Pro Chef Reviews Xtrema’s New Ceramic Dutch Oven: Is It the Best?

Unleash your inner chef with Xtrema’s new classic oval Ceramic Dutch Oven, praised by a pro-trained home chef for its fresh modern design, even heat distribution, and extreme heat retention.

Image of Xtrema ceramic dutch oven on countertop filled with broth and fresh cut vegetables to make soup. On the countertop, there are more fresh veggies, fresh quartered red onion, shallots, radishes and carrots.
Credit: Xtrema

Dutch ovens are a workhorse in the home and pro kitchens alike. The good ones are passed down from generation to generation as heirloom statement pieces. They’re famous for their utility of going from stovetop to oven to table. Or even cooking over an open campfire or grill thanks to their heat retention and ability to withstand high temperatures.

The right Dutch oven can cook everything from slow-cooked soups, stews, roasts, chilis, breads, to mac and cheese or Sunday’s cinnamon rolls, casseroles, braised meats, and seared meat and vegetables. You can even make delicious pan sauces with the yummy brown bits and leftover juices. All of this translates into flavor-rich meals while using fewer pots and pans and an easier cleanup, which everyone loves.

Read on to find out how Xtrema’s new classic oval ceramic Dutch Oven stands out on crowded shelves. 

Is a Dutch Oven Worth It?

Image of a black dutch oven ceramic with a sprig of fresh holiday greenery on top and tied with a festive red ribbon. A female hand with white long sleeve button at wrist, holds one of the handles of this oval nontoxic dutch oven on a black surface.
Credit: Image courtesy of Xtrema

Dutch ovens can be pricey. Are they worth it? As a professionally trained chef and serious home cook, who’s been testing cookware for over ten years, Dutch ovens are one of my favorite cooking vessels to use. Particularly around the holidays and for large gatherings, since the pretty ones double as a serving piece.

I’ve tested everything from the cheap knockoffs to the high-quality legacy brands, and I can say with confidence that the right ones are worth the investment. The cheap ones will get you into the market, but the shelf life is around 3-5 years (that’s about how long mine lasted). Sadly, the enamel coating on the inexpensive one started to flake off into my food, so it had to be recycled.

Another drawback, the lids may not be a tight fit, allowing moisture and condensation to escape. This is not what you’re going for when your goal is to use slow, wet cooking techniques that rely on recirculating condensation back into the dish. This helps lock in moisture (think homemade bread, braises, stews) while developing rich flavors.

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Typical Dutch Oven Construction

Image of a 100% ceramic cookware, safe Dutch oven filled with crusty bread cooked to golden perfection in unbleached parchment paper. The lid of the black Xtrema Dutch oven sits off to the side on a white marble work surface with a white kitchen towel with gray stripes, a small white plate with a stick of butter and butter knife, a small black plate with a slice of fresh bread smeared with herb butter.
The best Dutch oven has excellent heat retention while locking in moisture. This allows you to make bread that is both crusty while retaining its moisture Credit: Xtrema

Dutch ovens can be made of cast iron, enamel-coated cast iron, or stainless steel. Most Dutch ovens today are made from cast iron with an enamel coating and have few things in common. They’re heavy, and the interiors have a light enamel coating. Depending on how strong you are, the weight may not be an issue.

Also, many Dutch ovens have a light-colored (white or cream) enamel interior, which makes it easy to see what you’re cooking. However, it scratches and scars easily and even develops small hairline cracks known as crazing. And, over time, as it’s used more and more, the interior will turn brown (I have several, and it’s true). If it doesn’t bother you, it may not be an issue. It always bothered me.

On the other hand, Dutch ovens with dark interiors don’t show discoloration, scratches, or heavy use, which is what I prefer. They’re also easier to keep clean.

Image of the best ceramic Dutch oven lid on a plain white surface which allows for moisture to stay locked in and doesn't run down the side of the Dutch oven.
Credit: Xtrema

The lid is an essential factor when choosing a Dutch oven, too. You want a tight lid with some sort of spikes or knobs that will redirect condensation back into whatever it is you’re cooking to help maintain moisture-rich food. Most lids drive condensation down the walls of the pot, which is what you don’t want. Here’s where the low end Dutch ovens fall short as well.

Have a question about Dutch oven cooking for Laura? Please leave it in the comments below and she’ll share her expert tips!

Xtrema’s All Ceramic Construction

Image of a whole roasted chicken cooked with veggies and potatoes in the best ceramic Dutch oven by Xtrema 100% pure ceramic cookware on a white marble countertop.
Credit: Xtrema

Xtrema’s Dutch oven is different (read this interview with Xtrema’s founder to see how everything they do is different). There’s no metal core — it’s not cast iron or enamel coated. Just one hundred percent pure ceramic, crafted from clay, water, and natural oxides, and tripled fired at 2,500 degrees. They’re non-toxic, certified PFAS, PTFE, and PFOA free, and are California Prop 65 compliant.

There’s no worry that a coating will flake into your food, leach heavy metals, or react with acidic foods like tomato bases or red wine sauces. Fun fact: Xtrema is probably one of two cookware companies in the world that craft their cookware from all ceramic materials. And the other one only makes bakeware.

Because it’s an all-ceramic construction, it’s much lighter, too. No heavy lifting required. And it has all of the same qualities you love that come with classic cast iron Dutch ovens.

The Utility of Xtrema’s Oval Dutch Oven

It can go from stovetop to oven to table. You can sear, slow cook, braise, and use it on a hot grill or over a campfire. It also has a dark matte black interior that’s easy to clean — and keep clean. Also, you won’t have to worry about the interior degrading and turning a hazy brown over time.

I also love the flat, tight-fitting lid with knobs on the underside that helps redirect condensation back into the dish. This ensures breads, soups, stews, and braises come out with rich, deep flavors.

It Has a Fresh Modern Design

The modern design aesthetic of the Classic Oval Dutch oven also sets it apart. The black matte fluted exterior with the high shine lid and handles elevates it into its own modern design category that very few, if any, Dutch ovens fit into today. 

Bonus, you don’t need a few weight lifting sessions to be able to move your Dutch oven from the oven, to the table. It’s the ideal candidate to become the Dutch oven, that’s passed down from generation to generation. 

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Here’s What I Cooked in Xtrema’s Non-Toxic Dutch Oven

I cooked everything from a big pot of brothy beans, chicken vegetable soup, roasted a whole chicken, lasagna soup, and more. The big pot of beans came out ridiculously delicious, soft, and tender. Made with borlotti beans, carrots, onions, celery, garlic, fresh herbs, EVOO, salt and pepper. These cider-braised white beans with rosemary would work incredibly in this pot as well. 

Because the Dutch oven isn’t made with metal, there was no need to worry about cooking an acidic dish like lasagna soup with a tomato base and having it take on a metallic flavor. Each dish came out with clean, rich, real whole foods flavors.

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My Experience Cooking With Xtrema’s Oval Dutch Oven

Because this oven excels at heat retention, I generally find that I don’t need to cook things on as high of a heat as I usually do. That same heat retention also makes it a great tool that can go from stovetop or oven to table, double as a serving piece, while keeping everything warm, for a long time. Really.

This Dutch oven retains heat so well that when I cooked a soup, I turned off the heat, and twenty minutes later, the soup was still slightly simmering. Keep reading to find out why.

I roasted a whole chicken with baby rainbow potatoes, carrots, and garlic with the lid on. Knowing what I know about this Dutch oven’s heat retention, I decided to check the chicken fifteen minutes before it’s usually done. And my gut was right, and it was at temperature.

I then put it under the broiler for another 3-4 minutes to quickly brown the bird. The result? One of the most moist whole chickens I’ve cooked in years.

And the vegetables and the au jus? Outstanding. The vegetables were fork tender, and the au jus deliciously rich. There was no need to reduce it further, it had enough flavor on its own.

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Here’s Why This Dutch Oven Excels at Heat Retention

Because this Dutch oven retains heat like nothing I’ve ever seen, I had to reach out to the Xtrema family team and ask why the heat retention is so good! Here’s what Erik Bergstrom, Xtrema’s Digital Media Manager, shared.

“Ceramics are great at insulating heat, which is why our products hold heat as well as they do even after you shut the burner off.”

That being said, he added that ceramics are not ideal for reaching high temperatures quickly. Tip: this is where your stainless or carbon steel pan comes in for that quick high heat.

However, once your desired temperature is reached, and the pot is fully heated through, not only does Xtrema’s 100% pure ceramic cookware maintain heat even after the flame is off, but you can also cook at lower temperatures and achieve the same result.

The Xtrema team also shared that flameware, the newer type of ceramic pottery that’s used to make their cookware, excels at improved conductivity (more than other ceramics), at resisting the shock of an open flame and heat retention. It also makes it more durable, scratch resistant, and easy to clean. All tested and true. 

Good to Know When Cooking With Xtrema 100% Ceramic Cookware

Image of dried beans in the bottom of a black, oval dutch oven made out of ceramic on the top of a gas range from an overhead view in a non-toxic kitchen. Xtrema is a premium safe cookware line.
Credit: Laura Klein and Organic Authority Studio

Here are some things to keep in mind when cooking with Xtrema’s Dutch oven and cookware. You want to avoid drastic temperature changes. In other words, you don’t want to take a fully heated Dutch oven and put it in cold water. That could cause some damage.

You’ll want to heat it up gradually — think about it like preheating an oven. I start it on low heat for the first 3-5 minutes, and then add oil and start to turn up the temperature. This also creates a naturally nonstick surface that works! I’ve tested it with eggs and they come out beautifully.

Stay away from metal utensils and stick with wooden, silicone, or nylon utensils to preserve the life of the interior and avoid scratches, nicks, and the like.

When it comes to cleaning it, cleanup is easy. I hand wash mine with simple soap, water and a soft brush (I don’t like putting cookware in the dishwasher because it prolongs its life). The Dutch oven is dishwasher safe though. If you do get stuck on food, use the old baking soda and water trick. Put over low heat, use a wooden utensil to help remove stuck on food and wash as usual.

Follow these simple guidelines, and your Xtrema Dutch oven is guaranteed to become a family heirloom passed down from generation to generation.

Xtrema’s Warranty & Return Satisfaction Guarantee

Xtrema offers a 10-year limited warranty and a forever replacement program, which is impressive! Here’s what it involves. You simply contact their customer support, submit a ticket, and follow their instructions for verification. The first replacement is free! After that, subsequent replacements come at a 30% discount. I haven’t met another cookware company that offers this.

Xtrema also offers a 40-day return satisfaction guarantee. That means you have a 40-day trial period where they accept returns and exchanges within the United States.

Xtrema’s Classic Oval Dutch Oven Specs:

Image of the best Dutch oven according to our chef, this Dutch oven is made of ceramic and is oval and black with scalloped details on the outside, two handles, and a lid with a handle.
This ceramic Dutch oven stands out with its shiny black finish and scalloped detail, it’s a modern beauty with a traditional, heirloom feel. Credit: Xtrema
  • 7.5qt
  • 12 lbs
  • Height: 6.3”
  • Width: 10”
  • Length: 16.5”

Price: $297.49

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Laura is a trained chef with roots in the organic food movement and brings intelligence, intoxicating energy and girl-next-door... More about Laura Klein, Chef & Wellness Expert

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