Home chefs dreams of the day they’ll be able to stock their kitchen with Le Creuset’s Signature Cast-Iron Dutch Oven. But they also know that purchasing the gourmet cookware comes at a price — about $370, if we want to get technical.
For those of you who aren’t quite ready to make such a pricey purchase, we have a solution. It seems Amazon reviewers are OBSESSED with Lodge’s Enameled Cast-Iron Dutch Oven. Not only does it look like Le Creuset, but it's much cheaper at just $50 a pop.
Lodge Enameled Cast-Iron Dutch Oven, 6-Quart, $60, amazon.com
The top-rated cast-iron Dutch oven has everything you’ve admired in a Le Creuset. It comes in 3-, 4.5-, 6-, and 7.5-quart options with a chip-resistant, porcelain-enamel finish. The ombre detail is also comparable, as is the rainbow of color offerings. But, what really got us excited is that reviewers say it cooks just as well as a Le Creuset, for nearly one-sixth of the price.
“There is absolutely NO difference in the performance of this pan," one reviewer wrote. "In fact, it comes with the metal knob (I had to buy one for my Le Creuset). It's fantastic! Super heavy, white interior, no chips, no flaws in the enamel, and the lid fits perfectly. The sides of the pot slope slightly toward the bottom (unlike the other two pots, which have straight sides) which I find I prefer. The red of this pot very closely matches the red of my Le Creuset pot.”
Another reviewer pointed out even more near-identical features:
“It has the same self-basting lid as Le Creuset's revolutionary design," said the reviewer. "It's also easy to clean because the enamel just needs some soaking in hot water and gentle scrubbing with a non-abrasive cleaning pad.”
If you need more convincing, the experts over at the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Kitchen Appliances Lab are big fans of Lodge’s Dutch oven too. When our pros tested the category a few years back, it was their runner-up. They loved how well it cooked on both gas and electric ranges, and said it was simple to clean after use.
Betty Gold, a senior editor and product analyst in the Lab, says every home chef should be in the market for a cast-iron Dutch oven: “Cast iron is amazing for heat retention — it gets hot and stays hot," she says. "Cast-iron Dutch ovens can be used to sear on the stovetop and then you can add the lid and finish your stew or braise in the oven. When your meal is done, it’s pretty enough to go right on the table and the enameled coating makes it easier to clean,” she says.
We could go on and on about why you should snag this Dutch oven, but we’ll stop ourselves. Seriously, though: Tell your mom, tell your friends, and at $60, just try it out yourself.