What to Cook in a Cast Iron Dutch Oven

What to Cook in a Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Posted by Julie on Dec 30th 2016

If you don't yet own a cast iron Dutch oven, you're going to want one once you read about everything you can cook in it. In fact, all the use you'll get out of a Dutch oven will help justify buying one. Whether you choose a gorgeous Le Creuset or Staub Dutch oven or go a more utilitarian route, we bet you'll use it every week.

Cast Iron Dutch Oven Basics

One of the top reasons to own a cast iron Dutch oven is versatility. Use it on the stovetop, in the oven, and even over a campfire or on the grill. These cooking vessels are remarkably tough, thanks to the heavy metal and thick walls.

Likewise, the construction of a Dutch oven makes it ideal for conducting and retaining heat. A Dutch oven also has a tight-fitting lid, which keeps steam and moisture inside.

Modern Dutch ovens may be made from materials other than cast iron, such as stoneware, aluminum, and stainless steel. Le Creuset used to call their enameled cast iron Dutch ovens "French ovens" to distinguish them from those with a cast iron cooking surface.

Now, check out all the ways you can put your cast iron Dutch oven to work.

Bake Bread in a Cast Iron Dutch Oven

A Dutch oven bakes wonderful bread because of the steam trapped by the lid. Just remember to remove the lid when called for in the recipe so the crust can brown. Also, be sure the knob on the lid is oven-safe; remove it temporarily if it's not.

Bake bread in a Le Creuset enameled cast iron Dutch oven

We're confident this bread recipe from Le Creuset (above) will bake up beautifully. Our only addition would be to specify how much salt to add: the recipe doesn't include a quantity. King Arthur Flour offers the guideline of 1/2 teaspoon salt per cup of flour, which would mean adding 2 teaspoons of salt to this recipe. Start there and adjust as necessary with future loaves.

This cranberry orange bread recipe by Maya of Alaska from Scratch is also made in a Dutch oven. We love the combination of winter flavors without any added sugar.

Make Dinner in a Cast Iron Dutch Oven

One-pot recipes are some of our favorites, and not just because they make for easy cleanup. As the ingredients slowly cook, the flavors meld and become more complex. You end up with a meal that tastes like you hovered over it for hours, even though you didn't.

This Dutch Oven Mississippi Roast recipe from Dula Notes is ideal comfort food, with hearty chuck roast and rich egg noodles. The pepperoncini adds a sharp contrast, but you can substitute banana peppers if you prefer a more subtle flavor.

We're also eyeing this Moroccan Style Roast Chicken and Potatoes recipe from Jo Cooks. Although Joanna cooked hers in a tagine, she agrees it would work well in a Dutch oven too. Just remove the lid to let the chicken brown a bit at the end, as you would do with a loaf of bread.

Make Dessert in a Cast Iron Dutch Oven

If you can make bread in a Dutch oven, you can make cakes, cookies, cobblers and brownies in there too. Talk about versatility.

Start with this Dutch Oven Cherry Cobbler recipe we found on Relish. We like how it includes instructions both for oven and grill or campfire. Once you're satisfied with the results, you can start experimenting with different types of fruit, both fresh and canned.

If you're hooked on Dutch oven cooking now, check out all the dessert recipes on the Dutch Oven Dude website. (There are nine "dudes" who cover all aspects of the outdoors on their various sites.) Some recipes call for boxed mixes, while others are from scratch. Save the boxed mix recipes for campfire cooking, and try the scratch recipes at home, like Raisin Bread Pudding and Apple Crisp.