Enameled Cast Iron 101

Enameled cast irons are all the rage these days.

Professional chefs to amateur cooks, all prefer this type of cast iron cookware. Whether this hype is justified is something for you to decide as far as our opinion matters, let’s just say we have abandoned our other cast irons.

This article is your tried and trusted guide to know everything about enameled cast irons.

Top 5 Editor’s Picks

We narrowed down our favorites so you get the best value for your money. Check out the following list and choose which suits you the best.

Product NameWeightDimensionsMicrowave Suitable
Lodge EC3CC43 Enameled Cast Iron Coveerd Casserole
13.7 lbs15 x 4 x 13No
Tramontina 6.5 Qt Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven16.1 lbs16 x 13 x 8Yes
Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron 5-1/2 Quart Round French Oven12.2 lbs6.8 x 13.6 x 10.8Yes
Lodge EC4D43 Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven12.9 lbs13.4 x 11.8 x 6.5Yes
Mario Batali Enameled Cast Iron 4-Quart Round Dutch Oven14.4lbs13 x 9.8 x 4.8Yes

How To Use Enameled Cast Irons?

Most of you will be interested in the actual functioning of the cast iron. The legend, Martha Stewart, shows how she uses an enameled cast iron pot. Even for enthusiasts like her, such cast irons tops her list as her favorite way of cooking.

 

1. Lodge EC3CC43 Enameled Cast Iron Covered Casserole

Lodge is a trusted name in the cookware industry and the Lodge EC3CC43 is no less of a reliable product. The enameled casserole is optimal for cooking, marinating as well as refrigeration. Customers have claimed that you can cook basically anything in it.

The product dimensions are 15 x 4 x 13 inches. The Lodge EC3CC43 weighs around 13.7 pounds.

This product can be used on gas, ceramic, electric and induction cook tops as well as on ovens. However, it is not suitable for open outdoor flames and microwaves.

The porcelain surface promotes consistent and superior heat distribution and retention. Not only the bottom is heated evenly but so are the sidewalls and the lid. This consistent and even heat retention is energy efficient as it reduces the amount of energy required.

Two layers of enamel coat is chip free which means that the covered casserole is non reactive. The Lodge EC3CC43 is very easy to clean. Even though it is dishwasher safe, we recommend that you hand wash it.

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2. Paderno World Cuisine Chasseur Red Cast Iron Round Dutch Oven

This enameled cast iron Dutch oven is our favorite for making stews and soups. Its primary function is to slowly braise or simmer. What makes Paderno World Cuisine Chasseur stand apart from the rest is that it is ideal for tenderizing meat for stews or heavy cassoulets.

This Dutch oven has an 80 ounce capacity. Thus, you can make food in large quantities.

The Paderno World Cuisine Chasseur is made from red cast iron. Like the Lodge EC3CC43 , this cookware is coated twice with enamel. This will make the enamel less likely to chip off and will provide a longer economic life.

The double enamel coat makes it relatively easy to clean. The Paderno World Cuisine Chasseur is compatible with common and induction stove tops as well as ovens. Each Dutch oven comes with a matching lid which will resist moisture and heat.

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3. Tramontina 6.5 Qt Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

The Tramontina Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven is an ideal choice for you if you want enameled cookware but at the same time do not want to spend a large sum. The dimensions of this Dutch oven are 16 x 13 x 8 inches. And it weighs 16.1 pounds.

What makes this product shine is that you have the choice of the color of the enamel finish. Thus, you can personalize your Dutch oven to the way you prefer. It resembles a traditional cast iron Dutch oven but has the enamel coating.

The Tramontina Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven has a generous capacity of 6.5 quart. It is suitable with gas, electric, ceramic glass and induction cooktops. This cooking item is not dish wash friendly and hand wash is the only option.

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4. Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron 5-1/2 Quart Round French Oven

Le Creuset is a trusted brand, one that many can vouch for. So you should expect a great quality product from the brand but also, know that it will not be easy on the pocket.

This is a versatile French oven. It will never lay idle. It goes from the stove to the oven to the dining table to the refrigerator to the sink stove again.

The enamel that is layered is made of good quality. It is non-reactive to the food being made and there is no need for any seasoning.

The French oven comes in a stylish design that has the ability to become an heirloom piece. For your facility, the Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Round French Oven comes with cast iron loop handles. This will make carrying the oven relatively easy.

This French oven is compatible with induction cooking and is oven and broiler safe. The heavy lid plays an important part. It resists heat ad moisture.

One must hand wash this oven as it is not dish wash friendly.

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5. Lodge EC4D43 Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Lodge is a trusted cookware brand whose products are popular among customers and our editors as well. The Lodge EC4D43 is a product that we approve of. It is 4 inches deep and has a diameter of 10 inches.

This Dutch oven is best for cooking, marinating and freezing. Customers claim that you can make basically anything in this enameled oven. However, we would recommend that you do not use it on open flames.

The enamel coat makes the oven easy to clean and promotes consistent heat retention. Since equal heat will be distributed among the Dutch oven, then your food will be made quicker and will use less energy. Thus, saving you money.

The Lodge EC4D43 is compatible with gas, electric and ceramic stovetops as well with ovens. However, keep it far away from microwave ovens. Even though this Dutch oven is dishwasher safe, we would recommend washing it with a hand in order to avoid any chipping.

The Lodge EC4D43 comes with a lid that fits perfectly and tightly. It provides a barrier against heat and moisture. The lid knob is oven safe to 500 degrees.

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6. Mario Batali Enameled Cast Iron 4-Quart Round Dutch Oven

Mario Batali is a well-known name in the food industry. Any cookware produced by him will be of top notch quality. What’s best about this Dutch oven is that it is extremely versatile.

It is great for slow simmering, perfect for stews and slow roasting. But it is also great for frying and searing. So you can get a lot done with this oven.

This Dutch oven is available in 3 different colors so you can choose according to your taste and preferences. This piece of cookware is suitable for ovens as well as gas, electric and induction stove tops.

The enamel coat is of top quality which not only promotes even distribution of heat but also makes the pot easy to clean.

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A Brief Overview Of Enameled Cast Irons

So the question arises what actually are these irons? In simple words, these are your ordinary cast irons but with an additional layer of enamel paint. This enamel paint protects the cast iron from acidic foods, like tomatoes and chilies.

Enameled cast irons can be used to make basically anything- soups, cakes, roasted chicken, you name it! They are durable pieces so its normal for them to be passed from one generation to another. However, they tend to be expensive when compared to other substitutes.

What Are The Different Enameled cast iron You Can Choose From?

There is an entire collection of enameled cast iron cookware that you can choose from. This gives you the option to purchase those items that suit your needs. The different types are mentioned as below:

  • Dutch Oven: You can make soups, stews, braised meats as well as broths in an enameled Dutch oven.
  • Braising Dish: Braising dishes can be used for baking as well as making risottos and braised vegetables.
  • Cast Iron Grill Pan: This is for all those people who love to grill food but cannot grill outdoors. You can grill anything vegetables to different meats.
  • Enameled Cast Iron Wok: You can use such cast iron woks for stir frying vegetables and frying food.
  • Enameled Cast Iron Baking Dish: Our team of kitchen experts loves using this baking and roasting

How Safe Are Enameled Cast Irons?

Enameled cast irons are the safest when talking about different types of cast irons. This is because of the enameled layer which can reduce iron rising in the foods made.

Non-coated cast iron cookware can cause iron to rise to levels that are toxic for human consumption. Too much iron can lead to serious health issues, like liver disease and heart failure. This is not an issue with cookware coated with the enamel paint.

The enamel paint is like a barrier which protects the food from combining with the iron of the cast irons. Hence, reducing the chances of iron rising to toxic levels. The enamel coat is non-reactive, which means that you can make any sort of food without worrying about mixing with iron.

If you are of those people that prefer facts over opinions, then know that Enamel-coated cookware has been labeled safe by the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

Now you must be wondering that basic cast iron cookware also has a protective layer that stops any iron rising then why enameled cookware. Well, acidic foods like tomatoes and chilies can damage the protective layer and can cause iron to seep into the food. Enameled coated cookware is safe from acidic foods so it won’t damage the enamel paint.

However, using harsh cleansers or banging the pot too hard can damage the enamel coat. Thus, you must maintain caution when using such cookware.

Make sure you purchase enamel coated cast irons from trusted and reputed brands, like Le Creuset. The main reason is that they have a thick coating which will not chip easily. This is will obviously increase the life of the cookware.

Why Should You Buy Enameled Cast Irons?

There is a reason/s behind the huge hype of enameled cast irons. These give them an edge over regular cast irons.

As mentioned before, enameled cast irons are incredibly safe to cook in. They are non-reactive to whatever is cooking which means that the iron does not mix with the food being cooked. The enamel coat acts as a barrier that protects the food from combining with the iron.

Thus, you can save yourself from different health problems that can arise as a result of iron rising to toxic levels. Just to give you an idea, these health issues can range from liver diseases to heart failure. This obviously is not a problem with enameled cast irons.

Another benefit of such cast irons is they are extremely easy to clean. Cooking stews and braising meats can make the cookware dirty and oily. But since they have an enamel coat, the pans/wok can easily be cleaned by wiping with a sponge.

The enameled coat has a dual purpose. Not only does it protect the food from iron rising, but it provides a non-sticky surface. This means that your food will not stick to the enameled cookware.

Enameled cast iron cookware is heirloom pieces. They are extremely durable and are usually passed on one from generation to another.

Another benefit of enameled cast irons is that they hold heat immensely well. This means that a consistent temperature is provided which is necessary for cooking stews and soups. Such cast iron pieces can be heated to high temperatures which makes searing and braising foods easy.

Not only this, but such cookware is suitable for all heat sources. These pieces can be used as a serving dish and can be refrigerated.

This cookware requires little maintenance. Thus, being cost effective in the future.

Something To Be Concerned About

Just like anything, enameled cast irons have a few drawbacks that need to be taken into consideration.

The biggest drawback is that enameled cast iron pieces are expensive. It may take you a great amount of time to make your collection. The trusted brands are usually the most expensive ones.

Enameled cast irons are very heavy. It can be difficult to carry from the stove to the oven to the sink. One must be very careful when handling them as not to break them.

Such cookware has a lower thermal conductivity. This means that it will take longer to reach the temperature that you desire. Base cast irons, on the other hand, have a higher thermal conductivity.

The biggest drawback, according to us, is that the enamel coat is fragile and is prone to chipping. This is concerning since you are paying a heavy price for the enamel coat.

The enamel paint can chip if the pot falls really hard or if you use harsh cleansers. Certain utensils can chip the coating. The enamel coat can also be damaged as time passes.

Some Final Words

Enamel cast irons are a perfect choice for professional chefs as well as homebound cooks. They are easy to clean and are nonreactive, making it safer for human consumption. We have listed some of our tried and tested favorites so you can choose the one that is most suited to you.

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