Which cocottes are best?
Cocottes, also frequently called “dutch ovens,” are used for cooking endeavors ranging from deep-frying to roasting and even baking. These pots can range in size from mini cocottes used for single-serving dishes to cocottes big enough to cook a family stew. Cocottes are traditionally made from cast iron, but enameled cocottes have garnered a reputation as statement kitchen pieces due to their vibrant color options. If you’re looking for a cast iron option, the Staub Cast Iron 5.5-qt Round Cocotte is the top pick.
What to know before buying a cocotte
Washing your cocotte
Before you buy a cocotte, you should look into how to properly care for one. These cannot be treated the same as the typical modern non-stick pan, as they require special attention both on and off the stove. If your cocotte is made of cast iron, even the use of dish soap is controversial.
If your cocotte is enameled, you can safely use dish soap and water while washing up. Avoid using abrasive scrubbers like steel wool, which can scratch the enamel. A regular soft sponge should be fine. If you have a cast iron cocotte, gently wash the surface with warm water and a scouring pad. While some do use dish soap on cast iron surfaces, this can slow down the seasoning process.
Cooking with your cocotte
Because cocottes are so good at retaining heat, you may never or rarely end up using your highest heat settings while cooking with it. With enameled cocottes, it is especially important to not raise the heat too quickly, as this can crack or chip the enamel. Instead, raise the heat gradually by increasing every few minutes, especially if cooking on high. This goes both on the stove and in the oven.
If you are using an enameled or cast iron cocotte, take special care to make sure your cooking utensils will not scratch the surface. This is especially likely from hard metal utensils. Instead opt for soft wood or silicone utensils while cooking with your cocotte.
What to look for in a quality cocotte
When shopping for a cocotte, there are a few features you will want to check off in order to ensure you are receiving a quality product. We’ve created an easy-to-follow a checklist to help you find the quality cocotte you are looking for!
A large majority of cocottes are made from enameled cast iron. This gives them amazing heat retention while also keeping them easy to clean and care for. Enameled cocottes have become wildly popular in home kitchens due to these two factors. They may be pricey, but enameled cast iron makes up for it with incredible longevity.
Ceramic is the next most common material for cocottes, and is typically seen in smaller sizes, or “mini” cocottes. These are frequently used to cook individual dishes, and the gentler heat offered by the ceramic allows for smaller dishes to not burn so easily.
Although all cocotte lids should fit snugly in order to retain moisture, some go a step further. Certain cocottes have lids that feature small raised bumps which actually help to catch moisture and drip it back into the cocotte. This feature is loved by both restaurant and home chefs alike, especially for braising.
How much you can expect to spend on a cocotte
Cocottes generally don’t come cheap, so expect to spend anywhere from $100-$400 for a full-priced, quality cocotte. For sets of mini stoneware cocottes, you will see prices between $30-$50.
Q. Can I clean my cocotte in the dishwasher?
A. Technically you can, but it is not recommended for most cocottes. Read the care instructions for your specific cocotte when purchasing. If in doubt, hand wash.
Q. Can I cook at high temperatures with my enameled cocotte?
A. While it is not recommended, enameled cocottes can be used at high heat if the heat is raised very gradually. However, because of their great heat retention, there is a high likelihood of burning your food.
What’s the best cocotte to buy?
What you need to know: These restaurant-quality cocottes come in a variety of beautiful colors.
What you’ll love: This highly rated cocotte is loved by chefs and home cooks alike. The innovative lid design features small bumps that continually drop cooking liquid back into food, helping food retain its moisture and flavor.
What you should consider: Although worth it, it is quite expensive.
Top cocotte for the money
What you need to know: Users praise these mini cocottes for being highly comparable to their more expensive counterparts.
What you’ll love: Not only do you get four mini cocottes, but they are priced better than some 3 cocotte sets of other brands. These also offer a bit more room than the Staub mini cocottes, with a 12-ounce carrying capacity instead of eight.
What you should consider: Some users reported these being damaged or broken upon arrival.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon.
What you need to know: If you can’t decide between the mini and larger cocottes, rejoice! With this set, you don’t have to.
What you’ll love: This three-piece matching flower-shaped set makes a great gift or whimsical edition to your personal kitchen. Due to its cohesive nature, this set is perfect for adding flare to an at-home date night.
What you should consider: The cocotte is still rather small at 2.25 quarts, so it’s better for smaller dishes or a meal for two.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon.
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Sophia Jurgens writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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