An Expert Guide to Staub Dutch Ovens & Cocottes

Published on 12/13/2023 · 9 min readDiscover the art of cooking with Staub Dutch Ovens & Cocottes in our expert guide. Elevate your culinary creations with these iconic kitchen essentials!
Di Doherty, Kitchen Expert
By Kitchen Expert Di Doherty

Photo by Edward Howell

TL;DR: Staub is a French cast iron cookware manufacturer that makes high-quality cast iron cookware, including cocottes and Dutch ovens.

If you want an excellent Dutch oven, then Staub is a great brand to consider. Their products are manufactured in France, they can last for decades, and they rival Le Creuset in terms of quality. Staub’s cocottes range from a standard Dutch oven shape to something more ornate, shaped like a pumpkin, tomato, or artichoke. They also offer a lifetime warranty that covers defects that arise from normal wear and tear.

Who Is Staub?

Photo courtesy of Staub

Staub is a high-end cast cookware brand that primarily makes enameled cast iron. Despite being less well-known, their cookware is similar to Le Creuset in terms of quality and presentation, making them one of the best Dutch oven manufacturers out there. Their cocottes are a little bit cheaper than Le Creuset’s – though not by a lot – meaning that while they’re still an investment, you do get a bit more for your money.

Staub was founded in Alsace, France in 1974 by Francis Staub. At first, they only made cocottes, but have since expanded into other types of cast iron cookware, as well as some ceramics. In 2008, Zwillling Henckels bought Staub, though the company still operates more or less independently. Staub’s website is a part of Zwilling’s, but all of their products are listed separately.

What to Consider When Buying a Staub Dutch Oven or Cocotte

There are some important considerations to take into account when deciding which Staub product you’d like. Here are some questions to ask yourself to be sure you’ll be happy with your purchase.

What Size Do I Want?

The size that’ll work best for you will depend on what size recipes you tend to make, as well as how many people you usually feed. Remember that cast iron is heavy, so bigger Dutch ovens can be harder to move around. Staub’s cocottes come in a range of sizes, including:

  • Mini: Staub makes mini cocottes in both enameled cast iron and stoneware with a porcelain finish. These are great for making single servings, or to use in place of bowls on the table.
  • 3-quart: This is around the size of most specialty cocottes, though the round cocotte also comes in 2.75 quarts. This is a bit small for the Dutch oven, being good for two to three people.
  • 4-quart: This is one of the standard Dutch oven sizes. Most companies make a 4-quart Dutch oven, which is perfect for three to four people, or if you’re cooking for one and don’t want too many leftovers.
  • 5.5-quart: This is another standard Dutch oven size is 5.5-quart or 6-quart. 6-quart is also a popular size for stockpots. Many soup and chili recipes call for a pot this size.
  • 7-quart: This size is common for oval Dutch ovens. This is good for large recipes or roasts, but keep in mind that it’s on the heavier side.
  • 8.75-quart: Staub does make an 8.75-quart cocotte (most companies make a 9-quart). It’s for very large recipes or roasts, so you either need to love to host or don’t mind a lot of leftovers!

Do I Want a Specialty Cocotte?

Specialty cocottes are showpieces and make gorgeous serving dishes. Staub’s are also made out of annealed cast iron, so they’re fully functional as well. That being said, the fact that they’re an unusual shape means that they can be more expensive than a standard Dutch oven of the same size.

How Much Am I Willing to Spend?

Factors such as size and shape can affect the cost of a Staub. Their cocottes typically cost a few hundred dollars. And for reference, a 5.5-quart round cocotte costs around $400.

How Do I Care for a Dutch Oven?

A well-made Dutch oven will last you for decades if properly cared for. In order to ensure that your Dutch oven stays like new for years, here are some dos and don'ts.

  • Hand wash: While the manufacturer says it’s dishwasher-safe, hand washing is recommended. The chemicals used in dishwasher detergent are harsh and will wear down your enamel. If any cast iron is exposed on the cocotte (most manufacturers leave it bare by the lid to prevent chipping), it can lead to rust.
  • No abrasive cleaners: Using a harsh scrubber or abrasive cleaner can rub the enamel right off your Dutch oven. Try to use softer sponges and warm soapy water. Soaking can help get stubborn bits of food off, but if there’s exposed cast iron on the rim, be sure that that part doesn't stay wet.
  • Don’t put a hot pot in cold water: This is good advice for any pot or pan. Putting a hot pot into cold water can cause warping, which can make it so that your Dutch oven has an uneven cooking surface. Even worse, the enamel coating can crack or chip due to extreme temperature changes.
  • Avoid bangs and dings: The weakness of a cast iron Dutch oven is the enamel coating. While the coating makes it easier to clean and unaffected by acidic foods, it can chip or crack. Dropping your Dutch oven or banging it against something can chip the enamel, so try to treat it carefully.

Types of Staub Dutch Ovens and Cocottes

Staub makes a few different types of Dutch ovens, giving their customers a variety of options. If you’re not sure which kind you want, here are some considerations to keep in mind.

Round

Staub Cast Iron Round Cocotte. Photo courtesy of Staub

Round Dutch ovens are the most common type and the variety that you’re likely to see on store shelves. For most cases, round is a solid all-around choice.

Benefits:

  • Fits nicely on burners and can easily substitute for a stockpot to make hearty stews, soups, or chilis.
  • Good for bread loaves.

Be aware:

  • Only certain types of roasts will fit

Oval

Staub Cast Iron 7 QT Oval Cocotte. Photo courtesy of Staub

Oval is the next most common type of Dutch oven, with most every manufacturer offering an option.

Benefits:

  • Oblong roasts like a leg of lamb or ribs will fit.
  • Good shape for casseroles.

Be aware:

  • Doesn’t work as well on the stovetop, though you can use it that way as long as it’s mostly round.

Mini

3-pc Mini Round Cocotte Set. Photo courtesy of Staub

Staub’s mini cocottes come in both enameled cast iron and stoneware.

Benefits:

  • Make attractive serving dishes.
  • Can be used to make individual servings or treats.
  • Ceramic is dishwasher and microwave-safe.

Be aware:

  • Small size makes them only good for one portion.
  • They’re more expensive.

French Oven

There isn’t really a difference between a Dutch oven and French oven, though Staub calls theirs French ovens.

Benefits:

  • Has a classic Dutch oven rounded lid.

Be aware:

  • Only comes in a 3.75-quart size.

Specialty

Staub offers several different cocottes in specialty shapes, like a pumpkin, tomato, heart, and an artichoke.

Benefits:

  • Gorgeous shapes that stand out as a serving dish.
  • Fully functional enameled cast iron.

Be aware:

  • More expensive than similarly sized counterparts.
  • Tend to be small.
  • Can be harder to clean.

How to Choose the Right Staub Dutch Oven or Cocotte for You

Picking out the right Dutch oven for your needs can be a challenge due to the number of options. In order to make it easier, I’m going to describe three different personas and what I’d recommend to each of them.

Vlad: Family Cook Who Likes to Keep Things Simple

Vlad is a working father who loves making healthy meals for his kids. He likes meals that can be made simply and with minimal cleanup. He’s looking for good quality cookware that he can use to make a variety of dishes, particularly ones that can all be baked together.

Features to look for:

  • Larger Dutch ovens that can feed a family.
  • Cocottes that work well in the oven.

Recommended products:

  • Staub cast iron oval cocotte: this cocotte is excellent for the oven. While the lid is flat, it has tiny spikes on the top to cause the so-called rainforest effect that maintains moisture. It can be used for casseroles, one-pot dinners, and roasts. Just note that it doesn't work as well on the stove as in the oven.
  • Staub Cast Iron Round Cocotte: For an all-around choice, the round cocotte is the way to go. It can go on the stove to make soups, and it can go in the oven to make baked pastas, roasts, and even bread.

Olive: Home Cook Who Wants the Best Equipment

Olive lives alone and primarily cooks for herself. She routinely has a couple of people over for dinner, so she’d like to be able to feed two or three people. She’d like cookware that’s both attractive and functional, and also gives superior results.

Features to look for:

  • Smaller pots that work well for just a few people.
  • High-end cast iron and enamel that will last.

Recommended products:

  • Staub cast iron 5-quart round tall cocotte: This cocotte has a shape that’s closer to a standard stockpot, making it excellent for soups, boiling pasta, corn, or lobster. It’s also oven-safe, so it can be used to bake or braise, and has a tight fitting lid to lock in moisture.
  • Staub cast iron 3.75-quart essential french oven: This French oven is about the right size for four people, making it good for smaller dinner parties. Like all Staub Dutch ovens, it has a black matte enamel interior that’s excellent for searing, and it’s excellent for braising or slow-cooking meats.

Yuri: Host Who Loves Fancy Serving Dishes

Yuri loves to host and have attractive place settings and serving dishes. However, he’s running out of space to store both cookware and tableware and would like to simplify the cleanup.

Features to look for:

  • Cookware that can double as a serving dish

Recommended products:

  • Staub cast iron 3-quart tomato cocotte: This cocotte is fully functional both on the stove and in the oven. It’s an attractive tomato shape, and while the lid interior doesn't isn’t textured, it’s rounded and will still work well for braising or cooking meat in its own juices. It is a bit small for a larger party, but it can also work just as a serving vessel.
  • Staub Mini Round Cocotte: For those who like to make individualized dishes, mini cocottes are perfect. These hold about a cup and are made of enameled cast iron, meaning that they’re fully oven and stovetop-safe (though they may be a bit small for a burner). They also double as attractive and novel serving dishes.

Let Us Help You Find the Right Staub Dutch Oven or Cocotte for You

Photo courtesy of Staub

It can be overwhelming to try to find the right choice for your needs, particularly with the variety of Dutch ovens on the market. As a Dutch oven is something that you’ll use a lot over its lifetime, don’t be afraid to take your time. If you feel you need more information or advice, reach out to one of our Curated Kitchen Experts! Any of our Kitchen Experts would be more than happy to help you find the Staub Dutch oven or Cocotte that’s just right for you!

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