This Is the One Do-It-All Pot Every Home Cook Needs in Their Arsenal
It goes without saying that we've all been cooking a hell of a lot more during quarantine. Stay-at-home orders have also meant a cooking-at-home reality for many of us, which means only one thing: We've basically become experts in what cookware actually works. A Dutch oven is one of the most essential (if not the most essential and versatile) pieces of everyday cookware, and if you're anything like us, you've been putting your Dutch oven to work during this COVID-19 lockdown.
Wait ... What Exactly Is a Dutch Oven?
Sturdy, versatile, and considered the workhorse of all cookware, a Dutch oven is a heavy-duty pot with a tight-fitting lid that does the hard work when it comes to slow-cooked dishes like braised cuts of meat, homemade broths, and winter stews. Usually constructed of nonstick-coated cast-iron or aluminum, a Dutch oven can be used on both the stovetop and in the oven. The heavy bottom is ideal for browning meat and veggies and then simmering for hours on the stovetop or braising in the oven. From oven-roasted root veggies to classic beef stew, a Dutch oven is what we reach for when cooking hearty meals.
WTF! Why the Steep Price Point?
Since a Dutch oven is one of those cornerstone pieces of everyday cookware, you might wonder why so many of these tend to be upwards of a $200 or even $300 price point. As our friends at Good Housekeeping explained: "They're often an investment piece that you can use to add a pop of color to your kitchen and keep on hand for a lifetime of use."
In other words, a good Dutch oven is a smart investment given its longevity and versatility. With pretty and colorful ceramic finishes to choose from, a Dutch oven also doubles as an aesthetically pleasing fixture in the kitchen. Even if you store your Dutch oven deep in a cabinet or hang it from a sturdy pot rack, it's one of those cookware staples you'll undoubtedly return to season after season.
How We Chose
When deciding on the below best Dutch oven picks, we kept several key factors in mind:
- Longevity. Longevity is one of the most important factors, since we wanted to only include picks that hold up (and hold up well) over time. We considered which Dutch ovens held up best when it came to food stains, rust, and chips in the enamel.
- Durability. Durability and versatility go hand-in-hand, as we spent months trying out various recipes with our Dutch ovens both on the stovetop and in the oven to see what models actually work seamlessly into our everyday cooking.
- Price point. Last, we considered price point, as there are now lots of fantastic new direct-to-consumer cookware brands offering more affordable alternatives to the hefty price tags of yesteryear. We included a range of price points that we find fair given the quality of each brand.
To find the best Dutch ovens, we did extensive research to find the top-rated picks, scouring reviews and tips from expert sources including Good Housekeeping, Food & Wine, and WireCutter. We included only options with unanimously positive reviews and expert-vetted feedback on quality. We also hand-tested several of the models included in this list, including the Milo by Kana Dutch Oven, Caraway Cookware, and Great Jones' The Duchess Dutch Oven.
The 7 Best Dutch Ovens to Buy in 2021
- The Minimalist: Milo by Kana Cast Iron Dutch Oven
- Nonstick Pick: Caraway Dutch Oven
- The Technicolor Dream Pot: Great Jones The Duchess Dutch Oven
- The Magic Finish: Staub Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
- Cheaper Than Le Creuset: Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
- The Gold Standard: Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
- Lightweight Pick: Calphalon Classic Nonstick Dutch Oven
Lady Quarantine has certainly taught us a thing or two in the kitchen.