Every chef and every kitchen should have a solid and dependable Dutch oven, because the Dutch oven uses you can enjoy with this traditional piece of cookware are endless!
Yes, Dutch ovens are hefty, and they are heavy, but a Dutch oven is practically indestructible and is the best way to cook stews, casseroles, soups, and one-pot roasts. Dutch oven uses even include baking bread and creating desserts.
In this article, we'll take a look at the best Dutch oven uses and show you how to really make the most of this great piece of cooking equipment!
Chefs have been Dutch oven cooking for centuries because this traditional piece of cookware is versatile, portable, and difficult to damage. Dutch ovens are large cooking pots with removable lids, which since the dawn of the Iron Age, have been molded from cast iron and used to cook meals over open fires or hot coals.
They can retain high levels of heat, and spread that heat evenly across all surfaces, which creates so many great uses for Dutch oven cookware. You can cook with them in standard kitchen ovens, use them on a stovetop, or you can even use them over the campfire.
Modern Dutch ovens are produced in two major styles:
The cast iron Dutch oven is the traditional Dutch oven that has been used for millennia. Modern cast iron Dutch ovens are heavy, but they are also sleek and refined pieces of cookware that work well in the kitchen or when you're out camping.
Cast iron Dutch ovens are difficult to damage, and they can last for years if they are cared for, but they do need regular seasoning to keep them from rusting. Double Dutch ovens will have a heavy removable cast iron lid that can also be used as a frying pan or skillet.
Enameled cast iron Dutch ovens are the latest innovation on the traditional Dutch oven design. An enameled Dutch oven is much lighter than a cast iron Dutch oven and is much easier to care for.
The enamel coating stops any rusting and makes the pot super easy to clean. Enameled Dutch ovens cook just as well as a cast iron Dutch oven, but they aren't quite as unbreakable (the enamel can chip off, so you won't want to take this one camping with you!).
Dutch ovens have so many great uses, and their versatility ensures that you can cook with them on stovetops, in the oven in your kitchen, and (as long as it's not enameled) over the campfire too.
They are great for stewing, roasting, braising, frying, baking, and many more one-pot Dutch oven recipes too.
Dutch ovens are an excellent way to cook up delicious casseroles and hearty stews. You can prepare all of your favorite types of casserole, from an egg and bacon-filled breakfast casserole right through to chicken casseroles in a creamy, white wine sauce.
Simply prepare your dinner, place it in the Dutch oven, and leave the pot in the oven to slowly cook the casserole to perfection!
One of the best Dutch oven uses is for cooking up delectable one-pot roasts!
You can perfectly roast a whole chicken, large legs of lamb, or beef chucks in a Dutch oven. The best way to bring out the flavor is to prepare a bed of vegetables for roasting too. Layer the vegetables on the bottom and sides of the Dutch oven, so they can encase the meat and allow everything to roast together.
Dutch ovens can also be used for frying. Heat the Dutch oven up over the stovetop and drizzle over a layer of oil. You can then fry up vegetables, bacon, sausages, and much more in the bottom of the pot. If you're braising or stewing, then you can flash fry the meat in the Dutch oven before slow cooking it.
Frying is even easier if you have a Double Dutch oven because you can use the lid as a skillet!
Large Dutch ovens are great for boiling up water then cooking pasta on the stovetop.
Once the pasta is cooked, you can then use the Dutch oven for cooking through your pasta sauce as well, using the same pot. The size of a Dutch oven makes it perfect for preparing large pasta dishes for your friends and family.
One of the most creative ways to cook with a Dutch oven is to prepare delicious Dutch oven desserts!
You can prepare and cook desserts such as a peach cobbler, with lovely, crumbly tops. But don't stop there, because you can cook up so many more desserts in a Dutch oven too, from apple pies to cinnamon rolls.
Dutch ovens really are versatile, and you can even use your Dutch oven for baking bread!
Simply prepare your dough, heat your oven, then bake your bread with the lid closed tightly. We love making sourdough bread using our Dutch oven because that's one recipe that works well when camping too.
Dutch ovens are perfect for campfire cooking, but make sure you use the heavy, traditional cast iron pots rather than the newer enamel-coated Dutch ovens.
You can cook up so many great one-pot meals over the fire, including chilis, mountain man breakfasts, pot roasts, or even sourdough bread!
Simply place your Dutch oven in the embers of the campfire, or cover it in coals, and your one-pot meal inside will cook and stew slowly to perfection.
Keeping a Dutch oven clean is the best way to prolong its lifespan and to keep it cooking up great casseroles or baking bread for years to come.
To clean a Dutch oven:
To preserve the seasoning (or the enamel coating, if you are coking with an enameled cast iron Dutch oven), we recommend cleaning the surface with a nylon scraper. This should quickly remove any burnt-on food or stains from the bottom of the Dutch oven.
There are so many great Dutch oven uses that ensure that this is one piece of cookware that your kitchen really can't do without. Cook up Dutch oven meals on the stovetop, in your oven, or even over the hot coals of a campfire! Why not bookmark our handy guide to Dutch oven uses for later?