Of all the cookware I own, there is nothing I use more often than my Dutch oven. It's the workhorse of the kitchen, making almost anything from stovetop soups to oven-baked casseroles. These large, heavy pots are a worthwhile investment, and today we're sharing a selection for a range of budgets.
And when you're ready to put your Dutch oven to work, these 17 recipes are just the thing to inspire you.
What Is a Dutch Oven?
A Dutch oven is any large, heavy pot that is suitable for stovetop or oven use. So your deep 7-quart stockpot could be a Dutch oven, as long as it has an oven-safe lid and can go straight to the oven from the stove.
But when talking about Dutch ovens, most people really mean the extra-heavy enameled cast iron pots typified by Le Creuset and Staub. These hard-working pots are ideal for slow-simmered soups and braises, as well as other favorite hearty meals.
5 Great Dutch Ovens
Here's a look at a few different Dutch ovens. I personally own several of these and use them constantly. What's your favorite size or brand of Dutch oven? Got any tips? Share them below!
- Le Creuset 3.5-Quart Wide Oval French Oven, $180 at Crate & Barrel: Many people buy enormous Dutch ovens, and while the big ones have their place, I love my modestly sized Le Creuset even more. Its extra-wide base lets me brown meat right in the pot, then add tomatoes or broth to make a normal-sized batch of soup or stew. Read more about why I like this pan here.
- Lodge 6-Quart Lodge Color Enamel Dutch Oven, $50: If you want a larger pot, Lodge's terrific prices and quality just can't be beat. A 6-quart size is good for soups, stews, braises, breads, and more, and this particular pot is a great deal.
- Staub 4 1/4-Quart Oval Dutch Oven, $280: I enjoy my oval Dutch oven quite a lot; I think the shape is a little more elegant, and it also cradles a roast chicken perfectly. I have a Staub Dutch oven, which is by far the most pricey piece of cookware in my cupboard, but honestly it's worth every penny. It cleans up beautifully, works hard, and looks good.
- Food Network 5.5-Quart Enameled Cast-Iron Dutch Oven, $100 at Kohl's: One hundred bucks for a 5.5-quart Dutch oven is pretty darn good. And it's Food Network, which means plenty of testing and thought went into the product.
- Emile Henry Round 7-Quart Dutch Oven, $186: If you are in the market for a big Dutch oven, then the price on this 7-quart pot from Emile Henry is a fine deal. Emile Henry makes affordable Dutch ovens, and the quality is top-notch, too.
17 Recipes to Put Your Dutch Oven to Work
This is how to do weeknight comfort food. The whole meal comes together in your Dutch oven, and for even more goodness flash it under the broiler just before serving to make the cheese extra-melty.
Dutch ovens are the perfect vessels for hearty stews like this one that start on the stovetop, then finish in the oven. For even more flavor, simmer your stew with a leftover Parmesan rind.
Dutch ovens are wide and roomy, which is totally ideal when you want to cook a whole chicken. Inspired by Jamie Oliver's popular recipe for chicken in milk, this version ditches the dairy for coconut milk and includes lemongrass, cinnamon, and star anise.
Of all the cookware in the kitchen, my Dutch oven is always my top pick for braises, like this one. Once the onions are caramelized and the chicken thighs are seared, everything is piled in the Dutch oven and finished inside the oven.
I always cook sautéed spinach in a Dutch oven, never a frying pan. Spinach cooks down so much, so it's always important to start with way more than you think you need. The high sides of the Dutch oven keep the greens in the pot, rather than all over your stovetop.
With a handful of pantry staples and a bag of frozen tortellini, this weeknight wonder comes together in about 20 minutes.
Grab your Dutch oven, because this is the easiest version of stroganoff you will make. Quick-cooking ground beef is the key to transforming this classic into a one-pot weeknight wonder.
Of all the wonderful ways to use my slow cooker, there is nothing quite as comforting and luxurious as pot roast. This classic version starts on the stovetop in the Dutch oven, then the pot is covered and simmered in the oven until the meat is ultra-tender.
A sizable Dutch oven really comes in handy with recipes like this braised cabbage side that has a lot of volume.
This recipe taught me just how easy it can be to bake bread at home. Whether you're gearing up to bake bread for the first time or you've been doing it for years, this recipe is a must for all bread bakers.
While homey chicken pot pie often feels like a dish that's reserved for the weekend, this version is so quick and easy that it can be tossed together after work without fuss.
Inspired by those retro cans of SpaghettiOs, this comforting pasta is a whole lot more wholesome and comes together in just about 30 minutes.
Instead of making the rice that usually accompanies a stir-fry separately, here it's all cooked together in one Dutch oven. That allows for the teriyaki sauce to soak into all components of the dish and make it even more flavorful.
This cheesy Dutch oven casserole is inspired by ground beef tacos and most definitely has all the elements of a dinner your whole family will love.
Even if you're not feeding a crowd, it's worth making the whole batch of this comforting soup, as leftovers freeze exceptionally well.
Since the orzo cooks right in the Dutch oven with the tomato sauce, it leaches out some of its starch and creates a creamy pasta dinner without any need for cream.
Instead of reaching for a large number of spices, pick up some Cajun or Creole seasoning. This spice blend can contain paprika, garlic, black pepper, cayenne, and sometimes oregano and thyme.