Even though it is immensely useful, cast iron is some of the most expensive cookware on the market.
Even though it is highly durable, evenly distributes heat, has exceptional heat retention, easy to clean, and is super easy to maintain, not everyone can afford to splash out several hundred dollars on a set that includes a cast-iron Dutch oven.
So you will naturally start to think of alternatives you can use to cook your favorite dishes to save you the expensive investment! One of the best substitutes for a Dutch oven is of course oven-safe casserole dishes. These are very similar to Dutch ovens in terms of size and versatility.
Other cookware that can be used as a Dutch oven substitute is of course stock pots or other types of ceramic baking dishes. Glass dishes such as Pyrex dishes are also an excellent option, but you will need to ensure that it is oven safe for the temperatures that you intend to use it with.
In fact, there is a whole variety of dishes and cookware that you can use in place of the classic cast iron cookware. Ideally, you will need to choose a piece of cookware that features a lid with a tight fit, and that can be used both on the stovetop and in the oven itself. This allows you to mimic the process that’s required of a Dutch oven.
So let’s take a look at everything we need to learn about Dutch ovens! We need to understand how a Dutch oven works so that we can better learn how to substitute other cookware for them. We’re also going to cover which other cookware items are the best to use instead of Dutch ovens if you have one of these to hand.
So How Does A Dutch Oven Work?
Before we can even think about which type of cookware makes great Dutch oven alternatives, we will need to understand how this cast iron cookware works. This allows us to better understand which piece of cookware will be the best substitute for a Dutch oven, depending on the recipe that you are trying to follow.
What really makes the Dutch oven fantastic is the fact that it is so versatile. You can use your cast iron cookware for virtually any cooking application. Thanks to the fact they are constructed using durable cast iron, they are able to better retain the heat that they are exposed to.
This heat is also evenly distributed across the whole of the cast iron, so you won’t have to worry about hot spots. Food will be cooked evenly and beautifully.
There are many cooking methods that you can use this cast iron cookware for. These include roasting, sautéing, boiling, searing, braising, frying, baking, slow cooking, stewing, and many more.
What makes the Dutch oven so useful compared to other types of cookware is the fact it comes with a lid. This tight-fitting lid helps to lock in moisture, keeping your food lovely and moist, while also maintaining the heat needed for certain cooking applications.
Thanks to this included lid, you can also use your cast iron cookware to self baste the food you are cooking without having to remove it from the oven. Ideal if you are cooking certain cuts of meat!
Of course, a Dutch oven can also be used both in a conventional oven and on a stovetop. The only thing to bear in mind is that enamel-covered cookware shouldn’t be used directly over an open flame such as on a camping fire because it can only be used for certain temperatures.
Open flames are naturally able to reach higher temperatures which could damage the enamel coating.
What Can I Use Instead Of A Dutch Oven?
So now that we know more about what a Dutch oven is and how it works, we can better figure out substitutions for it. We would suggest using a casserole dish as a direct replacement for a Dutch oven, as this is much the same thing. In fact, Dutch ovens are often called casserole dishes around the world.
When it comes to choosing the best alternative for a Dutch oven, it will be important to think about what you need this for. If you need to slow cook food, then a slow cooker will be the ideal replacement.
If you want to make any tasty stews or casseroles, then of course a casserole dish is the cookware that you should opt for. If you want to make soup, then a stockpot is just the thing you need.
Whatever you need an alternative to a Dutch oven for, we’ve got you covered. Below are 12 substitutes for a Dutch oven that you can use instead.
When it comes to cooking things over a longer period of time, then a slow cooker or electric pressure cooker as it is sometimes known is of course the way to go. This will give you pretty much the same functionality as a Dutch oven, allowing you to cook your favorite dishes using several functions.
The only thing to bear in mind when choosing a slow cooker is that these cook your food over a lower heat. So it may take slightly longer to cook your favorite stews or similar dishes.
However, the major benefit to selecting a slow cooker out of all the Dutch oven alternatives is that you can leave it unattended while it does its thing.
This will mean preparing your ingredients first thing, then leaving it to cook the food while you’re at work or doing other things around the house. It will be ideal for one-pot meals that require minimum fuss.
If you select the pressure cooker function, then you can cook your food even faster than you would have in the cast iron cookware you are trying to find an alternative to. Just make sure that you have worked out what the cooking time difference will be with this piece of alternative cookware.
- 7-Quart capacity serves 8 plus people
- High/low cook settings with convenient Warm setting
- Removable oval stoneware
- Dishwasher-safe stoneware and glass lid
- Polished Silver, stainless steel exteriors in various colors/patterns with black accents and plastic handles
Of course, the best substitution for a Dutch oven is going to be a casserole dish. These are typically made using ceramic instead of cast iron, which also makes them a more affordable purchase if you’re reluctant to splash a hundred dollars on a piece of cookware.
Ceramic casserole dishes tend to come with a lid for you to use, which can of course mimic the functionality of a Dutch oven. It is also deep enough to use for a variety of dishes, just like the cookware that you are trying to substitute. You can use your casserole dish for a range of cooking applications.
However, you will need to bear in mind that because it is made using ceramic, you shouldn’t use your ceramic casserole dish on the stovetop or over a direct heat source such as an open flame.
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Perhaps one of the more unusual inclusions on our list of Dutch oven alternatives, the tagine is a piece of Moroccan cookware that was designed with one dish in mind – the tagine. This is of course a slow-cooked stew that typically features meat as the main ingredient.
Tagine cookware features an elongated lid in a cone shape. This works much like the lid on a Dutch oven, allowing the moisture to rise and collect inside the lid, then drip back down into the dish that you are cooking. This will be perfect for self-basting certain dishes that center on meat as the main ingredient.
Classic tagines are typically made using clay and don’t tend to feature an enamel coating inside. They can’t be used in direct contact with a heat source, so using them on the stovetop will be out of the question. Your tagine is better used inside your conventional oven.
If you’re looking for a suitable replacement for a Dutch oven that can be used with a direct source of heat such as your stovetop, then a round metal pot will be your best bet. Thanks to the metal material used in construction, it will be able to distribute the heat evenly across the whole of the pan.
The roundness of the metal pot paired with its steep sides makes it ideal for creating soups, stews, or other dishes which require a large capacity.
Make sure to check the care instructions of your particular round metal pot so that you can avoid exposing it to conditions that could damage it, for example, placing it in the oven when it features silicone handles that could melt.
- HIGH QUALITY PAN: 11 Inch, 4.5 liters. Special matte finish inside to prevent scratches, mirror finish outside for shiny stylish look. Made with 18/10 stainless steel, highly resistant to rust, stain, corrosion or crack.
- EVEN HEAT DISTRIBUTION: Multi-ply capsule bottom with pure aluminum encapsulation to avoid heat spots & distribute heat evenly, saves energy! The best stainless steel wok with lid.
- MULTIPURPOSE PAN: Versatile pan, use it as stir fry pan, stainless steel wok, stainless steel frying pan, sauté pan, stewpot, steak pan, crepe pan, skillet. Works on multiple cooktop types including induction, stove top, gas, electric etc. Induction wok. Healthier option over nonstick pan for every house.
- STRONG GLASS LID: Shatterproof dome glass cover with silicone lid handle for safety! Silicone coated handles for firm grip, stay cool when pot is hot. Try your souped up recipes in this wok pan with lid.
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Something like this round ceramic pot will be another fantastic substitution for a Dutch oven. This is suitable for use in a conventional oven, so you can treat it much the same as the cookware that you are trying to substitute.
The only thing to bear in mind is that it might not be able to handle direct heat sources such as an open flame. It will be best to keep this one for use in your conventional oven.
- Ceramic coating is smooth for easy food release and cleaning; PTFE and PFOA free
- Made of fine grade aluminum for even heat distribution and preventing hot spots
- Comfortable Bakelite handle stays cool; tempered glass lid with steam vent
- Works on gas, electric, glass, halogen, ceramic, etc. Stovetops
- Not induction compatible and not oven safe; dishwasher safe
Another incredible substitute for a Dutch oven is of course a metal stockpot. These are naturally deep, so will give you the large capacity that you need for cooking a range of dishes. If you want to use your stock pot on the stovetop, it’s recommended to do this over low heat so that your food doesn’t stick to the base.
The great thing about a metal stockpot is that it can also be used inside a conventional oven as well as on the stovetop. It’s still best to stick with the lower temperatures, such as between 250 and 275 degrees Fahrenheit. You will also need to make sure that the lid or handles are suitable for use in a conventional oven.
- 20 quart capacity, holds 7 regular canning quart jars or 8 pint jars, opening diameter 13-inch, Depth 9 inch, width with handle 17. 5 inch
- Made of mirror polished 18/10 stainless steel for durability/strength, appearance, and easy cleaning
- Encapsulated bottom with aluminum core for even heat distribution, bottom is with magnetic suitable for induction stovetop
- Tempered glass lid with steam vent to view food while cooking; riveted handles are comfortable and stay cool for carrying
- Oven safe to 350F; induction compatible; works on gas, electric, glass, ceramic, halogen, etc. ; dishwasher safe
Now when it comes to making soup dishes, a soup cooking pot will be the ideal choice. You may be wondering how this cookware differs from a stockpot, and the answer is that a soup pot tends to have a smaller capacity.
They are pretty interchangeable with one another if you need to substitute them for each other as well as a Dutch oven.
Similar to the stockpot, you will need to ensure that the handles and lid are suitable for use in a conventional oven if you wish to use them this way.
The great thing about opting for a soup cooking pot is that there are multiple sizes available. You can also choose between lots of different materials to find the one that best suits your needs.
- EXCEPTIONAL DESIGN: Enjoy professional performance with Hard Anodized Exterior, Unsurpassed Heat Distribution–Reinforced with a Non-Stick cooking surface for Professional Results
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- CLEAN UP: easy clean up with hot soapy water and a non abrasive scrub pad
- LIFETIME WARRANTY: Refer to user manual for troubleshooting steps and questions surrounding warranty policies – this product is BPA free
If you need to replace a Dutch oven for braising, then you can’t go wrong with a classic cast iron braiser. This has been designed with braising in mind, so it only makes sense to use this as an alternative to a more expensive Dutch oven.
Braisers can be used to create similar dishes to that you would make in a Dutch oven. The main difference of course is that the sides are shallower, so a cast iron braiser doesn’t have the same type of capacity that a Dutch oven does.
- The original slow cooker distributes and retains heat evenly and has generous sized handles
- Self-basting lid creates a continuous basting environment
- Cast Iron with a non-stick surface
- Sturdy and moveable
- Easy to clean and rust free, hand wash recommended
Want a piece of cookware that can be used for frying or sautéing? Then a cast iron skillet will be the perfect choice for you and the recipes that you have in mind. A cast-iron skillet is similar to a Dutch oven, only with lower sides. A cast-iron skillet also comes with a handle, which makes it easier to use on the stovetop.
It is worth bearing in mind that because of the lower sides, a cast iron skillet can only be used to replace certain functions that you can use a Dutch oven for. It’s also worth noting that it doesn’t come with a lid, so you can’t use your cast iron skillet for self-basting your dishes.
- One Lodge Pre-Seasoned 10.25 Inch Cast Iron Skillet
- Unparalleled heat retention and even heating
- Pre-seasoned with 100% natural vegetable oil
- Use to sear, sauté, bake, broil, braise, fry, or grill
- Use in the oven, on the stove, on the grill, or over a campfire
Similar to the cast iron skillet that we have mentioned in more detail above, a stainless steel frying pan with a lid will be ideal for either frying or sautéing.
What gives the frying pan an edge over the skillet is the fact that it comes with a lid. This means you can use it for a whole load of different recipes that wouldn’t be suitable for an ordinary skillet.
However, this type of cookware isn’t suitable for use in a conventional oven. So you won’t be able to use it for baking certain dishes. It’s best to just use your new frying pan with a lid on the stovetop.
- Mirror finish. Classic looks, professional performance.
- Aluminum encapsulated base heats quickly and spreads heat evenly. Eliminates hot spots.
- Stainless steel cooking surface does not discolor, react with food or alter flavors
- Measurement markings for ease of use
Another close imitation of Dutch ovens is of course a roaster dish that comes with a lid. This will give you the steep sides you need for creating stews, soups, or other dishes that have large quantities. This is the ideal pan for roasting certain cuts of meat, too.
The only thing to bear in mind is that the vast majority of roasting dishes have been constructed using a metal alloy, which means that it will heat up quicker than the cast iron of a Dutch oven. So you may need to adjust the cooking time as needed.
- ENAMEL ENAMEL: The enamel enamel fire roast chicken pan is derived from the design concept of European and American fashion cookware. The world's selected electrostatic enamel enamel technology is the best choice for daily roasting turkey, duck and other cooking in household/commercial ovens. Leading the fashionable cooking life with the pursuit of "taste the beauty and create it"
- NO MORE DRY TURKEY: Enjoy your delicious turkey in a most and juicy state, the non-stick roaster evenly distributes the heat inside the pan with the help of porcelain surface and the self-basting bumps inside the lid surface that directs the moisture down back to the turkey.
- FAST AND EFFICIENT COOKING: Enjoy your delicious turkey in no time, the enamel roaster is made of carbon-steel material with porcelain finish. The porcelain surface evenly absorbs and distributes the heat inside the oval roaster pan with lid for faster cooking as compared to steel or glass material.
- SOLID OVAL CONSTRUCTION: The covered roaster is uniquely designed to fit poultry or roasts. The solid carbon steel construction lets you cook chicken, turkey, pork, veggies, & roasts.
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Now we know that we’ve already covered ceramic casserole dishes, but there are also glass casserole dishes on the market. So we thought it would be worth mentioning them, like this Pyrex casserole dish!
This is one of the more reliable brands when it comes to cooking, as Pyrex can be exposed to great heat in your conventional oven.
The depth of the glass casserole dish makes it super easy to mimic the Dutch oven that you are trying to replace. You will have a larger capacity to work with to create certain dishes, and it will also be much lighter to remove from the oven than cast iron cookware.
When it comes to using glass cookware, it is best to avoid direct contact with a source of heat such as the stovetop. Your glass cookware is best heated up at a slower, consistent rate to avoid thermal shock.
- Larger handles and a glass lid make this casserole a kitchen essential.
- Includes (1) 2-Quart Glass Casserole Dish with Glass Lid
- Durable high-quality tempered glass is dishwasher, freezer, microwave and preheated oven safe
- Nonporous glass won’t absorb food odors, flavors, or stains
- 2-year limited warranty on glass
What Is The Best Dutch Oven?
If you have decided to take the plunge and opt for a high-quality Dutch oven rather than use one of the fantastic alternatives that we’ve covered in more detail above, we’ve got your back. Out of all the Dutch ovens on the market, we would recommend opting for the Lodge Enameled Dutch Oven.
This particular Dutch oven gives you a good blend of functionality and affordability. You will get a large capacity 6 quarts Dutch oven that can be used for a wide range of recipes. The Dutch oven is also enamelled, which will make it super easy to clean after you’ve finished cooking.
What we really liked about this Dutch oven when we tested it was that it is available in several sizes. You can choose between a smaller Dutch oven or a larger one depending on your needs. The Lodge Dutch oven sizes range from 1.5 quarts, 3 quarts, 4.5 quarts, 6 quarts, 7 quarts, or a whopping 7.5 quarts.
For a family of 4, the 4.5 quarts of Dutch oven will be more than enough. To entertain guests or for larger families, the 6 quarts Dutch oven will be ideal. This range of Lodge Dutch oven sizes gives you more than enough to play with in terms of capacity.
The Lodge Enameled Dutch Oven is also available in a range of colors so you can find the best one for your preferences.
The Budget-Friendly Option
Don’t have hundreds of dollars to splurge on a high-quality Dutch oven? Then this Amazon Basics Enameled Cast Iron Covered Dutch Oven should be your Dutch oven of choice.
This particular Dutch oven combines functionality and affordability, being available at a much more budget-friendly price than some well-known brands on the market.
This particular Dutch oven is available in different sizes, ranging from 4.3 quarts, 6 quarts, and up to 7.3 quarts. The 4.3 quarts size is more than enough for a family of 4 and will give you the capacity that you need to create enough food to go around.
The Amazon Basics Enameled Dutch Oven is oven safe up to 400 degrees and even comes with an enamelled lid so that you can use it for a whole range of dishes. The enamelled coating makes the Amazon Basics Dutch oven super easy to clean, too.
The If Money Were No Object Option
It doesn’t get better than Le Creuset. There’s a reason that Le Creuset is the king when it comes to cast iron cookware. This is a brand that you can trust, and you can rest assured that your Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Round Dutch Oven is going to last you for many years to come.
It does come with a hefty price tag compared to the other Dutch ovens that we have recommended, but it will be well worth it in the long run. This Dutch oven is so incredibly versatile that it will more than pay for itself over time with how many dishes you can make.
The Le Creuset Dutch oven is available in a range of colors and sizes for you to choose from. This particular 5.5 quarts Dutch oven will be more than enough for a family of 4 to enjoy. The cast iron is able to give you superior heat distribution for evenly cooked food every time, and it is enamelled for easier cleaning.
Things To Bear In Mind
When it comes to deciding on your new Dutch oven, you will of course need to think about capacity. You will need to opt for a Dutch oven that will give you more than enough capacity to feed everyone in your home. There’s no point in opting for a smaller Dutch oven that’s around 1.5 quarts if you need to feed a family of 4.
We would recommend opting for a Dutch oven that’s around 4 quarts to 5 quarts in capacity for feeding a family of 4. Dutch ovens are of course available in a range of sizes, so it should be super simple to find the size that best matches your needs.
You will also need to think about whether you opt for enamelled cast iron or plain cast iron. Enameled cast iron would be preferable, as this will be much easier to clean, and will come with natural non-stick properties. However, it will be slightly pricier than cast iron which hasn’t been covered in enamel.
If you were to opt for uncovered cast iron, you will need to season this every now and again to ensure that it maintains its non-stick properties.
Of course, you should think about what dishes you will be making with your new cast iron Dutch oven. This is a versatile piece of cookware that can be used for making bread, making casseroles, roasting joints of meat, and many more.
However, if you already have cookware around your home for these purposes, then you may be better suited to using these.
If you want a versatile piece of cookware that is going to cut down on the amount of washing up you need to do at the end of the week, then a Dutch oven will be a worthy investment.
So there you have it! You now know all there is to know about Dutch ovens. You know how a Dutch oven works, how to use one, and whether it’s actually worth buying a Dutch oven of your own to use.
If you really don’t want to buy a Dutch oven, or can’t afford the higher price tag of the cast iron cookware, then you also have a range of suitable alternatives for you to use.
It will be worth considering that depending on the dish that you are trying to make, some types of cookware that we have mentioned above will be better suited.
You will also need to think about whether the chosen cookware is suitable for use above certain temperatures, as some types of materials can’t exceed 350 degrees Fahrenheit. It will be essential to check what the care instructions are for your chosen cookware before you use it for a certain dish.
No matter whether you decide to take the plunge and buy a Dutch oven, or decide to stick with one of the fantastic alternatives that we have mentioned above, you have all the information you now need to cook your favorite dishes!