A Cocotte is a French Term for Dutch Oven. Cocotte can be used in many application such as baking breads, stews and more. Traditional Cocotte were used over a open fire. Coals would be placed over it to produce a oven like event. This lets people bake bread where oven was scarce. Today Cocotte are used more in the home kitchen. While traditional Cast Iron Cocotte are still the best. Alternative such as stainless steel models are good alternative.
Cocotte vs Dutch Oven
There really is no difference between them. In France, Cocotte are the name given to dutch oven. In fact, manufacturer like Staub will call it Staub’s Cocotte. These pots can be made in a wide variety of material. However, the best are the heavy cast iron models. They hold heat well and keep food hot. Stainless Steel models are lighter alternative. While they are better at conducting heat, they cannot maintain heat like a heavy cast iron model.
The most common use for Dutch Oven are stews. The heavy construction means that its perfect for searing mean and braising it afterwards. The colorful models, especially those by Staub and Le Creuset, are perfect for serving on the table. They wont get cold like other pots.
These vessels are also good for deep frying. When deep frying, its important to keep temperature constant. If you have a thin/lighter pot, the oil temperature can drop below optimal frying temperature. This can cause you food to get overly greasy. While you can wait for the oil to come back to temperature, it sometimes take ten minute plus.
Baking breads is also another popular task. However, for this, I recommend getting the bare cast iron model. Since it has a semi nonstick coating, its unlikely the bread will get stuck.
Cast Iron are the go to choice for Dutch Oven. They are heavy and retain heat. Something you want for stews. However, newer products on the mark such as the fully cladded models are a good alternative. They heat up faster and is generally more responsive. This can make all the difference when you create more delicate task such as Gumbo. For cast iron Cocotte, the only heat it knows is hot.
The downside to the responsiveness is that it loses heat faster. This means that if you intend on serving in the same pot, it will get cold faster. You can minimize heat lost by keeping it covered. The same applies for the copper model. However, the one thing that copper has is that its really heavy. So it should hold heat better than the other model.
Nonstick models are not essential for dutch oven. Once you add liquid, the stuck bits will get loose. Plus, the coating wears down overtime. You are better with cast iron and the stainless steel.
Enamel Cast iron vs Bare Cast Iron
If you decide to go the Cast Iron route, you have two choices, enamel and bare cast iron. For most situation, the enamel cast iron are the best. They protect the pan from rust and the beautiful colors will match most homes. However, what most people dont know is that Bare Cast Iron performs better overall. They sear food better and heat up faster. Not only that, it has a semi nonstick coating. The downside to that is that it needs to be maintained. If not, you can strip it and rust might start to form.
Best Cocotte List
Below, you will find a list of some of the Best Cocotte on the market. There are a few models to choose from, pick one that best suits you.
Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Round Dutch Oven, 7.25 qt (Best Overall)
Le Creuset is synonymous with the Dutch Oven. The handle is wide and comfortable. Colors are some of the best in the industry and they strike the balance between heft and thinness. Through years of manufacturing, they have really refined what a dutch oven is.
STAUB Cast Iron Round Cocotte, 7-quart (Best Alternative)
While Le Creuset is known as the number one cookware brand. In France, Staub Cocotte is the go to choice. The colors are more vibrant and in my opinion better. While it doesnt have the little refinement that Staub has, these difference are minor. I recommend seeing one in person to tell the difference.
Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Double Dutch Oven (Best Bare Cast Iron Cocotte)
Lodge is one of the oldest manufacture of cast iron in America. Their dutch oven is functional and beautiful. This model lid can also doubles as a frying pan. When compared to a enamel dutch oven, it performs better as well.
All-Clad BD55508 D5 Brushed 18/10 Stainless Steel 5-Ply Bonded Dishwasher Safe Stockpot Cookware (Best Stainless Steel Model)
All Clad pioneered the fully cladded cookware. This model uses 5 layers of metal to give it extra heft. Perfect for storing heat and deep frying food. The handle is comfortable and the brushed stainless steel finish is beautiful. Whats best about this design is that its wide for easy use. This means food can be easily stirred unlike the tall dutch oven.
Staub Mini Round Cocotte (Best Mini Cocotte)
If you just want a small version of a Cocotte, then look for Staub’s mini cocotte. This cute little pot makes it the perfect vessel for baking souffles, bacon and eggs. You can also use it to store spices and herb. Unlike the other mini dutch oven, this one uses a full cast iron construction for durability.
Cocottes is a French term for Dutch Oven. The best are the models by Le Creuset. However, Staub is a good alternative. These models are the most durable and will fit any kitchen table. However, they fail in terms of performance to bare cast iron. If cast iron puts you off, then you can always get stainless steel. The D5 iteration by All Clad will perform very similarly to the cast iron one. Staub also makes a miniature version as well.
Want to know the difference between Staub and Le Creuset. Check out our article on Staub vs Le Creuset.