Consumer Reports tests Dutch ovens

SAN ANTONIO – The Dutch oven is a versatile kitchen staple that browns, boils, braises and even bakes. Consumer Reports tested the do-it-all cookware and found you don’t have to pay top dollar for a good one.   

Dutch ovens are essentially enameled cast iron pots with lids. They heat slowly, but they also hold their heat well, which makes them really good for braising. They can also go from the stove top to the oven to the table.

Consumer Reports tested several Dutch oven cookware pieces ranging in price from $45 to $340.  

Some of the more premium brands, such as Le Creuset, come backed with a lifetime warranty. However, Consumer Reports tests found that you don’t need to spend a lot to get great performance.

The tests included braising brisket, browning meat and simmering sauce. Testers even baked bread.

Turns out all of the Dutch ovens did a good job braising meat, but after that, there were differences.

Testers found the Dutch oven from Ayesha Curry, host of Ayesha’s Home Kitchen, was easy to clean but very heavy at a whopping 15 pounds. The Vremi earned an excellent rating when it came to baking bread, but it was also quite heavy at 14 pounds. The Vremi’s warranty is just a year, compared to the lifetime and limited lifetime warranties of the other Dutch ovens. 

The $340 Le Creuset was the only Dutch oven to earn an excellent rating in the browning tests. But for a lot less money,  the $60 Lodge delivered. It outperformed the Le Creuset in baking bread and did a good job browning.  

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