3 Things to Look for In a Good Dutch Oven

Lodge P10D3 Seasoned Cast Iron Dutch Oven

This article was last updated on April 1st, 2020

There are 3 critical components that make a Dutch oven perform to it’s best. Read on and you will be well equipped with all the knowledge you need to choose the best Dutch oven for you…

The answer if you are in a hurry is the 3 things for a traditional cast iron camp Dutch oven is 1. Legs, 2. The fit of the lid, and 3. Smooth finishing of the iron. The 3 things to look for in an enameled Dutch oven 1. Enamel Coating, 2. The fit of Lid, and 3. Handles.

What is a Dutch oven?

Dutch ovens were traditionally forged from cast iron and characterized by legs that would hold them above the coals of a flame as well as a flat lid whereby additional hot coals could be piled.

The modern version of the Dutch Oven has a flat bottom and a very tight-fitting lid that can be flat or domed. These ovens are mainly designed for braising and stewing.

Nonetheless, bread, biscuits, and cakes can be baked in them. The most ideal construction material for Dutch ovens is cast iron, this is due to the fact that they can retain a substantial amount of heat and consequently release it in an even manner as the food is being cooked.

If you have arrived at this page but you already know you want to check out a cast-iron Dutch oven to purchase click here and you will be taken to Amazon. Where there is a huge range available for all requirements.


There are primarily two types of cast iron Dutch ovens, these are:

i. Enameled cast-iron Dutch oven which is used in kitchens.
ii. Pre-seasoned cast iron Dutch ovens are the best Dutch ovens for camping due to the tough nature of the cast iron. But can also be used in a kitchen on various cooktops with care, as well as in a conventional oven.

Dutch ovens can also be made of materials like stainless steel and anodized aluminum. It should be noted that each of these materials has its pros and cons and selection is, therefore, a matter of personal preference.

3 Things to Look for in a Good Dutch Oven – (The Best Dutch Ovens for Camping)

Whenever you are interested in buying a good pre-seasoned cast-iron Dutch oven, for camping, I believe the following are the 3 things to look for:

Legs – It should have 3 good legs that are long enough to offer the user the necessary clearance to both the briquettes as well as the lid handle located beneath the oven.

Fit – The lid of the oven should properly fit and ought to lie flush with the oven’s lip all the way around. It should not have any significant gaps. Successful cooking is facilitated by a good seal.

Finishing – A good Dutch oven should have very little pitting because heavy pitting makes it difficult for seasoning to adhere. If there is pitting there is also a high chance of the Dutch oven rusting it they are not dried and seasoned correctly.

Apart from the 3 things listed above, other factors that you need to consider when looking for a good Dutch oven are as follows:

1. If the lid has a lip that goes around the outer edge. This helps in keeping the charcoal ash from gaining access to food.

2. The thickness of the wall should be fairly consistent, a differential thickness that exceeds 15% is undesirable as it will cause cold or hot spots in the course of cooling and cooking. The thickness variation may lead to warping or cracking of the oven.

3. A good Dutch oven should also have a wire bail handle that is attached to it. The wire bail should be able to move with ease and should also be strong enough to carry or hang a heavy pot full of stew with minimal difficulty.

Camp Dutch Oven Size Chart

Diameter Depth Capacity Serves
8″3.5″2 qt1-2
10″ 4″ 4 qt 2-4
12″4.5″6 qt 4-5
14″5.5″8 qt 6-8
16″5″10 qt 8-10
18″5.5″12 qt 10-12
20″6″14 qt 12-14

3 Things to Look for in a Good Dutch Oven – (Enamel Dutch Oven for Use at Home)

3 things to look for in a good dutch oven

1. Enamel Coating  – no cracks should be visible

The enamel coating on the cast iron should be even and uncracked. The bottom of the enamel Dutch oven should be thick and even.

2. The fit of Lid – steam needs to be retained in the Dutch oven

The best lid is one that will have a sturdy loop handle right in the middle and the loop should be large enough to lift the lid safely while wearing an oven mitt. The lid should also have self-basting rings and be tight fittings to keep the moisture in your dishes while cooking.

3. Handles on the Dutch oven – safety first always

You should also ensure that the pot handles are large enough for you to carry the oven safely while using pot holders or oven mitts.

3 Things to Look for in a Good Dutch Oven – (Conclusion)

Now you know the 3 things to look for in a good Dutch oven for camping and also things to look for in an enamel Dutch oven for use at home.

There are many other things to consider when purchasing a Dutch oven...

  • People who are interested in purchasing a good Dutch oven should keep a number of things in mind. Such as who they are typically cooking for?
  • The location of cooking for example in a fireplace, on a stove, in your backyard or camping.
  • What you will be mostly cooking also should be considered before purchasing your new oven. Regardless of the location where one is cooking, the durability and function of a Dutch oven will assist you to cook meals perfectly. It is just an added advantage that it can be used in an array of locations.
  • Another major consideration when purchasing a Dutch is how many people you will be feeding. Below is a small quick reference Dutch oven size chart there is also an in-depth review regarding the size you may need in another of my articles here…

Quick Reference Of Dutch Oven Sizes

{Remember with serving sizes you should take into account the portion size as well as the dish being prepared. Stews, casseroles, soups will feed more people than a roast.} See a full article about Dutch oven sizes here…

Dutch Oven Size Chart

CM’s Ltrs Qts Serves

3 Of My Favorite Dutch Ovens

First of my Top Picks for an all-around good dutch oven is the Mario Batali 4-Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven. Take a look at my in-depth review by clicking here

Second is the Guro 6.3-quart Dutch oven you can see a great write up here

Lastly is the pre-seasoned Dutch oven – Lodge P10D3 Seasoned Cast Iron Dutch Oven that you will find at Amazon for the best price as well as see great customer reviews of this Lodge Dutch oven.

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