It’s never a case of “too many cooks spoil the broth” in our test kitchen, where we boil, bake and fry to see which dishes go the distance.
Overall score breakdown
Overall score is based on
ease of use (60%)
Brown rice: We cook brown rice to see how well the dish handles a change from high heat to low simmer. We assess how well the rice was cooked, whether any rice stuck to the pan and if steam escaped.
Bolognaise sauce: We assess evenness of heating and browning and whether food sticks to the pot.
Baking bread: We review how well the dish can prove and bake bread. At the proving stage we check the dough’s height increase. After baking, we consider colour as well as crust and crumb texture.
Ease of use
Cast-iron dishes can be heavy, so we see how easy they are to lift and carry. They’re also not cheap, so we consider durability. In particular, we assess:
the handles to make sure they’re securely fastened, to check if there
are sharp edges that might be uncomfortable to grip, to see whether
there’s a decent gap between the handles and the lid, and to test if
they’re easy to grip and carry with oven mitts
everyday wear and tear to see how durable the enamel coating is,
especially if the lid has a set position and raised edges, which
could chip the rim over time
if food gets stuck in crevices or on rough surfaces and how easy it
is to remove, and if the dish fits easily in an average kitchen sink.
How we choose what to test
We aim to test brands and models you’re likely to see when you head to the shops, plus some you might not be aware of. That’s why we’ve focused on medium-sized, enamelled cast-iron casserole dishes as they’re arguably the most versatile and popular type in the “Dutch oven” category of cookware.
Before we buy anything, we do our research – we visit stores, (both online and physical), we talk to experts and consumers and we ask manufacturers about their range of models. We want to capture new developments in the market and make sure the products we test will be available after we publish our results. We then compile a list of models and head out to purchase them, just as any consumer would.
We've tested 7 casserole dishes.
Find the right one for you.