A Guide to Dutch Ovens

Lodge Logic Pre-Seasoned 8 Quart Camp Dutch OvenMost people have heard of Dutch ovens, but few know exactly what they are, or how they can be used in the kitchen.Some people  think that this kind of pot is too old-fashioned for modern use, but many cooks still use them today. This guide will tell you things you need to know about these useful and durable ovens.

What is a Dutch Oven?
A  Dutch Oven is a heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid. It is usually made of cast iron, either plain or enameled, though some modern ones are made of aluminum, ceramic, or steel.

They first gained popularity as a campfire oven, because they could be used for so many different types of cooking, including boiling, steaming, baking, and roasting. when you were out camping. The Dutch oven could replace several different types of pots and pans, which was important when all of your worldly belongings had to be stowed atop a pack horse.

The heavy metal construction also meant that they were difficult to damage, even when crossing heavy terrain, and these useful cooking tools were often were passed down through generations.

Alternate Names for Dutch Ovens
These ovens are also referred to as French ovens, cocottes, camp ovens, and casserole dishes. Names often vary depending on the country where they are used.

Two Types of Dutch Oven
Dutch ovens are still popular today. They can be divided into two separate types of oven, depending on how they are used:

Dutch Ovens for Camping
The same qualities that made Dutch ovens a favorite of settlers moving into the Wild West continue to make them popular among campers today. While most chuckwagon Dutch ovens are made of bare steel, aluminum ovens are not as durable, but are much easier to carry with you on the trail.

Modern-day Dutch camping ovens usually have three legs to hold the pan above the coals and rim along the top that allows coals to be placed on the lid for even cooking from each side. A handle stretches from one side of the pot to the other, allowing it to be hung over the fire if need be.

Dutch Ovens for the Kitchen
Dutch ovens used in modern kitchens have a flat base to make them rest more easily on the stovetop, and small handles on each side of the pot, plus they are generally enameled, which makes them more colorful and eliminates the need for seasoning.

Le Creuset 13.25-qt. Enameled Round Dutch Oven, Flame
When to Use Dutch Ovens
Dutch ovens are excellent for long, slow cooking. They are often used for chili, stews, and beans. In the kitchen, these versatile pots can be used in the oven or on the stove. Some other uses for Dutch ovens include:

  • Roasting – set in the oven for fantastic roast beef, pork, or chicken.
  • Baking – create breads, biscuits, and cakes in your Dutch oven.
  • Steaming – cook fresh, fantastic, healthy vegetables, fish, and seafood.
  • Boiling – use for rice, potatoes, and other side dishes as well as for coffee or hot chocolate.
  • Pan Frying – the lid of a Dutch oven can be used as a griddle. Make pancakes, fried eggs, or grilled cheese sandwiches.

Care of Dutch Ovens
If your Dutch oven is made of bare cast iron, it must be seasoned before use like any other cast iron pot or pan. When cleaning cast iron cookware, don’t use soap – it will destroy the seasoning. Simply scrub with plain water and then heat the pan until all of the remaining residue burns off.

A Dutch oven is a fun and versatile tool to have on hand, whether you intend to cook at home or on the trail. If you don’t already own one, you should consider adding it to your kitchen; it could become one of your favorite pieces of cookware.

More Information about Dutch Ovens

The Versatile All Clad Dutch Oven
A Quick Guide to Dutch Ovens – How to Season your Dutch Oven

The All Purpose Dutch Oven
Tips for Using Your Dutch Oven
How to Store Your Dutch Oven
Why are Dutch Ovens Called Dutch
Dutch Ovens- Quick Facts
What to Look for When buying a Dutch Oven

The Versatile All Clad Dutch Oven

all-clad-dutch-ovenWe are hooked on All Clad cookware and the All Clad Dutch Oven is one of those versatile pots that you will use over and over again.

We previously reviewed the All Clad Dutch Oven with the aluminum core and the hard anodized exterior, a dutch oven that we found to be versatile and practical. All Clad also have this Dutch Oven available with a polished stainless steel exterior which is very attractive.

If you are looking for an attractive piece of cookware that can be used on both the stove top and in the oven then this is the pot for you.  The large bottom surface is ideal for browning ingredients and the sides are high enough to prevent foods from spattering.  The walls are rounded making it easy to stir and mix in the ingredients.

This Dutch Oven has a large capacity so you can mix up a bunch of chili on footy nights and feed a crowd.All-Clad Stainless 5-1/2 qt. Dutch Oven

We know you will get a lot of use from the All Clad Dutch Oven, and remember, nobody ever regretted buying quality.

And where can I buy my All Clad Dutch Oven online:



Don’t forget to read our review on the All Clad Dutch Oven or our Guide to Dutch Ovens for an overview on the versatility of this cookware.

A Quick Guide to Dutch Ovens + How to Season Your Dutch Oven

blue-dutch-oven-enamelDutch ovens are probably one of the most neglected pieces of cookware available. They also produce some of the tastiest dishes of American cuisine. Warm, satisfying comfort food is what you can expect to enjoy when cooking with a Dutch oven. While these treasures of heavy duty, hearty cooking remain somewhat forgotten by the everyday household, their capabilities should not go underappreciated.

What is a Dutch oven?

Traditional Dutch ovens are made of cast iron and are preferred by cooks who enjoy meals with a slight smoky flavor. They are also excellent heat conductors and retain their warmth throughout the cooking process.

Most Dutch ovens feature a lid, a handle and three or four legs on the bottom. While the lid and handle are necessary, legs are an added benefit and offer stability and balance to the oven.

A Little Bit of History

It was an Englishman by the name of Abraham Darby who in the early 1700’s introduced the Dutch oven to England and its American colonies after spending some time in Holland researching the manufacturing process of this piece of cookware.

Dutch ovens were among the most important cooking tools for pioneers. Their innovative design allowed coals to be piled on top of the oven, as well as underneath, providing the same temperatures and ability to cook evenly as a standard oven, even for people moving across the Wild West in covered wagons.

Do I Need to be Camping to Use a Dutch Oven?

Dutch oven cooking is popular with campers and other outdoorsmen today, because it is a simple way to cook a vast array of foods when electric ovens and gas ranges are unavailable. Everything from full roasts to piping hot biscuits can be whipped up over the hot coals of a campfire with one of these ovens.

However, Dutch oven cooking is not only for intrepid explorers anymore. A good sized Dutch oven for indoor cooking is a flexible and practical cooking tool for any kitchen. The large size of these ovens makes it easy to cook a roast, whip up a batch of stew, or to use them as a deep fryer.

Aluminum or Cast Iron?

Aluminum ovens can be used the same way in which cast iron ovens are used; that is, they can withstand being set atop open fires or inside barbeques. However, they do not spread heat as evenly, and can make food taste bland and chalky in contrast to the slightly smoky flavor that a cast iron Dutch oven will produce. The main benefit of aluminum ovens is that they weigh less and are therefore easier to handle.

The Benefits of Dutch Ovens

For outdoor entertaining, Dutch ovens are a unique and delicious way to give your guests something to remember. Roasts, quiches, breads and scrumptious casseroles are easy to create with these timeless cooking tools. Why have another boring barbeque when you can cook an entire meal within the warm pot of a Dutch oven?

Larger cookware takes up a lot of room in a kitchen. That’s why it’s useful to have a single piece that can perform a variety of different tasks: roasting, frying, baking, simmering, steaming, and poaching can be easily achieved in a single pot.

Not only is a Dutch oven a great size for cooking, but it also makes meat that is incredibly moist and tender. Even cuts of meat that are typically on the tough side will fall off the bone when you use this time-tested cookware.

Lodge Manufacturing Co. 5-qt. Logic Double Dutch Oven
Seasoning Your Dutch Oven

If you have a cast iron Dutch oven then you will need to care for it like any other piece of cast iron cookware. This means that you will need to season it to protect it from rust and provide a non-stick coating for cooking. Note that this won’t apply if you have a cast iron Dutch oven that is coated in enamel or you have purchased your Dutch oven pre-seasoned.

1. Wash your Dutch oven thoroughly with soap and warm water using a scourer. If your Dutch oven is new it will probably have a protective coating to prevent rust so this step is a must.
2. Dry thoroughly.
3. Coat your Dutch oven in a thin layer of oil using either bacon fat, Crisco or lard. Ensure that both the inside and the outside of the pot are evenly coated as well as the lid.
4. Place aluminum foil in the bottom of your oven to protect it from oil splatters.
5. Place the pot and the lid upside down in the oven at 300F for up to an hour.
6. For optimal results repeat the process.

The All Purpose Dutch Oven

green-dutch-ovenWe have extolled the virtues of the Le Creuset Dutch Oven in the past. The cast iron construction is superior to other cookware because it absorbs and retains heat more efficiently as your pot roast, chicken and vegetables slowly braise and stew in the oven. Braise, stew, brown…do it all in this all-purpose pot. It’s perfect, and its heat retention is amazing. The oven also cleans up really well.

The artisans at Le Creuset have been making richly enameled cast iron cookware in the French village of Fresnoy-le-Grand since 1925. Each piece from their line is individually created, coated, fired and inspected in order to bring you the finest quality cookware-to-tableware available.

The 6.75-qt. oval Dutch oven is fitted with two loop handles and comes with a domed lid to seal in the juices while your dish cooks. Oven-safe to 450 degrees.

The Dutch oven has one drawback in that it is heavy.

About the Dutch oven
Tips for using your Dutch Ovens
How to store your Dutch Oven
What can I cook in a Dutch Oven
What to look for when buying a Dutch Oven

Le Creuset 3.5-qt. Enameled Wide Round Dutch Oven, Kiwi

Tips for Using Your Dutch Oven

red-oval-dutch-ovenMany people in America have an unused Dutch oven in their loft that they have either inherited or bought. Dutch ovens are often be found in garage sales which is an inexpensive way to pick one up.

One of the reasons that some people don’t like using a dutch oven, is that the meat looks uncooked and there is nothing more unattractive than a white lump of chicken or meat even if it is cooked.  So the best way to overcome this is to always brown  the meat before putting it into the Dutch oven – just as you would when cooking meat in  a Slow Cooker.

Another reason people tend not to use their Dutch oven is because it may need to be seasoned, especially if it is cast iron. This must be done prior to use. Seasoning provides a non-stick surface and prevents foods from reacting with the cast iron. If you have purchased an enameled cast iron Dutch oven then this will not be necessary.

Season your dutch oven in the same way you season your other cast iron cookware and the more you use it the better the non stick finish and rust preventative properties will be.

A dutch oven is a remarkable piece of kitchen cookware – don’t let yours waste away in the cupboard. There are so many delightful recipes you can cook in it.