HexClad’s Dutch Oven Is Half the Weight of My Usual Dutch Oven, and It Performs Just As Well

published Mar 28, 2023
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HexClad 5-qt Dutch Oven on stove
Credit: Andrea Kaufman

Ever since I used my first piece of HexClad cookware late last year, I became an instant fan. Whether or not my opinion was asked, I’ve recommended its nonstick skillet to anyone who’d listen because I think it’s that good. The brand’s cookware combines all the hallmarks of nonstick, stainless steel, and cast iron, and the quality is so good that even Gordon Ramsay is a major fan.

Naturally, when I heard that it was releasing its first-ever Dutch oven, I had to test it for myself and see if it was worth it. Spoiler: It is. 

What’s So Great About the HexClad 5-Quart Dutch Oven?

Like the rest of Hexclad’s cookware, the 5-quart Dutch oven has an aluminum core for even and quick heating; a stainless steel interior that makes it nonstick, nontoxic, and even metal-utensil-safe; and a stainless steel exterior that works on all stovetops, including induction. The whole thing is dishwasher-safe and oven-safe up to 500°F, too. One of its most tempting features is that, at just four pounds without the lid, it’s much lighter than other Dutch ovens; with the lid, it’s still only about six pounds. Both Staub and Le Creuset Dutch ovens at comparable capacities weigh roughly 12 pounds with lids.

Credit: Andrea Kaufman

What Can You Cook in the HexClad 5-Quart Dutch Oven?

Dutch ovens are super versatile, and you can make almost everything in it — so I did. The first thing I decided to make was bread, and it came out pretty well! I used Kitchn’s no-knead bread recipe because life is too hard to wake up at 6 a.m. to shape a loaf of bread. The only major difference between the bread I made in my Staub versus Hexclad was the browning at the top, but I attribute that to the different oven heights and rack positions I used. When it came down to the bread itself, there was no difference — it was delicious (although slightly under-baked, as I don’t have a food thermometer to check the temp! Maybe next time … ).

Credit: Andrea Kaufman

As a person who eats pasta 25/8, I also obviously had to make several nights’ worth of pasta dishes in the HexClad Dutch oven. The 5-quart capacity was perfect for boiling an entire package of pasta and mixing other ingredients right in the same pot, whereas mixing would be messy in a traditional skillet. The lighter weight of the HexClad was especially appealing here because having to lug my heavy Staub onto the stove just to cook a simple pasta dish feels like a lot.  

True to myself, I made three different pasta recipes: Martha Stewart’s famous one-pot pasta, stovetop mac and cheese, and lemony brussels sprout pasta. The HexClad was a delight to cook in. Water boiled quickly, and I didn’t have to worry about pasta falling out when stirring ingredients together.

Testing the HexClad Dutch oven was the perfect opportunity to try out a new-to-me recipe, and I’m proud to report that, for the first time in my life, I made a braised meat recipe. After browsing Kitchn for simple recipes, I decided to go with Faith’s easy braised short-rib recipe. I was a little apprehensive because new things are scary, but these ribs were so good!

Credit: Andrea Kaufman

The first part of the recipe called for browning the ribs on the stovetop and, maybe it was the apprehension of trying a new recipe, but I felt like they took a bit longer to brown than they would in a regular pan, but I wouldn’t say the time difference was significant. After browning the ribs, I added stock and brought it to a simmer which happened faster than I thought it would. Then, off to the oven they went for about two hours. They came out falling-off-the-bone tender and just packed with flavor. 

For my last trick, I made my go-to chicken stew, which I can make without a recipe, but this one turned out to be a whole journey because I didn’t realize I’d bought bone-in chicken thighs. But, I digress! Previously, one of the biggest issues I had when making this dish was that I only had one stainless steel pan large enough to hold all the ingredients, and everything would stick. Thankfully, that was not an obstacle this time around — the HexClad was large enough for the dish and nothing stuck. 

Credit: Andrea Kaufman

How Easy Is It to Clean the HexClad 5-Quart Dutch Oven?

I love cheese and especially love it in pasta, but scrubbing a pot or pan to get the baked-on bits is the last thing I feel like doing. Cleaning the Dutch oven took barely any time, even after all my pasta testing. I even had to clean it with a non-dominant hand due to a box-grater-meets-thumb incident and it still cleaned up quickly.

Would I Recommend the HexClad Dutch Oven?

I really like the Dutch oven I already own, so despite my love for HexClad, I wasn’t sure how much better its Dutch oven would perform or even how well it’d work. But after cooking in it regularly for about a month, I can say it definitely lives up to its reputation and made me want to cook in a Dutch oven more. They always felt intimidating to me, but given how smoothly and easily my cooking and baking went with the Hexclad, it totally won me over. In fact, this Dutch oven built up my cooking confidence — and I haven’t felt so proud cooking in the kitchen in a while. 

Buy: HexClad 5-Quart Dutch Oven, $199.99 (originally $229.99)