Whether it is braised meat, stews, or sauces, among others, a Dutch oven will prove to be an essential cookware to have in the kitchen. Many of them have appealing designs, which means that they can also double as a serving ware. While there are many options available in the market, this should not be an excuse to reach a decision in haste.
If you are looking for the best cast iron Dutch oven, we got you covered in the rest of this post. You will know what makes cast iron different from other materials, what essential factors should you consider, and the top five options that are currently available in the market.
What is Cast Iron Dutch Oven?
To begin with, let us first discuss what is a Dutch oven. In its simplest sense, a Dutch oven is a heavy and cylindrical pot that comes with a tight-fitting lid. It is a versatile cookware that can be used for different cooking applications, such as for braised meats, stews, and slow-cooked recipes.
There are many materials that are used for the production of Dutch ovens, but one of the most popular is cast iron. As a material, cast iron can deliver the following benefits:
- Affordable: One of the best things about cast iron Dutch ovens is that they are practical in terms of price. They are cheaper compared to stainless steel or aluminum. This makes the perfect choice for budget-conscious buyers.
- Naturally Nonstick: Most of the cast iron Dutch ovens are available as pre-seasoned. It is coated without using synthetic materials. This means that it is not going to be toxic for your health.
- Heat Retention: Cast iron also has the reputation of being impressive when it comes to its ability to retain heat. This also gets hot quickly, which makes cooking a snap and convenient even for busy individuals.
- Source of Iron: The iron coating in the Dutch oven will help to supplement the dietary iron that you need. They flake off during cooking. There is no need to worry when they get mixed with food as they can actually be good for your health.
Below is a short video that will show you more about a cast iron Dutch oven, including how it is used:
Types of Cast Iron
It is also important to note that there are two types pf cast iron used in Dutch oven:
- Plain Cast Iron: This is the ideal choice for buyers who are looking for an economical option. It is heavy and long-lasting. There is a need to have it seasoned before it is used. This is also a material that is excellent when it comes to durability.
- Enameled Cast Iron: While this is a more expensive option, this is preferred by many because it is already pre-seasoned. With this, you can cook even acidic foods. However, one problem is that enamel can be prone to cracking.
Choosing the Best Dutch Oven Cast Iron
With the abundance of the options, which one should you pick? As you try to narrow down the possibilities, be sure to consider the factors that we will briefly discuss below:
- Size: There are different factors that will affect the size of the Dutch oven that is right for your needs. For how many people do you intend to cook most of the time? How much space is available in the kitchen cabinet? Most Dutch ovens have a capacity of 2 to 13 quarts, depending on its shape.
- Lid: This is one of the most important parts of the Dutch oven. It should fit tightly on the top, making sure that moisture and heat will not be able to escape. It will also be good if it comes with a dome shape, which means that you can put more inside.
- Handle: Like the lid, this is an equally important part of the Dutch oven. It needs to have an ergonomic design, which means that it should be large enough and contoured, which will make it easy to hold. Even if you have large hand or wearing mitts, you must be able to hold it in a manner that is as effortless as possible.
- Reviews: It will also be good to rely on the feedbacks of other people. By reading online reviews, for instance, you can learn from the experiences of others and use this as the basis for narrowing down the possibilities.
- Warranty: This is an important consideration if you want to have peace of mind. Many manufacturers are offering Limited Lifetime Warranty, which will be great. This means that the manufacturer guarantees that there will be no cracks and other defects. Otherwise, they will provide a replacement or issue an unconditional refund.
Cleaning and Maintenance of Cast Iron Dutch Oven
To keep the Dutch oven in its tip-top condition, the following are some of the things that you have to keep in mind:
- There are natural cleaners that are cheap and easy to prepare while also guaranteeing a high level of effectiveness. One thing that you can do is to combine baking soda and water and use it to rub stains on the exterior. This will do a better job compared to a steel wool.
- Do not soak the Dutch oven in water or let it sit on the top of water for a long time. This will have a negative impact on the seasoning.
- Pay attention to the instructions from the manufacturer when it comes to proper cleaning. Be sure to religiously follow what they say.
Top Choices for the Best Cast Iron Dutch Oven
If you are still clueless on which one to purchase, below are some of the best brands and models that you might want to consider.
The aesthetics of this cast iron Dutch oven is one of the reasons why it is one of the favorites in the market. It is available in a wide array of colors, which also makes it excellent to be used as a tableware.
The smooth surface, especially in the interior, is also commendable. It has a light color, which makes it easy to monitor browning. It also conducts heat efficiently. Because of the even distribution of heat, you can be assured that all parts will be cooked properly.
It is also worth noting that even the side handles have an exceptional design. They are large enough, making it convenient to hold. You can have a secured grip when transferring it from one place to another.
Versatility is one more thing that gives it an advantage above many others in the market. You can use it for different culinary applications. It can resist temperature of up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Lastly, to provide you with peace of mind, the manufacturer is offering a Limited Lifetime Warranty. This can provide you with the assurance that it will be free from defects throughout its functional life.
- Retains heat evenly
- Attractive color
- Keeps moisture locked
- Does not resist scratches
- Enamel prone to chipping
Made by the same manufacturer as the Dutch oven that we have discussed above, one of its best features is the high dome lid. This means that you can keep more inside the cookware because of its distinct shape. Even the lid can be used as a serving ware.
The versatility of this product is another thing that you might find to be impressive. This is because the lid can also double as a skillet, making it a multifunctional cookware to have in the kitchen.
It is also a good thing that it already comes pre-seasoned. This means that you can use it right out of the box. Also, you can cook while using minimal oil.
Lastly, the manufacturer is also offering Limited Lifetime Warranty. This should be more than enough to provide you with peace of mind. You can expect support from the manufacturer if the product proves to be defective in any way.
- Doubles as a skillet
- Has a lifetime warranty
- Thick dome lid
- Small handle
- Can be easily prone to cracks
Among others, the design of the lid is one feature that you might find to be impressive in this product. It is designed with a domed shape, which means that it will accommodate more. It is also a good thing that it has a self-basting feature, which will help in preserving moisture. To add, there is a convenient handle you can find on the top of the lid.
Another thing that you might like about this is the fact that the manufacturer has used vegetable oil formula for pre-seasoning. After taking it out of the box, it is ready for immediate use. This also means that you can cook only with the use of minimal oil.
Also, it should be pointed out that the manufacturer has more than 100 years of experience in the global market. If this is not enough to provide you with peace of mind, another compelling reason to choose this is the fact that it comes with limited lifetime warranty.
- Stylish and multifunctional
- Has a lifetime warranty
- Equipped with a self-basting lid
- May show traces of rust
- Small side handle
The versatility of this Dutch oven is one of the reasons why this is one of cookware to have in the kitchen. From braising meat to cooking stews, among others, you can use it in more ways than one. It can even be used as a skillet.
Another good thing about this Dutch oven is its generous size, which will allow you to do more at a given time. It has a capacity of 5 quarts. It has a diameter of 10 inches and height of 4.7 inches.
When it comes to durability, this can also prove to be an exceptional product. It may not be corrosion-resistant, but with proper care and maintenance, it will last for a long time. This makes it provide the best bang for the buck. The iron layer has a thickness of 5mm, which will provide you with the guarantee that it can indeed withstand the test of time.
The design of the handle is another good thing. It is large enough, which will allow you to hold the Dutch oven properly, even when you are wearing mitts.
- Well-designed and easy-to-grip handle
- Sleek design
- Affordable price
- Not corrosion-resistant
- Lid is not tight fitting
Among others, one of the things that you might love about this product is that it is designed to be used when camping. It has a huge handle for ease of carrying. It has feet for stability, allowing it to stand effortlessly on the ground.
To add, you might also love the fact that it has an 8-quart capacity, which will allow you to do more within a short span of time.
Another great thing about this Dutch oven is that it is already pre-seasoned. This is done in the most innovative manner that is possible, without the use of toxic-chemicals. You can cook food without being worried that it will lead to toxicity.
- Comes with legs
- Can be used even in the campsite
- Large capacity
- Can be easily prone to cracks
In sum, looking for the best cast iron Dutch oven is not an easy task. It is overwhelming and a lot of you may decide on the basis of price alone. However, be sure to look beyond cost. Consider the overall quality of the Dutch oven, including the durability and the design of the handle. It would be best to read reviews and learn from the experiences of other people.
From the short reviews above, if there is one that I can personally recommend, it is Lodge EC6D43 Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven. The latter comes with impressive aesthetics and superior heat retention. It also has a well-designed lid that allows it to lock in moisture, making it easy for you to prepare a wide array of recipes.