Best Dutch Ovens

GHRI tested 17 dutch ovens to find the top potsLightweight Champ
MichelleB by Fagor 5-Quart Soup Pot With Glass Lid ($70, If you find it daunting to wield a huge cast-iron pot, consider this six-pounder (that's less than half the heft of most traditional casseroles). Also practical are its stay-cool silicone handles. The only drawback here: the smallish surface area for browning. Comes in red and lemon-lime, too.

Best All-Around
Mario Batali by Dansk Classic Enameled Cast Iron 6-Quart Dutch Oven ($245, They'll think you're a master chef, thanks to how beautifully this round pot browns ingredients and reduces sauces. Be prepared to work for it, though - this one tips the scales at 15.5 pounds. Choose the chef's trademark persimmon, cobalt,or Chianti. Bonus: a booklet of Batali's recipes.

Best Toy Awards

Great Value
Wolfgang Puck Cast Iron 7-Quart Dutch Oven
($80). Have a family of meat eaters? You'll love this generously sized, reasonably priced enamel casserole. Its oval shape perfectly accommodates a beef roast, pork loin, or whole chicken. But when you stir, you'll get a workout from lifting the five-pound lid.

How We Tested
We heated 34 tablespoons of flour and 17 teaspoons of vegetable shortening to check for even browning. Next, we cooked 272 cubes of beef, looking for steady simmering and succulent results. At cleanup, we noted whether pots stained or chipped when clunked against the side of the sink.

What kitchenware makes your home complete? Let us know in the comments!

--by The Good Housekeeping Research Institute

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