A Dutch oven is a sort of cooking pot with heavy, thick sides and a lid that fits tightly. Usually, Dutch ovens are made of seasoned cast iron, but you can also find some in ceramic or cast aluminum. Some are known as French Dutch ovens and are made of metal with an enamel coating.
There are numerous reasons to get a Dutch oven – by the end of this article, you’ll want one for sure, and if you have one already, you’ll be glad you’ve got one.
- You won’t need as much cookware
A Dutch oven can do most of what other kitchen pots and pans can do, and do it better. No need for a stockpot, pasta pot, deep fryer, or loaf pan. Your Dutch oven can boil, brown, braise, bake, and deep-fry.
- You can take it camping
Some Dutch ovens like this double Dutch Oven are particularly useful for camping, as you can put them directly on top of hot coals.
Firepit cooking is also easy with a Dutch oven. Make delicious stews, baked beans, or any one-pot meal.
- You can use it for pasta
You can boil large amounts of pasta in a Dutch oven – up to a pound of spaghetti, for example.
Sauté your garlic in the pot, then pour in the water, bring it to a boil and add the pasta. Dutch ovens typically heat water in less than 10 minutes, so no need for a separate pasta pot.
Once your pasta is cooked, drain the water, add your favorite sauce, stir through to heat well, and serve.
- Brown meat or fish perfectly
No need for a skillet to brown fish or meat. Dutch ovens are perfect for getting that lovely brown color on your meat before adding other ingredients. If you use a Dutch oven for browning meat, you won’t get any spatters, since the sides are quite high.
- It’s brilliant for braising meat
A Dutch oven is perfect for braising meat because of its heavy and thick construction. Dutch ovens retain and distribute heat evenly, which is ideal for searing meat at a high temperature.
The advantage of braising is that you can use tougher cuts of meat, as they’ll become tender and delicious. When you partially submerge the browned meat in liquid and put the lid on your Dutch oven, you’ll wind up with soft and tasty meat.
- Big soups are a snap
Because of its size, a Dutch oven is perfect for making large quantities of soup. Eat half and freeze the rest for another day. Win!
- Perfect for baking
A Dutch oven is perfect for baking since the heat distribution is so efficient. The lid on top makes for an enclosed space that is brilliant for making all kinds of bread, pies, and cakes.
Bread in a Dutch oven comes out crusty on the outside and soft on the inside.
- You can make casseroles
Large casseroles are a snap with a Dutch oven. The large capacity and high sides mean you can layer your ingredients, such as pasta, meat, sauce, and veggies, with room to spare for cheese on the top.
Bake your casseroles in the oven, and then remove the lid towards the end to brown the top. Simple!
- It’s great for simmering sauces
The even heat distribution of a Dutch oven means that it’s easy to simmer sauces at a low temperature. Recipes that require long simmers, such as apple butter, are delicious in a Dutch oven.
- Cobblers and other desserts are easy
To make a cobbler, you can stew your fruit in the Dutch oven on the stove. Then put the crumble on top and bake it in the oven to finish off. Perfect!
- Deep-frying without spatters
Dutch ovens are perfect for deep-frying without spatters. Fill your Dutch oven with oil, and it will heat up quickly. The thick base and sides will lock in the heat so that you can make fried chicken, calamari, French fries, and other fried treats easily.
- You can bring your food from the oven to the table
Beautiful Dutch ovens are perfect for carrying from the oven to your table. Your guests will enjoy serving themselves family-style, with less cleanup for you, as you’ve only used one pot for everything.
There are enameled Dutch ovens in all different colors, so you’ll likely find the perfect match for your existing color scheme. Or you can go ‘classic’ with a seasoned cast-iron model that goes with everything.