You can spend a few hundred bucks on a name-brand enameled cast iron Dutch oven. Of course, you don't have to. You can absolutely find a sturdy pot to handle all your mid-winter stews, chilis, and soups without dropping a lot of cash.
These Dutch ovens are all $50 or less. And while they may look a little different than the colorful versions you're used to seeing on cooking shows, they're still technically Dutch ovens. (Officially, a Dutch oven is any large, heavy pot that can be used on the stovetop or in the oven.)
- Lodge Cast Iron Enamel Dutch Oven 6 Quart, $50 at Target: In our own side-by-side comparison (as well as other test labs), Lodge consistently ranks up there with Le Creuset and Staub. And its looks are fairly comparable to the French brands, too.
- The Pioneer Woman 5-Quart Dutch Oven, $50 at Walmart: Ree Drummond has put her signature right on the lid of this hefty pot. With it, you get two lid knobs: one with the Pioneer Woman's trademark butterfly and a plain bakelite one.
- SENIOR Casserole, $50 at IKEA: IKEA's pots are black matte enamel on the inside. The good news: Yours won't stain and will look like new for a long time. The bad news: It also means it's harder to judge if your fond is getting too dark or your onions are properly caramelized. If you're a decent home cook with good instincts, this will totally work for you.
- Simply Calphalon Nonstick 7-Quart Dutch Oven With Cover, $42: With its super capacity, this number — constructed of even-heating anodized aluminum with an interior nonstick finish — is definitely a bargain! Nice and wide, it's perfect for browning short ribs before you simmer them in a rich, hearty sauce or for roasting a pork shoulder for pulled pork.
- Tramontina Style Ceramica Porcelain Enamel 5-Quart Covered Dutch Oven, $50 at Bed Bath & Beyond: Shimmery copper-colored enamel on the outside and ceramic nonstick inside, this Dutch oven is both handsome and handy. Unlike traditional nonsticks, this finish can be used over high heat, which will help you really get your brisket browned before you braise it with lots of onions.
- The Rock by Starfrit 4-Quart Dutch Oven Bakeware, $48 at Walmart: Here's a real workhorse! Made of forged aluminum, it holds in heat just as well as cast iron, cooks more evenly, and is nowhere near as heavy. Both inside and out there's a unique nonstick surface that is practically indestructible. While it's easy to hand wash, you can opt to toss it in the dishwasher.
- Cuisinart Nonstick 5-Quart Hard Anodized Covered Dutch Oven, $45: You can tell just by its looks that this rounded pot means business. Its hard anodized aluminum construction ensures top-notch heat distribution and has a nonstick interior.
More on inexpensive Dutch ovens: Here's How to Buy an Affordable Dutch Oven