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Equipment

I Just Got a Dutch Oven. Now What? 

How to take care of, start using, and maintain your Dutch oven, the Swiss Army Knife of kitchen gear.

While people are constantly looking for the new jack-of-all-trades gadget in the kitchen, they seem to forget that at least one already exists. Dutch ovens, although they don’t look exactly like a traditional oven that powers our home cooking game, are indeed a do-it-all kind of cookware you should take advantage of. 

While you may be intimidated by the Dutch oven’s weight at first, you’ll soon realize that the vessel’s versatility makes it more than worth the effort. We've put together this all-in-one guide for how to start using Dutch ovens and how to care for them, as well as some of our favorite recipes that use Dutch ovens.

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Our Favorite Dutch Oven Recipes 

Here are some of our favorite Dutch oven recipes, as suggested by Kate Shannon, the deputy editor of ATK Reviews.

How to Care For Your Dutch Oven 

  • Most of the Dutch ovens we’ve tested are coated with enamel, a type of glass. This made their surfaces relatively vulnerable to sharp objects, which is why it’s important to steer clear of metal utensils when cooking in a Dutch oven, especially one that is coated. If you ever spot a chip or a crack, you should stop using it immediately. Some manufacturers offer warranties of various lengths, so you should always contact them first to see if they can send you a replacement. 
  • If you’re a bread connoisseur, it may be worth investing in a second Dutch oven with a dark interior. Why? Our preferred Dutch ovens have lighter interiors to better monitor food browning, but a light surface could get stained pretty easily when baking bread. Or, if you’re really serious about bread, a Challenger Bread Pan may be worthy of your attention. 
  • Be gentle. As we’ve said, the enameled surface might wear out, so each wash is putting your Dutch oven through a stress test. Always hand-wash your pot after cooking and choose soft sponges. Don’t scrub the surface too hard, as you don’t need the pot to look squeaky-clean. We’ve also tested sponges if you can’t decide which one to get.   

Got More Questions About Your Dutch Oven?

If you’re still not sure about which Dutch oven to get, our review team has you covered. Head over to our equipment experts’ in-depth review of all the Dutch ovens on the market.