We are reviewing the Anolon Vesta Cast Iron 7-Quart Round Dutch Oven and the Anolon Vesta Cast Iron 4-Quart Oval Dutch Oven. All of our reviews feature both PROs and CONs of the products.
Anolon Vesta Cast Iron Cookware Review
First, the basics: The Anolon Vesta series of cast iron cookware features:
- Solid cast iron construction
- Paprika Red and Colbolt Blue glossy enamel porcelain exterior
- Non-reactive black enamel porcelain interior
*Just a note on color – the Anolon photos of the product is more true to color than my photos. I used my iPhone to snap my photos with all my LED kitchen lights on, so it does look a lot brighter and redder than it actually is.
Design of Anolon Vesta Cookware
PRO: The cookware is beautiful, made for showing off. The enameled porcelain evenly coats the cast iron, no little bumps anywhere – very smooth. The interior is black, stain resistant. My old Le Creuset enameled cast iron roaster had a very light colored interior, which became stained with use.
I’m a big fan of enameled cast iron, the coating keeps the cookware easy to care for and easy to clean. Uncoated cast iron requires constant seasoning, will rust if not dried immediately, and is reactive to acidic or alkaline foods (for example, cooking with lemon might pick up some metallic taste in uncoated cast-iron).
CON: I wish it came in more colors! There’s only cobalt blue (a really deep, rich blue) and this paprika color (remember to reference Anolon’s photos for color, not my photos).
PRO: Wide, curved handle with plenty of space for an oven mitted hand. My Le Creuset cookware had plastic handle knobs that were too small for getting a good grip.
Even though the Le Creuset pot itself was oven safe up to 500F, the plastic knob on lid is only oven safe only up to 375F. That makes No Knead Bread a no-no (even though I did use it and risked voiding the warranty.)
CON: The downside of the handle is….screws! I’m not a fan of rivets or screws on cookware. They are difficult to clean, grease and stuff gets trapped in the little screws. I usually have a small, stiff brush at the sink to clean cracks, rivets, screws and other annoying tiny places that grease tends to congregate at.
I LOVE this Oxo brush set. Cheap, sturdy, angled just right, fat nonslip grip — just the right size for cleaning little spaces, grout, around the sink drain…and of course rivets, cracks and screws.
PRO: The little dimples on the lid help liquid drip back down evenly back over your food. Cookware people call that “self braising.” It’s a nice feature, especially since these pans are great for roasting large cuts of meat. The liquid at bottom of pan heats up, evaporates up in form of steam, collects on lid. Droplets slide down the little dimples and drips back down on your food. That’s my highly technical take on self braising.
The Pan Handles
PRO: The two handles on the Anolon Vesta Cast Iron Cookware are generously sized (great for clumsy oven mitted hands) and curved downwards for a good grip. The pan itself is all one piece – no screws or rivets! Yay! This makes is so much easier to clean.
Even the skillet has a similar large helper handle, which you’ll need because the cast iron is heavy!
Anolon 4-Quart Covered Casserole
I love the size of the 4-quart oval – perfect for a pork roast, tenderloin roast. Why oval vs. round? An oval shape makes a better fit for roasting – the vegetables added to the pan hug the meat, keeping the meat moist and flavorful. If your pan is too big and has lots of empty spots, moisture will evaporate quicker, the vegetables burn faster, and you have a greater chance of dry meat.
Cast iron cookware is heavy. An 8-quart cast iron pot, loaded with a a giant roast the size of your head, and a cast iron lid on top of that is something you need to consider when buying the big one. Are you strong enough to lift it off the stove, or out of the oven? For me, the 8-quart is the ultimate soup-as-meal pot for a big party and the baking vessel of choice for No Knead Bread.
PRO: Price is fantastic. Less than $100 for each on Amazon.
Quick thoughts on other brands
The Lodge Enameled Cast Iron – largest size is 7.5 quarts, no dimpled lid, and such a teeny tiny knob handle. The lid of the Lodge is the biggest disappointment, because of the shape of their lid, liquid tends to drip down the sides of the lid — collecting at the sides, waiting for you to open lid and drip all over yourself and your stove!
The Staub 7-Quart It’s made in France, has the self-basting lid, but $375!
Le Creuset 7.25 Quart Round – I really don’t like that plastic knob, the light interior which discolors and no self basting lid. Also $370.
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