The Best Cast Iron Casserole

Updated on 27 April 2023

After 14 hours of research and a detailed analysis of 23 cast iron cookers and testing 6 of them, we have concluded that the Amazon Basics Z4715MB currently offers the best value for money.

This comparison is certified 100% impartial and follows our selection process.

Our choice, Best budget

Amazon Basics (5,9 L)

This 5.9 litres cast iron casserole offers great value for money and is ideal for 6-7 people. Oven safe up to 204°C, you can cook all kinds of dishes.

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This 5.9 litre, 6.7 kg oval model is available in various colours to match your kitchen. Although it can be used in the oven up to 204°C and on all burners, it is not dishwasher safe. However, we found it quite easy to clean, even when a sauce stuck or burnt on its walls during our tests. Like the other models we tested, it managed to cook food without any problems. The inside of the lid has small protrusions, allowing condensation to drip back onto the food. Finally, it has an overall length of about 38 cm (measured by us), so don’t forget to check that it fits in your oven.

 

 

Best mid-range

Tefal Héritage (5,1 L)

With its matt black enamel, this robust cast iron casserole has a truly premium look. It is round and easy to put in the oven thanks to its minimal overall length of 33 cm.

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Tefal Pierre Gagnaire Héritage E2230404

Although this 5.1 L round casserole is not dishwasher safe, we found it easy to clean by hand with a slightly rough (non-metallic) sponge. During our tests, its overall length of 33 cm made it very easy to place in and remove from the oven. However, at 5.941 kg, it felt a little heavy for its size. Like the other models we tested, this Tefal model is suitable for all types of cookers and can be placed in the oven up to a maximum temperature of 250°C. Thanks to its cast steel material, our meatloaf was cooked within the allotted time. However, we found that it did not retain heat as well as other pans. Its dented lid has a curved handle that makes it difficult to turn upside down on a table when serving food. Finally, we would like to highlight its original matt black enamel and the fact that it is available in several sizes (0.3, 2.2, 3.3, 7.5 litres, etc.).

 

Best high-end

Le Creuset Signature (5,3 L)

Although its price is a little on the high side, its robustness is ideal for prolonged use. Its 5.3-litre capacity is suitable for a family of 4 to 6 people.

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Le Creuset Signature 21177260000430

Le Creuset is a leading French brand of cookware. If you are not familiar with this brand, the price may surprise you, but the quality of the products is usually the same. For this price, you get a large 5.3 litre enamelled cast iron model. It offers excellent heat distribution for gentle and even cooking, as we found when preparing our meatloaf. It has an internal capacity of 26 cm in diameter and an overall length of 35.2 cm, which we found made it easier to get in and out of the oven. However, for its price, we were surprised to find that the inside of the lid was completely smooth and without dents. The flat handle gives the lid good stability when turned upside down, which is very handy. We also noticed that this pan cools down more slowly than others when removed from the oven (max. 260°C), which is a sign of its high quality. Finally, it can be washed by hand or in the dishwasher.

 

Budget alternative

Sitram Sitrabella (6,5 L)

Despite its affordable price, this oval-shaped model offers the largest capacity in our selection. It also keeps the heat in very well, which is very practical.

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Sitram Sitrabella 711088

Sitram has been manufacturing pressure cookers and cookware since 1963. Suitable for all types of cookers (including induction and conventional), the Sitram 711088 has a large capacity of 6.5 litres and weighs 6.575 kg. During our tests, we measured its overall length at 39.3 cm. Along with the Le Creuset, it stayed hot the longest, so it can be used for long party meals. However, the curved handle on the lid prevents it from standing upright, which is less practical for everyday use. It is enamelled inside and out in a variety of colours. It has an oval shape, ideal for cooking meat, and is available in other sizes (2.5, 4 y 5 L) to better suit the needs of all families. Although dishwasher safe, it is very easy to clean by hand.

 

Our selection

Our choice, Best budgetBest mid-rangeBest high-endBudget alternative
Amazon Basics (5,9 L) Tefal Héritage (5,1 L) Le Creuset Signature (5,3 L) Sitram Sitrabella (6,5 L)
This 5.9 litres cast iron casserole offers great value for money and is ideal for 6-7 people. Oven safe up to 204°C, you can cook all kinds of dishes. With its matt black enamel, this robust cast iron casserole has a truly premium look. It is round and easy to put in the oven thanks to its minimal overall length of 33 cm. Although its price is a little on the high side, its robustness is ideal for prolonged use. Its 5.3-litre capacity is suitable for a family of 4 to 6 people. Despite its affordable price, this oval-shaped model offers the largest capacity in our selection. It also keeps the heat in very well, which is very practical.
See the price on Amazon See the price on Amazon £ 167.40 on Amazon See the price on Amazon

 

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How did we do the tests?

To test the cast iron casseroles, we started by measuring their overall length (counting the handles) to see if they would fit in the oven. We also checked that the weight indicated by the brand name was the actual weight. We also looked at whether their lids were smooth or had small protrusions to facilitate condensation, and we looked at the shape of their handles (flat or domed, which affects the stability of the lid upside down).

We then tested the cooking process by making the same meatloaf in each of the casseroles. This allowed us to judge whether all models were able to cook within the same time limit. We then checked whether they were still hot, very hot or just lukewarm 30 minutes after taking them out of the oven. Finally, we cleaned them all by hand to see how difficult they were to clean.

NameVolumeOverall lengthReal weightHeat remaining after 30 min.Dishwasher safe
Amazon Basics Z4715MB5,9 L38 cm//No
Tefal Pierre Gagnaire Héritage5,1 L33 cm5,941 kgLukewarmNo
Le Creuset Signature5,3 L35,2 cm5,125 kgVery warmYes
Sitram Sitrabella6,5 L38,3 cm6,575 kgVery warmYes
Navaris ‎48777.01.203,5 L33 cm4,18 kgWarmNo
Staub 40509-319-05,5 L37,5 cm6,248 kgWarmYes

 

How to choose a cast iron casserole?

The typical casserole of our grandmothers is a must if you want to make casseroles, homemade bread or any other dish that requires the unique properties of this type of pot. The purchase of a casserole represents a significant investment, but it is a durable product. There are many models available, but there are a few things to consider when making the right choice.

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First of all, the 3 main advantages of a cast iron pot must be identified:

  • Compatibility: Apart from being environmentally friendly, cast iron has the advantage of being suitable for all types of cookers (induction, conventional, gas, electric, etc.). However, it is crucial to check the maximum temperature allowed in the oven.
  • Resistance: cast iron is also a very resistant material that adapts to all temperatures. If you take good care of it, it is very durable. Most casseroles are guaranteed for many years, even for life!

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  • Even heat distribution: cast iron also has the advantage of even heat distribution to ensure optimal cooking. The cast iron lid of the casserole is airtight, minimising the loss of liquids. As there is no evaporation, you will have an optimal concentration of flavours.

In the following, we also recommend that you consider these 4 main characteristics to judge the suitability of the models you have shortlisted:

  • Weight: cast iron is heavy… So you should be prepared for it. Pots of this type usually weigh between 4 and 6 kg (depending on the size you choose).

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  • Size: casseroles generally come in different sizes, with an average size of 20-30 cm. The optimum size will depend on your needs and use. If you usually have people over, a 28-30 cm model is recommended, but if you are looking for a casserole for 2-4 people, a 20-22 cm model will be perfect. You can also check the capacity in litres. For example, a 3 to 5-litre casserole will be sufficient for 2 to 4 people.

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  • Shape: a casserole is not chosen for aesthetic reasons but for practical ones. If a round casserole is not suitable for cooking a roast, for example, an oval one will do the job.

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  • Cleaning: cast iron is generally very easy to clean. A sponge, warm water and a little detergent will make it as good as new. Be sure to dry it thoroughly to prevent rusting. You should also know that most models are dishwasher safe, but it is strongly recommended not to use the dishwasher. The best thing to do? Clean it by hand.

 

Other cast iron casseroles that we recommend

Navaris 24 cm 3,5 L ‎48777.01.20 (£39.99 upon publication): our 3rd economic choice. In our tests, we found it to be quite practical. Indeed, with its overall length (including handles) of 33 cm and its weight of only 4.18 kg, it is extremely comfortable and easy to fit even in the smallest ovens. On the other hand, the disadvantage of this size is that it offers a smaller usable capacity (3.5 L). Although the lid is smooth on the inside and therefore does not allow steam to escape, it has the advantage of having a flat handle, which remained stable when we placed it upside down on the worktop while filling the casserole. It can cook up to 260°C and is compatible with all hobs. Finally, we had no problem cleaning it (only by hand) and it retains heat quite well (it is still hot after 30 minutes).

Staub 31 cm 5,5 L 40509-319-0 (£194.27 upon publication): an alternative between two price ranges. Available in 7 colours, this 5.5-litre oval casserole weighs 6.248 kg with a lid. When we unpacked it, we were surprised to find that it was not enamelled in some places (especially on the inside of the handles), given its high price. During our tests, we measured its overall length, including the handles, at 37.5 cm, which makes it quite large. It retained heat and cook as well as the others (our meatloaf was cooked on time). We would like to highlight the small ridges on the inside of the lid, which help to keep the food moist by condensing the steam and allowing it to drip back into the food. On the other hand, the handle is not flat, which makes it unstable when turned upside down. In terms of compatibility, it can be used in the oven up to 250°C, on all types of hob and in the dishwasher. However, if you prefer to wash it by hand, you can use a slightly rough (non-metallic) sponge.

 

 

Translated by Ramsés El Hajje

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