This Nonstick Ceramic Dutch Oven Is Beyond My Wildest Cookware Dreams

published Nov 11, 2020
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Credit: Courtesy of Caraway

Even before the start of the pandemic, I was cooking most of my meals at home. I have a lot of dietary restrictions, so it’s just easier to make food I know will be safe to eat versus taking a chance at a restaurant. But being home 24/7 these last seven months did finally force me to take a long, hard look at some things in my kitchen that I was always “too busy” or “didn’t have time” to deal with. The most egregious one? My horribly chipped ceramic cookware.

The last time I really thought about cookware was when I got married in 2015. I registered for a set of ceramic cookware, along with a Staub Dutch oven. My Staub is my “fancy” Dutch oven — the big, heavy one I pull out when I want to make a special pot of Rancho Gordo beans, or an impressive braised dish that can go from oven to table. It’s still in pristine condition (a testament to the brand’s longevity and quality, but also to the fact that I don’t use it on a daily basis). Which brings me to my “everyday” Dutch oven — the lighter, ceramic one that’s gotten very frequent use (and trips through the dishwasher). I finally resigned myself to the fact that it was time to toss it (so many flakes and dings and chips!). My criteria for its replacement: It had to be ceramic/nonstick, non-toxic, and dishwasher-safe.

I landed on a set from Caraway, a direct-to-consumer company making non-toxic ceramic cookware at a pretty affordable price. I have so many thoughts about the set as a whole (coming in a later review!), but for now I want to focus on the Dutch oven — because it’s seriously beyond my wildest dreams and expectations.

My Honest Review of Caraway’s 6.5-Quart Dutch Oven

Caraway’s 6.5-quart Dutch oven has an aluminum core, a nonstick ceramic coating, and stainless steel handles. It’s safe for any type of stovetop — induction, gas, and electric — and is oven-safe up to 550°F. It’s free of potentially toxic materials like PTFE (Teflon), PFOA, other PFAs, lead, cadmium, nickel, and toxic metals. The interior is a light gray color, and the outside comes in your choice of Cream, Gray, Perracotta, Sage, Navy, or the limited-edition Marigold. I chose Marigold (which is only an option in the set); the bright, sunny shade of yellow is like a little pick-me-up every time I look at it.

Buy: Dutch Oven, $125 from Caraway

The first meal I made in my new Dutch oven was a big pot of pasta. (I will admit that pasta is what we eat most nights — it’s easy enough to make while juggling a new baby and two full-time working parent schedules.) I brought water to a boil, dropped in my favorite gluten-free pasta, cooked the pasta to a little before al dente, drained it, and then added it back into the pot with a jar of my favorite sauce and some baby spinach to wilt.

While making this simple meal I noticed the two handles on the side of the pot stayed nice and cool when I brought the pot over to the sink to drain. They were also large enough to hold comfortably and give me a good grip on the pot (because dropping boiling water all over yourself or the floor is a thing that no one wants to deal with ever, but especially on a harried weeknight in 2020).

When it was time to serve up dinner, I used a big silicone (never metal!) spoon to effortlessly scoop the pasta and sauce out of the pot. When the pot was empty, it almost looked like no cooking had taken place; you could have easily mistaken it for a clean pot that needed no washing! (This held true for subsequent meals made in the Dutch oven, including chili, butternut squash soup, and curry made with Thai red curry paste and coconut milk.)

But I did wash it after, of course — in the dishwasher, because that’s my preference. All of Caraway’s cookware is dishwasher-safe, but the company does recommend hand-washing in warm, soapy water and with a non-abrasive sponge or dishcloth to keep pans in optimal condition.

Because Caraway’s Dutch oven is light enough to maneuver and easy to clean, it has definitely solidified its spot as my new everyday pot — the one that will see me through countless weeknight meals. But like my aforementioned Staub, it’s beautiful enough to bring right to the table and serve out of (for when dinner parties are safely a thing again), so it really is the best of both worlds.

The best thing about this Dutch oven, though, is the peace of mind that comes with knowing the food I’m making for my family is safe from potentially toxic chemicals leaching into it. I hope my son has many fond memories of looking up at his mom, stirring a risotto or simmering a stew in her bright-yellow Dutch oven — and all the meals we ate out of it.