Milo Cookware: great value and high quality enameled cast iron

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Milo Classic Dutch Oven

The Milo ‘Dutch Oven’ has become an instant classic in the cookware market, offering consumers the chance to experience premium performance at a fraction of the cost of their high-end rivals.

This super versatile product is an excellent all-rounder that can bake, roast, brown, sear, broil, deep-fry, and more. It has all the hallmarks of cast iron cookware but needs none of the complex processes to keep them seasoned.

It is a bit of a heavyweight champ, weighing in at a little over 12lbs, but it gives you confidence that you’re buying a robust and durable Dutch oven, and it’s one that won’t break the bank.

Who are Milo?

Milo, or ‘Cook with Milo’ (as their website is known), is a small start-up based in California USA, and is a Kana Lifestyle subsidiary, which aims to bring ethical, functional, high-end products to the marketplace for a reasonable price point. Milo is the cookware arm of the company.

Founded in 2017, Milo eventually released their first and (at the time) only product, the Milo 5.5-quart Classic Dutch Oven, in 2018 in an attempt to rival the big French cookware manufacturers, Le Creuset and Staub.

Using a ‘direct to consumer’ business model, Milo kept the price point for the Dutch Oven relatively low compared with their rivals, and news started to spread that the new kids on the block had produced a potential giant-killer.

Milo prides themselves on their customer service, with the company’s founders often responding to consumer emails and social media posts to ensure their base have their needs taken care of.

That connection to their customers isn’t superficial either; Milo listens to what they want. After repeated requests for a smaller option for the Dutch Oven and cries for a cast iron skillet, they designed and released those too.

Design and Construction

Despite being founded and based in California, USA, Milo outsources the production of their cookware to a factory just outside Beijing, China. While this can be an instant turn-off for many consumers, Milo is adamant that even though they outsourced production to China to keep the cost of the pans down, they did spend a considerable amount of time researching the facility to ensure the highest quality product possible.

Milo cookware is made from cast iron and coated with two layers of enamel to make the products durable and easy to use. Unlike traditional cast iron cookware, the enamel-coated Dutch ovens and pans do not need to undergo lengthy and complicated seasoning processes (which need consistent and regular maintenance). They are ready to use right out of the box, making them much more user friendly and perfect for beginners and seasoned chefs alike.

The coating also means they’re relatively non-stick and also dishwasher safe, so they’re super easy to clean.

Sustainability and the protection of the environment are important to ‘Cook with Milo’ too. Their products are made from 40% recycled cast iron, and the company is involved with a variety of environmental charities.

Milo cookware reviews

1. Milo Classic Dutch Oven

The 5.5-quart ‘Milo Classic Dutch Oven’ is one of the building blocks of this company. It is their baby and the very first product they had for sale.

Milo went for a more contemporary design compared to their main rivals, who opt for a more rustic and traditional cookware appearance. The oven is curvaceous and sleek and available in three stylish colors, black, white, or green.

The lid looks excellent, too, as it’s complemented with an ergonomically designed handle. However, serval consumers have complained that the lid is ever so slightly too small and allows too much steam to escape. The ‘feel’ of the lid when it’s in place can feel a little gritty, like the lid’s rough edges and the main body are creating resistance against each other. It’s not a huge problem, but something you might notice.

Milo’s Classic Dutch Oven is a super versatile piece of kit that can effortlessly be used for baking, roasting, browning, searing, broiling, and deep-frying. You can heat it in the oven or on the stovetop using all kinds of cookers and stoves.

Heat retention is super important in relation to Dutch ovens, and heat retention in Milo’s offering is comparable to even the most expensive options on the market. It does this without scorching either your food or the inside of the pan.

You will need to be careful when removing a full Dutch oven from your stove because not only is this particular model very heavy, but the handles are pretty small and might be tricky to hold on to, especially for those with larger hands.

As previously mentioned, the enamel that coats the Dutch oven makes the pan ridiculously easy to clean, and it’s also OK to put it in the dishwasher, so even the most stubborn ingredients will come away with minimal effort. However, numerous consumers have suffered minor chips in the enamel after prolonged use.

Following the Classic Dutch Oven’s launch, Milo has since released the ‘Mini Dutch,’ which has a scaled-down 3.3-quart capacity at a reduced cost.

Considering the superb overall quality of this product, Milo has done a great job keeping the price point relatively low. Compared with the super-expensive Le Creuset and Staub brands, ‘Cook with Milo’ has some of the best pound for pound value for money in the business.

If you are unlucky enough to receive a defective product (which seems to be incredibly rare), Milo will have you covered with their lifetime warranty to give you peace of mind.

2. Milo Ultimate Skillet

Following the rousing success of the ‘Classic Dutch Oven’ Milo listened to their clientele’s rally-cry for more cookware and produced the ‘Ultimate Skillet.’ 

This frying pan is made using the same process as the Dutch oven (cast iron with two coats of enamel, black or white), which gives you all the benefits of cast iron cookware, with relatively few of the drawbacks.

While cast iron cookware is very popular thanks to its ability to cook delicious food in a very primitive and primal way, it does involve the complex process of seasoning, which will need to be maintained throughout the pan’s life.

The enamel that coats Milo’s cast iron skillet negates the need to season the pan entirely, meaning you can use your excellent cast iron skillet right out of the box with little to no knowledge of the seasoning process.

While it’s doubtful that the coating will last a lifetime, it stands head and shoulders above a traditional non-stick coating, which at best will usually last two or three years before delamination begins.

Despite the coating, this skillet’s heat distribution is excellent, and the pan is oven safe to a maximum of 500°, giving you more versatility from your cookware. The pan heats quickly, too, so you’ll spend less time waiting and more time cooking.

The Milo ‘Ultimate Skillet’ is 10-inch in diameter (bizarrely, Milo doesn’t list this information in their product description) and has a pour spout at either side of the pan and a helper handle positioned at the front.

You’ll need to use an oven mitt after the skillet has been exposed to high temperatures as the handle isn’t as stay-cool as you would hope.

As with the ‘Classic Dutch Oven,’ the ‘Ultimate Skillet’ is backed by Milo’s lifetime warranty.

Milo Cookware Sets

Milo has bundled together different combinations of both sizes of Dutch ovens and their skillet into sets that offer a modest discount if you’re looking to buy more than one product.

It’s worth noting that if you opt for a set that contains a skillet, the lid from the 5.5-quart Dutch oven is compatible with the skillet, giving it that little something extra in terms of versatility. Also, remember that in these sets, a lid is counted as one ‘piece.’

5-Piece Cookware Set

This set contains both 5.5-quart and 3.3-quart Dutch ovens and a 10-inch skillet. Available in white or black.

4-Piece Cookware Set

This set contains both 5.5-quart and 3.3-quart Dutch ovens. Available in white or black. 

3-Piece Cookware Set

This set contains both a 5.5-quart Dutch oven and a 10-inch skillet. Available in white or black.

Final Thoughts

Despite being relative newcomers to this niche in the cookware market, Milo, Cook with Milo, and Kana have quickly established them as the bridge between super expensive, premium pieces of cookware that will last a lifetime, and low budget, sub-par quality pieces that will give you a few years decent service.

Though their enamel coating might not be as durable as their counterparts at Le Creuset and Staub, the performance from Milo’s products are almost indistinguishable at a third of the cost.

Given their relatively young age as a start-up, only tell will tell regarding the longevity of the ‘Classic Dutch Oven’ and the ‘Ultimate Skillet.’ Still, the value for money and bang for your buck is undeniable.

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