes two friends into her home. One is carrying a Dutch oven.

You might be tempted to store a bulky Dutch oven in the back of a cabinet, but consider this heavyweight’s versatility: From stovetop to oven to your table, a Dutch oven can brown, boil, braise, and bake bread, even deep-fry.

Our test engineers recently put a selection of Dutch ovens through their paces, boiling water, browning meat, caramelizing scallops, simmering tomato sauce, baking bread. They also recorded handle temperatures and evaluated ease of cleaning. Staffers gathered in our lab to weigh in on the moistness and tenderness of braised briskets, and the taste and texture of bread.

All the Dutch ovens we tested are round, similar in height (4.5 to 5 inches), and available in a variety of colors. Each pot holds 5 to 6 quarts—ideal for everyday cooking—and works on any type of stovetop, including induction. Prices range from $45 to $340.

Our tests found that any can do a fine job braising meat, and most can quickly bring 4 quarts of water to a near boil. Beyond that, our tests found significant differences.

Best of all? The Le Creuset Signature 5.5-quart Dutch oven, $340. That’s a lot to spend on one pot, even if you assume you’ll use it for a lifetime. The good news is that the Lodge Dutch oven, $60, also earns high marks, and the Ayesha Curry Dutch oven is impressive and beautiful, and costs just $70.

Here’s a look at the top five Dutch ovens we tested. They appear in alphabetical (not rank) order. For all the details, see our Dutch oven ratings. Note that the weights listed are for the pot and lid. 

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1
Ayesha Curry Covered Dutch Oven
Ayesha Curry Covered Dutch Oven

    Ayesha Curry Covered Dutch Oven

    CR’s take: Ayesha Curry hosted “Ayesha’s Home Kitchen” on the Food Network, and she’s gearing up to host ABC’s “Family Food Fight,” a culinary competition among families. You’ll see her cookware sets in our ratings, and the 6-quart Ayesha Curry Dutch oven is among the easiest to clean, garnering an Excellent rating in that test. Weighing in at 15 pounds, this Dutch oven is the heaviest of the group, while the cooking surface measures 7 inches in diameter. (Read about cookware from Curry and Rachael Ray.)

    2
    Le Creuset Signature Dutch Oven
    Le Creuset Signature Dutch Oven

      Le Creuset Signature Dutch Oven

      CR’s take: The 5.5-quart Le Creuset Signature tops our ratings. It earns an Excellent rating in our browning tests, the only Dutch oven to do so, and is a cinch to clean. It weighs 12 pounds, less than most, and has an 8-inch cooking diameter. The loop handles are nice and wide.

      3
      Lodge Dutch Oven
      Lodge Dutch Oven

        Lodge Dutch Oven

        CR’s take: Lodge knows a thing or two about cast iron, and the Lodge 6-quart Dutch oven turns out bread that’s nicely browned and crispy, rating a Very Good in our bread-baking test. Cleanup is a breeze. Weighing in at 14 pounds, this Dutch oven has a 7-inch cooking surface diameter. Like the Le Creuset, the Lodge has wide loop handles.

        4
        Staub Cocotte
        Staub Cocotte

          Staub Cocotte

          CR’s take: The Staub Cocotte costs almost as much as the Le Creuset, and also holds 5.5 quarts. Browning rates a Very Good, but the pot’s dark interior makes it trickier to see whether meat is browning and to tell just how clean the pot is after washing. It weighs 13 pounds, and the cooking surface is 8 inches in diameter.

          5
          Vremi Dutch Oven
          Vremi Dutch Oven

            Vremi Dutch Oven

            CR’s take: The 6-quart Vremi Dutch oven is so-so in some tests, but when it comes to baking bread, it earns an Excellent rating, the best of this group. It weighs 14 pounds, and its cooking diameter is 8 inches. The side handles are small, and the warranty is short—just one year, while the others come with a lifetime or limited lifetime warranty. If you’re planning to transfer it to the oven, take note: This Dutch oven can withstand temperatures up to 450° F, but most others can handle higher heat.

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            Kimberly Janeway

            For years I've covered the increasing water and energy efficiency of washers and what it means to consumers, along with innovations in a variety of products, and whether manufacturers deliver on their promises. What I'm really trying to do is to help consumers, and consumers help me by posting comments and posing questions. So thanks!