Help! Why Does My Dutch Oven Enamel Keep Cracking?

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Q: I have a Lodge dutch oven, about a year old. Fine cracks first appeared in the enamel on the bottom after about 6 months, and then one day as I was browning chicken, I heard a loud POP and pieces of the enamel had flown off! 

To top it off, this is a replacement -- Lodge sent me a new one after the same thing happened to the first one, also after about a year of use. Is it a bad product, or am I using it wrong? The instructions say not to pre-heat it on the stove on high, which I've tried not to do, but I do roast chickens in it at 450 degrees.

Sent by Maureen

Editor: Maureen, is your pot mostly dry at the bottom when you roast chickens in it? Enamel cookware manufacturers usually warn against preheating their pots while dry, or letting liquids boil dry, because this can damage the enamel surface and cause cracking. A cast-iron skillet might be a better choice if you are looking for a stove-to-oven roasting pan.

Readers, do you have any tips for avoiding cracks in enamel cookware? Do you have any experience with this particular dutch oven?

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Related: Boiled Dry: Can This Pot Be Saved?

(Image: Maureen, via the Kitchn Submission Form)