Looking to buy a Dutch oven? Here's what you need to know before you shop.

By Elizabeth Laseter
Updated November 04, 2020
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Shopping for the best Dutch oven can be a stressful task. But with the right one in your kitchen arsenal, you can bake bread, braise pot roast, and simmer soups like a pro. So which size Dutch oven should you buy? And what brand is better: Le Creuset, Staub, Lodge, or Tramontina? With plenty of options out there, it's difficult to know where to start.

To help you choose the best Dutch oven, we called on Allrecipes product tester (and Dutch oven expert) Rachel Johnson. Use this guide to buy the perfect Dutch oven for your kitchen, then start cooking with our favorite recipes.

Best Dutch Ovens at a Glance

Best Dutch Oven Shape

Dutch ovens can be round- or oval-shaped. An oval Dutch oven is great for cooking large cuts of meat like whole chicken and beef tenderloin. However, due to its shape, it may not fit on a coil stove or induction burner. A round Dutch oven is best for cooking stews, curries, and sauces—and it's ultimately more versatile because it will fit on any stovetop.

Best Dutch Oven Size

Credit: Amazon

Dutch ovens come in a variety of sizes from one quart to 13 ½ quarts. So how do you know which size is best? While it ultimately depends on your recipe, a good rule of thumb for Dutch oven size is one quart per person. We suggest buying a slightly larger size than you think you'll need in case you want to double a recipe for leftovers. Here's a good reference point:

  • Under 6 quarts: 2 to 4 people
  • 6 to 8 quarts: 4 to 6 people
  • Over 8 quarts: 6 to 12 people

Rachel recommends buying a Dutch oven between 5 ½ and 7 quarts. "Anything in this range can comfortably handle most recipes for stews, braises, and more," she says.

How We Tested Each Dutch Oven

First, we rounded up 10 top-rated Dutch ovens from popular brands like Le Creuset, Staub, Lodge, Cuisinart, Tramontina, and AmazonBasics. Our selections included Dutch ovens made from enameled cast-iron, raw cast-iron, and stainless steel—and all ranged between 5 ½ and 7 quarts.

Next, Rachel prepared Chef John's Coq au Vin in each Dutch oven to gauge how they handled tasks like searing and braising meat, as well as their ability to conduct and retain heat. For each test, she considered these metrics:

  • Overall feel: How heavy is the Dutch oven? How well does it retain heat during and after cooking?
  • Durability: Does the surface scratch or chip easily?
  • Cleanup: Is it dishwasher safe?
  • Storage: Does it fit inside a cabinet? Or is it pretty enough to store on your stovetop?
  • Overall value: Is the Dutch oven worth the price point?

Below, find our picks for the best Dutch ovens of 2020 at every price. See one that you like? Simply click the link below each description to snag one for your own kitchen.

Best Dutch Oven: Le Creuset Round Dutch Oven

Credit: Amazon
  • Material: Enameled cast-iron
  • Volume: 5.5 qts.
  • Weight: 11 lbs.

"Sleek, beautiful, and envy-worthy," is how Rachel describes Le Creuset's Dutch oven. Despite the high price tag, the Le Creuset brand lives up to its reputation for quality, durability, and functionality. It's flawlessly enameled inside and out, heats evenly, sears food easily, and the lid fits nice and snug to seal in moisture during cooking. The 5 ½ quart size is perfect for storing on a counter or stovetop. Rachels says, "It's too stunning to store in your cabinet!"

Le Creuset Dutch ovens are technically dishwasher safe, but Rachel recommends washing it by hand to prevent chipping. The white enameled cooking surface of this Dutch shows light staining on the sides after cooking, but it cleans easily with a good soak and scrub. If you're looking for a top-of-the-line Dutch oven that also serves as a focal point in your kitchen, Le Creuset simply cannot be beat.

Buy it: Le Creuset Round Dutch Oven, $340; Amazon.com

Runner Up: Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Credit: Amazon
  • Material: Enameled cast iron
  • Volume: 6 qts.
  • Weight: 16 lbs.

You probably know Lodge for its quality cast iron skillets — but the cookware company also makes a top-notch enameled cast iron Dutch oven. For a perfectly reasonable price point, this Dutch oven is well-crafted with beautiful porcelain enamel on the outside and a smooth, rounded surface on the inside. In fact, Rachel described this Dutch oven as "impressively sturdy" and "...able to last the test of time." The bottom is slightly tapered, which helps bring liquids to a boil faster, but it may not heat as evenly. Rachel also noted the wide handles on the side make it easy to move this Dutch oven in and out of the oven. If you love the quality and versatility of Le Creuset but don't want to dish out several hundred dollars, Lodge will not disappoint.

Buy it: Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, $115; Amazon.com

Best Oval Dutch Oven: Great Jones The Dutchess

Credit: Great Jones
  • Material: Enameled cast iron
  • Volume: 6 ¾ qts.
  • Weight: 15 lbs.

Sleek, sturdy, and very well-priced, The Dutchess is perfect for the young professional looking to add a stylish, yet functional Dutch oven to their kitchen. Available in five vibrant colors, The Dutchess boasts a gorgeous matte finish on the outside and a smooth off-white enameled surface on the inside. Plus, the six quart size and oval shape is roomy enough for cooking a whole chicken, pork shoulder, or roast beef on the stovetop and in the oven. Due to its shape, The Dutchess performs best on stove tops with gas burners. While this Dutch oven is heavy, Rachel appreciates the large, grippable handles on both sides. She also loves the thoughtful packaging, which includes recipe ideas, fun stickers, and more.

Buy it: Great Jones The Dutchess Dutch Oven, $155; GreatJonesGoods.com

Best Affordable Dutch Oven: AmazonBasics Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Credit: Amazon
  • Material: Enameled cast iron
  • Volume: 6 qts.
  • Weight: 13 lbs.

For under $50, Amazon's house brand Dutch oven is an absolute steal. It also retains heat exceptionally well (thanks to its ¼-thick walls) and kept the coq au vin that Rachel prepared steaming hot, even long after cooking. She also appreciates its wide and sturdy handles, which make it very easy to lift with two hands. While some Amazon reviewers reported chipping after several uses, keep in mind that this Dutch oven is not dishwasher safe and should be hand washed to protect the coating. We also recommend avoiding stainless steel tools and using to wooden or silicone tools instead to cook food.

Buy it: AmazonBasics Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, $47; Amazon.com

Also Great: Tramontina Enameled Cast Iron Round Dutch Oven

Credit: Amazon
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Volume: 5 ½ qts.
  • Weight: 7 lbs

For a similar price point, Rachel also recommends the Tramontina Enameled Cast Iron Round Dutch Oven. At 6 ½ quarts and 16 pounds, it's larger and heavier than the AmazonBasics Dutch oven. One nice feature, however, are the tall walls that prevent liquids from spilling over the top. It's also attractive enough to display on your stove top.

Buy it: Tramontina Enameled Cast Iron Round Dutch Oven, $47, Amazon.com

Best Lightweight Dutch Oven: All-Clad Stainless Steel Dutch Oven

Credit: Amazon
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Volume: 5 ½ qts.
  • Weight: 7 lbs.

At just seven pounds, All-Clad's stainless steel Dutch oven is significantly lighter and easier to handle than enameled cast iron versions. While stainless steel doesn't retain heat as well as cast iron, it conducts heat quickly and evenly. During testing, Rachel found that this Dutch oven did the best job at searing chicken and it also quickly brought the braising liquid to a boil before simmering. In addition to braises, soups, and sauces, All-Clad's Dutch oven would also be the perfect vessel for deep-frying. (Try Chef John's Buttermilk Fried Chicken!) It's also easy to clean, as it's dishwasher safe, but the surface is more susceptible to scratches. Either way, if you're willing to pay the higher price tag, the All-Clad brand is superior when it comes to quality and performance.

Buy It: All-Clad Stainless Steel Dutch Oven, $385; Amazon.com

Best Cast Iron Dutch Oven: Lodge Cast Iron Double Dutch Oven

Credit: Amazon
  • Material: Cast iron
  • Volume: 5 qts.
  • Weight: 14 lbs.

The Lodge Double Dutch Oven is tough, durable, and will last forever if cared for properly. Compared to an enameled cast iron surface, which is prone to chipping, cast iron can take a pretty serious beating. However, this isn't the most impressive feature of the Double Dutch Oven—the lid actually doubles as a skillet, giving you endless cooking options. The smaller size also makes this Dutch oven a great choice for baking no-knead breads. And because cast iron stands up to any heat source, this Double Dutch Oven is also our top pick for camping and cooking soups and stews over an open fire.

As with all cast iron cookware, this Dutch oven requires regular seasoning to maintain its sheen and non-stick ability. (Read more on Lodge's site.) If you're a cast iron purist looking to add a versatile and affordable Dutch oven to your repertoire, the Double Dutch Oven is a reliable bet.

Buy it: Lodge Cast Iron Double Dutch Oven, $50; Amazon.com

Check out our complete Dutch oven recipe collection for more delicious and easy ideas.

WATCH: How to Clean a Cast Iron