Oven safe to 450 degrees
Interior will stain over time
Only two colors available
Rim could rust
We purchased the Tramontina Enameled Cast Iron 6.5-Quart Round Dutch Oven so our reviewer could put it to the test with her family. Keep reading for our full product review.
I've used and reviewed a lot of Dutch ovens, so I was curious how the affordable Tramontina Enameled Cast Iron 6.5-Quart Round Dutch Oven would stand up against its competition of other good cookware sets. I planned on making plenty of comfort food and baking some bread to see what it could and couldn’t do. After lots of soup and stew, I think we've discovered the answer. Here's what I found.
Design: Basic Dutch oven
Dutch ovens all have a similar shape. That’s what makes them, well, a Dutch oven. This one is typical: The inner enameled surface is a cream color rather than a stark white, while the dark blue looks rich. The handle on the lid is shiny stainless steel and offers a comfortable grip, even when I was wearing mitts or using a kitchen towel.
The underside of the lid has ridges that are supposed to catch condensation and let it rain down on the food for a self-basting effect.
The side handles were big enough to offer a secure handhold when I was wearing oven mitts, but not so large that they would get in the way in storage. The underside of the lid has ridges that are supposed to catch condensation and let it rain down on the food for a self-basting effect.
Overall, this Dutch oven design wasn’t much different from any other I've used. I suspect the differences might become apparent many years down the road. This may not be a pot that gets passed down to children and grandchildren, but it seems sturdy enough to last quite a long time.
Material/Heating: Gets hot, stays hot
Like many Dutch ovens, this one is made from cast iron, and it has an enamel coating that makes it much more versatile. It can handle acidic foods, like the tomato soup I cooked, and it doesn’t need seasoning—well, almost. The rim of the pot and lid aren’t coated, so it’s not a bad idea to season those little strips or oil them occasionally to prevent rust.
Like all cast iron, this is heavy. It heats slowly and retains heat, so it’s perfect for braising and simmering foods for a long time.
Like all cast iron, the Tramontina Enameled Cast Iron 6.5-Quart Round Dutch Oven is heavy. When cooking in this Dutch oven, it heats slowly and retains heat, so it’s perfect for braising and simmering foods for a long time. It did a great job with soup and stew, but that’s not all. Like a cast iron frying pan, you'll find that it's good for browning foods like beef before making stew. I also used it for sweating onions and carrots that cooked slowly and evenly. With just a few stirs now and then, they cooked through without burning.
While I typically wouldn’t cook pasta in a cast iron Dutch oven, it was on the stove and empty, so I used it. When it was time to drain the pot, it was heavier than my usual stainless steel pot, but it wasn’t terrible.
Not only is that great for dinners where people will be reaching for seconds, but if you're a huge hostess, you'll also find it great for potlucks and keeping the mashed potatoes warm on the stove while other foods are being finished.
One of the great things about cast iron is that it retains heat well. When I cooked beef stew and served it directly from the pot, it stayed warm well after bowls were emptied. Not only is that great for dinners where people will be reaching for seconds, but if you're a huge hostess, you'll also find it great for potlucks and for keeping the mashed potatoes warm on the stove while other foods are being finished.
When I baked bread, I achieved beautiful browning and a crisp crust. The bottom got a little browner than I wanted, and some of the cornmeal burned a bit, but it was still a lovely loaf that I should have pulled from the oven just a little sooner. Next time, I'll shorten the baking time.
The stainless steel knob on the handle can get hot during cooking. For a short session, it’s not terrible, but when I had a pot of beans cooking for multiple hours, the knob got plenty hot, as did the lid.
Cleaning: Hand wash only
Washing the Tramontina Enameled Cast Iron 6.5-Quart Round Dutch Oven by hand is a must, and drying the uncoated cast iron is extra protection against rusting. While the enamel coating isn’t nonstick, the worst sticking I experienced was when I baked a loaf of bread. While I had no problem removing the bread, a few crusty bits stuck to the pot. That's nothing you can't fix with a good cast iron scrubber, though.
Washing by hand is a must, and drying the uncoated cast iron is extra protection against rusting.
I waited for the pot to cool and then added water and let it soak for a short while. When I got back to it, the bits of bread had already loosened, so it was easy to clean. However, there was some discoloration where there was burning. That’s not unusual, though. Even the best light-colored enameled interiors eventually discolor. The patina doesn’t hurt the cooking ability, so it’s not something to be particularly concerned about.
Tomato soup didn’t stain the pot at all, but there was quite a bit of discoloration when I cooked a pot of black beans. Soaking and scrubbing didn’t remove the marks.
One of the best things about this Dutch oven is its very affordable price. It’s not a budget purchase, but it’s less than half the cost of some of the major brands. Considering how long most cast iron Dutch ovens last, this is a good buy for anyone who wants an enameled cast iron pan, but can’t afford the pricey ones.
Tramontina Enameled Cast Iron 6.5-Quart Round Dutch Oven vs. Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron 6.75-Quart Dutch Oven
Tramontina has gone from an unknown brand to one that's known for good quality at lower prices. This Tramontina Enameled Cast Iron 6.5-Quart Round Dutch Oven is a great example. In use, it worked as well as any other good Dutch oven I’ve owned.
Still, the Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron 6.75-Quart Dutch Oven is appealing, if only because of the popular brand name and vast array of colors. While the Tramontina works well, I know people who have passed Le Creuset cookware down to children and grandchildren. Tramontina hasn’t been around long enough to have that sort of track record, but it’s a solid performer.
I would recommend the Le Creuset to anyone who wants high-end cookware and can afford to pay more. For everyone else, the Tramontina is a nice Dutch oven.
Even cooking snobs like it.
I'll admit that I was a little skeptical about this Dutch oven since I’ve gotten spoiled with using higher-end brands, but once I started using it, the brand didn’t matter and won't for others either. The pot did everything I expected, cleaned up easily, and looked attractive on the stove.
- Product Name Enameled Cast Iron 6.5-Quart Round Dutch Oven
- Product Brand Tramontina
- Price $99.95
- Weight 8.86 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 13.88 x 10.6 x 8 in.
- Color Cobalt
- Material Enameled cast iron
- Capacity 6.5 Quarts
- Warranty Lifetime