When you’re in the market for a premium enameled Dutch oven, chances are names like Le Creuset and Staub are high on your wish list. However, once you start shopping, you’ll quickly learn that these bad boys run upward of several hundred dollars.
Enter Milo, one of the latest brands offering premium kitchen products direct to consumers at a stellar price. Milo currently offers just one product, their Dutch oven, designed to go head to head with popular French ovens from the aforementioned big names. Available for just $95 and complete with a lifetime warranty, Milo’s oven is making waves in the cookware world thanks to their business model and exceptional pricing.
We had the opportunity to chat with Milo and take their gorgeous pot for a test run. Read on to see if it’s worth your consideration.
Milo cookware started with the same idea common to so many great kitchenware startups these days: how can we create premium products at a more affordable price?
Thanks to a dedication to sourcing the best possible product and using the best possible design, the Milo Dutch oven is a well-crafted pot with a price tag that can’t be beat. The low price comes primarily by cutting out the middleman and selling directly to consumers.
The design itself follows the French oven classics, so you’ll notice that it looks more like a Le Creuset than a Lodge. One thing you won’t find inside is nubs on the lid like “some other brands.” I really like Milo’s response to this in their FAQs:
We think the nubs are a gimmick and our whole philosophy is streamlining the cooking process with as few distractions as possible. Nubs are useless and expensive and you don’t need them (neither do we.)
Nubs are for basting. With our lid and every other lid without nubs, basting occurs naturally. Steam rises, collects on the interior of the lid, then drops back down into the pot, naturally and evenly. That’s basting 101.
Overall, the oven is what you’d expect it to be — sized appropriately (at 5.5 quarts) for most cooking tasks, sturdy and cleanly enameled (two coats and fired twice). The handles are a bit small, but based on how most people handle Dutch ovens, I can’t imagine that being a problem. I prefer the smaller handles because I have limited storage space.
Here are a few other specs:
- Weight: 12 lbs. (8.5 lbs without lid)
- Capacity: 5.5 qt.
- Dimensions: 10.5″ d x 6″ h
I set out to test the Milo Dutch oven using a few of my go-to recipes. I made no-knead bread and my favorite braised short ribs to get a sense of cooking time and cleanup. Here’s what happened.
Bread: The no-knead bread turned out well, but I do think it was a bit overcooked. I baked it the same way I do in my Lodge Dutch oven, so this tells me that the Milo likely heats up or retains heat better.
Short Ribs: I like using this recipe to test because it requires a lot from the Dutch oven — from browning pancetta to sauteing veggies to scraping up fond and then braising at low heat in the oven for several hours. Plus, it makes a huge mess in the pot so we can check out the cleanup.
The recipe turned out great. Nothing extraordinary to report here. Everything browned beautifully, and the finished product was delicious.
I used parchment paper for my bread, so the main cleanup came from the aftermath of the ribs. The pot was, in short, filthy.
With a bit of soap and a soft brush, the inside cleaned up quickly and easily. Typically I soak my Dutch oven when it’s this dirty, but I wanted to see how it cleaned up without that soaking. The pot and the lid looked great once I finished, but there is a bit of a stain from the red wine on the inside. I haven’t worked on it with any of my other go-to methods (like baking soda) and I’m personally not especially worried about some discoloration (it’s going to get worse as time goes on anyway!).
Vs. Other Brands
Milo aims to compete with premium brands rather than cheaper products like Lodge and others. They told me, “We compete with the higher end products because our quality and performance are equal to them,” and reiterated that the company is dedicated to creating products that last a lifetime or more — premium cast iron products are often passed down through generations. Less expensive Dutch ovens are more short-lived, lasting a few years rather than decades.
I’ve had a Lodge Dutch oven for years, but recently I’ve been thinking about upgrading, lusting a bit over those fancy brands I’ve mentioned but not yet willing to shell out the cash for one just yet. So for me, the Milo is exactly what I would hope for: a pot that has the same appeal as those other guys but at a price that’s under $100.
Beyond price, the other big difference I see between the Milo and a Le Creuset or Staub is purely aesthetic. The Milo is currently just available in white; it lacks the dark interior of the Staub; it doesn’t have an adorable rooster knob like the Staub. Performance-wise, however, I see no major difference to speak of based on my experience and the many other reviews I’ve read.
I’m making room in my cabinets for the Milo pot by donating my old and stained (but well loved) Lodge. At first I wasn’t especially keen on the white, but in person it’s really beautiful and I fell in love with it right away. The white color makes it a perfect gift idea for weddings. And, it’s now available in a gorgeous black color, too!
Of course, it’s hard to say whether this piece will truly last the test of time and become the legacy cookware Milo wants it to be. At $95, though, I think it’s well worth your consideration if you’re looking for a Dutch oven, particularly if you’re smitten with the style of the Le Creuset.
Update: July 2019
After nearly a year with the Milo, I am happy to report it’s still as well-loved as ever. It has been a great addition to my kitchen (even though I haven’t been using it as much in this summer heat!) The brand has some exciting new additions to their lineup, including a smaller (3.5 quart) Dutch oven, an enameled skillet, and a cast iron set, so they are definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for any enameled cast iron products. See the whole lineup here.