It's a worthy investment because this pot will be on duty on the stovetop (or in the oven) every day for years to come.
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stack of dutch ovens by Le Creuset
Credit: Courtesy of Sur La Table

We'll start with this: A Dutch oven might be the heaviest, bulkiest, and priciest pot in your kitchen, but it will also likely be your most loved, most used piece of cookware, a workhorse that lasts for decades or more. And it'll turn out some of the best dishes you've ever made.

Dutch ovens, typically thick-walled pots with tight-fitting lids, are usually made of seasoned cast iron, and they're known for their affinity for soups, stews, and braises. Why? Well, we like to think of them as the original slow cookers—the cast iron may take a little longer to heat up than something like stainless steel, but the material holds heat exceptionally well, probably better than any other pot or pan you can buy that isn't electrically-powered. That ability to maintain consistent heat over many hours coupled with a tight-fitting lid that holds in moisture means that tough cuts of meat end up blissfully tender and not dried out; dried beans turn soft and creamy; and soups and stews take on incredible flavor (low and slow really works wonders). A Dutch oven can get super hot, too, so it's ideal for braising, where you sear food at a high temperature, and then finish it, covered, at a lower temperature.

Speaking of high temperatures, Dutch ovens are surprisingly well-suit to frying, too. Will Copenhaver, the VP of sales for Smithey Ironware Company, says any fears home cooks may have that deep frying is dangerous or only for pros will be assuaged if they're using a Dutch oven. Why? Because the pot's weight "takes away the scariness factor," he explains. Plus, its high walls prevent splatters, and its sturdy base keeps it steady on your stove burner, so you don't have to worry about tipping a pot of blistering hot oil (and trust us, that oil will get hot and stay hot). 

Other great uses for this jack-of-all-trades vessel: baking bread (Copenhaver says the tight-fitting lid creates a mini steam oven that results in a beautifully crisp crust), roasting a chicken (plus a whole bunch of vegetables), and even making popcorn. Nate Collier, director of marketing communications and culinary at Le Creuset, puts it simply: "You really can cook just about anything in a Dutch oven." The material is even great at keeping cold food cold. "It's perfect for serving cold side dishes or filling with ice to chill drinks or stand in for a punch bowl," says Collier.

A good Dutch oven will last a lifetime—they're seriously durable and don't ask much of you; just keep yours dry and oiled dutch (a light layer of vegetable oil is all it needs). Collier acknowledges that these pots, which can cost a few hundred dollars, are "an investment piece." But a quality one can serve you well for decades, and even be passed down through generations.

Comments (27)

Martha Stewart Member
January 19, 2020
I have a while 6 quart enamel pot. The enamel is not chipping off by about the size of a half dollar coin. What is the warranty on this? I purchased at Macy’s and they will not honor as its over 90 days. I have had this about 3 years and use it 4 or 5 times a year.
Martha Stewart Member
December 31, 2018
PS: re: the blue enamel Dutch oven. My safety question is about ingesting the enamel not the pots looks. Thanks. Sharon
Martha Stewart Member
December 31, 2018
My blue enamel Dutch oven has lost some of its enamel, about a quarter-size piece. Is it dangerous to use? Please respond. Thank you. Sharon
Martha Stewart Member
September 18, 2018
I loved my pot and had it for barely 3 years. Didn't get to use it much and yesterday it developed a bubble in the ensemble the size of a quarter abs the enable is disintegrating. Macys said it needs to be less than a year old and re sellable. What a crock of junk! Hey Macy's, I'm never going to make this mistake again! I hope Martha stands by her product.
Martha Stewart Member
September 12, 2018
I have a Martha Stewart dutch oven that has enamel chipping off the bottom. I can't use this pot anymore. How can I get another pot for this one?
Martha Stewart Member
December 17, 2016
I purchased a large Martha Stewart blue dutch oven at Macy's. At the most I have used it possibly a dozen times and was happy with it until the knob on the lid came off. I have tried to reattach the knob but the screw keeps coming off making the heavy lid difficult to remove. Is there any way that I can get just a replacement for the lid and is there any guarantee that it won't happen again. This seems to be a major defect in the product and I am very disappointed.
Martha Stewart Member
September 3, 2016
My children recently bought me a Martha Stewart Enamel Dutch Oven, blue colored, from a farmers market. Mostly looks in good condition, but the bottom cooking surface is stained. Fisrt, how should I clean the stained enamel inside the Duct Oven? Second, what steps do I take for general cleaning of an enamel Dutch Oven? I assume you do not need to season the enamel style of Dutch Oven, like you do with a regular cast iron Dutch Oven, but please let me know. Thank You, Scott
Martha Stewart Member
September 3, 2016
My children recently bought me a Martha Stewart Enamel Dutch Oven, blue colored, from a farmers market. Mostly looks in good condition, but the bottom cooking surface is stained. Fisrt, how should I clean the stained enamel inside the Duct Oven? Second, what steps do I take for general cleaning of an enamel Dutch Oven? I assume you do not need to season the enamel style of Dutch Oven, like you do with a regular cast iron Dutch Oven, but please let me know. Thank You, Scott
Martha Stewart Member
May 4, 2016
Does anyone ever respond to your comments???
Martha Stewart Member
April 19, 2016
Hi, for Mothers Day last year I asked my husband to get me a Martha Stewart 8qt. round Dutch oven. I only just started using it a few months ago and lets just say that I am very disappointed. I have followed the instructions and EVERYTHING I cook either burns or sticks. I was so very excited when I got it because I always wanted one and now it is just taking up space in my cabinet. Very disappointed customer.
Martha Stewart Member
January 10, 2016
Hi, I understand there is a recall on the Martha Stewart Enamel dutch oven. I no longer have a receipt, and would like to return my item so that I can purchase another one. Please advise on how to return this dutch oven without receipt.
Martha Stewart Member
November 30, 2015
i have a k-mart martha stewar cast iron enameled dutch oven, the lid handle has broken in half and continues to chip. please advise mjm
Martha Stewart Member
October 13, 2015
I have a Martha Stewart dutch oven and a HUGE chunk of the enamel has chipped off the bottom straight through to the cast iron… I called Macy's where it was purchased for me as a gift and they will not exchange it for me without a recipe (which is absurd since they are the only ones who sell this product). I'm wondering if there is anything that I can do besides never buy a Martha Stewart product again for the rest of my life.
Martha Stewart Member
February 7, 2015
I'm wondering if a person can cook biscuits in the dutch oven, like when on a camping trip, with propane heat. Or should I go back to a Lodge dutch oven?
Martha Stewart Member
November 27, 2014
I found the Dutch Oven technique left a horrible residue and taste in my mouth. Would not recommend.
Martha Stewart Member
September 20, 2014
@APRogers - try soaking it soap water overnight or 2. If it doesn't work, add some cleaning agents. This article might help you to clean off your stained French oven. http://www.cookwareinsider.com/resources/clean-burnt-le-creuset/
Martha Stewart Member
March 1, 2014
APRogers - Baking Soda & Vinegar (equal proportions) and a good stiff brush always did it for me Tpeters685 - Try a stainless steel replacement knob (it has a higher temperature allowance over MS's thermal plastic handle. See: http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/le-creuset-stainless-steel-replacement-knob/1042287568?device=c&network=g&matchtype=&mcid=PS_googlepla_n...
Martha Stewart Member
February 7, 2014
the inside of my enameled cast iron pot is stained - HOW do I restore or clean it?
Martha Stewart Member
January 28, 2014
My handle broke off my cast iron pot... hmmm... wonder where I can buy a replacement... anyone know?
Martha Stewart Member
October 1, 2013
I have a MS Enamel Cast Iron Casserole Dutch Oven. Does anyone know how to best clean off burned food on the inside? Any tips? Baking Soda? Thanks.
Martha Stewart Member
June 30, 2013
"all of the red enamel melted off the bottom and onto my cooktop. ..." ---------------------------------------------------------------- The ONLY way that could have happened is if you had the burner temp WAY TOO HIGH! On enameled cast iron pots....MEDIUM IS HIGH! Never, ever cook with enabled cast iron on higher heat than the MEDIUM setting. Cast iron take a long time to heat up, but once hot, it retains its heat for a very long time, so higher than medium heat is unnecessary and dangerous.
Martha Stewart Member
May 19, 2012
I purchased two Martha Stewart pots about a year ago. The pots are chipping inside the pot and lid. What will MS do about this? They were quite expensive. Thanks, Peggy
Martha Stewart Member
May 30, 2010
can this pot be used on glass top stove?
Martha Stewart Member
February 6, 2010
Question: Can you use dutch oven with gas stove top burners?
Martha Stewart Member
October 18, 2009
I do. But the trick is to let it come to room temperature first.
Martha Stewart Member
April 20, 2009
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I did and all of the red enamel melted off the bottom and onto my cooktop. The pot didn't crack, but now both my dutch oven and my cooktop are ruined!
Martha Stewart Member
February 14, 2009
Can I cook something in my Martha Stewart enamel cast iron pot, put it into the refrigerator and then reheat it the next day without the pot cracking?