best dutch oven

The Best Dutch Oven, Cocotte, or Casserole Dish

A guide to the best dutch oven, cocotte, or casserole dish. Learn about dutch oven materials and peruse a list of the best cocottes available online.

Best Dutch Oven, Cocotte, or Casserole Dish

A dutch oven is a cooking vessel with a tight lid that has been used for slow cooking for hundreds of years.  The “dutch” in dutch oven comes from the process that was used to cast the iron to make the oven; this casting process came from dutch manufacturers.  It is an oven because the inside is completely enclosed by thick heat-storing walls.  Another fun fact: the United States is the only English speaking country to call it a dutch oven; elsewhere it is a casserole dish. Or in France, a cocotte.

A dutch oven usually has thick sides and is made out of a material that is capable of storing a large amount of heat, most commonly cast iron.  They are ideal for braises, stews, roasts, casseroles, or any kind of slow cooking – perfect for a dutch oven pot roast or a dutch oven beef stew.  They are also used to bake bread.  The thick, heat-storing walls are able to deliver a steady source of heat inside the casserole dish.  The tight lid traps the heat inside the cocotte and also acts as a heat source itself.

Dutch Oven Materials

The modern dutch oven can be made out of many different materials.  The most common is cast iron: either porcelain enameled cast iron or just straight up cast iron.  Cast iron is an ideal material for a cocotte due its durability and ability to store heat.  The porcelain enamel prevents rusting and reaction with acidic ingredients, makes cleaning easier, and means you don’t have to season the casserole dish.  Less common, but still widely used materials are:

Hard anodized aluminum: Hard anodization is an electrochemical process that can be applied to aluminum to essentially harden the surface.  The resulting cookware is durable, nonstick, corrosion resistant, and non-reactive to acidic foods.

Stainless and Aluminum Ply Construction: This is a neat ply construction where the steel and aluminum are layered, thereby combining the cooking strengths of both metals.  The result is cookware that can hold a lot of heat and also distributes that heat evenly across it surface.   As a result, it works very well for slow, steady, and even cooking as a casserole dish

Ceramic:  Humans have been cooking with ceramic cookware for a very long time.  Ceramic is capable of storing heat and also withstanding very high temperature.  It provides an excellent vessel for slow cooking like a cocotte.  However, chipping and cracking are more likely to happen compared to metal cookware.

Dutch ovens made from all these materials can be found on this list of the best dutch ovens, cocottes, and casserole dishes.


Le Creuset French Oven

This is the signature enameled cast iron French oven from Le Creuset, a French cookware manufacturer since 1925.  This Le Creuset French oven is high quality and holds high customer rating on Amazon. Le Creuset definitely makes some of the best dutch ovens out there, but a Le Creuset dutch oven can be a little on the expensive side.  Remember when considering price to factor in the warranty; this Le Creuset dutch oven has a lifetime warranty.  Le Creuset also makes these cocottes in a variety of colors.

Quarts:  5.5

Weight:  12.7 lb

Max Temp:  500 deg F

Warranty:  Lifetime

Material:   Enameled Cast Iron

Made in:   France


Cherry Red Staub Cocotte 4 qt.

Staub, a French cookware manufacturer, designed their first cocotte in 1974.  It is a very reputable brand that designed its cookware with arguably the most famous French chef, Paul Bocuse.  This Staub dutch oven is enameled cast iron and comes in a variety of colors in addition to the cherry red pictured here.  This cocotte comes with a lifetime warranty.  This Staub cocotte is 4 qt, but you can also find a similar larger Staub French oven if you plan on making larger meals.  

Quarts:  4

Weight:  11.5 lb

Max Temp:  500 deg F, 900 deg without lid

Warranty:  Lifetime

Material:   Enameled Cast Iron

Made in:   France


Calphalon Contemporary Hard-Anodized Aluminum Nonstick

This braising vessel is a great value at this price.  Calphalon, a solid U.S. manufacturer based in Ohio, makes everything from cookware to cutlery.  This Calphalon dutch oven is made out of hard-anodized aluminum; the result of an electrochemical process that effectively hardens the surface of the aluminum.  The resulting casserole dish is durable, non-stick, corrosion resistant, and non reactive with acid.  This calphalon oven also weighs considerably less than the cast iron dutch ovens.  It also comes with a lifetime warranty.

Quarts:  5

Weight:  3.75 lb

Max Temp:  450 deg F

Warranty:  Lifetime

Material:   Hard-anodized aluminum

Made in:   USA


Lodge Pre-Seasoned Dutch Oven

This is a solid all-around cast iron dutch oven from Lodge, a Tennessee based company that’s focused on cast iron for over 120 years.  This is a larger Lodge dutch oven at 7 qts, so you can feed more people, but it is on the heavy side at 15.2 lb.  This Lodge cast iron oven comes pre-seasoned with vegetable oil, so it is ready to use as soon as it arrives in your kitchen.  Lodge doesn’t have a written warranty for their cast iron products; however, they say they stand behind their products and will solve any product problems you have if you call their Customer Care number.

Quarts:  7

Weight:  15.2 lb

Max Temp:  500 deg F

Warranty:  No formal warranty

Material:   Cast Iron

Made in:   USA


Anolon Vesta Cookware Cast Iron Dutch Oven

This cool dutch oven from Analon is one of the most unique looking on the list.  Anolon’s parent company Meyer Manufacturing is based in Hong Kong, and this Analon oven is manufactured in China.  It is an enameled cast iron dutch oven but weighs less than any other cast iron oven on this list.  It also comes with a lifetime warranty and is great value at $100. 

Quarts:  5

Weight:  9.9 lb

Max Temp:  500 deg F

Quarts:  5

Weight:  9.9 lb

Max Temp:  500 deg F


Mauviel M’Heritage Copper Dutch Oven M150C / Stew pan with Lid

If copper cookware is your thing, then this beautiful copper dutch oven from Mauviel is an excellent choice.  Mauviel was established in 1830 in a village in Normandy referred to as “the city of copper”. While most people probably don’t think of copper when they think of dutch oven, this is the exception on the list if you want to splurge and go the copper route.  Copper both looks beautiful and is unsurpassed functionally as a cooking material.  It is also considerably lighter than any other cast iron casserole dish on this list.  It also comes with a lifetime warranty.

Quarts:  5.9

Weight:  7 lb

Max Temp:  450 deg F

Warranty:  Lifetime

Material:   90% copper, 10% stainless steel

Made in:   France


Camp Chef Square Dutch Oven

This is a fun and functional square cast iron oven from Camp Chef, a US outdoor cookware manufacturer founded in 1990 and based in Utah.  Don’t let the square shape of this cast iron dutch oven fool you, the volume is 8 qt. and the depth is 3.25 inches, so large items can still be cooked in this Camp Chef cookware.  The lid doubles as a 13 in. by 13. in grill pan, so you end up with two cast iron cookware items for the price of one.  Definitley an excellent cast iron oven choice for outdoor use and an opportunity to find some great dutch oven camping recipes.  Note that this is a very heavy piece of cookware, weighing in at 23 lb.  

Quarts:  8

Weight:  23 lb

Max Temp:  500 deg F

Warranty:  90 day

Material:   Cast Iron

Made in:   China


All-Clad BD55500 D5 5-Ply Bonded Dutch Oven

You could make some amazing one pot meals (dutch oven chicken or dutch oven pot roast) in this expertly crafted dutch oven from All Clad, a US cookware manufacturer based in Pennsylvania and founded in 1960.  This All Clad oven utilizes a neat ply construction where the steel and aluminum are layered, thereby combining the cooking strengths of both metals.  The result is a dutch oven that can hold a lot of heat and also distributes that heat evenly across it surface.  It is considerably lighter than the cast iron ovens on this list.  It is on the pricier side, but is very high quality and comes with a lifetime warranty.

Quarts:   5.5

Weight:  7 lb

Max Temp:  600 deg F

Warranty:  Lifetime

Material:   5-ply aluminum and stainless steel

Made in:   USA


Emile Henry Dutch Oven

This dutch oven from Emile Henry is the only ceramic oven on the list. Emile Henry is a French ceramic cookware manufacturer based in Burgundy that was founded in 1850. Emile Henry uses a proprietary flame ceramic that is very durable and resistant to thermal shock, chipping, and color changes.  At 6.3 qt, it is large enough to make a variety of dutch oven recipes.  It is a bit lighter than the cast iron ovens on this list and comes with a 10 year warranty. 

Quarts:  6.3

Weight:  9.7 lb

Max Temp:  930 deg F

Warranty:  10 yr

Material:   Flame Ceramic

Made in:   France


Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Enameled Cast Iron

This dutch oven from Emile Henry is the only ceramic oven on the list. Emile Henry is a French ceramic cookware manufacturer based in Burgundy that was founded in 1850. Emile Henry uses a proprietary flame ceramic that is very durable and resistant to thermal shock, chipping, and color changes.  At 6.3 qt, it is large enough to make a variety of dutch oven recipes.  It is a bit lighter than the cast iron ovens on this list and comes with a 10 year warranty. 

Quarts:  6.3

Weight:  9.7 lb

Max Temp:  930 deg F

Warranty:  10 yr

Material:   Flame Ceramic

Made in:   France


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