We’re living in a technology-driven era. All of our typical day-to-day tasks are driven by technologies. With the arrival of cooking blogs, Pinterest, and online shopping, getting newer recipes or shopping for your dream cookware has become much more manageable.
The technology has also familiarized home chefs with new and innovative cookware. One fine example is the Dutch oven. This heavy, durable and versatile cooking pots look very much similar to traditional pots, but it is exceptionally versatile than those traditional ones.
If you are unaware of this cookware, this guide is for you and covers all the details you should know before buying and using the Dutch oven.
Table of Contents
What is a Dutch oven?
A Dutch oven is a thick and durable pot with a lid. These pots are versatile cooking vessels that people are using for centuries for various items. These are ideal for slow-cooking, soups, stews, camping, sauces, and more.
Dutch ovens come in various materials and varieties. You will find cast iron Dutch ovens, enameled Dutch ovens, aluminum, and ceramic materials. Traditionally, Dutch ovens are made only with seasoned cast iron. Before we move on to their uses, let me clear a misconception:
Are Dutch oven and French Oven the same?
It is a major misconception among home cooks. These two are not the same, and the biggest difference between these two comes in the interior of the pot. Dutch ovens are mostly made up of cast iron, while French ovens feature enamel coating. Obviously, this is not the only difference; there are many others. I hope this clears your misconception.
Dutch Oven Types
Mostly, all Dutch ovens have the same shape, but they have different colors, sizes, and materials. Some common types that you will see the most on the market are:
Bare cast-iron Dutch ovens: This type is perfect for rugged uses. The bare cast-iron Dutch ovens are known to retain heat for a long time, and these are the best for slow and low cooking. However, these Dutch ovens require timely and adequate maintenance. You cannot throw them in your dishwasher. Instead, their delicate surface requires special and thorough cleaning. With adequate cleaning and maintenance, these will serve you for a lifetime.
Enameled cast-iron Dutch ovens: Technically, these are French ovens — (let’s not get in the debate). These have become quite popular in present times. They offer all the advantages of traditional Dutch Ovens; the only difference is that they are simple to maintain. Further, their durability, versatility, functionality, and appealing looks can’t be ignored. The one drawback of these types is that they are pretty expensive than the others.
Ceramic Dutch ovens: These Dutch ovens are more suitable for beginners. Ceramic Dutch Ovens are lighter than others and easier to handle. They offer almost all the benefits of the traditional and enameled cast-iron Dutch ovens. However, their durability is not the same. Moreover, these are not the safest to use at extreme temperatures.
Dutch Oven Maintenance
The best approach is to clean Dutch ovens immediately after using them like other cast-iron cookware. Cleaning them is quick and straightforward. You will need boiling water and a soft brush or sponge. Furthermore, always keep a cleaned and freshly oiled Dutch oven in a dry location along with the lid. However, don’t seal it completely and leave some space for air circulation as it will remove the smell of oil.
What is a Dutch Oven used For?
If you don’t have a high-quality Dutch oven in your kitchen, it’s time to get the one without thinking twice. The unit is ideal for all types of recipes, and you can use it on the stovetop and in your oven as well. Here are some ways to use your Dutch oven:
Soups and stews: Dutch ovens are the perfect choice for slow and low cooking. Thus they are ideal for preparing for the meaty soups and stews, especially in chilly winters. Plus, they can hold a large quantity of soup or other liquids.
Braising meat: Dutch ovens are made up of premium material that heats up quickly and evenly. While they are also known to retain extreme temperatures exceptionally well, you can braise meats and veggies to perfection.
Bread-making: The Dutch ovens have much thicker walls and heavy lids that are perfect to create a steamy situation. Hence you can safely use them to keep the dough fresh and moist.
Camping: Yes, you can also use some Dutch ovens for outdoor cooking! So, these are also perfect to use on open flames or over a campfire. Readout our buying guide Best Camping Dutch Ovens.
In addition to the above-mentioned uses, you can also use them for cooking rice, grains, potatoes, fried foods, and more.
Read more: Best Camping Cookware
Which one should you Buy?
Le Creuset is a famous cookware brand, and it is more than just a simple cookware brand. The brand has an extensive lineup of high-end and premium French Cookware. Serving since 1920, the brand enjoys a good reputation since then.
Dutch Ovens by Le Creuset are premium ones. Le Creuset Dutch Ovens come in vibrant and dramatic color combinations and reflect a timeless elegance. It’s not just about the cookware’s appearance; in terms of cooking, these are the first choice of many professional chefs across the globe.
In short and simple words, if Le Creuset is the “Mercedes-Benz” of cookware, then Staub is the “BMW” of cookware.
The Staub Dutch Ovens are incomparable when it comes to slow-cooking of meat and vegetable. Furthermore, these are also the best for simmering hearty stews and delicious soups.
For overall cooking, Staub is the best cookware brand on the market. Plus, it is simple to maintain well. As for aesthetics, usually, Staub’s cookware is sleeker and features a sophisticated style.
Dutch Oven Tips
To acquire the maximum benefit from your Dutch Oven, here are some pro cooking tips for you:
- Always clean and dry Dutch ovens immediately after cooking in them.
- Don’t allow water to sit in it, or don’t expose it to water; otherwise, it can caught rust.
- If using Dutch Oven on coals or campfire, ensure that it is filled with water or foodstuff before placing it on fire or coals. And keep monitoring the heat. An empty Dutch oven can damage the seasoning in no time.
- The main benefit of using a good Dutch Oven is that you can use it to create multiple layers of different flavors.
- Your Dutch oven’s glossy, enameled surface looks nonstick, but remember that it’s not as smooth as you expect. So, don’t hesitate to use oil or butter when preparing meals in a Dutch oven.
- A Dutch oven stays warm much longer and even after you remove it from the heat source. Hence you can take benefit from it by using it as a serving pot.
- Dropping a Dutch oven will be a total loss as they can break or crack quickly and easily than you think!
- Never drop a hot Dutch oven in cold water, and don’t put frozen food in it as it can damage it.