What is a Dutch Oven? | Cast Iron Ovens, Enamel & Aluminum Pots

Dutch ovenA Dutch oven is a large cooking pot, usually made out of cast iron. It dates back at least as early as the 17th century. This cookware retains its Dutch heritage in terminology because in centuries past, the Dutch system was more advanced than even the English; thus, surrounding kingdoms would import Dutch cast iron pots to use in their homes.

Other cultures have their own terms for the same cooking pot, like the French cocotte, English casserole dish, Japanese tetsunabe, Australian bedourie, and South African potjie.

Models like the Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven (at right) are a lot like what our ancestors used hundreds of years ago. Explorers and settlers used it for baking, boiling, roasting, frying, and simmering stews — sounds familiar, right?  That’s the beauty of a Dutch oven. One versatile cooking pot can be used for a wide variety of applications in the kitchen.

Seasoning A Dutch Oven Yourself Vs. Pre-Seasoned Models

Cast iron is a long-standing favored material in a Dutch oven. But over the years, other modern materials and manufacturing techniques have made their way into this piece of culinary history. Some make it possible to forego the seasoning process altogether.

But what exactly is “seasoning?” This prep step removes any residual chemicals or materials that may still be left over from the manufacturing process, such as wax, rust, or oil. Use soapy water to wash it off by hand, then pat dry or place inside a warm oven to remove every trace of moisture. Next, coat the inside of the pot and lid with cooking oil. Place inside a 350-degree oven for 1 hour, remove and cool, then repeat. After the second hour, the Dutch oven should have a nice shine to it. This process should not need to be repeated unless the cookware starts to rust.

Many Dutch ovens these days come pre-seasoned, which means the manufacturers did all of the above steps already. This can be a huge time-saver. While the knowledge of how to season a cast iron pan is good to have, it’s also nice to have the luxury of pre-seasoning available as an option while shopping for Dutch ovens, choosing convenience over control.

Products

The crème de la crème of Dutch ovens on the market is from Le Creuset — although they call theirs a French oven. It’s also the most expensive. But as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. The quality of cast iron and enameled materials, the balanced and fitted lid for a tight seal, even cooking distribution, and a lifetime warranty are all factors that contribute to a durable product like the Le Creuset.

If shopping on a budget, then the Tramontina Dutch Oven is your best bet. It’s the most like Le Creuset’s beloved French oven and was even given top-notch ratings by America’s Test Kitchen. It also comes pre-seasoned out of the box, so that’s one less step to worry about.

For the tried-and-true black cast iron Dutch oven, Lodge makes many products in both pre-seasoned and traditional models. The traditional style could also be called a camping stove. It’s fitted with small legs and a long wire handle for use over the campfire. The lid can be used as a griddle, too.

Read all of our Dutch Oven reviews below:


Tramontina Dutch Oven Cast Iron Cookware

Covered Casserole Dish, No Seasoning Required

Tramontina Dutch Oven Cast Iron Cookware | Covered Casserole Dish, No Seasoning Required

This cast iron Dutch oven by Tramontina has been getting a lot of attention over the past year or so. After getting praised by "America's Test Kitchen" as the top-rated Dutch oven casserole dish by their test cooks, its popularity has soared. The Tramontina Dutch Oven's performance surpassed popular cookware ...





Lodge Logic Dutch Oven

Cast Iron 4 Quart Camping Cookware

Lodge Logic Dutch Oven | Cast Iron 4 Quart Camping Cookware

This is the Dutch oven I remember from my scouting days. Heavy duty, it can stand up to the roughest use and create dishes from simply fantastic slow roasted meals to thick, hearty stews. Dutch ovens offer versatile cooking options from frying to baking, making it possible to take along one ...





Calphalon One Casserole Pot

Cast Aluminum Nonstick 7 Quart | Dutch Oven Stockpot

Calphalon One Casserole Pot | Cast Aluminum Nonstick 7 Quart | Dutch Oven Stockpot

The heavy cast aluminum Calphalon One Non-Stick Casserole is equally suited to oven and range top cooking, with a tempered glass cover and a four layer non-stick interior coating that's guaranteed for life if used properly.

Few restrictions apply to the casserole's use -- plastic or wooden utensils that won't damage the ...





Heuck Dutch Oven

Red Cast Iron Porcelain 5 Quart 33030

Heuck Dutch Oven | Red Cast Iron Porcelain 5 Quart 33030

My first experience with Dutch oven cooking was as a Girl Scout, cooking in the ground, in the dirt. At the time, I had no idea about the properties of cast iron. All I knew was that I was starving after a busy day of activities, and our dinner was waiting in ...





All Clad Cast Aluminum Dutch Oven Set

Stainless Steel Lid w/ Oven Mitts 5.5 Quart

All Clad Cast Aluminum Dutch Oven Set | Stainless Steel Lid w/ Oven Mitts 5.5 Quart

All Clad's Cast Aluminum Dutch Oven, made of heavy gauge cast aluminum, offers excellent heat distribution, an important factor whether using the Dutch Oven to braise meat or simmer soups. The set includes the 5.5-quart capacity Dutch Oven, a stainless steel lid, and two red All Clad oven ...





All Clad Dutch Oven Set w/ Oven Mitts

Nonstick Cast Aluminum 5.5 Quart

All Clad Dutch Oven Set w/ Oven Mitts | Nonstick Cast Aluminum 5.5 Quart

All Clad's Cast Aluminum Dutch Oven, made of heavy gauge cast aluminum, offers excellent heat distribution, an important factor whether using the Dutch oven to braise meat or simmer soups. The set includes the 5.5-quart capacity Dutch oven, a stainless steel lid, and two red, All ...





Lodge Dutch Oven Cookware

Porcelain Enameled Cast Iron 6 Quart

Lodge Dutch Oven Cookware | Porcelain Enameled Cast Iron 6 Quart

Forget having to perform the process of seasoning your cast iron. The durable double layer of porcelain enamel resists chipping and does not retain flavors or odors, so you can cook any number of dishes and be assured only their true tastes will come through. The hefty lid fits tightly to ...





Simply Calphalon Chili Pot

Dutch Oven | Aluminum Nonstick 5 Quart

Simply Calphalon Chili Pot | Dutch Oven | Aluminum Nonstick 5 Quart

When you have a family or need to prepare a large batch of food, even if you only do so a couple of times a year, nothing is more helpful than having a go-to pan which can handle the job. The Simply Calphalon five quart Chili Pot is that pan. The ...





Le Creuset French Oven

Red Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Cookware 7-1/4 Quart

Le Creuset French Oven | Red Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Cookware 7-1/4 Quart

Le Creuset has been handcrafting cookware in Northern France since 1925. Their quality and workmanship show in products such as the French oven. The basic design of this oven (some use the term Dutch oven) has been in use for centuries, so you know it is effective.

Le Creuset uses their cast ...





Lodge Pre-Seasoned Dutch Oven

Cast Iron Cookware, Logic 5 Quart

Lodge Pre-Seasoned Dutch Oven | Cast Iron Cookware, Logic 5 Quart

Aah, cast iron. It is really heartening to see that the durable cookware that fed the pioneers is still with us. You can thank the Lodge company for that. This Dutch Oven is the perfect vessel for chilis, casseroles, soups and the like. You'll want to avoid cooking ...





Lodge Pro Logic Dutch Oven, Nonstick 7 Quart

Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Cookware

Lodge Pro Logic Dutch Oven, Nonstick 7 Quart | Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Cookware

If you're looking for an already seasoned, cast iron Dutch oven, you could check out your local antique stores (and pay a fortune), or you could go with this pre-seasoned Dutch oven from Lodge's Logic line. These cast iron pieces have been evenly coated with a proprietary ...





Lodge Dutch Oven Color Enameled Cast-Iron 6-Quart, Island Spice

Deep Dish Kitchen Cookware

Lodge Dutch Oven Color Enameled Cast-Iron 6-Quart, Island Spice | Deep Dish Kitchen Cookware

Cast from molten iron, the Lodge Dutch Oven holds in heat and evenly distributes it on all sides, including the lid. The lid fits tightly to keep moisture in the oven and in your food. Braise, simmer, bake, saute, or prepare marinades inside. The five inch deep interior offers plenty of room ...





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