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.
Lighter Chicken and DumplingsFrom Kate: “One of my favorite recipes—the thing I make when it's bitterly cold or I'm sick—is Lighter Chicken and Dumplings. The name is a little misleading. The 'lighter' refers to the fact that the dumplings are airy and tender.”
Flat Hand-Pulled Noodles (Biang Biang Mian) with Chili Oil VinaigretteFrom Kate: “I also use my Dutch oven whenever I need a big, tall pot for deep frying or boiling water. It’s what I use to cook the noodles in Biang Biang Mian with Chili Oil Vinaigrette. Because the pot is so big, the noodles have enough room to move around so they cook through quickly without sticking.”
Vegan Chickpea Noodle SoupFrom Kate: "A Dutch oven is a must-have for big batches of soups and stews. I’m a fan of the Vegan Chickpea Noodle Soup. Chickpeas are one of my favorites, and this recipe lets them shine in a way that was new for me. I also love that this soup comes together in an hour and uses ingredients I have on hand."
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.