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Dutch Oven 101

What is a dutch oven?

The real question is, what isn’t the dutch oven? This hefty workhorse is the original kitchen multitasker. With one pan you can roast, bake, stew, braise, fry, and simmer food to deliver a wide array of meals. 

Dutch ovens are thick-walled pieces of cookware with secure lids that are used at high temperatures for long periods of time to deliver mouth-watering dishes layered in flavor. These versatile pieces can come equipped for either indoor or outdoor use. Indoor dutch ovens are used in the oven and on the stove while outdoor dutch ovens are often found at a campsite over an open fire or resting on a bed of coals. In fact, Lodge Cast Iron sells three distinct types of dutch ovens made to fit your culinary needs.
 

Blacklock *02* 5.5 Quart Triple Seasoned Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Seasoned Cast Iron Dutch Ovens

Our American-made cast iron dutch ovens have been a favorite of home cooks and chefs for many years. Like each of our cast iron pans, our dutch ovens come seasoned and ready to use, right out of the box.

The versatile, seasoned cast iron dutch oven can be used for soups and stews, to slow-cook meat, and to make delicious quick breads. The cast iron dutch oven provides excellent heat distribution and retention for consistent, even cooking. The lid features self-basting tips to recirculate moisture as your food cooks. Easily move it around your kitchen with the dual handle design. 

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"One of my favorite things to cook in my Dutch Oven has to be our Classic Buffalo Hot Wings. They're crisp, delicious, and incredibly easy to make. I fry my wings in the base of a 5 Quart Cast Iron Double Dutch Oven. The lid is perfect for making the classic buffalo sauce."

Kris Stubblefield, Lodge Test Kitchen

EC6D50 Desert Sage, Mushroom Risotto

Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Ovens

Our enameled cast iron dutch ovens provide even more versatility, because the porcelain enamel allows you to not only cook and serve, but marinate and refrigerate. The only hard part is deciding which vibrant color will best fit your kitchen décor. Each enamel dutch oven comes with black matte enamel rims, a beige enamel cooking surface that won't react to ingredients. Use it to broil, braise, bake, or roast in the oven up to 500° F, and sauté, simmer, or fry on any stovetop.

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"My enameled dutch oven is one of the most reached-for items in my kitchen. I pull it from the cabinet when I want to make saucy pasta, slow simmered soup, or bake a loaf of bread. It's one of the most versatile pieces of cookware I own. Try the Mushroom and White Wine Risotto recipe—it'll be your new favorite dish."

Jodi, Brand Engagement Team

L12CO3 Camp Dutch Oven, Mountain Man Breakfast

Cast Iron Camp Dutch Ovens

Who says dutch oven cooking is only for the kitchen? With a camp dutch oven, outdoor cooking is a breeze and the meal possibilities are endless. Camp ovens come with heavy wire bail handles to make it easy to rotate the dutch oven over the coals as your food cooks. Lodge camp ovens have flanged lids that hold hot coals and can invert for use as a griddle while the integral legs allow the oven to sit perfectly over hot coals. Hang the bail handle from one of our tripods for a secure camp cooking setup. All of our camp dutch ovens come with the "Camp Dutch Oven Cooking 101" cookbook.

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Start cooking With Your Dutch Oven

A delicious chili is being stirred in a Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven.

Seasoned Cast Iron Dutch Ovens

Step 1: Cast Iron is Seasoned and Ready to Use
Lodge cast iron dutch ovens come seasoned and ready to use right out of the box. Just give it a quick rinse, hand dry, and start cooking.

Step 2: Preheat Your Dutch Oven
To ensure even heating, gradually preheat the cast iron dutch oven on a similar-sized burner. Since cast iron holds heat, it's not necessary to use a heat setting above medium. These steps help prevent food from sticking. Don't forget to use hot handle mitts!

Step 3: Add a Little Oil
Once your dutch oven is preheated, add a little oil or fat. Then simply add your food.

Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Ovens

Step 1: Use on Any Cooktop or Oven
Our enameled cast iron dutch ovens can be used on all kitchen stovetops, and they're oven safe to 500 degrees F.

Step 2: Always Lift Your Enameled Dutch Oven
To avoid scratching ceramic or glass cooktops, never slide enameled cast iron, always lift it.

Step 3: Preheat Your Dutch Oven
To ensure even heating, gradually preheat the enameled cast iron dutch oven on a similar-sized burner. Since cast iron holds heat, it's not necessary to use a heat setting above medium. These steps help prevent food from sticking. Don't forget to use hot handle mitts!

Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Recipes

What should I cook in my dutch oven?

Well, that depends on your cooking style, favorite food, and many other factors. But don’t worry, we compiled a comprehensive list of all kinds of delicious things you can cook, bake, braise, camp cook, and more in your dutch oven.

Cast Iron Dutch Oven and Camp Dutch Oven FAQs

Seasoning is a layer of carbonized oil. We baked the oil onto the cast iron. It gives your cookware that classic black patina. Seasoning forms a natural, easy-release cooking surface and helps prevent your pan from rusting. It may take a little extra care, but a well-seasoned cast iron pan will last for generations.

Lodge uses soy-based vegetable oil to season our traditional cast iron cookware in our foundries. There are no synthetic chemicals added. The oil is highly refined, and all proteins that cause soy-related allergies are eliminated. The oil is kosher and contains no animal fat, peanut oil, or paints.

Some cookware may have slight variations in the seasoning finish. These variations do not affect cooking performance and typically even out with use.
 

Yes! Every piece of Lodge cast iron cookware comes seasoned and ready to use right out of the box. The easiest way to maintain this layer of seasoning is to use your cast iron dutch oven. Every time you roast, stew, or bake in your dutch oven, you're adding layers of baked-on fat and oil that build up over time for a natural, easy-release finish that gets better over time.

These foods, in small quantities, are just fine to cook in brand new cookware. But large amounts of very acidic or alkaline foods can break down the seasoning when cooked for extended periods of time. If it removes too much seasoning, simply follow our steps to re-season your cast iron cookware.

All seasoned cast iron dutch ovens and camp dutch ovens can be cleaned in the same way. After every use, simply wash, dry, and lightly oil your dutch oven. 

Some activities may remove a bit of your seasoning, such as cooking acidic foods, using excessive heat, or scrubbing with abrasive utensils or scouring pads; that's why our simple cleaning steps have you rub oil into your pan after each use to ensure the seasoning remains for quality cooking.

For more in-depth, step-by-step instructions, visit this page on cleaning your cast iron cookware.

Soaking cast iron in water is a recipe for rust. If you need to remove sticky or stubborn stuck-on food, use a nylon scrubbing brush or a pan scraper and rinse under warm water. Be sure to thoroughly dry your pan.

Note: If you do accidentally leave your pan in water for too long and it develops rust, don't panic! With a little extra care, you can remove the rust and continue using your cast iron cookware.

Contrary to popular belief, you can use a small amount of soap to clean cast iron cookware! Here’s how we recommend cleaning your dutch oven.
 

No, our cast iron cookware should be washed by hand. A dishwasher will remove the seasoning and likely cause rust. For dishwasher-safe cookware, check out our heat-treated serveware.

  1. Scour the surface with warm, soapy water and a metal scouring pad. It's okay to use the scouring pad and soap since you are preparing to re-season the cookware. Rinse and hand dry thoroughly.

    If you have a Lodge Rust Eraser, use it at this juncture to easily remove surface rust on cast iron cookware. It's made of rubber and silicon carbide—essentially sandpaper without the paper—bound together into a solid brick for easy handling. After you use the rust eraser, thoroughly remove all residual material, and continue with the restoration process detailed below.
     

  2. Apply a very thin, even layer of cooking oil to the cookware (inside and out). If you use too much oil, your cookware may become sticky.
     
  3. Place the cookware in the oven upside down on the top rack and place aluminum foil on the bottom rack to catch any excess oil that may drip off the cookware. Bake at 450-500 degrees F for one hour. Allow to cool and repeat as necessary to achieve the classic black patina

Even if your seasoned cast iron cookware has gotten a little worse for wear, you can easily fix it. We'll show you how.

Troubleshoot my problem
 

Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven FAQs

Lodge Enameled Cast Iron is cast iron with a smooth porcelain surface bonded to the iron. Enamel is resistant against acidic and alkaline foods and can be used to marinate, cook, and refrigerate.

Enameled cast iron dutch ovens are workhorses in the kitchen and, if taken care of, will continue to perform and deliver great meals for years to come. Here’s how to clean your enamel dutch oven:

  1. Allow your dutch oven to cool. 

  2. Although enameled cast iron is dishwasher safe, hand washing with warm soapy water and a nylon scrub brush is recommended to preserve the cookware’s original appearance. Citrus juices and citrus-based cleaners (including some dishwasher detergents) should not be used, as they can dull the exterior gloss. It is not harmful and will not impair the cooking performance, however, the use of these products is not covered by our warranty.

  3. If necessary, use nylon pads or scrapers to remove food residue; metal pads or utensils will scratch or chip porcelain.

  4. Always dry your dutch oven thoroughly and replace pot protectors between the rim and lid before storing in a cool, dry place. Do not stack your dutch ovens.

Note: A small amount of staining is to be expected with enameled cast iron cookware and does not affect performance.

To remove stubborn baked-on food, boil 2 cups of water and 4 tablespoons of baking soda. Boil for a few minutes, then use a pan scraper to loosen the food.

Stains are to be expected when you use enameled cookware and does not affect performance.

To remove slight stains:

  • Follow the steps above to clean your dutch oven.

  • Rub with a dampened cloth and Lodge Enamel Cleaner or another ceramic cleaner according to directions on the bottle.

For persistent stains:

  • Follow the steps above to clean and remove slight stains.

  • Soak the interior of the dutch oven for 2-3 hours with a mixture of 3 tablespoons of household bleach per quart of water.

  • To remove stubborn, baked-on food, boil 2 cups of water and 4 tablespoons of baking soda. Boil for a few minutes, then use a pan scraper to loosen the food.

If rust develops around the rim, it may be that the dutch oven has been in a damp area. Leaving pans on a draining board to drip dry or cleaning in the dishwasher can cause a rust deposit. Rust can also form if the rim of the pan is not dried sufficiently after being washed. Should rust develop, we recommend using the Lodge Rust Eraser to remove as much rust as you can, followed by cleaning with a nylon sponge and dish detergent. Finish by thoroughly drying your dutch oven. We recommend rubbing a small amount of cooking oil around the rim to create a seal and prevent rust from reappearing, as well as rubbing with oil periodically to prevent rusting.

As an American manufacturer for 124 years, it’s always been our goal to make products in the USA whenever possible. When we decided to make enameled cast iron cookware, we searched extensively for a manufacturer who would enamel bright colors in the United States. After exhausting efforts to find one, Lodge had to search overseas for a partner that could meet our quality standards. We happened to find those partners in China, and have worked directly and constantly with them. We work with U.S.-owned, third-party inspection teams to ensure that quality is up to Lodge standards, and that all partner companies comply with all applicable employment laws and regulations.
We are proud of our enamel products and stand behind them like we do our traditional cast iron. The profits from our enamel sales go to support the more than 450 employees who work at our American company.
 

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