Crumble cast-iron casserole pots (Dutch ovens) are a good mid- to high-end option for those who pay equal attention to functionality and aesthetics. Although they aren't recommended by our experts, they did perform well in our Dutch oven tests. And, as they come with a lifetime warranty, they should last for many years.
Dutch ovens are as much a staple cookware item as a kitchen statement piece. Costing anywhere from $30 to more than $800 and available in eye-catching colours, they can have everyday heirloom appeal, particularly European brands, such as Le Creuset and Staub.
In 2020, Melbourne-based Crumble came onto the market with their range of cast-iron Dutch ovens. With fashionable colourways and offering a more affordable alternative to premium brands at $350 for their classic model, Crumble pots quickly became popular.
But how do they compare to other cast-iron Dutch ovens? Is it really worth spending upwards of $300 for a pot to look good on your shelf? Or will it become an essential kitchen item to pass down through the generations?
We take a deeper look at the Crumble pot to help you decide if it’s the right Dutch oven for you.
What is a Dutch oven?
First things first, what exactly is a Dutch oven? Sometimes called French ovens or casserole pots, Dutch ovens are made from cast-iron (either enamelled or uncoated) and can withstand high heats, so are great for maintaining even heat distribution for prolonged periods. They have a heavy base and a tight-fitting lid to ensure the heat remains inside, and are typically wide and squat.
From bolognaise sauce to a roast chicken, stews and bread, you can cook just about anything in a Dutch oven
From bolognaise sauce to a roast chicken, stews and bread, you can cook just about anything in a Dutch oven. It's your go-to pot for low-and-slow cooking, such as braises, and can be used either in your oven or on the stovetop (for browning meats, for example).
How we test Dutch ovens
The CHOICE team put the Crumble cast-iron Dutch oven to the test alongside other popular Dutch oven brands, including Le Creuset, Chasseur, Staub and Kmart, assessing each pot's performance when cooking a range of dishes, such as brown rice, bolognaise and chilli beef. The cooking tests assess factors such as how well the pots maintain and distribute heat, how well they avoid discolouration, and how evenly they cook. The team also give scores based on how easy the pots are to use, their durability and overall performance. See all the results of our Dutch oven reviews.
CHOICE kitchen expert, Fiona Mair, assesses each Dutch oven on a variety of factors such as cooking performance, ease of use and durability.
How do Crumble Dutch ovens compare?
While Crumble Dutch ovens performed well in our tests, they missed out on being recommended by our experts due to their ease of use score.
"In our testing, the Crumble pot performed just as well as most of the enamelled cast iron Dutch ovens," says CHOICE kitchen expert Fiona Mair. "But we did find the lid handle knob thread may weaken over time and has slightly hard edges. It's only OK in terms of grip comfort, and the light interior can show cooking stains and baked-on residue, which may require extra effort to remove."
Where are Crumble pots made?
While Crumble pots are designed in Australia, they are made in the Hebei Province of China, where many cast-iron products are manufactured. The more expensive brands like Le Creuset, Chasseur and Staub are all manufactured in France where labour costs are higher.
Features of Crumble cast-iron pots
Just like the top three performing Dutch ovens in our tests, Crumble pots come with a lifetime warranty. The brand also offers a 30-day free trial, allowing you to road test the Crumble before you commit to a life-long relationship.
Other features include:
- 13 colours available in the classic style
- Self-basting spikes in the lid
- Oven-safe up to 300°C, which is higher than other top performing pots
- Works on all cooktops (including induction)
- The 26cm Classic Dutch oven has a capacity of 5.2 litres, which can serve up to six people. However, the useable volume was calculated at 4.1 litres in our tests.
The Crumble cast-iron pots come in a range of striking modern colours.
The Crumble range
While our team tested the Crumble Classic Round Dutch Oven 26cm, which costs $359, the range also includes a pre-seasoned 26cm Dutch oven, which can be used on all cooktops as well as on open flames for campfire or barbecue cooking.
There is also a 2.3-litre baby Dutch oven, which is suited to meals for two people; a 3.2-litre shallow casserole; 6.2-litre oval Dutch oven; and a 26cm ovenproof skillet available from the brand.
Pros and cons to consider
Reasons to buy a Crumble pot
Design: If you love the look of the Crumble pot and its many trend-forward colours, you'll certainly find one to suit your personality and kitchen style.
Performance: Although Crumble just missed out on being recommended, it still performed well in our tests, making it a sound option.
Usability: On par with other cast-iron pots, Crumble Dutch ovens can fry, bake, roast, sear and braise. They are a good size and the handles have sufficient space for gripping.
Warranty: A lifetime warranty and 30-day free trial provide peace of mind.
Sustainability: Crumble pots should have more longevity than much cheaper options that you may need to replace a few times in your lifetime.
Price: While not the cheapest model on the market at $359, Crumble pots are $300 cheaper than the top rated Dutch oven in our reviews. Although conversely, two of the four Dutch ovens recommended by our experts were up to $150 cheaper than Crumble.
Buying local: "When you purchase a Crumble Dutch oven, you are supporting an Australian business," says Fiona. Although they're made in China, if buying local is important to you, this is a consideration.
Reasons to avoid a Crumble pot
Ease of use: The handles have hard edges that make them less comfortable to grip. The lid knob twists easily, but can be tightened with a screwdriver. On the plus side, there's no need to season the pot as with some other models.
Wear and tear: The enamel can chip and there is a fair probability of moderate wear and tear on the rim. The light interior can show cooking stains, particularly from acidic foods and cracking of the interior surface may occur over time.
Cleaning: Baked-on residue and stains can be difficult to remove.
Design: While the colours are fun, it's best to choose a colour you're not likely to get tired of after a few years.
Price: There are some better performing and cheaper cast iron Dutch ovens on the market.
"Crumble is in the mid–high price range of Dutch ovens, so if you have never used a Dutch oven and are interested in experimenting with one, you might want to check out cheaper brands, such as Anko. Cheaper brands may not have the range of colours that Crumble has, but they will give you a similar experience," says Fiona.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.