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Best Dutch Oven For The Money  
Everything You Need to Know to Get a Great Dutch Oven at a Great Price
Top Five for the Money (Based on our Frugal5 Formula)
How do we pick these products? We spend many hours doing unbiased research to only give you the highest rated products at the best price. We first come up with a list of features, which you can see below, that we feel the majority of people will need. We then look for the highest quality products with these features and only show you the top five with the best value. Our mission is to provide you with the best five options based only on the facts. Don't see the product you were thinking about getting? Click here to calculate it's frugal score.
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Product
Texsport Cast IronLodge Mfg L8DOL3 Cast Iron 5 Qt.Lodge Mfg L10DOL3 Cast IronEmile Henry Flame Top RoundIsaac Mizrahi Cast Iron with Lid
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Product Rating
 
 
 
 
 
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Average Price
 
 
 
 
 
Cheap ($25)
 
 
 
 
 
Cheap ($31)
 
 
 
 
 
Cheap ($79)
 
 
 
 
 
Cheap ($90)
 
 
 
 
 
Cheap ($65)
Frugal5 Score
Details
8.7
8.6
8.5
8.4
8.2
Additional Info
Size
4 Quarts
5 Quarts
7 Quarts
4.2 Quarts
6 Quarts
Features Needed
Cast Iron
Easy Maintanance
High Heat Tolerance for Handles
Secure-Fitting lid
Self-Basting Lid
Solid, Sturdy Handles
Features Not Needed
Bright Colors
Loose or Detachable Handles
Pre-Seasoned
Teflon Coating
What You Need To Know In 5 Minutes

A Dutch oven is a large, aluminum or cast-iron cooking pot that has been successfully braising and slow-cooking food for centuries. It's uses are comparable to a crock pot but offer so much more by allowing users to switch from stove-top braising to oven baking thanks to its tight-fitting lid and durable iron composition. With uses ranging from frying up crisp French fries to cooking up Daddy's Homemade Chili over a campfire, the purchase of a quality Dutch oven will be a life-long investment worth making. 

The best a Dutch ovens will be made of heavy cast iron, sometimes weighing upwards of 30 pounds empty. This hefty size is characteristic of the best Dutch ovens because of it's durability as well as it's ability to retain a constant temperature.

Sufficient carrying capacity is another feature to look for when choosing the best Dutch oven for the money. The minimum height should be no less than around three and a half inches deep and about 12 inches wide - enough to hold about six quarts worth of food. However, depending on the type of food to be made and the size of the oven, a larger size may be preferred.

Some Dutch ovens also come with "self-basting lids" which reduce the need to tend to the food and thus increase the efficiency of the piece.

Dutch ovens come in a variety of colors to match your décor. While this may be a pleasant feature, it is not necessary. The enamel typically only lasts for a few years if not properly cared for, and are not recommended for campfire cooking which certainly takes some of the fun out of owning one in the first place. Therefore, it is recommended that buyers choose an uncoated, cast iron Dutch oven if campfire cooking is planned.  

Uncoated cast iron ovens do have their problems, though. Maintenance can be a bit tricky, as well-intended friends may attempt to wash one in a dishwasher or use soap to clean it. If easy maintenance is of a concern (and camping is not) then buyers might want to avoid the traditional cast iron oven and opt instead for the smooth design of an enameled Dutch oven.

When using an uncoated cast iron Dutch oven, it is important to remember to season the piece properly to reduce rust and help with clean-up. Some will come pre-seasoned which means you can use your new piece straight out of the box. Otherwise, you will have to season it yourself.

The most popular Dutch oven brands include Lodge, Le Creuset and Staub. These brands have gotten great reviews and continue to be community favorites, but the frugal winner remains Lodge because of their affordable variety perfect for your everyday domestic chef.

Conversely, brands that have not kept up with the "lifetime" promise include Guy Fieri and Emeril.

When choosing the best Dutch oven for the money, it is important to consider the size and amount of food to be cooked versus the size of the cook space. For example, though smaller Dutch ovens may not sizable enough to cook large cuts of meat, larger Dutch ovens may exceed an oven's carrying capacity rendering the piece useless for anything but stove-top cooking. It is also important to take into account a preferred cooking method when choosing a new Dutch oven. For example, if outdoor cooking is planned, the purchase of a solid, cast iron Dutch oven that can withstand temperatures of around 500 degrees is recommended over the more flashy enameled version, though the latter is considerably easier to maintain.

Features You Need
Cast Iron, Easy Maintanance, High Heat Tolerance for Handles, Secure-Fitting lid, Self-Basting Lid, Solid, Sturdy Handles
Features You Don't Need
Bright Colors, Loose or Detachable Handles, Pre-Seasoned, Teflon Coating
What You Should Pay
Between $25.27 - $89.95
Top Of The Line Price
Over $400.00