Dutch ovens are one of the best multipurpose pieces you can add to your kitchen, and there are so many gorgeous options out there to choose from. These kitchen tools are showing up on registries everywhere, and with how incredibly versatile they are, you’ll want to be sure to add one to yours as well. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or settling in for a date night at home just the two of you, this just might be the one and only piece of cooking equipment you’ll need.
Dutch ovens are made for high heat, and you can cook almost anything in them from breakfast casseroles to pot roasts. If you’re not familiar with dutch ovens, selecting the best option for you and your partner’s kitchen can be tricky, especially with so many choices in size, material, and shape on the market. To help, we've rounded up a list of our faves.
Read on for the best dutch ovens.
Best Overall: Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron
Le Creuset has definitely made a name for itself in the cooking world, and this is one of those pieces that will last a lifetime if you take care of it properly. Originally debuting on the market in 1925, the Le Creuset Cocotte (a.k.a. dutch oven) has obviously been doing something right, and families have been passing these kitchen staples down for decades.
This piece is made from cast iron, coated in enamel for a gorgeous finish, and great durability. It's the perfect kitchen staple for soups, roasts—and even baking bread—because of the even heat distribution throughout. Plus, it’s safe for gas and electric stoves, along with ovens and even outdoor grills.
But perhaps the best part of this option is how easy it is to clean—definitely a major plus! Traditional cast iron can be tricky to take care of, but enameled cast iron is a material that can be popped right in the dishwasher, without fear of damage like chipping or cracking. It’s an investment, but it’s definitely worth the splurge.
Best Budget: ClearSea M-cooker Self-Basting Enameled Dutch Oven
A dutch oven can definitely be a bit of a splurge, but this is a great option for those looking to try one out without a huge investment. This 4.5-quart dutch oven is cast iron with an enamel coasting, providing all of the excellent heating qualities as other dutch ovens. It’s built with incredibly strong, sturdy handles for easy handling from stovetop to oven, along with a thick bottom coating for even heating. It can be used for casseroles, stews, or soups, or even a hot pot night around the dinner table.
The lid of this dutch oven is self-circulating to promote steam circulation, ultimately helping food to stay moist as if providing a steam shower while cooking. Once condensation forms on the lid, it’s condensed into water droplets, falling back on the food to maintain its original flavor.
The internal white enamel makes for a great nonstick surface and super easy cleanup, along with it being rust and corrosion resistant to keep the bottom of the pan from turning black over time, leaving your investment looking shiny and new for years.
Best Copper: Scanpan Maître D' Induction Copper Covered Dutch Oven
Copper is known to heat quickly and evenly, and stainless steel holds heat incredibly well. This dutch oven combines the best of both worlds—the two metals paired together are the perfect duo, allowing for quick and even heat distribution and great temp control throughout the whole cooking process.
This pot is perfect for making sauces or prepping veggies, and it can go straight from the stovetop or the oven to the table with its elegant, classic design. It’s best to stick to handwash only with this choice, but the extra little bit of cleaning effort required is totally worth it for the unmatched cooking it can accomplish, along with its gorgeous exterior.
Best Oval: Staub Cast Iron Oval Cocotte
Choosing between round or oval dutch ovens is really all about preference and considering what type of food you may be cooking in it. An oval option may be better for the home cook that loves to roast chickens or serve beef roasts, and this pot from Staub allows for just that.
Its enameled cast iron material allows for heat to transfer and be retained evenly, with the addition of trace amounts of quartz to provide the ability for better browning. It’s resistant to rust, as well as chipping and cracking, so you can feel good that your investment will last a long time, all while being 100 percent dishwasher safe for easy cleanup. The gorgeous design comes in five different colors to match your kitchen’s palette while providing the cooking benefits of cast iron, whether you're using it on a stovetop or in the oven.
Best Modern: Great Jones The Dutchess
There are few things better than being able to whip up a meal in one dish, and then transferring that same gorgeous pot to the table for serving—no extra dishes required. This gorgeous enameled cast iron dutch oven, affectionately known as The Dutchess, allows you to do just that.
This modern option comes with all of the benefits of cast iron, heating to perfection and retaining its heat while evenly cooking, and it’s paired with a smooth enamel finish to protect the iron and provide for easy cleaning. Its shape is designed to accommodate a number of dishes, with a curve from the bottom up the sides to prevent food from sticking, all while giving great space for browning and searing.
It’s oven safe for up to 500 degrees and the lid fits super snug to keep food moist without any room for drying out. Choose from seven shades to match your kitchen’s color palette and whip up some seriously impressive meals.
Best Design: Terra.Cotto Bright Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Traditional cast iron dutch ovens tend to look a little bland in the kitchen but this option is switching things up. This is such a fun, artistic-looking piece to add to any kitchen, providing the same traditional shape of a cast iron dutch oven, with a sleek, modern twist.
Made in Italy, this Sambonet Terra.Cotto dutch oven embraces the look of traditional terra cotta pots once used on the stovetop but comes with all of the cooking benefits of cast iron. This dutch oven is made for even heat distribution and cooking.
Plus, it’s designed with large lateral handles for easily moving dishes to the table, and it’s totally dishwasher safe. Choose from three bright color choices and add this unique piece to your kitchen.
Best Multifunctional: Lodge Deep Camp Dutch Oven
Yes, this is the campfire-style dutch oven we were talking about, but it definitely has its place in many kitchens. And for the camping or outdoor cooking enthusiast, it’s a dream come true. This piece is totally portable, with legs on the bottom that allows it to sit over a campfire, or you can use the inverted lid as a griddle for cooking up breakfast. But even if you’re not taking it on your next trip, this dutch oven can still be used at home on the stove or in the oven.
Because this type of cast iron needs to be seasoned for the best performance, this option comes pre-seasoned with soy-based vegetable oil. You’ll need to keep up the maintenance—including rinsing the piece under hot water rinse without any soap and applying vegetable oil before you use it. With the proper treatment, these pots can last a lifetime.
There are multiple sizes— all the way up to 10 quarts—so it's possible to choose the perfect size for what you’ll be cooking most. You can use this classic dutch oven to sear meats, sauté veggies, and even as a fryer, whether you’re cooking a meal up in the mountains or around the campfire in your backyard.
Best Novelty: Staub Heart Cocotte
We know, there may not be an occasion to pull this out all the time, but maybe a sweet design is just what you’ve been waiting for to try out all of those dutch oven recipes you’ve been collecting on Pinterest. This is the perfect way to go straight from the oven to the table. This decorative piece boasts heat-retaining cast iron, keeping it oven safe for up to 500 degrees. Plus, with a smooth enamel base, it’s safe for stovetops, as well as totally dishwasher safe.
But when it comes to actually cooking with this cutie, it can do a whole lot without even thinking about it. There are self-basting spikes located on the top of the lid, which will basically create a “rain forest” effect to bring juices cooking in your food back onto the dish once again, offering the perfect cook or bake.
What to Look for in a Dutch Oven
Dutch ovens come in different capacities. You can buy dutch ovens as small as 1/4-quart all the way up to around 13-quarts. You'll want to find a size that will accommodate the number of people you're cooking for. If you're cooking for a large family or crowd, try to find a 7-quart dutch oven or higher. More average size families can opt for something smaller.
Dutch ovens come in two shapes: round and oval. Round shapes are great for stovetop cooking, as they align better with most burners. They also offer more depth, than an oval pan. However, oval pans are better for cooking things like whole chickens and beef roasts. Your decision between the two will mostly come down to what types of food you like to cook and your personal preference.
Dutch ovens come in many different materials from cast iron and enameled cast iron to stainless steel to copper. Perhaps the most durable is enameled cast iron as it's rust- and chip-resistant and can be easily cleaned in your dishwasher. Cast-iron is durable but requires some extra maintenance to ensure its longevity. Stainless steel is another great choice, but check to see if it's mixed with anything else. There are some copper and stainless steel varieties, and while durable, they are usually best hand washed. Which type you choose will largely depend on your budget and personal preference.