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How to Use a Dutch Oven In a Conventional Oven

January 22, 2021 4 min read

Dutch oven in a conventional oven

Cast-iron dutch ovens are the cookware of choice for hot, bubbling soups and stews on the stovetop. But can you put a dutch oven in the oven? Learn how to use your dutch oven safely for baking, braising, and roasting, so you can fully utilize this multifunctional kitchen tool. 

A cast-iron dutch oven is on the short list of ultimate cookware investments you can make to outfit your kitchen collection. 

You can use a dutch oven for cooking on the stovetop like a traditional pot, but it gets even better – you can also pop this handy, lidded pot into the oven for baking fresh loaves of bread, braising thick cuts of meat, or making golden casseroles.

However, while a cast-iron dutch oven is oven-safe, you should keep a few things in mind while using a dutch oven for cooking safely and achieving the best results.

Learn more below about the best dutch oven cooking methods and safety!

What is a Dutch Oven?

double dutch oven is a large, lidded pot made of cast-iron. Dutch ovens have a handle on each side of both the lid and the pot itself, making it simple to slip from the stovetop to the oven in a snap. 

The cast-iron material is heavy-duty, so it's incredibly durable and provides the oven an even heat distribution. 

It's important to note that cast-iron needs to be well-seasoned to provide a non-stick, even surface for cooking. If you're concerned about building a seasoning, many buying options come pre-seasoned and require simple, unique steps of care to maintain the seasoning. 

Their tight-fitting lids make them great for cooking soups and stews, braising, or baking certain foods, like bread. The dutch oven is also handy without the top for deep-frying, roasting, and other baking uses.

How to Use a Dutch Oven in a Conventional Oven

Are dutch ovens oven-safe? Yes, they can be fully oven-safe if you follow some simple guidelines. Here are some tips on how to use a dutch oven in a conventional oven safely.  

Safety

While cast-iron is very durable, sometimes it can be mistreated and mis-heated, causing cracks. If your dutch oven has a crack, don't put it in the oven, especially if it is an enamel-coated version. 

The crack creates a dangerous weak point in the dish and could leak food, which is a fire risk, and it may break, exploding in your oven.

Dutch ovens also get very, very hot during cooking, and that includes their handles. Always use oven mitts or other types of heat protection to keep your skin safe from burns. 

Oven Type and Size

You can place your dutch oven in an oven of almost any kind, including gas, electric, convection, and solar. The only oven that the dish cannot go in is a microwave, as cast-iron contains metal. 

There is a broad range of dutch oven sizes available for your selection. You may want to choose your dutch oven based on the size of the oven in which it will cook, as some small, apartment-sized ovens may not be big enough to fit larger-sized cookware. 

Keep size in mind for the recipe you want to cook too. Whether you choose a small or large dutch oven for your dish, ensure the dish isn't too full, or you risk spilling the contents or boiling over into the oven.

Temperature and Preheating

While cast-iron is a material that can get and stay very hot consistently, it is not infallible – a dutch oven may crack when exposed to sudden high heat. 

To keep your dutch oven safe and provide an even cooking surface, slowly heat your cast iron along with the heat source. In the case of an oven, this means placing the dutch oven in the oven and then turning the temperature on, so the heat can slowly build in the cast-iron. 

Handle Materials

Dutch ovens can come with a few different handles, made of varying materials that can withstand different temperatures. 

  • In the case of handles made of cast-iron, they can withstand the highest temperature setting of any conventional oven. 
  • Metal handles or knobs can withstand any oven temperature setting. 
  • The classic knob that comes on some dutch ovens can be safely heated up to 375°F.
  • Phenolic knobs, made of a hard resin-plastic compound, are a step above the classic knob and can withstand high temperatures of up to 480°F.

What Can You Cook in a Dutch Oven?

The options are virtually endless for your cast-iron dutch oven, so get to cooking and experiment with some of these recipe ideas:

  • Beefy chili, stew, and soup
  • Baked mac and cheese
  • One-pot pasta
  • Roasted whole chicken and veggies
  • Braised beef roast or short ribs
  • Lamb bolognese
  • Mushroom or seafood risotto and paella
  • Turkey legs and veggies
  • No-knead or sourdough bread 
  • Biscuits
  • Chocolate cake
  • Baked bacon and eggs
  • Pizza
  • Curries
  • Apple or peach crumble

And many, many more!

Proper Care for a Dutch Oven

Cast-iron is easy to care for, but it requires a few more steps than stainless steel and other common cookware materials do. Here are the care tips you need to know to keep your dutch oven in great shape for years to come.

  • Don’t submerge your cast-iron in water. Hand wash your cast iron with mild soap and dry thoroughly before putting it away to keep the seasoning intact and avoid rusting.
  • Re-season your pan after each use. Go with a small amount of oil over low heat. 
  • Don’t cook overly acidic foods in your dish. This can disrupt your cast-iron seasoning. 
  • Don't store leftovers in the dutch oven. Always remove the extra food and immediately clean the dish.

Final Note: Can A Dutch Oven Go in the Oven?

The answer is yes! In fact, if you're not putting your cast-iron dutch oven in the oven, you're missing half of the benefits of this excellent cooking vessel. 

To recap, use your dutch ovens in the oven safely by:

  • Using oven mitts whenever you're handling the dish;
  • Not using a cracked cast-iron piece;
  • Choosing a dutch oven that fits into your oven and not overfilling the pot;
  • Preheating the dutch oven slowly as your oven heats;
  • And ensuring certain types of handles don't overheat.

Enjoy experimenting with your dutch oven and the wide variety of recipes it can make!


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