The “So Cute” $50 Dutch Oven I Use Every Single Week (Perfect for Small Kitchens!)

published May 6, 2024
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Pot of pasta with braised greens
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: A solid Dutch oven is an essential component of a cookware collection. It’s the perfect (and probably the original) “everything” pan that predates — and still outperforms — even the coolest all-in-one pieces on the market today. You can pop Dutch ovens into the oven (duh), cook with them on a burner, and even pop some of them over coals or hang them over a fire if you’re on a camping trip. They also look great sitting on your stovetop or as a dinner table centerpiece. The only downside? They’re usually big, heavy, and a pain in the neck to clean. Plus, if you live alone or with one other person, it’s tough to justify whipping out a giant cast-iron cauldron every time you want to make a serving or two of soup. However, there’s a Dutch oven for every household and occasion, and as someone who lives with his girlfriend in a small NYC apartment, the 3.5 Qt Enameled Cast-Iron Round Dutch Oven from Tramontina is the perfect piece for weeknight meals and beyond. 

What Is the 3.5 Qt Enameled Cast-Iron Round Dutch Oven? 

If you’re not familiar, enameled cast-iron Dutch ovens are super-versatile pieces of cookware, and you can use them for everything from making soups and stews to braising meats, baking, frying, searing, steaming, and more. The cast-iron construction ensures even heating and excellent heat retention, while the off-white porcelain enamel interior finish makes for a practically nonstick surface when in use. The exterior finish of this Dutch oven is strong and scratch-resistant, and it’s compatible with gas, electric, ceramic, and induction cooktops. It’s also oven-safe up to 400°F and comes with a lifetime warranty if you’re not satisfied with your purchase.

Credit: Ian Burke

Why I Love the 3.5 Qt Enameled Cast-Iron Round Dutch Oven

For me, the best thing about this Dutch oven is the size. I have a large Lodge model that’s been my daily driver for years, and while I love it, it’s a little unwieldy to clean in my small apartment sink. (No-dishwasher gang, assemble!) However, with the smaller size of this piece, it’s a breeze to wash. Plus, the 3.5-quart capacity is way more suitable for my two-person household. Beyond that, it looks great sitting on my stovetop — though with its small footprint, it actually fits in a cabinet! — and it’s very affordable compared with other brands on the market, which can run you several hundreds of dollars. It also has ridges on the underside of the lid that allow steam to condense and drip back down over your dish while cooking, which is ideal for braises, as it continuously bastes your meat as it cooks. 

All in all, if you’re in the market for a top-tier Dutch oven that’ll actually fit in your kitchen and won’t break the bank, you really can’t go wrong with the 3.5 Qt Enameled Cast-Iron Round Dutch Oven from Tramontina. 

Buy: 3.5 Qt Enameled Cast-Iron Round Dutch Oven, $49.95