What Is A Dutch Oven Used For And Do You Really Need It?

A Dutch oven is always a top pick for any chef and every household. And it makes sense as you can cook and make all those mouth-watering foods.

The advantages of cooking in a Dutch oven are quite fascinating. So, people who have put a Dutch oven on their wish lists want to know what is a Dutch oven used for. 

So in this long list article, I will talk about what you can do (not just cooking!) with a Dutch oven. Stay with me for a while.

Common Dutch Oven Uses

what is a dutch oven used for

Here is a brief list of common usages of a Dutch oven:

  1. No-Knead Bread
  2. Braised Meats
  3. Casseroles and Lasagnas
  4. Roasting
  5. Skillet Cookies
  6. Chicken Stock
  7. Frying
  8. Soups, Stews, and Chilies
  9. And many more!

Now that you have a slight idea of what you can cook in a Dutch oven, let’s talk about them in more detail.

  • Baking (No-Knead Bread)

The perfect golden bread without the need for kneading! That’s what every bread enthusiast wants! 

Thanks to the Dutch oven…You can have your perfectly made bread with little to no effort with a Dutch oven from Le Creuset or Staub.

The thick walls and heavy lid of the Dutch oven create a nice steamy environment. That environment helps the bread to be moist and rise. 

That’s how you get artisan quality bread with a tender crumb and crispy crust. As the oven can maintain a uniform heat, it’s so easy to get perfectly cooked golden-brown bread.

Even a decade ago, it was incredibly difficult to make the perfect loaves of homemade bread in the kitchen. Now, it’s just as easy as it can get!

  • Frying
using dutch oven for frying

When it comes to frying foods, keeping the oil at a constant temperature is crucial. That’s why fried food enthusiasts find the Dutch oven very useful for shallow and deep frying.

Because of the oil splatters and messes it creates, frying may seem daunting to many. But without the fried foods, our daily life will come to standstill.

To solve the problem, you can use a Dutch oven to meet all of your frying needs. From homemade donuts to latkes, you can literally fry anything when you have a Dutch oven.

As it can tolerate extremely high heat and the sides are very tall, it can serve you as an all-in-one frying tool. You won’t be needing any frying pans as long as you have such an oven.  

To fry anything with a Dutch oven, heat up your oven and add the oil as necessary. Don’t insert your food until the oil temperature reaches up to 350℉. Use a thermometer if you have to.

Leave enough room to move your food freely while frying. If you need to fry a lot of food for your whole family and guests, fry in batches. 

  • Roasting

A Dutch oven can satisfy all of your roasting needs like a charm. You can use it as a roasting pan. 

In fact, roasting is the primary reason why households are so nut about this oven because of its incredible capabilities of roasting.

So, when it comes to homemade roasting, a Dutch oven is the ultimate choice of many. Here is how you can take full advantage…

If you have a larger Dutch oven, you can prep an entire chicken for your whole family. 

Prep the chicken with garlic, lemon, onion, butter, pepper, salt, and veggies mix. Now, put it into the oven and let it do its magic.

Because of the lid, you can have a brown roast on the top without drying out. Just remove the lid at the end of cooking!

All it takes one and half hours to serve you a juicy and crispy chicken with great flavor. 

  • Hot Air Cooking (Making Popcorn)

It may sound a little off, but you can actually make your favorite popcorn with a Dutch oven. The heavy lid and extreme heat retention features have made it perfect for popcorn.

In fact, you can get your popcorn faster than any other popcorn maker! Let me show you how you can use a Dutch oven to prepare popcorn the old-fashioned way…

All you need ½ cup of popping kernels for 12 cups of popcorn and 1 tablespoon of oil of your personal choice. I will show you how to do it without using oil too!

Get your larger-sized Dutch oven and heat the oil slowly. Add the popcorn and close the lid. You should shake the oven while the corns are popping.

Within just 5 minutes max, you should have your popcorn! You can’t do this with a cocotte. There are some clear differences between Dutch oven and cocotte.

For my healthy lifestyle readers, let me tell you how you can achieve the same result without using any oil too.

You need to pre-heat the Dutch oven keeping the lid on first for about 2 minutes using medium heat. 

You need to get the heat right. So, add some water to the oven’s bottom and if it sizzles and evaporates, lower the heat. Add the popcorn kernels.

Shake the oven until you don’t hear any popping. You can add your favorite condiments and enjoy your healthy popcorn!

  • Slow Cooking

Slow cooking with a Dutch oven? 

Well, some people will say it’s not possible as it retains extreme heat but ask any Dutch oven enthusiast and they will tell you it’s still possible.

It’s possible because the Dutch oven can radiate heat from multiple directions and because of its construction.

Also, the moisture-retaining and low heat features have made it a cost-saving option as well.

  • Steaming
steaming with dutch oven

Did you know you can have your steamed rice from a Dutch oven as well? This is probably one of the best usages of it.

The benefit of steaming rice in a Dutch oven is that it will FAST and easy. Also, it can retain warmth for a longer period. Thanks to its lid!

  • Sautéing

You can use it for sautéing your vegetables. As you can get the heat up really high, a Dutch oven is just perfect in this regard.

I am sure you already know this but avoid too much moisture when it comes to sautéing. Keep your own safety in mind while doing so and try to be as fast as possible.

  • Serving Meals

If you have an enameled oven, it will go nicely to serve meals to your family members. And to many people, it makes sense to serve a meal directly from the oven.

The same is true for the roughcast iron oven if you serve food with it while camping.

  • Prepare & Serve Salads

To do that, you need to pre-chill the Dutch oven in your refrigerator first. Now, you can use it to serve green salads or any salads you want.

Your family members or guest can serve themselves directly from the oven to make your job a little easier.

Tasty Foods You Can Make With Dutch Oven

cocotte Vs. dutch oven

So, I have discussed the basic functions of a Dutch oven. Apart from those basic functions, you can prepare various mouth-watering foods as follows:

  • Get Risotto

It requires constant stirring when done one stovetop. But you can get risotto for your dinner with a Dutch oven and it will be much easier.

With the lid on, bake your chicken and rice until there is no liquid. You can use unprocessed rice if you need an appealing texture. 

Pull it out when done and give it a stir. And you will end up with your risotto without requiring much effort.

  • To Make Pasta

A Dutch oven can make your pasta dinner a breeze and effortless. No need to boil a big pot of water to make your pasta.

Let’s see how a Dutch oven can make your pasta full of flavor and effortless…

To have a flavor-filled pasta, you can add a combination of liquids like broth or wine. Some people even add semolina pasta flavor, olive oil, eggs, and water.

  • Prepare Applesauce
making applesauce with dutch oven

Another useful use of a Dutch oven is to bake sweet and beautiful applesauce. Due to the slow-cooking feature and as you can put into the oven directly, it’s just convenient for this purpose.

Simply, prepare your apples (peel, quarter, and core) and mix them with cinnamon, lemon juice, butter, and brown sugar in the oven.

Now, bake them until the apples become soft and serve while warm. 

  • Prepare Chicken Stock

Roasting chicken is the specialty of Dutch ovens. So, when you need homemade chicken stock, your Dutch oven will be there to rescue you!

You can save and use the juices after you are done with roasting the chicken to make your homemade chicken stock.

It saves you a lot of time as you can cook it right away on the stovetop and you won’t have to go for painful cleaning.

  • To Make Casseroles and Lasagnas

When it comes to making Casseroles and Lasagnas, the incredible ability of a Dutch oven is priceless. And it’s easy to do that with such ovens.

All you need is to spread a layer of tortillas or pasta, cheese, and a layer of sauce. Then bake them all in the Dutch oven until it’s completely cooked.

  • Make Your Own Skillet Cookies

Like me, if you are fond of ice-cream topped skillet cookies, you can make the same at home only if you have a Dutch oven. And yes, the taste and flavor will be the restaurant’s quality.

With an even layer, add your cookie dough to the oven and bake it until they turn golden. I have seen people are making chocolate marshmallow skillet cookies with their Dutch ovens.

  • Braised Meats

It may sound complicated but the technique of braised meats is fairly simple with a Dutch oven. Let me explain why it’s fairly simple.

Complete the seasoning and searing of the meat in the oven first. After that, take the meat out and add onions, carrots, celery.

Now, deglaze the pot and return your meat. Simmer the liquid and move it all to the oven. Make sure to set the temperature at 325°F.

Your Dutch oven will do the rest and if you add your favorite salad with the braised meats, your dinner will be all set! 

Follow this recipe to braise meat with a Dutch oven.

  • To Poach Your Chicken

A moisture-filled tender chicken is something you want every now and then. Many people prefer poaching to avoid the dryness issue.

The good news is that you can use a Dutch oven to poach your chicken since it is both deep and extremely capable to retain heat.

For the ultimate perfection, the oven allows enough room to simmer well while holding the chicken and water. 

When the chicken is ready, you can have your favorite chicken dishes like Chicken Taco Casserole at home.

  • Soups, Stews, and Chilies

Yes, the Dutch oven is quite capable of offering soups, stews, and chilies and the taste will be mouth-watering. 

As it can hold a lot of liquid, it’s just convenient to make meaty soups and stews for your whole family members during the wintertime.

Start with meats, beans, veggies and top it with fresh herbs and cheese. You can follow a lot of recipes if you go for the hearty vegan chili or beef stew with your Dutch oven.

  • Serve Cold Drinks

I find it cool when people fill their Dutch ovens with ice and set the canned drinks or bottled drinks inside the Dutch oven.

You can also put your beers inside the cast-iron Dutch oven and fill it with ice to serve and enjoy cold beers.

  • Dutch Oven For Camping

For camping, you need something that can cook almost everything so that the load you have to carry becomes not so heavy. 

To satisfy your dessert needs during camping time, you can make apple pie with the Dutch oven. Another favorite snack is nachos you can make with it.

Yes, it’s great for camping but I recommend the cast iron Dutch iron for this purpose. Skip the enameled Dutch oven as you will be cooking over the open fire.

If you spend some time looking for a hard-anodized aluminum-made Dutch oven, you can find one. This type of Dutch oven is very lightweight and you will find it easy to carry.

  • Other Dutch Oven Uses

Well, cooking in a Dutch oven is awesome. But the usage of a Dutch oven is not limited to make delicious foods. In fact, you can use it other than cooking purposes as well. 

You can simply use it as a bowl-like fruit bowl. You can also put imitation flowers in it as well. 

Using the Dutch oven as a hiding spot is also possible. You can fill it with chocolates or candies and keep the lid on.

Also, when not in use, put it in your view so that you can use it anytime for any of the purposes mentioned above.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do I really need a Dutch oven?

Yes, you do need one. Once you know all the benefits of using a Dutch, you can’t avoid it. Dutch ovens are thick and heavy enough to retain heat and deep enough to cook for the entire family.

What is the best thing to cook in a Dutch oven?

Not just A thing, it’s best for braises, roasts, soups, fried-foods, bread, and more!

What can be cooked in a cast iron Dutch oven?

Cast iron Dutch ovens are versatile enough for baking, browning, searing, roasting, broiling, and deep-frying.

Can you cook eggs in enameled cast iron?

Of course, you can cook eggs in enameled cast iron. The enameled cast iron is just like any other pans.

Which is better cast iron or enameled cast iron?

Definitely, enameled cast iron is better. The enamel coatings protect the cast iron better when you put it on the stovetop. It also makes it easy when it comes to cleaning.

Final Thoughts

After knowing what is a Dutch oven used for, it’s just insane not to have one in your kitchen arsenal. Imagine all the tasty foods you can prepare conveniently and without wasting much time.

If you have more Dutch oven uses that I did not cover above, let me know in the comment box. I will be happy to include those in this article.

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