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Dutch Oven Recipes: The Best Things to Cook in a Dutch Oven!

October 08, 2020 7 min read

dutch oven recipes

What do you cook in a Dutch oven?

The real question you should be asking is, what can't you cook in a Dutch oven? This is one excellent piece of cookware that every budding chef should have in their kitchen because there are so many delicious Dutch oven cooking recipes you can prepare.

Dutch ovens are fantastically versatile. You can take a cast-iron Dutch oven camping and throw it straight into the fire pit, or you can use an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven at home to prepare a hearty one-pot roast in your kitchen. Dutch ovens are perfect for stews, for casseroles, for broths, and even for bread and desserts.

From braised beef in red wine sauce to a hearty Mountain Man breakfast, here are our favorite Dutch oven recipes!

What is a Dutch oven?

A Dutch oven is a simple piece of kitchenware, but one that has been around for thousands of years. Since the beginning of the iron age, humans worldwide have been using heavy iron pots for cooking up stews, soups, and broths in the firepit. Those pots evolved into the Dutch oven (popularized by the Dutch, of course), which is the design we find today.

Classic cast-iron Dutch ovens are renowned for their longevity and sturdiness. They are indestructible, and a well cared for Dutch oven can last a lifetime.

In recent history, Dutch ovens have modernized. In addition to the traditional cast-iron pots, you can also use enamel cast-iron Dutch ovens. These sleek Dutch ovens have a porcelain coating that, while delicate, allows for a much more comfortable, non-stick cooking surface.

These pots are incredibly versatile, as you'll see when you start cooking Dutch oven meals!

How to cook in a Dutch oven?

Dutch oven recipes are as varied and versatile as the cooks that prepare them. There's little that you can't cook in a Dutch oven, which is why we see it as an essential piece of kitchenware.

Dutch oven cooking can be simple or elaborate. Dutch oven recipes can take hours, or they can take a few minutes. Cooking with a Dutch oven is never a dull affair, which is why we love them!

Traditionally, Dutch ovens were used for slow cooking stews or broths in the fireplace. This tradition continues, as Dutch oven recipes often find their way into the campsite. The heavy-iron sides of the Dutch oven, combined with the heavy removable lid, make it perfect for retaining heat and evenly spreading heat over the ingredients.

Consequently, Dutch ovens are perfect for slow-cooked simmering dishes, such as chicken casseroles or Irish stews. Their ability to retain and spread heat (just like an oven in your kitchen) also makes it a popular way to cook roast dinners, particularly as you can throw everything into one-pot and just let it roast away.

But beginner chefs, you can also use a Dutch oven for simpler cooking techniques. You can boil water and cook a bag of dried pasta, you can use the iron surface for frying or sauteing meats and vegetables, or you can heat a can of soup!

Dutch ovens can be used in the firepit, they can be placed on stovetops, and they can be placed directly into the center of a preheated oven. As we asked earlier, what can't you cook in a Dutch oven?

The best Dutch oven recipes

It isn't easy to pick the best Dutch oven recipes, and there are so many of our favorites that we've had to miss out on in this article.

Dutch ovens are best at slow cooking and one pot-roasts, but we've added a few more creative dishes you can prepare too, using this fine piece of kitchenware. Here are our favorite recipes for Dutch oven cooking!

#1 Mountain Man breakfast

Let's start with a classic camping breakfast, the Mountain Man breakfast, to be precise!

This monstrous dish is perfectly suited for cooking in a Dutch oven when you're around the campfire in the early morning. Place your hardy cast iron Dutch oven right into the firepit and surround it with hot coals and embers to heat up (don't try this with a more delicate enamel Dutch oven).

While it's getting warmed up in the fireplace, you can prepare a mountain of bacon, sausages, peppers, eggs, hash brown, and mounds of grated cheddar cheese. Chop everything and whisk your eggs in a large bowl. When the Dutch oven is hot, throw in your meats and vegetables to start browning everything.

When the meat is cooked, you pour in the eggs and grated cheese, then allow the Mountain Man breakfast to bake in the Dutch oven!

You can find a detailed version of our monster-sized Mountain Man breakfast here!

#2 Dutch oven chicken dinner

One of our all-time favorite dinner recipes is Dutch oven chicken. This simple recipe is a fantastic way to roast a whole chicken, imparting the meat with a delectable, moist texture alongside a herby, flavorful taste!

For this recipe, you need a whole chicken, potatoes, onions, and herbs. We love to season our chicken with rosemary, freshly squeezed lemon juice, garlic, and a decadent serving of butter. You coat your chicken in a lavish layer of melted butter and herbs, before cooking the chicken and the vegetables in the same Dutch oven.

This is one for slow roasting because you need to take your time to really create a moist chicken. You can find our moist and flavorful Dutch oven chicken dinner recipe here!

#3 Hearty braised beef in red wine sauce

A Dutch oven is the perfect cooking implement for both braising and slow cooking, which is why a braised beef in red wine sauce is the ultimate one-pot dish!

Start by braising your beef (browning each side) at the bottom of the Dutch oven. Then prepare a red wine sauce, adding onions, garlic, herbs, and beef stock to the mix. Select a few vegetables to accompany your braised beef, then allow everything to slowly cook away in the oven for up to three hours.

It's a long cooking period, but at the end of those three hours, you'll be left with beef that quite literally falls off the fork. This is one tenderizing recipe, and you'll wonder why you never tried it out before.

Our recipe does take time to simmer, but once you've got the ingredients prepared and cooking away in the Dutch oven, you leave it to its own devices. You can read our hearty braised beef in red wine sauce recipe here!

#4 Dutch oven peach cobbler

Yes, you can use a Dutch oven for almost anything, including desserts! In fact, Dutch oven desserts camping recipes have long been a firm favorite of trekkers out in the backwoods, looking for a little slice of home comfort.

You can prepare the peachy, juicy filling, and a sweet crumbly crust in advance, too. Just bring it along with you when you're going camping. You then prepare your peach cobbler directly in the Dutch oven itself, before surrounding it with hot coals and ember.

If you've done it right, you'll have a peach cobbler that's juicy in the middle and super-crispy on top. It's great for those cold nights when you're out camping with friends or family and need that extra pick me up and sugar rush.

#5 Dutch oven bread

Dutch ovens are so versatile that you not only can make elegant desserts and fancy dinners in them, but you can even use them for baking loaves of bread!

That's right; the Dutch oven is a surprisingly practical utensil for baking. First, you prepare a dough using flour, salt, yeast, and water. You knead your dough until it's nice and springy, then you shape it into a large, round ball.

Let your dough ball sit at room temperature for 30 minutes (keep it covered), and start warming up your Dutch oven and preheating your actual oven. You can layer greaseproof paper into the center of the Dutch oven and around the sides to stop the dough from sticking while it cooks.

Place the dough into the middle of your Dutch oven, place the lid over the top, then place your Dutch oven into your oven. 45 minutes later, you'll have a large, round loaf of bread.

You're best cooking bread at home, where you can keep the temperature constant, but just like our peach cobbler from earlier, you could also try this recipe out in the campfire.

You can read our detailed Dutch oven bread recipe right here. 

#6 Dutch oven pot roast

Pot roasts are a staple of family dinners all over the country, and the Dutch oven is the perfect way to prepare them easily. Dutch ovens allow you to roast meat alongside vegetables (gravy or both, too) all at the same time. This allows you to keep all the meat and vegetables' flavors and juices inside the pot for a moister and tastier dish.

First, select your roasting meat of choice. We love using a hefty cut of beef chuck, but you can also go for chicken, pork, lamb, or even a veggie nut roast if you prefer. Next, layer your Dutch oven with vegetables. We include carrots, potatoes, and onions at a minimum. Add a little stock, a few herbs, and then sit back while everything roasts in your oven.

You can find this favorite pot roast Dutch oven dinner recipe here. This recipe uses a large beef chuck and all the classic trimmings and sides!

What are your favorite Dutch oven recipes?

Have you got a favorite Dutch oven dinner recipe, or did we inspire you to try a new Dutch oven dessert or Dutch oven breakfast feast?

With so many great Dutch oven recipes out there, there's only one thing to do; start cooking! Whether you're trying easy one-pot roasts or preparing an elaborate ragu, the options are endless once you realize just how versatile your simple Dutch oven really is!

Why not bookmark our guide to Dutch oven recipes for future culinary inspiration?

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