Whether you’re braising meat, baking bread, or simmering stew, there isn’t really anything an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven can’t do. They’re easy to heat, even easier to clean, and virtually indestructible. Conventional wisdom holds that Le Creuset’s Dutch ovens are some of the best, particularly because of how evenly and efficiently they distribute heat. But since they don’t come cheap (a 5.5-quart Dutch oven will cost you a cool $350), we’ve spent a lot of time hunting for a certifiable dupe. Strategist editor and Le Creuset acolyte Maxine Builder says this one from Lodge offers the closest thing to Le Creuset performance for the price, and, in some cases, might even be better. For example, unlike its more expensive counterpart, the Lodge Dutch oven has a rounded interior, which means your spoon won’t get stuck on the edge while stirring all those onions you’re trying to slowly caramelize. It’s a steal even at its full price of $115, which is why we were all the more delighted to spot the blue colorway on sale for 44 percent off, or just $64. But don’t just take our word for it: Nearly 23,000 five-star Amazon reviews can also attest to its impressive performance. “I was tempted to get a Le Creuset, but I’m glad I stuck with Lodge,” one such reviewer writes. “It’s easy to clean and maintain, cooks evenly and distributes heat well. I’ve had my Lodge cast iron skillet for a decade, and plan on this Dutch oven lasting just as long.”
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