When I first got into cooking, I thought having — and knowing how to use — a Dutch oven was the pinnacle of home-chefdom. I always wanted to get one when I was in college but never pulled the trigger, mostly because I couldn’t justify taking money out of the Cheap Beer Fund to shell out for an uber-pricey Le Creuset or Staub model. It wasn’t until well after I graduated that I found the Lodge 6-Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven. At first, I thought its low price point meant it wasn’t as good as the Le Creusets and Staubs of the world, but after some cursory research, I realized that Lodge was just as much of a heritage brand, and their high-quality, made-in-the-USA construction would last a lifetime. So, I snagged the 6-quart model and never looked back.
Three years later (besides my trusty nonstick frying pan), my Dutch oven is the most-used piece of cookware in my kitchen arsenal. It’s also my favorite piece of cookware — and not just because it looks gorgeous on my stovetop, where it lives 24/7. I love it because it’s so versatile: I use it for soups, stock, stew, baking bread, braises, searing proteins, making sauce, and much more. If I were stuck on a desert island with one piece of cookware for the rest of my life, it would be this $80 kitchen workhorse. Let’s dig into why.
Design Features That Stand Out
This Dutch oven is available in 24 striking hues with a stainless-steel lid knob, so you can match it to any and all kitchen aesthetics. (Mine usually lives on my stove when not in use, because I think it’s so cool-looking.) One of my favorite aspects about the design is that the walls of the Dutch oven are super high, which is perfect for braises, deep frying, and soups, since you’ll reduce splatter and have more room on your stovetop for making side dishes at the same time. The heat retention and even heating are seriously high-quality, too, and you can safely bring this straight to the table, since it doubles as its own serving tray and stays warm for a long time.
How It Performed
I’ve used this Dutch oven for pretty much everything it’s advertised as being capable of — and much more. I’ve made soups, stews, bread, cakes (not very good ones, but still), and more braised dishes than I can count. I’ve also used it to deep fry wings, make stock, and much more. I’m a total evangelist for this piece of cooking equipment, and actually try to convince my friends and family to make what I think is the best $80 investment out there when it comes to outfitting your kitchen. Honestly, if you just have a Dutch oven, you can pretty much cook anything and everything you could think of — though breaking it out every time you want to fry an egg might be a hassle. Plus, since it’s so affordable (as Dutch ovens go) I’ve put this thing through the ringer. I’ve dropped the lid from about 12 inches, I’m never gentle about plopping it on the stovetop, and I’ve even accidentally left an entire circular lasagna inside of it — unrefrigerated — for 10 days while I was on vacation in Ireland. (When I came home, I scraped it out and cleaned it with virtually no hassle.) If you asked me if there’s one piece of cookware that I wholeheartedly stand behind, it’s the Lodge 6-Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven.
What We Loved
Incredible Versatility: In case you haven’t been reading, you can pretty much cook anything in one of these bad boys.
Easy-to-Clean Surface: The enameled cast iron releases burnt-on bits and dried sauce super easily, and I’ve never had an issue with cleaning this Dutch oven by hand in the three years I’ve used it.
Looks Great and Retains Heat: It’s a gorgeous piece of cookware that I feel totally proud to bring to the table as its own serving dish. Plus, since it stays hot, nobody has to eat cold food.
Searing Ability Is Top-Notch: If you’re looking to crisp us proteins, look no further — once this thing gets hot, it’s a force to be reckoned with when it comes to searing meats and developing golden crusts.
Good to Know
Like most cast-iron cookware, it’s pretty heavy (about 15 pounds), so if you don’t feel comfortable handling that amount of weight, this might not be for you. And, while the outside of mine looks as good as the day I got it, there’s been some staining along the inside rim and on the bottom, but a) things like Bar Keeper’s Friend should get the stains out, b) it doesn’t impact cooking, and c) I’ve never actually tried to get the stains out, so it might just be user error.
Should YOU Buy the Lodge 6-Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Everyone should own this Dutch oven, but particularly if you:
Love braises, soups, stews, or other heart dishes
Make large-format meals
Want to invest in cookware that lasts
Where to Buy
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