In this post: I’ve had an instant pot, a crockpot, and all manner of pots and pans before. But I’ve recently discovered that a Dutch Oven is a real handy workhorse to have in the kitchen.
Long before slow cookers and instant pots, Dutch Ovens were the original all-purpose cookware. Original designs have been around for centuries. Even so, would you believe I’ve never owned or used one before?
I always wanted a dutch oven
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always wanted a Dutch Oven. I mean if so many cooks swore by them and had them in their kitchens, they had to be good.
And they just look so darn pretty sitting on the stove! (You know me, always a sucker for the pretty but useful things.)
But alas, the infamous La Creuset brand’s price was ridiculously too much for my budget and the other cheaper versions seemed, well, cheap.
Until I found Caraway Home’s Dutch Oven.
Why I chose the Caraway Dutch Oven
01. It’s Non-Toxic
The non-toxic Caraway Dutch Oven (lid included) allows for healthy cooking in the kitchen without harmful chemicals. It’s made of non-stick ceramic, aluminum core, and has stainless steel handles.
02. It’s Easy to Clean
It features a ceramic-coated interior and is a durable non-stick pot that makes cooking easier than ever, and cleaning almost enjoyable. It literally almost just rinses clean.
03. It’s Pretty
Originally I thought for sure I would choose the Cream-colored one, you know because I love neutrals, but instead on a whim chose Sage. AND I LOVE IT!
04. It’s Versatile
The Caraway version is gas, electric, and induction (on the right-sized element) safe and it’s oven safe up to 550°.
Care Tips for Caraway Cookware
You can find the full care and cleaning run-down on the Carway website. But here are a few important things to remember:
- Because they retain and conduct heat so well, use low heat.
- Use minimal amounts of liquid oils or butter.
- Avoid pointy or metal utensils to keep the interior looking good.
- Don’t slide them on cooktops.
- Lift the lid during cooking at a slight angle to allow the moisture to drop back into the pan and not the stovetop.
- The handles get hot, so use a potholder or something when handling.
- Let the cookware cool before running cold or cool water over them to avoid shocking them and possibly cracking them.
What can you cook in a Dutch Oven?
As I mentioned, Dutch Ovens are the original simmer all day, multi-purpose pot to have in the kitchen. And they’re perfect for making things like:
- roast beef or chicken (and entire roast dinners)
- no-knead breads
- one-pot pasta dishes (cook the pasta right in the sauce!)
- rice casseroles
They’re super convenient because you can prep an entire meal in one pot and they can maintain a low and slow cooking temperature for a long time.
What difference do materials make?
Dutch Ovens come in many different materials and you need to consider the pros and cons when choosing one for your kitchen.
01. Stainless Steel
Stainless steel dutch ovens are easy to clean and are quite durable. But they often lack a heavy, tight-fitting lid, which is one of the major benefits to a dutch oven (the combo of both heavy and tight-fitting keeps the liquids in the pot). Stainless steel also does not quite retain the same heat as the other materials, so this isn’t often the best option.
02. (Bare) Cast Iron
Cast iron is one of the original materials used to construct dutch ovens. It’s heavy and long-lasting. But it also requires a lot of regular maintenance and “seasoning.” Plus the iron can transfer flavors and tomatoes or other acidic foods don’t do well in them.
03. Enameled Cast Iron
Enameled cast-iron pots have all the heat retention benefits of bare cast iron with none of the maintenance. But they are often VERY heavy. (Which is a problem for me and other petite mommas!)
Ceramic Dutch Ovens are the lightest, while still being heavy enough to do the proper job and retain heat. They’re also super easy to clean…with the majority of the gunk that normally gets stuck just rinsing away. The only drawback to ceramic is that extreme changes in temperature could cause them to crack, so just beware to let them cool before rinsing and don’t put them straight from say the cold fridge into a hot oven. Instead, let them adjust gradually from fridge to room temp and then warm up with the oven.
What size do you need?
Of course, much like your other pots and pans and even your slow cooker, the size you need depends on how many peoples you’re cooking for on a regular basis. Keep in mind who you will be cooking for in the future too and if you will use your Dutch Oven for hosting holiday meals or other get-togethers.
Note: The Caraway Dutch oven currently only comes in the one 6.5 quart size.
Here’s a handy chart that will help you choose:
What’s the difference between a French Oven and a Dutch Oven?
A French Oven is really just a type of Dutch Oven, that always has an enameled surface. It’s sort of the modern grown-up version of the original.