A comprehensive list of Dutch oven care and cleaning tips to help you get the most out of your Dutch oven, now and for years to come.
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One of the most used and versatile kitchen pots can arguably be the cast iron dutch oven and more specifically the enameled cast iron dutch oven.
You can cook almost anything in a dutch oven! From soups to stews, or even bread and whole chickens. You can fry your favorite homemade, onion ring recipe in a dutch oven, and you can throw together a last minute casserole in one for your next get together.
They can be used to cook on the stove top, or they can be used in the oven. They are amazing!
Just like with anything, there are proper care and precautions that should be taken if you own an enameled cast iron dutch oven to ensure that it stays in tip top shape and lasts long enough for you to pass it on to your grandchildren.
Enameled Cast Iron vs. Regular Cast Iron
Are you wondering if you have an enameled cast iron dutch oven or a bare cast iron dutch oven? Lets see!
Enameled cookware will either be cast iron or steel that has been coated in a shiny enamel layer, like the dutch oven shown in the pictures and the one that will be referred to in the tips below. It can usually come in a variety of colors.
Regular cast iron has no coating and requires a different kind of care. A regular cast iron dutch oven would have the same texture and look as any other cast iron pan.
Both enameled cast iron and bare cast iron are wonderful! I use my bare cast iron pans for a good portion of my cooking and frying, but I prefer to use my enameled cast iron Dutch oven for soups, stews, breads, etc., though the enameled cast iron could do all of the above.
Below you’ll see the best tips for cooking in, caring for, and cleaning your enameled cast iron dutch oven.
How to Cook With Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Ovens
To get the most of out your cooking and baking experience with enameled cast iron, there are a few things you should be aware of.
Enameled cast iron pots can be used on gas, electric, and induction cook tops and stoves.
When you first go to cook with your pot, be sure that it is clean.
Start with a low heat and move the heat up progressively as needed. Cast irons hold heat very well and can easily get too hot.
In addition its very important to always have some kind of oil or water in the pot as its heating up. Never dry heat your pot. I always toss a slab of butter in!
Gradual heating is preferred and high heat is usually not recommended. The Dutch ovens conduct heat extremely well so you will most likely find it unnecessary to use high heat, even when frying. Be patient, and allow your Dutch oven to heat slowly to your desired temperature.
Enameled cast irons can also be used in your oven, up to 500 degrees. Again, be sure to let it heat and cool gradually. A great way to do this is by putting it in the oven with its lid on while the oven preheats.
How to Care for and Clean an Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
If you have ever dealt with any kind of cast iron cookware/bake-ware, you have most likely heard of the term ‘seasoning’.
Seasoning refers to baking on some kind of oil in order to condition and prepare the cast iron for cooking.
In most cases, an enameled Dutch oven will not require any seasoning, as all of the cast iron has been coated in porcelain enamel.
Sometimes the edges or rim of the pot and the rim of the lid have not been coated and in this case these areas should be seasoned before cooking.
To season the rim of the pot and lid, simply rub the exposed cast iron with cooking oil and bake in a 350 degree oven for an hour
Its best to use wood, silicone, nylon, or any other non-abrasive utensils when cooking with enameled cast irons. I prefer wood! You don’t want to scratch or damage the surface.
In order to care for the finish on your Dutch oven it is best to not cook with it on your grill or over any kind of campfire. Use regular cast iron for that type of cooking, not your pretty pot.
DO NOT let your hot Dutch oven come in contact with any kind of cold water. This can cause it to crack. Let it cool slowly and once it is completely cooled you can start the process of cleaning it.
Hand wash your enameled Dutch oven using hot, soapy water. Again, do not use any cleaning pads that are too abrasive. If you soak your oven before cleaning you should be able to get off any hard, stuck on food with a cloth or soft cleaning pad.
Store your Dutch oven only when it has been dried completely.
If the inside has become stained over time, you can purchase a special cleaner like the one shown below, or you can try boiling water with a few spoonfuls of baking soda and letting it sit in your pot before scrubbing/cleaning again.
Remember, you want to care for your oven, but a little wear and discoloration is natural and just means its well used and much loved.
I hope you will find these tips useful and you will be able to refer back to them from time to time whenever you need a reminder.
If you don’t have a Dutch oven yet you can start looking around for one.
THESE are the dutch ovens I have, in the color white like shown in the photos, and I absolutely LOVE them. They are the perfect sizes and work great.
A lot of different stores offer a variety of brands, so search around and find what brand suits you and is in your price range. You could most likely find one used at a used store or a garage sale, just keep your eye out. You won’t regret getting one!
Do you have any Dutch oven tips/recipes you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below! Thank you for stopping by!
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