6 Budget-Friendly Dutch Oven Cooking Pot Alternatives

Discover what cookware options you have for Dutch oven cooking pot alternatives so you can still enjoy slow cooking and still make a variety of dishes for your family without going over your budget.
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Close up of a stock pot with cut vegetables for making soup.

A Dutch oven is simply a covered deep cooking pot that’s neither Dutch nor a type of oven. It’s usually made of pure clay or cast iron and enamel. It can be used on the stovetop and in the oven and can hold between three and six quarts.

You can use a Dutch oven from baking to campfire cooking and from making a savory roast to a sweet cobbler. It’s always a good idea to invest in good cookware but if you’re still saving up, you can check out these budget-friendly Dutch oven cooking pot alternatives below.

1. Frying Pan

Pouring olive oil to a frying pan surrounded by green vegetables and onions.

Frying pans are generally used on the stove to cook food but there are certain ones that can also be put inside the oven without being damaged. Unlike pots, which have very tall sides, frying pans are generally shallower. They may come with lids and are available in a number of different materials, depending on the style of cooking that you enjoy and what material you are most comfortable with using. They are also available in a large variety of sizes from very small frying pans that are ideal for frying a single egg to much larger ones are 12” or more across.

Pros:

Frying pans are relatively inexpensive and can be bought easily at most stores.

Oven-safe frying pans can be heated on the stove and then go directly into the oven without any fear of the pan being damaged.

These pans are great if you want to start out by browning meat for your recipe and then finish the food in a lower oven.

Cons:

Because they tend to be shallow, you may not have enough room in your frying pan if you are cooking larger amounts of food.

Some frying pans, even if they are oven-safe, simply aren’t designed to withstand long hours in the oven and may become damaged.

It is difficult to find a lid for some frying pans and putting your food uncovered into the oven means that you will have to pay a lot of attention to it so that it doesn’t dry out when cooking.

2. Roasting Pan

Turkey in a roasting pan surrounded by lemons.

This type of cookware is used to roast meat in the oven and is designed to stay in the oven for a long time and prevent any spills from the juice. They often come with racks inside that can be used to keep the meat off of the bottom of the roasting pan and allow it to sit above the drippings. Removing this rack allows the meat or other item being roasted to sit directly in the drippings. Because they have such high sides, they are a great option for when you need to put a large amount of food in the oven at once.

Pros:

The high sides on a roasting pan allow you to cook a lot of food at once.

Roasting pans are incredibly versatile, thanks to the removable food rack.

They generally have small handles on either side, which makes putting them in the oven and taking them back out easy.

These pans are incredibly durable and sturdy and can withstand being in a hot oven for a long time without any damage.

Cons:

It can be very difficult to find a lid for a roasting pan. While you can use aluminum foil, this may not create the seal you need and your food can tend to dry out as a result.

Roasting pans are not made to be heated on the stove, which means that you need to brown food in another pan before putting it in the roasting pan.

Because of the size of roasting pans, they are not generally used to serve food at the table.

3. Slow Cooker

A slow cooker surrounded by garlic, onions, and bell peppers.

These are electric pots that are used to cook food very slowly and at lower temperatures. They can be left alone, which makes them ideal if you want to start a meal but do not have the time needed to keep an eye on it for a long period of time. There are many different sizes of slow cookers available on the market and just as many different recipes that can be used in them.

Pros:

Because they are electric, many people do not have a fear of leaving their slow cookers on when they leave the home.

More advanced slow cookers can be programmed to start or run for certain amounts of time.

Slow cookers will not heat up the home since the oven isn’t turned on.

They are ideal for turning tougher cuts of meat into a tender and delicious meal.

Cons:

Slow cookers can’t be turned to high temperatures the way that an oven can, which means that you are unable to really speed up the cooking.

They take up space on the counter and can be difficult to store if you do not have ample space in your kitchen.

Food takes a long time in the slow cooker.

Opening the lid will allow a significant amount of heat to escape.

4. Casserole Dish

Homemade casserole in a casserole dish.

These are large dishes that tend to be very deep and can be used not only to bake food in the oven but also to serve it for the meal. They often come without lids, although you can sometimes find casserole dishes that have lids, which is ideal if you are making a recipe and want to make sure that you prevent it from drying out when in the oven.

Pros:

Some casserole dishes come with lids, making them ideal for covering food and keeping it moist in the oven.

Casserole dishes can be used to serve food on the table.

These dishes tend to be lighter than Dutch ovens, even when they have lids, which means that users are less likely to be injured when taking them from the oven.

Sturdy handles make moving the casserole dish easy.

Cons:

These dishes are not ideal for roasting, sautéing, or browning.

Not all casserole dishes can be used in extremely hot ovens.

5. Olla

Opening or closing the olla's lid and letting the steam out.

These ceramic jars are often unglazed and have a variety of purposes. One of the most common purposes that they have in the kitchen is to cook soup or stew. They have a very wide belly and a short neck along with a lid that fits firmly in place and doesn’t move. When not used in the oven for baking certain foods, ollas are used to keep water cool.

Pros:

Ollas are ideal for being used in the oven for long periods of time.

They are perfect for serving food straight from the oven without having to transfer it to another container.

Ollas are able to remove moisture from dough, resulting in crisp crusts, but also can create creamy, saucy soups and sides.

Cons:

Ollas can crack if they are not heated up slowly with the oven.

You have to adjust your recipe when using an olla as they require higher temperatures.

Some lower-quality ollas may not be free from impurities, which can make them dangerous to cook in.

Using soap on an olla can change the flavor of the food that you cook; once you have used soap once on the olla, it is almost impossible to remove the unwanted flavor.

6. Stock Pot

Stock pot filled to the brim surrounded by potatoes and onions.

These cooking pots are very deep and come with a tight-fitting lid to prevent water vapor from escaping, if desired. They are very wide and have a flat bottom that is ideal for use on a burner as well as straight sides. Thanks to the wide opening at the top of the stock pot, it is very easy to stir everything that you are cooking. Additionally, the pot has two handles, making it easy to lift, and the lid has a handle as well so that you can take it off of the pot without burning yourself.

Pros:

Due to their lightweight, you can easily move a stock pot from stove to oven without it being too heavy.

The wide mouth on a stock pot makes it easy to see everything you are cooking.

Stock pots are easy to use and can be used to brown food as well as to braise it in the oven.

They come in many sizes and since it is easy to buy stock pots that are very large, you will be able to cook a lot of food at once without having to batch cook.

Cons:

Due to their height, it can be difficult to fit a stock pot in the oven and the lowest rack will need to be used.

Stock pots are difficult to use if you can’t see into them or if you are so short that you might burn yourself.

These pots are not a great option if you want a dish that can go from the oven to the table.







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