Consumer Reports put the do-it-all Dutch Oven to the test

They brown, boil, braise, even bake! We’re not talking about the latest kitchen gadget, but rather a kitchen staple that’s been around for years and millions of cooks swear by — The Dutch Oven. Consumer Reports just tested the do-it-all cookware and found some surprising results.

So, what exactly is a Dutch Oven and why do so many people love them? They are essentially enameled cast iron pots with lids. They heat slowly but they also hold their heat well which makes them really good for braising. And the other nice thing about them is that they go from the from stovetop to the oven to the table.

Consumer Reports just tested several Dutch oven cookware pieces. Each pot holds 5 to 6 quarts, works on any type of stovetop, including induction and – as you can see – comes in a variety of colors. Prices range from $45 to $340. Yes – that’s $340!

Some of the more premium brands like Le Creuset come backed with a lifetime warranty which is a nice thing to have but our tests actually found that you don’t need to spend a lot to get great performance.

Those tests include braising brisket, browning meat and simmering sauce. Testers even baked bread in the Dutch Ovens! Turns out all of the Dutch ovens did a good job braising meat but after that there are some differences.

The Dutch oven from Ayesha Curry, host of Ayesha’s Home Kitchen is very easy to clean but also the heaviest of the bunch – a whopping fifteen pounds! And the Vremi earned an excellent rating when it came to baking bread but it’s also quite heavy, 14 pounds and the warranty, light – just a year compared to the lifetime and limited lifetime warranties of the other Dutch ovens.

The $340 Le Creuset was the only dutch oven to earn an excellent in the browning tests. But for a LOT LESS money the $60 Lodge delivers. It actually outperforms the Le Creuset when it comes to baking bread and offers GOOD browning.

Consumer Reports says even though porcelain enameled Dutch ovens are heavy and sturdy they can still scratch so don’t use abrasives when cleaning your cookware. Instead clean your enamel cast iron pots with a sponge, cloth or nylon scrubber in warm, soapy water. For stubborn stains soak the pot before cleaning. Store your cookware with care to keep the enamel from chipping.

Author: Consumer Reports
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