Dutch oven on a stovetop
Dutch Vs French Ovens: What's The Difference?
A French oven, inspired by the Dutch oven, is just as multi-functional and hardworking in the kitchen. What sets it apart is its enamel coating, which affects how it is used.
Dutch ovens are cast iron pots with a heavy base and tight-fitting lid that make them exceptionally good for slow cooking like braising and roasting along with everyday tasks.
Created in the 1700s, Dutch ovens come at a range of price points. They must be seasoned once purchased and throughout the year by coating the inside with oil and heating it.
They evenly conduct heat and retain it well, which can easily lead to overcooked food. Plus, the porous metal can react with acidic foods to create unwanted flavors.
Dutch ovens come in different sizes and shapes. This includes camping versions with short legs and double Dutch ovens with deeper lids that can function as a skillet.
In 1925, the French brand Le Creuset made an improved, high-end French version that wouldn't chip, crack, or stain coated with richly pigmented porcelain enamel.
Their enamel coating makes them semi-non-stick, eliminates the need to season the pot, and prevents any adverse flavors from the cast iron reacting with acidic foods.
The coating also helps the pot distribute heat more evenly but makes it less heat-conductive than Dutch ovens. Plus, the enamel can crack if the metal heats or cools too quickly.