Which brand makes the best Dutch oven?
The Dutch oven has been around for over 250 years, and its longevity is due to its easy use and versatility. It allows anyone, from seasoned chefs to curious amateurs, to bake, braise, boil, roast and even saute. It is specifically designed for even heat distribution and effective heat retention with a lid that locks in moisture. It’s best used on low to medium heat for slow cooking.
With the best Dutch oven, you can cook every meal of the day — including dessert — for yourself or the whole family. Le Creuset and Staub are among the cookware industry leaders, and both offer quality Dutch ovens. Here’s how they stack up.
Le Creuset Dutch oven
For almost a century, French-based Le Creuset has made handcrafted, high-quality and colorful cookware for the world.
The Dutch oven is Le Creuset’s signature product, available in two shapes (oval and round) and 14 sizes, including 5.25-quart and 9.5-quart. It can be cleaned in a dishwasher, though washing by hand with gentle soap and warm water is recommended. It is compatible with any heat source, including induction stovetops and grills.
Since it is made out of enameled cast iron, the cookware is quite heavy, which is important to keep in mind for storage purposes. Still, most users opt to leave their Dutch oven out on the stove, not only because it is frequently used but also because the color and design stand out.
Le Creuset Dutch oven pros
- Production: Each Dutch oven is handcrafted and undergoes a rigorous testing regimen in order to meet high standards. Each comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
- Colors: Le Creuset is known for its vibrant colors. With any enameled cast iron product, including a Dutch oven, you’ll have your choice of about 10 to 20, including cerise, sage, teal and the iconic flame, which was the first Le Creuset color.
- Longevity: With quality construction, a Le Creuset Dutch oven is made to last a lifetime with proper care; you should only need ever to buy one.
Le Creuset Dutch oven cons
- Price: Le Creuset cookware is expensive upfront. The price for a Le Creuset Dutch oven is higher than its competitors.
- Discontinuation of colors: While Le Creuset always offers many colors, not all the colors remain available indefinitely. Some are retired, which may be problematic if you want to match them with other cookware later on.
- Care: Improper care can cause irreparable damage. Avoid thermal shocks, such as from high temperatures to cold water, as well as abrasive cleaners and metal utensils. Liquid should also always cover the base before heating.
Staub Dutch oven
Staub is also a French cookware company, though founded less than 50 years ago. Staub’s Dutch ovens, also referred to as cocottes, are similar to Le Creuset’s. They are made of cast iron and offered in a range of colors and sizes.
Staub offers both smaller and shallower cocottes ideal for soups and stews for one or two people, as well as larger Dutch ovens with steeper sides, best for baking and braising for a big group.
Staub’s Dutch ovens come with a lifetime warranty and are designed to resist rust, chipping and cracking. While they are dishwasher safe, they should be cleaned by hand.
Staub Dutch oven pros
- Lid: The Staub lid is heavier and fits tighter, which locks in moisture better when compared to the Le Creuset Dutch oven.
- Knob: You can choose a simple design for your lid knob or something more eye-catching. You’ll have the option of a lid that features an animal, including a rooster or a pig, as well as some lid knobs resembling the stem of a fruit or vegetable.
- Price: While still fairly expensive, Staub is slightly cheaper than similarly-sized Le Creuset models.
Staub Dutch oven cons
- Weight: While Dutch ovens are generally hefty, Staub’s come in a higher weight. When cooking for many people, a full pot may be difficult to move around the kitchen, especially when removed from an oven.
- Interior: The color on the inside is brown, which can make cooking and cleaning slightly more difficult. The dark shade may make it hard to see if food is browning effectively.
- Aesthetic: Staub doesn’t quite have the iconic look of a Le Creuset set, so its more modern and somewhat angular design may not be as aesthetically pleasing to some.
Should you get a Le Creuset or Staub Dutch oven?
Both Le Creuset and Staub offer similar, high-quality and colorful Dutch ovens. For those keen on brand and aesthetics, Le Creuset is the best choice with its design and color palette.
More accomplished chefs may prefer Staub, as the heavier-duty construction and superior tighter-fitting lid provide optimal heat retention. However, the darker interior and increased weight of the Staub Dutch oven are not always helpful for casual cooks. They may want to seek out a Le Creuset Dutch oven that provides more convenience.
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Anthony Marcusa writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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