Cook All You Want At Camp: The Best Dutch Ovens Of 2017

If you’re reading this blog for a while now, you’ll observe that almost all our camping dishes are cooked in a Dutch oven. Dutch ovens are the most versatile cookware that is ideal for camping. The mighty oven has a ton of uses – it cooks, braises, bakes, boils, steams, and everything.

If you cook a lot of different dishes on camp, you better bring a Dutch oven with you. Did I mention how good an apple cobbler tastes when baked in a Dutch oven? That’s why you need to get yourself the best Dutch oven to bring to camp.

These cast-iron pots with legs are slow-cooking, big, and distribute heat evenly within the food, so it cuts the cooking time in half. Of course, you’ll also need to consider your heat source to determine the cooking duration.

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Portable camping stoves provide consistent heating than a bunch of briquette coals so cooking time is really reduced. Nonetheless, any food can definitely be cooked in a Dutch oven.

Best Dutch Oven

Dutch ovens are an all-around camping cookware

Perhaps you’re reading this post because you’re planning to buy one and scout for the best Dutch ovens in the market or you’re in need of a replacement. Well, you’re lucky enough to have come across this post as we’re giving you some tips and the itsy bitsy details you need to look for when buying a Dutch oven and also a round-up of the best Dutch ovens on the market.

With tons of Dutch oven products in the market, you’ll most likely be overwhelmed when it comes to choosing the best. Also, you’ve got to consider a few things before getting yourself one.

Plain Or Enameled Cast Iron?

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Dutch ovens come in uncoated and enameled forms. Each type has their own characteristics and benefits. So which one is better?

Characteristic

Plain Cast Iron

Enameled Cast Iron

Price

Relatively inexpensive

Expensive

Seasoning

Needs to be seasoned before use

Can handle acidic ingredients without seasoning

Weight

Heavy

Heavy

Rust

Prone to rusting

Won’t rust

Durability

Less durable. Material can crack and enamel may chip off

Will last for a long time

Clean-up

Relatively hard to clean

Easy to clean

Wondering what seasoning the pot means? Seasoning should be the initial thing you do if the oven you bought isn’t pre-seasoned. The process removes rust and contaminants and most importantly, it makes the pot non-stick. To do this, boil soapy water in the pot, scrub it all the way, and rub vegetable shortening on the entire pot (inside and outside).

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I’ve been using a Dutch oven ever since I learned how to camp and for me, the best option would be the enameled cast-iron. It’s super non-stick and easy to clean, which makes cooking in the field easier. Just take extra care and avoid scrubbing the interior of the pot with steel brushes to avoid removing the coat.

A Few Considerations When Choosing A Dutch Oven

1

Shape

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Oval Dutch ovens are best for pastas and desserts

Most Dutch ovens are round. Some come in an oval shape too. Oval-shaped posts are ideal for long kinds of pasta, most desserts, and big fishes.

In contrast, round pots are best for soups, braises, roasted meat, and sauces. A round pot can also fit more food than an oval pot. When it comes to heat distribution, both have the same superiority.

Decide first what types of food you’ll mostly cook and base your decision from there.


2

Size

Dutch ovens come in a variety of sizes. Round pots range from 2 to 13 quarts while oval pots range from 3 to 9 quarts.

For a family or a big group of campers, a 5 to 9-quart pot will do. You’ll still have leftovers after. 

Also, it’s more advantageous to buy a medium-sized pot than a small one because you’ll never know when you’ll have company.

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Dutch ovens come in a variety of sizes


3

Deep Or Shallow?

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Shallow?

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Or deep?

Deep-sided Dutch ovens are best used for meats, stews, and braises whereas shallow pots are designed for desserts, pastries, and bread.

4

Check The Handles And Lids

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The handles and lid should be made of sturdy materials

A Dutch oven can become scalding when heated. Thus, it’s important to check if the pot has sturdy and firmly attached handles and lids. If they’re flimsy or made of light materials like plastic, skip it. You could burn your skin or have an accident if the handles break while you’re carrying the hot pot.

5

Avoid Cooking Acidic Foods

… only if you have a plain cast-iron. Acidic foods like tomatoes, pasta sauce, vinegars, etc., will cause your pot to rust and rust is very hard to remove.

Season your pot first before cooking. On the other hand, this won’t be a problem when you’re using an enameled pot. Cook your favorite red pasta right away!

The Best Dutch Ovens Of 2017

**Below, you'll see more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices and read customer's reviews on Amazon.

Best-Dutch-Ovens

Lodge has a good reputation for its cast-iron skillets in America. One of its best sellers is the sleek-looking Lodge Enameled Dutch Oven. Since it’s an enameled one, you don’t need to season it. It has a pretty good size, versatile (can be used for baking and stewing), retains heat and holds it evenly, superbly cooks food, and it can stand up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Yes, it won’t break or pop with too much heat.

It features a stainless steel handle, two coats or porcelain enamel non-stick coating, rounded bottoms for a more even heat distribution, and a durable lid.

The size of this pot is big and deep enough to cook food for a family of five to six.

Pros

  • Right size
  • Versatile
  • Durable
  • Easy to clean
  • ​Has sturdy handles and lids
  • No seasoning needed
  • Very non-stick

Cons

  • The enamel tends to chip off when used extensively
  • Rusts quickly without enamel coating
  • No lid for coals
  • No wire handle

Best-Dutch-Ovens

Another high-quality Dutch oven on our list is the Lodge 5-qt Cast Iron Dutch Oven. This particular pot is pre-seasoned, shallow-sided, has a self-basting domed lid to preserve moisture, has sturdy iron handles, and a rugged construction that distributes heat slowly and evenly.

The shallow interior of the pot makes it ideal for baking, especially no-knead bread and cooking a few dishes. Also, the thick iron material retains heat longer than enameled ones. Lastly, the thick lid that heats up fast can double as a frying surface in the camp. Very useful, right?

Pros

  • Right size
  • Durable
  • ​Has sturdy handles and lids
  • No seasoning needed

Cons

  • Food still sticks on the pot
  • The handles can get very hot (mitts needed)
  • No wire handle for carrying convenience
  • No lid for coals
  • Quite hard to clean

Best-Dutch-Ovens

The gorgeous Marquette Castings 6 qt. Dutch Oven would be a perfect addition to your camping cookware. It works great for coals, stovetop, oven, baking, boiling, searing and simmering.

The versatile pot features a flat lid, glossy interior and exterior, large loop handles, and stainless steel lid pull for an easier grip.

Moreover, it can withstand up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and is very easy to clean.

Pros

  • Right size
  • Versatile
  • Durable
  • Easy to clean
  • ​Has sturdy handles and lids
  • No seasoning needed
  • ​Very non-stick
  • Flat lid for coals

Cons

  • Enamel chips off when used extensively
  • No wire handle

Best-Dutch-Ovens

The pre-seasoned Lodge 5-quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven features a tight-fitting lid to keep moisture, a coil handle for burn-free lifting, a semi-deep interior, and rugged construction for heat retention.

What sets this pot apart from the rest of the entries on this list is the special coiled handle which makes it convenient to lift and transport. The handle doesn’t get hot! Furthermore, its semi-deep structure makes it ideal for baking and cooking stews and a variety of dishes.

Pros

  • Right size
  • Durable
  • ​Has sturdy handles and lids
  • No seasoning needed
  • Has a coil handle for convenient carrying
  • Has a flat lid for coals

Cons

  • Quite hard to clean
  • Food still sticks to the pot

Best-Dutch-Ovens

Le Creuset is a trusted brand of camping cookware, and one of their highly-esteemed creations is the 7-Quart Enameled Cast Iron. This particular pot features extra large handles for a sure grip, superior heat distribution, wear and chip-resistant interior, a large composite knob for quick access to food, and built-in stabilizers for a tight fit.

This pot is truly a wonderful creation. Food doesn’t stick and burn due to the robust enamel interior, and it’s also very versatile due to its form. You can stir-fry, bake, stew and cook all dishes with this Dutch oven. Did I also mention that this pot retains cold temperature too? Yes, you can also chill your cold dish inside the pot for a short duration.

Pros

  • Right size
  • Versatile
  • Durable
  • Easy to clean
  • ​Has sturdy handles and lids
  • No seasoning needed
  • Very non-stick
  • Flat lid for coals
  • Can chill food
  • Enamel doesn’t chip off easily

Cons

  • No wire handle

The Verdict

The winner of the round-up for the enameled cast-iron is the Le Creuset 7-quart Enameled Cast Iron and for the plain cast-iron, we have the Lodge 5-quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven.

Both Dutch ovens are medium-sized which can feed a group of people, durable, has tight-fitting lids and sturdy handles, and versatile.

Though the Lodge Dutch Oven is quite hard to clean due to its inherent roughness and lack of coating, it will still be a reliable pot.

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Wanna cook something like this delicious dish on your next camping trip?

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Or this tasty bread? Get a Dutch oven now!

Truly, the Dutch oven is an amazing all-around camping cookware. It’s the one thing you need to cook all kinds of food you want in the campsite.

Why don’t you surprise your fellow campers with a wonderful beef stew and an apple cobbler for dessert? I’m sure the food will light everyone up and restore energy to their tired bodies. Have a fantastic cooking!

Hey there,camper! Do you bring a Dutch oven every time you go camping? What brand is it? Do you have other recommendations? Share your thoughts below!

Did we help you choose the best Dutch oven for your next camping trip? How’d you feel about sharing this articles to help other campers out there too? Cheers!

Cindy Herrera
 

I’m Cindy, a free-spirited outdoor enthusiast. Since childhood, I was very much exposed to the outdoor environment. Our family frequently goes on weekend camps and my father, who was a skilled hunter, used to teach me and my siblings valuable things about wildlife survival. Now that I’m a married woman with two wonderful kids, it’s hard to keep up with outdoor activities while parenting at the same time… so I made this blog to share the best of my knowledge, experiences, and tips from other bloggers to you, my fellow outdoor enthusiast because merely talking about the outdoors makes me feel closer to it.

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