10 Surprising uses for a Dutch oven

They’re big and heavy, but they’re also more versatile than you think.

It took me four years to finally decide to buy a Dutch oven. Every now and then I would see a recipe that called for one and I would wonder if I should get one. But sheesh, they’re expensive and heavy and they take up a lot of cabinet space (and we have a teeny tiny kitchen).

Then I discovered Peposo. It’s a rustic Tuscan beef dish made with wine that one of my favorite YouTube home cooks, Jim from Sip and Feast, featured on his channel. I knew I had to make it. Immediately. So I cast my doubts aside and went out to buy a Dutch oven so we could feast on Peposo for dinner that night. And feast we did. 

What is a Dutch oven and why do you need one?

A Dutch oven is a heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid that can be used for searing, braising, roasting, or baking. Of course, there’s also the Urban Dictionary version, but we’re talking about cooking here. 

The magic of a Dutch oven is that it promotes even heat distribution and retention. Unlike regular pots, you can also toss a Dutch oven right into the regular oven. Plus, Dutch ovens are usually big. That means you can make a one-pot dish with plenty of space for anything you want to toss in there. 

My pick: the 6-quart Lodge Dutch oven

One of the reasons I held out on buying a Dutch oven for so long was because I thought they were too expensive. Ultimately, I ended up buying a Lodge Dutch oven for under $80. I have several other Lodge products, so I already trusted the brand. But whether you’re looking for a high-end Dutch oven, like the famous Le Creuset version, or a more affordable option, there are plenty of options out there. 

When it comes to choosing a Dutch oven, size is an important consideration. Too small, and you’ll be stuck cooking for a crowd in batches. Too large, and your Dutch oven will take up half of your kitchen cabinet space. So what’s the perfect Dutch oven size? The answer depends on your needs. If you’re planning on using your Dutch oven for one-pot meals or large gatherings, a six-quart Dutch oven is a good option (which is what I chose). For everyday cooking or smaller gatherings, a four-quart Dutch oven will do the trick. And if you’re really tight on space, a two-quart Dutch oven is just the right size. 

No matter what Dutch oven size you choose, one thing is for sure: this versatile pot is sure to become a beloved part of your kitchen repertoire.

What can I cook in a Dutch oven?

To show you just how versatile it is, here are 10 Dutch oven recipes (including the aforementioned Peposo) that will show just how useful a Dutch oven can be. Remember, save these recipes in ClipDish so you’ll have them when you’re ready to cook. 

1. Braised short ribs 

Short ribs are the perfect cut of meat for braising. They’re full of flavor and become melt-in-your-mouth tender when cooked low and slow. This recipe for braised short ribs is foolproof and yields restaurant-quality results.

2. Roasted chicken

A whole roasted chicken is the perfect meal for Sunday dinner. This recipe is simple but yields juicy, flavorful results. Serve with your favorite sides and enjoy!

3. Peposo (braised beef)

This is the recipe that convinced me that I needed a Dutch oven. This Peposo recipe only uses five ingredients, but in a beautiful sort of cooking alchemy, they combine to yield a powerful flavor that you will go nuts over.

Serve with some crusty bread for dipping and you’re good to go!

Watch Jim at Sip and Feast make this below.

4. Pot roast 

Pot roast is another great option for a winter meal. It’s comfort food at its finest and perfect for feeding a large group of people. This recipe yields tender, flavorful results that will have everyone coming back for seconds.

5. Baked mac and cheese

Mac and cheese is always a crowd pleaser, but this baked version is exceptional. It’s rich, creamy, and full of flavor – everything you want in a mac and cheese dish! Serve as a side or as a main course.

6. French onion soup

The trick to great French onion soup is to cook the onions low and slow until they turn into a jam-like consistency. The Dutch oven is perfectly suited for this.

7. Peach cobbler

While peach pie is delicious, try putting your Dutch oven to work by making this peach cobbler. 

8. Banana bread

Banana bread is always a good idea, especially when made in a Dutch oven! This recipe yields delicious results that are sure to please everyone in your family. Enjoy a slice (or two) with your morning coffee or tea for the ultimate breakfast treat. 

9. Apple crisp

Apple crisp is the perfect fall dessert, and this Dutch oven version is especially delicious. The apples get nice and soft while cooking, and the topping gets nice and crispy – it’s basically perfection in every bite! 

10. Bread

This video from Brian Langerstrom shows how to make three different breads from one type of dough in your Dutch oven.

It’s a video rather than a recipe because watching his folding technique is important to getting this bread right.

As you can see, there are endless possibilities when it comes to cooking with a Dutch oven. Whether you’re looking for something hearty or something sweet, there’s bound to be a recipe here that catches your eye (and your taste buds)! So what are you waiting for? Stash these recipes into ClipDish and get cooking!


Recent Posts