Updated Dutch Oven Buying Guide

The week before I started this blog, I bought a $40 Tramontina Dutch Oven as a Christmas Gift to myself. Over the years, the stained and blackened pot has become my “go to” pot for everything from deep-frying to slow-cooked stews. So after 4 years of use, I wanted to find a replacement. But unfortunately, the original Tramonita Dutch Oven was discontinued a few years ago.

New model us taller, but narrower.

New model us taller, but narrower.

In the wake of the Tramontina retirement, Cook’s Illustrated is now recommending the $50 Lodge Quart Dutch Oven. I held off buying it because of the slightly smaller size; 6-quarts compared to the Tramontina’s 6.5-quarts. Because I love making stews, I didn’t want to end up needing more batches to brown the meat without crowding the pan.  So I was excited when Cook’s Illustrated updated their Website in April 2013 to reflect that Tramonita was planning to release an updated version. A few weeks ago I found the new version was finally available, but with a $60 price tag (which has since been reduced to $40). Both the $50 Lodge and new Tramontina are available from Walmart.com; with free shipping. I bought the new Tramontina because of its slightly higher capacity, but unfortunately, the extra 1/2-quart capacity of the new Tramontina didn’t offer any extra surface area.  Both it and the Lodge have the same 10-3/4″ diameter.

The complete comparison on the Cook’s Illustrated website is here. The overall winner is the $300, 7-1/4 quart Le Crueset.

OLD Tramontina 6.5-Qt. Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Capacity: 6.5 qt.
Diameter: 11.06 inches
Price $40

NEW Tramontina 6.5-Qt. Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Capacity: 6.5 qt.
Diameter: 10-3/4 inches
Price $40

Lodge Color Enamel 6-Quart Dutch Oven
Capacity:  6 qt.
Diameter: 10-3/4 inches
Price $50

7-1/4 quart Le Crueset Dutch Oven
Capacity:  7-1/4 qt.
Diameter: 9-3/4 inches (Amazon says 11-3/5 inches).
Price $300

I believe that the weights listed on the Cook’s Illustrated website are incorrect, that they are a mixture of shipping weights and actual weights. It says that the Tramontina weights 19-lbs (which represents the shipping weight rather than the actual weight), whereas I believe that the 13.7-lbs of the 7-1/4 quart Le Crueset represents the actual weight of the pot.

After buying the new Tramontina, I noticed a week later that Walmart reduced the price from $60 to $40. Because I have a Walmart so close to where I live, I ordered the $40 pot, and returned the $60 pot in-store.

In the end, I plan to use the old stained pot to deep fry; chicken, french fries, donuts, etc.; and use the new pot to make stews and other more delicate dishes. Certainly worth another $40 if I can get another 4 years of happiness out of the pot.

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9 Responses to Updated Dutch Oven Buying Guide

  1. churyl says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I have been wanting a dutch oven that I can afford for many years. WOOHOO!

    • I forgot to mention, the only deal with the Tramontina is that the plastic knob is only rated up to 400-degrees. For my old Tramontina I bought a stainless-steal cabinet handle for a few dollars, which had worked great.

      Thanks,
      Mark

  2. churyl says:

    What a great fix. Thank you for taking the time to mention. :)

  3. Bob says:

    Please consider the Lodge again. I have two of them, great quality and made in the U.S. Tramontina is made in China. I appreciate your blog/website. Very nicely done.

  4. Bob says:

    It is 10-1/2″ diameter, round, and 4-1/2″ deep.

  5. Anonymous says:

    What’s the difference between new and old? Are you sure you purchased the “new” one. I see a different 6.5qt tramontina model for $130 on walmart.com

    • Hi,

      The $130 version is their “gourmet” version, but I’m not sure what the real differences are between that and the $60 version. I do see that walmart has raised their price back up to $60. Based upon the new pots dimensions (losing 1/2″ in diameter) I don’t see any real advantage to the Tramontina over the Lodge.

      There was some talk about the Lodge being made in USA, but Lodge’s enameled products are ALL made in China (per Lodge’s website).

      Mark

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