The Pantry Ingredient That’s Key for Cleaning Your Dutch Oven

updated Mar 24, 2021
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Dutch oven on kitchen counter.
Credit: Sarah Crowley

We talk a lot about cleaning Dutch ovens on this site. We’ve talked about cleaning them with a special sponge, we’ve talked about using oven cleaner to get scorch marks off the exterior, and we’ve even conducted a very scientific cleaning showdown to see which method is best. Why? We just want our Dutch ovens to be good as new at all times — because they’re so expensive, and also because lots of us let them sit on our stovetops as decor between uses. With that in mind, there’s one other method that we’d like to talk about today — a method you can use regularly or if you’re in a pinch (pun intended) and don’t have your preferred supplies on hand.

Credit: Sarah Crowley

Turns out, our Tools Editor, Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm (who knows a thing or three about Dutch ovens), uses kosher salt on a regular basis to clean her Dutch oven and all her other enameled cast iron cookware (like her braiser). “I just sprinkle on the salt, add a little water, and scrub any burnt-on bits with a sponge,” she says. “It’s one of my absolute favorite cleaning tips.” You can even add a halved lemon for extra cleaning power, if you have one hand, but know that it’s not necessary!

Perhaps you use salt to clean your cast iron skillet? Well, this works the same way: The salt is coarse enough to help nudge off those stuck-on pieces of food, but it’s not so abrasive that it scratches the enamel (likewise, it doesn’t scratch the hard-earned seasoning on your cast iron). We love this tip because it’s effective, yes, but also because it doesn’t call for anything special. While you could easily run out of baking soda or Bar Keepers Friend (two common Dutch oven cleaners that people reach for), we’re guessing you’ll definitely always have kosher salt on hand.

How do you clean your Dutch oven?

Credit: Kitchn