This Gorgeous $70 Dutch Oven Is Every Bit as Incredible as Its More Expensive Counterparts
The color-popping beauty and rugged versatility of an enameled cast iron Dutch oven can’t be beat. But the price tag is usually hard to swallow. For example, a 5.5-quart Le Creuset will set you back $360 at Bed Bath and Beyond. But if you keep clicking through the site you’ll find a pretty sweet deal: an even bigger 6-quart enameled Dutch oven, with a beautiful ombre color, for just $70.
The pot, and its adorable 2-quart sibling, was designed exclusively for Bed Bath & Beyond under the private-label brand, Artisanal Kitchen Supply. Not only does it have a lovely gradient paint job (in gray, denim, or red), but it also sports concentric circles under the lid to encourage “self-basting” as condensation drips down into the center of the pot — just like the spikes under the lid of a Staub.
It’s hard to resist such a pretty pot with such a relatively low price tag, but if it doesn’t perform, it’s not worth two nickels, so I got my hands on one and put it to the test.
My Honest Review of Artisinal Kitchen Supply’s Dutch Oven
The first thing I noted was how heavy it is. With the lid on, it weighed a whopping 13 pounds, 9 3/4 ounces. That’s quite a bit heavier than the same size Le Creuset (11 pounds, 4 1/2 ounces) and even a tad heavier than Staub (13 pounds, 4 ounces). So, yeah, it has some heft. Those who have trouble handling heavy pots and pans will want to think twice about this one, but I didn’t have any trouble maneuvering it, even when it was full.
I also noticed that it’s quite tall, especially with its domed lid. It measures 10 inches wide and about 6 inches high (including the lid but not the knob). Most of the other Dutch ovens I’ve tested are a little wider and shorter (by about 3/4 inch). This might not be as efficient when it comes to reducing liquids (I’ll test to find out!), but I found the additional headspace to be pretty useful when making stock and no-knead bread.
The handles are big and comfortable to grip. It’s oven-safe up to 500°F, and stayed surprisingly cool while I slowly simmered a pork and green chile stew for a couple of hours (but when I blasted the heat for my boiling water test to see how much evaporation escapes from the lid, it did get hot to the touch).
So how well did the lid keep the evaporation from escaping? It was middle-of-the-road. I brought 8 cups of water to a boil over high heat and let it go for 10 minutes to see how much steam escaped from the lid. In previous tests, I found Le Creuset lost almost 2 cups of water, Milo lost about 1 cup, and Staub lost just 1/2 cup, thanks to its super-tight lid. In this test, the AK pot lost 1 1/2 cups. Some cooks prefer a tighter-fitting lid so you can control the evaporation, while others want the steam to escape in order to concentrate the flavors of what they’re cooking. The AK pot is a good fit for people who fall in the latter category.
In terms of browning, the AK pot worked like a champ. The cubes of pork shoulder for my stew cooked up evenly golden, no matter where in the pot they were placed. And the light-colored enameled interior made it easy to see how things were progressing.
It was easy to achieve consistent heat, too. My chicken stock gently percolated for hours, never getting too hot or too cool. I’ve also used the pot to cook rice, beans, and chicken and dumplings. The heat has been consistently even, nothing has burned, and cleanup has been easy.
After putting the AK pot through its paces, I’m thoroughly impressed. It’s a beauty that can work just as well as a Dutch oven five times its price, and well worth adding to your collection.
Read More of Kitchn’s Dutch Oven Reviews Here
Do you have a favorite Dutch oven? Tell us about it in the comments below!