Using a Dutch oven isn't a new method of cooking and has been around since the early 1800s. Today, there are modern electric cooking appliances that can perform the very same functions as the tried and true Dutch oven. However, a Dutch oven can be more versatile because of where and how it can be used. Does this mean a Dutch oven can on on a stovetop? We have researched where and how to use a Dutch oven in your cooking.
A Dutch oven can be used on all kinds of stovetops. It can transition from stovetop to oven without any interruption. These cooking vessels can generally be used on glass stovetops as well. It is recommended you pick up the pot completely when moving it on a stovetop. Dragging the Dutch oven across the stovetop can result in unwanted scratches and scuffs.
Materials from which a Dutch oven is constructed may vary. Bare cast iron, enameled cast iron, and stainless steel are the most common materials used. Keep reading to discover more information about this well-loved cooking vessel. You may even learn some tips!
How to Cook in a Dutch Oven on a Stovetop?
As noted above, Dutch ovens are not limited to use in the oven. They can easily move from the stovetop to the oven and can even be used in campfires. Various cooking methods can also be used with this powerhouse cooking vessel. The sky's the limit when it comes to Dutch oven cooking. First, you can learn about some cooking methods that use a Dutch oven on the stovetop below.
Cooking soups and stews in a Dutch oven is a common use for this piece of equipment. All of the ingredients can be thrown in at one time, making it a one-pot meal. Spaghetti and other types of sauces are also great for simmering in a Dutch oven.
The Dutch oven can even cook on your stovetop for several hours. Make sure not to cook at too high of a temperature. These pots are excellent at retaining heat and food can burn easily if the temperature is too hot.
Both shallow frying and deep frying can be accomplished in a Dutch oven. Placing the Dutch oven on the stovetop and filling it with cooking oil turns this into a stovetop deep-fryer. We recommend using a thermometer to check the temperature of your oil.
Again, these vessels hold onto heat very well and will keep the oil at a consistent temperature. Don't overcrowd the pot, leaving plenty of room for the food to move around. Be extremely careful as the oil my pop and spit out of the pot.
This cooking method begins on the stovetop and ends in the oven. Placing meat or vegetables in a covered pot partly submerged in a liquid is considered braising.
Tough cuts of meat braised in a Dutch oven will become tender and flavorful. Searing the meat first on the stovetop in the Dutch oven will caramelize the meat and lock in the flavors. These vessels can withstand heat for long periods so are ideal for braising and slow-cooking.
Dutch Oven Materials & Your Stovetop
The material your Dutch oven was constructed from should be considered when purchasing your new cookware. Each material has its differences. Depending on how and what you are using your Dutch oven for will determine what type of Dutch oven you should purchase.
Bare Cast Iron
The very first Dutch ovens were made out of solid cast iron. These ovens can withstand extremely high temperatures of both campfires and home ovens. Cast iron is extremely tough and can handle wear and tear for years.
Dutch ovens of these materials work wonderfully on the stovetop and in the oven. Cast iron Dutch ovens come in various styles. Some have flat bottoms, and some are constructed with feet, allowing them to stand in hot coals. The model with feet will not work on a stovetop.
Cast iron Dutch ovens do require maintenance as they will have to be routinely seasoned. This seasoning process prevents the cast iron from rusting and maintains a non-stick surface. Newer cast iron Dutch ovens may already come pre-seasoned for ease of use.
A cast iron Dutch oven properly cared for can be used for decades, making it a worthwhile investment.
Have a look at this cast-iron Dutch oven on Amazon.
This type of cookware is known for both its versatility and beauty. They are easy to clean, are extremely durable, and can be used with various heat sources such as gas, electric, convection ovens, and glass and ceramic stovetops. Some people even like to leave this type of Dutch oven sitting on their stovetop. It can add a pop of color to your kitchen.
Enameled cast iron has the same benefits as solid cast iron. The enamel will prevent your cast iron from rusting and prevents your pot from having to be seasoned.
Enameled cast iron comes in a variety of beautiful colors. Le Creuset is one of the most popular brands of this type of cookware. It can go straight from the stovetop to the oven to the table and doubles as a beautiful serving dish. As with most cookware, however, these can be stained over time.
Check out this Le Creuset Dutch oven on Amazon.
What is the maximum temperature for Le Creuset?
Le Creuset enameled cast-iron Dutch ovens are oven safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the type of knobs. Be sure to check what knobs are on your cookware. That will make a difference as to the maximum temperature of it.
This is the most modern type of Dutch oven. Stainless steel is very durable and is easy to clean and maintain. Dutch ovens made out of this material work very well on the stovetop.
It also tends to provide even heating but does not retain heat as well as cast iron. Dutch ovens made of stainless steel can be 50% lighter than cast iron Dutch ovens. If you want something not as heavy and extremely low maintenance, this might be the best option for you.
Check out this stainless steel Dutch oven on Amazon.
Can I Still Use my Dutch Oven Without a Stovetop?
Of course! The methods listed above require the use of a stovetop, but Dutch ovens can perform just as well off the stovetop. You may also want to use your Dutch oven to try these cooking methods.
Meats such as turkey, chicken, and pork as well as hearty vegetables can be effortlessly cooked in a Dutch oven. Unlike braising or slow-cooking, roasting uses little to no liquid in the cooking process. Dutch oven roasting results in food with a caramelized exterior and a tender and juicy interior.
You may want to consider placing a roasting rack in the bottom of the Dutch oven. This prevents the meat from sitting and steaming in its fat, thus reducing the crisp, golden exterior.
Breads, cakes, cobblers, and even giant cookies can be baked in a Dutch oven. No-knead bread is a current Dutch oven baking trend. Baking bread in a Dutch oven works well as it traps the steam inside, producing a crispy, golden outside and a soft, tender inside.
Camp Fire Cooking
A popular method of cooking while camping is Dutch oven cooking. Why? Just like its versatility in a home, a Dutch oven can take your campfire cooking to the next level.
One important note—Dutch oven cooking in or over a campfire should only be done with cast iron pots and NOT enamel Dutch ovens. The Dutch ovens made entirely of cast iron are meant to withstand the hot coals and wood embers of a campfire.
Many of the same dishes mentioned above can be cooked in a campfire. Braised meat, pan-fried chicken, pasta, and even scones and dumplings can be cooked using a Dutch oven over a campfire. A couple of different methods can be used in Dutch oven campfire cooking.
Can You Ruin a Dutch Oven?
As with all cookware, if not properly taken care of, your Dutch oven can be ruined. Here are some common mistakes that can ruin your Dutch oven:
- Rapid heat changes
- Putting it in the dishwasher when it's not dishwasher safe
- Using metal utensils
- Washing with steel wool or a scouring pad
Is it Safe to Heat an Empty Dutch Oven?
Most manufacturers will warn against heating an empty dutch oven. It can cause your Dutch oven to crack. Many Dutch oven bread recipes call for preheating an empty Dutch oven, so use caution if this is something you want to try.
As you can see, a Dutch oven can be considered a kitchen essential for its flexibility in the kitchen. This cookware investment can serve many purposes and can be used for a lifetime. Who knows? It may become that piece of cookware you use every day.
Learn more about Dutch oven cooking by reading these articles:
How To Cook Chicken In A Dutch Oven