The 7 Best Eco-Friendly Dutch Ovens of 2021

The perfect, eco-friendly vessel for roasting, braising, and baking awaits

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The Rundown
A heavy duty Dutch oven from a sustainable brand equals a win-win.
One of the top Dutch ovens on the market, this is great investment that can be passed down.
At 6.5 quarts, the affordable price point on this Dutch oven is hard to beat.
Cook your favorite stews and soups around the fire with Lodge’s Camp Dutch Oven.
Great for large gatherings, the 13.25 quart Dutch oven is one of the biggest out there.
The teensy 1.5 quart Dutch oven from Staub is perfect when cooking for one.
Non-toxic and free of PFAs, this nonstick Dutch oven is one you can feel good about using.

Loved for their heat conductivity, heat retention, and multiple uses, Dutch ovens are a great kitchen. Many come in beautiful color options and are great for heavy stews, large quantities of soup, roasting, baking bread, frying, braising, and even for cooking casseroles.

However, some cookware that has Teflon and other non-stick coatings, is increasingly under scrutiny by health officials and other environmental advocates (more details on that below). If you would like to avoid these chemicals, we've researched safer alternatives, including Dutch ovens made from cast iron and enamel. If you purchase a non-enameled Dutch oven made from cast iron, you might have to season it, but the extra effort is worth it for flavorful dishes.

Here are our picks for the best eco-friendly Dutch ovens:

Best Overall: Lodge 6-Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Lodge EC6D43 Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, 6-Quart, Island Spice Red

The 6 quart capacity with this Dutch oven allows you to cook enough for a crowd. This Dutch oven performs comparably to its pricier competitors but comes at a great price point. You can roast, braise, broil, or bake with it in the oven up to 500 degrees and also use it on the stovetop.

The large loop handles offer sturdy control, and the smooth, glassy surface doesn’t react with ingredients. It has good heat retention for even cooking.

The company’s environmental efforts include a comprehensive recycling program that’s saved tons of cardboard, motor oil, plastic bottles, and metals. For more than 10 years, Lodge has used paper instead of foam packing inserts and brown paper and corrugated packing material instead of bubble wrap and Styrofoam peanuts in its packaging. Lodge also has a zero-hazardous waste foundry, and takes measures to reuse its foundry sand in sustainable ways.

Best High-End: Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron 5 1/2-Quart Round Dutch Oven

Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 5-1/2-Quart Round French (Dutch) Oven, Marseille

Although the Le Creuset has a higher price tag than many Dutch ovens, Treehugger staffers say it's worth the investment, if you can spend the extra money. These pots can used for decades and then passed down as an heirlooms.

Le Creuset is known for producing one of the top Dutch ovens on the market, with impeccable heat distribution and retention. The large handles make it easy to grip, even with oven mitts on or using potholders. Feel safe using the Dutch oven in the oven or stovetop up to 500 degrees, with metal utensils, and cleaning it in the dishwasher. This is the lightest weight cast iron by quart on the market, and the tough exterior enamel resists chipping, scratching, dulling, and cracking. Choose from multiple color options.

Best Budget: Tramontina Enameled Cast Iron 6.5-Quart Round Dutch Oven

Tramontina Enameled Cast Iron 6.5 Qt Covered Round Dutch Oven

The price point on Tramontina’s Dutch oven makes it a winner, especially for its 6.5 quart size. The self-basting condensation ridges on the lid allow collecting steam to gently roll back down into the pot, which creates flavorful, moist meats and stews. It’s oven safe up to 400 degrees, scratch resistant, and compatible with electric, gas, and induction cooktops.

Tramontina’s Dutch oven is also PFOA and PTFE free and available in beautiful colors.

Best for Camping: Lodge 6-Quart Cast Iron Camp Dutch Oven

Lodge Camp Dutch Oven

Cook your favorite stews, soups, pastas, and other campfire favorites with Lodge’s Camp Dutch Oven, which has a heavy wire handle that makes it easy to rotate the Dutch oven over coals. The flanged lid holds hot coals well and even inverts, so you can use it as a griddle.

The oven’s legs keep it at a perfect distance from hot coals, and the Dutch oven itself is pre-seasoned with natural vegetable oil. Smaller and larger sizes are available.

Best Large: Le Creuset 13.25 Quart Round Dutch Oven

Le Creuset 13.25 Quart Round Dutch Oven

Great for potlucks or large families, the 13.25 round Dutch oven by Le Creuset is one of the largest on the market. It comes ready to use and requires no seasoning. It's easy to clean and dishwasher safe.

The tight-fitting lid circulates steam and returns moisture back to food in a self-basting design, and large handles and the stainless steel knob help with easy lifting. Throw it in the oven or on the stovetop up up to 500 degrees and rest easy. The light-colored interior allows you to see your dish and monitor the cooking process as well.

Best Compact: Staub Cast Iron Petite French Oven

Staub French Oven

Want to make rice or chili for one? This is the Dutch oven for you. The teensy 1.5 quart Dutch oven from Staub is perfect for individual portions. The chistera lid pattern features a raised, textured surface that returns moisture back to food, and the oven doesn’t require seasoning.

Suitable for all heat sources, the oven is also dishwasher safe and has great heat distribution and retention. Take your dish directly from the oven or stovetop to the table for easy, one-pot wonders.

Best Nonstick: Caraway Dutch Oven

Caraway Dutch Oven

Relatively new to the cookware world, Caraway’s stylish Dutch oven is lauded by for its superior nonstick abilities. Free of PFAs, this Dutch oven is made with a nonstick, mineral-based coating and free of cadmium, lead, and other toxic materials as well.

The ceramic-coated interior makes cleaning a breeze, and the Dutch oven is oven safe up to 550 degrees. You can choose from five lovely color options. Caraway products release up to 60 percent less carbon dioxide when produced compared to traditional nonstick coatings.

Final Verdict

Our top Dutch oven pick is the Lodge 6-Quart Enameled Cast Iron (view at Wayfair). However, if you’re interested in making a big investment in an heirloom-quality item, consider Le Creuset’s Enameled Cast Iron Round Dutch Oven (view at Sur La Table). 

What to Avoid When Shopping for a Dutch Oven

PFCS: Some cookware has non-stick coatings that contain perfluorocarbons (PFCs), which have been linked to liver damage, cancer, and developmental problems. If heated at high temperatures, cookware containing PFCs can release fumes that have been known to kill pet birds and cause people to develop flu-like symptoms. Furthermore, the manufacturing of PFCs and the products made from them poses risks to nature and wildlife. 

PFAS: Nonstick cookware can also contain chemicals called perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which have been linked to high cholesterol, weight gain, hormone disruption, effects on the immune system, and even cancer.

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Amanda Ogle has written for National Geographic, Travel + Leisure, Virtuoso Traveler, Texas Highways, OZY, Women's Health, Greatist, and other publications. She loves writing about sustainability and believes it is important that we all strive to be as environmentally friendly as we can. Before going freelance, Amanda was an editor at American Way magazine and has been tackling the freelance world since 2016.