What Can Be Used Instead Of A Dutch Oven
Enamel cast iron Dutch ovens from countries in Europe are beautiful, but they are also expensive. Here are some alternatives. There are companies in the U.S. making them and theyre just as beautiful and effective. There are also heavy ceramic Dutch ovens: the glazed earthenware bean pots from Mexico come to mind. A heavy 6 or 8-quart sauce pot thats part of a good stainless-steel set of pots and pans is also fine. Remember: maintaining an even heat is the important factor.
two bright orange pots from cast iron with enamel at an old vintage gas stove
Brinja Schmidt/Getty Images
Why Is A Dutch Oven Good For Cooking
A Dutch oven is good for cooking because you can prepare your favorite recipes all in one pot. Saute, brown, sear place all the ingredients in the pot together then cook either over your stovetop heat source or in a conventional oven.
Dutch ovens are also economical because of the heat retention you able to cook meals without using as much power.
Slow Cooker Chicken And Dumplings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Boneless chicken, 1 lb, cubed
- Frozen Peas, 1 cup
- Onion, 1 large, finely chopped
- Garlic, 3 cloves, finely chopped
- Celery, half cup, finely chopped
- Carrot, 1 cup, finely chopped
- Chicken stock, as per need
- Thyme, 1 sprig. You can also use oregano or rosemary
- Flour, 1 heaped tbsp
- Salt & pepper, as per your taste
- Readymade biscuit dough, as needed.
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Using A Dutch Oven On A Camp Stove
If you just want to use your Dutch oven as a pot, you will most likely be able to use it on any standard two-burner camp stove. Most camp stoves have an elevated grate, which will allow the legs of the Dutch oven to hang down.
We use a Camp Chef Everest 2x camp stove and frequently use our 10 Dutch oven with it.
Ways To Use A Dutch Oven
You can do so many types of cooking with a dutch oven, both on the stove and in the oven. Whether you want to cook a steak over a flame, simmer a stew for hours on end, or bake a lasagna or a loaf of bread, a Dutch oven is the solution.
Lets look at a few of the most popular ways to cook with a Dutch oven.
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What Is A Dutch Oven Anyway And Do You Need One
Pictured recipe: One-Pot Italian Sausage & Kale Pasta
Before slow cookers and Instant Pots and super-powered blenders, there was the simple, unassuming Dutch oven. This big clunky pot with its tight-fitting lid has been cranking out stews, braises, roasts and even bread for 400 years or so. And if you don’t have one, you need to get one. It can travel from your stove to your oven and back again. It’s low-maintenance and virtually indestructible. But, you say, they’re expensive. Yes, it’s true that some are quite expensive. But once you know what you’re looking for, we promise you won’t have to sell your house, your car and most of your belongings to have one of your very own. Read on below for tips on how to buy and care for your new Dutch oven and what you can do with it.
Dutch Oven Recipes Beef Stroganoff
Here is a shot of the Beef Stroganoff. I’m not sure I’ve mentioned that my family and I are vegetarians so this is a mock Beef Stroganoff, but don’t let that scare you. I suggest a substitution for meat lovers.
- 2lb tofu crumbles
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 cans organic mushroom soup
- 1pint organic sour cream
- 2 packages whole wheat pasta
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Dutch Ovens That Cook Indoors Or Out No Feet And No Lid Lip
Here is a dutch oven without a lip on the lid. It’s also my favorite because I cook with it outside and inside. You can put coals on the top but it’s more difficult to get them to stay. You can use a metal pie crust shield to help the charcoal stay on top in a pinch.
You’ll notice this dutch oven does not have feet, so I can place it on my stove, too.
This is the inside of the same dutch oven. As you can see from the picture it needs to be re-seasoned.
I will say that if you cook outdoors with any cast iron it’s harder to keep them in tip top working order, at least it always has been for me. When I use them outdoors I am often camping away from home with less than an ideal kitchen, so by the time I can give them the attention they need many times the damage has already set-in. That’s not to discourage you from cooking in a dutch oven, but I would recommend starting out cooking at home with them and cast iron in general where you can easily take care of them in your home before venturing out into the great outdoors.
Notice these spikes on the top of the lid. Those have a purpose, too. They are there so the condensation will drip back down and not stay on the lid because water will rust cast iron.
Here is a dutch oven with no feet but it has a lid with a lip. You can cook outdoors with this oven, but it wouldn’t easily stack onto another dutch oven. The trade off is that it will easily fit in a conventional stove and/or oven.
Can Cast Iron Dutch Ovens Go In The Oven
A cast iron Dutch Oven is another popular type that you’ll find on the market. These look the same as their enameled counterpart, but lack the layer of shiny enamel over the cast iron core. Dutch Ovens made of this material tend to be a bit heavier, but cast iron is also one of the most durable cooking materials out there. As a result, most cast iron Dutch Ovens are safe in the oven at higher temperatures. Cast iron can also provide an excellent sear, which makes it ideal for searing meats on the stove top before cooking the rest of the way in the oven.
When using a cast iron Dutch Oven in the oven, there is no need to preheat unless you’re baking something like bread. However, many cooks still prefer to keep their dutch ovens in the oven itself while it is preheating.
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How To Clean An Enamel Dutch Oven
The enamel coating on your cast iron dutch oven is not only beautiful, but it also helps to evenly sear meats and fry vegetables. For this reason, it is important to preserve with the proper dutch oven cleaning process. The first thing to remember when cleaning your enamel dutch oven is to be gentle. That means no hard scrubbing and no citrus juices or citrus-based cleaners. Using abrasive cleaning tools or acidic cleaners can dull or gouge the enamel coating. Therefore, you should never use steel wool on your enamel dutch oven.
If your sauce boils over and bakes onto the side of your dutch oven, make a paste from baking soda and water and use a gentle scouring pad to preserve the glossy surface. Enameled-coated dutch ovens do not need to seasoned like standard cast iron dishes. If your enamel dutch oven has any exposed cast iron edges, you can lightly coat them with a high smoke-point oil.
Sear It First: Right In The Pot
So far, everything we’ve talked about can be done with a crock pot. But one of the wonderful things about a Dutch oven is that because it’s cast iron, you can get it smoking hot on the stovetop and brown your meat directly in it, then add your liquid and other ingredients, cover it, lower the heat and continue braising at a low temperature. It’s a true one-pot wonder.
With a crock pot, you have to sear the meat in a separate skillet and then add it to the crock. What that undoubtedly means for some folks using crock pots is that they end up skipping the browning step altogether. And they’re missing out because browning meat develops all kinds of wonderful flavors and textures. And yes, it’s an extra step with a Dutch oven, too, but since you’re cooking the meat in that pot anyway, it’s not much extra work at all.
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How To Store A Dutch Oven
No matter what type of cast iron dutch oven you have, always be sure to dry it completely before storing. Even with an enamel coating, wet iron can rust. Additionally, you can keep your enamel dutch oven’s coating looking new as long as possible by avoiding tight storage spaces. Hitting cabinet doors or scraping against other pots could put scratches in its shiny coating quickly. For this reason, you should never stack enamel dutch ovens.
Make sure to keep your dutch oven or cocotte pot ready to use to make a juicy Hanukkah brisket by properly cleaning it and caring for its unique material. Refer to this blog as a guide to provide the proper dutch oven care to this useful piece of cookware.
Is It Safe To Put A Dutch Oven In The Oven
Yes, you can put a Dutch oven in the oven. Dutch ovens are designed to be used both on the stovetop and in the oven, so they can withstand high temperatures. In fact, one of the best things about Dutch ovens is that they can be used for both cooking and baking.
You can use your Dutch oven to make a casserole or bake some bread you are only limited by your imagination as to what you can cook. Just be sure to follow the recipe instructions carefully, as some recipes may call for preheating the oven or using a lower temperature than what you would typically use for baking. With a little bit of care, you can safely use your Dutch oven to make all sorts of delicious dishes.
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Dutch Oven Heating Methods
Camping Dutch ovens were primarily designed to use hot coals or wood embers, which are placed underneath the pot and on the lid. This dual-direction form of heating is the only way you can bake or braise with a Dutch oven.
Dutch ovens can also be suspended over a campfire using a tripod, placed on a campfire cooking grate over a fire, or placed directly on top of embers.
Depending on your stove, it is also possible to use a Dutch oven on a camp stove. Our Dutch ovens legs fit in between the grates covering our camp stoves range. This is a useful feature when camping in areas with seasonal fire bans.
Dutch Oven Uses You May Not Have Thought Of
A couple of other uses I regularly use my attractive enamel Dutch ovens for are:-
1. Display Bowls
Keep your Dutch oven out and use it as a bowl. Fruit bowl, imitation fruit in a bowl, or imitation flowers in a bowl.
2. Hiding Place
What about placing the lid on the oven and filling it with your favorite candies or chocolates? This may well be your way to display a beautiful enameled Dutch oven.
If you usually put your Dutch oven away after use why not try keeping it out in view so you may be tempted to use it in one of the ways suggested above?
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Preheating Dutch Oven For Bread
Unfortunately, you should not expose a cold enamel cast-iron Dutch oven to a heat source. As per manufacturers instructions and science you should heat them up together even when making Dutch oven bread.
The enamel should always be treated the same as glass but more so because it adheres to another material cast iron.
So you should be heating your Dutch oven and your heat source up together.
More Information On Cast Iron And Off Grid Cooking
Other posts in this series:
This is a guest post by Jennifer Osuch. Jennifer has been prepping, homesteading and pursuing a self-reliant lifestyle for over 12 years.
She is the mother of three very active and wonderful boys, but insists that as many of her possessions as possible be the color pink to remind her house full of boys there is a lady a living among them.
Jennifer enjoys writing, gardening, and the outdoors. She blogs with her husband at the Seed to Pantry School about urban homesteading and becoming self-reliant. You can also find her on , , and Originally posted in 2014, updated in 2018.
It makes a HUGE difference when you share our articles. Thank you so much!
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The Difference Between Classic And Camping Dutch Ovens
Material and Finish
Home Dutch ovens are made of cast iron and sealed in enamel. This enamel, which is beautiful and makes for easier cleaning, can become damaged when exposed to the high direct heat of an open campfire.
Camping Dutch ovens are also made of cast iron. However, theyre typically uncoated and rely on regular seasoning to create a nonstick cooking surface.
Unlike home Dutch ovens, which have a flat bottom, camping Dutch ovens are made with short support legs that provide stability in a campfire and allow hot coals to be tucked underneath.
Its not uncommon for home Dutch ovens to have a slightly domed lid. This shape helps circulate the heat and trap steam inside for even cooking.
A camping Dutch oven, on the other hand, needs to have a completely flat lid with a shallow, raised rim around the edge. This shape allows for hot coals to be placed on top without rolling off while cooking.
Home Dutch ovens typically have a short knob for a handle that looks nice but is not ideal for campfire cooking.
Camping Dutch ovens most often have a large, bail-style handle that can easily pivot so the pot can be picked up and moved around the fire. Its design also allows for the Dutch oven to be hung from a campfire tripod.
Add Tomato Paste Before Liquid
If youre going to include tomato paste in a soup, sauce, or stew in your dutch oven, it should be allowed to caramelize before adding the sauce or liquid. Pouring the tomato paste into a broth thats already in the oven will cause the paste to keep its tart mineral taste. If it is caramelized to the point of being brick red, it will take on a sweet and savory flavor.
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Tips For Using A Dutch Oven And Getting The Best Results
While many recipes call for the use of a Dutch oven, you may not know why its essential for a specific recipe or even what a Dutch oven is. Fun fact: Dutch ovens take their name from the Pennsylvania Dutch, who were using the pots as far back as 1700, according to The Food Lovers Companion. Large pots, usually made of cast iron and complete with a tight-fighting lid, Dutch ovens are known for their ability to retain heat and hold food at a steady temperature during and after cooking.
While you might be familiar with the 100 percent cast iron Dutch ovens used for campfire cooking, when you see a recipe that calls for cooking in a Dutch oven, it’s more likely referring to an enameled pot designed to simmer foods on the stovetop and in the oven. So now that you know what a Dutch oven is, here are a few tips and tricks to getting the most from your Dutch oven.
Soups Stews And Braises
Soups, stews, and braises use long cooking times and low temperatures, both because it allows the flavors of the various ingredients to meld, and also because it tenderizes tough cuts of meat, yielding the classic “fall off the bone” tenderness that can’t be obtained using other cuts of meat or cooking methods. Some of the best meats for braising include beef chuck, pork shoulder, and anything with a lot of fat and cartilage-like short ribs, spare ribs, lamb shanks, and oxtails.
It’s also the way to soften root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, and turnips, as well as hardy greens like collards and kale. Slow cooking also mellows the pungent flavors in onions and garlic, helping to bring out their sweetness.
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Dutch Oven Cooking With A Campfire Look For Lips And Feet
This dutch oven has a lid with a lip.
Here is a close up of it. The lip is designed to hold charcoal so that when you cook in a dutch oven you can actually turn it into an oven with heat radiating from the bottom and the top. Placing charcoal on the top of the lid is used to accomplish this and is what allows you to bake in a dutch oven.
Some dutch ovens also have feet. They are designed to help you place the dutch oven in a bed of hot coals without the coals touching the bottom of the pot, which helps prevent burning. Also they make dutch ovens easy to stack so that you can cook multiple dishes with minimum heat. The feet make this style of dutch oven really hard to put inside a conventional oven.
Here is a side view of the dutch oven with the lip on the lid and the feet on the bottom. These dutch oven are really designed for off-grid cooking and don’t do well in conventional ovens, as I’ve already mentioned, but also they won’t work on conventional stoves either.