Last updated: August 11, 2021

Are you looking for an oven in which you can not only prepare soups, stews and breads, but also great tasting pizzas and cake variations? Then you should definitely take a closer look at the Dutch Oven. What exactly is a Dutch oven? Where and at what price can you buy a Dutch oven? You can find answers to the most frequently asked questions here in the big Dutch Open Test 2021. We introduce you to different Dutch Oven models and want to help you find the perfect one for you. In addition, you will find helpful tips and tricks in our guide on how to bake a Dutch oven in order to be able to prepare particularly tasty food in it. We also show you how to clean your Dutch oven optimally.




The most important facts in a nutshell

  • The Dutch Oven is a vessel that has been used for cooking since the 18th century. It can be used to prepare stews, soups, soufflés, breads, cakes or even pizzas.
  • A Dutch oven is suitable for baking, roasting and braising dishes. It is versatile and can be used indoors or outdoors. It is available with or without feet.
  • Baking and care are very important for the taste of the food and the longevity of the Dutch Oven. With good care, the fire pot will last for several decades. Often the burn-in has already been done by the manufacturer.

Dutch Oven: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a Dutch Oven

What is a Dutch Oven and where can I use it?

The Dutch Oven is a cooking tool that you can use at home or outdoors. In Germany, the Dutch Oven is also called a fire pot or pot.

The Dutch Oven is gaining popularity again in Germany. (Image source: pixabay.com / MikeGoad)

Most Dutch Ovens are made of cast iron and consist of a pot and a lid. The Dutch Oven is suitable for baking, roasting, cooking and braising. You can put the pot over an open fire or in the embers, as well as hang it on the barbecue or on a swivel grill. For these types of cooking, many Dutch ovens have a three-legged design. If you prefer to cook your food in a fire pot indoors, you need a pot without legs. You can then place it in the oven or on the cooker. The Dutch oven can be used in many ways, depending on how and where you want to prepare your food. It is often used for barbecues, camping and outdoor activities in general. Since many lids have a raised rim, hot coals can be placed on them. This gives the food all-round heat and heats it evenly from above and below. In addition, the lid with a raised rim can be used as a pan to cook additional food.

The Dutch Oven is versatile and you can cook almost anything your heart desires in it. That's why the Dutch Oven is very popular with campers, but also barbecue lovers.

How do I bake the Dutch Oven?

Burning in the Dutch Oven is particularly important. Therefore, we show you in this table how to burn in the Dutch oven properly.
Step by step Description
Step 1 Rub the Dutch oven with sunflower oil and then wipe again with kitchen paper.
Step 2 You can use a charcoal or kettle grill for baking. Alternatively, you can put the Dutch Oven in the oven.
Step 3 If you use a grill for baking, place the pot on the grill with the opening facing downwards. Place the lid on top. If you have chosen the oven, the opening must be at the top. The lid stays out here.
Step 4 Now you should let the Dutch oven bake at 200°C for about 1-2 hours. After that, a black layer should have formed, the patina.
Step 5 Now let the Dutch oven cool down and rub it again lightly with good oil.
Step 6 If the patina has been damaged at any time later, you should burn the pot again.

You should not use the pot for cooking without treatment, otherwise the food will burn very quickly. In addition, without a patina, the pot is quite susceptible to rust, which would significantly reduce its lifespan. Burning in produces a lot of smoke, so we recommend doing the process outside in the open air. You can recognise a successful burn-in by the fact that the Dutch oven has become much darker afterwards. It is usually a dark grey colour or completely black.

Burning in is sometimes not even necessary for you, because some manufacturers have already carried out this process.

Did you know that the German settlers made a major contribution to the spread of the Dutch oven? Although the title suggests that the Dutch were behind the spread of their pot, Germans are also said to have developed one. Moreover, the Dutch Oven gained its fame and popularity in the USA, especially in Pennsylvania, through the first German settlers.

What accessories do I need for a Dutch Oven?

There are a number of accessories for the Dutch Oven. Some are necessary and some add to the convenience. Among the aids are:

  • Lid lifter
  • fireproof gloves
  • Coal tongs
  • Lighting chimney
  • Dutch Oven bag

The following paragraphs describe the listed accessories in more detail. The lid lifter is a must. This lifter is used to safely lift the hot lid, which may be filled with coal, from the pot. This accessory is often sent with the stove, but can also be purchased separately at a price of 10 euros. Fireproof gloves can also be of good service in an emergency. Here you should make sure that the gloves can withstand the high heat of the pot without any problems. With the coal tongs you can place the hot coals where you want them. Especially if you want to place coals on the lid. Again, make sure that the tongs are fireproof and do not melt. The lighting chimney helps to get the coals up to high temperatures quickly so that the cooking process doesn't take so long. The fireplace is suitable for briquettes and heats them up fully in 20-30 minutes. The bag is suitable for storing the Dutch Oven. And of course you can easily take the fire pot with you everywhere, for example when camping.

How much does a Dutch Oven cost?

The cost of a Dutch Oven depends on the manufacturer, size and quality of the workmanship. Well-known brands in manufacturing are the following:

  • Petromax
  • Lodge
  • Camp Chef

Depending on the size of the Dutch Oven, the prices for such a brand pot are usually in the upper segment in terms of price, although this is still within reason. The costs range from 45-170 euros. However, the brand-name pots have the best ratings for this. In addition to these brands, there are other manufacturers who offer Dutch ovens of this kind. The cheapest price for a fire pot is 20 euros. The most expensive Dutch ovens cost around 180 euros.

You can even bake a pizza on the lid of the Dutch Oven. (Image source: pixabay.com / distel2610)

What alternatives are there to the Dutch Oven?

There is no kitchen utensil that is as versatile as the fire pot. The Dutch Oven can only be compared to other cooking instruments in some areas.

Roaster

Compared to the Dutch Oven, the roaster is available in different materials. These include cast iron as well as steel, copper, ceramic, glass and aluminium. A roaster made of steel usually has an enamel coating. Roasters can be rectangular, oval or round and have two handles. Roasts of pork or goose, for example, are prepared in them. The roaster is often used for braising in the oven. It can also be used on the grill.

Cooking pot

The cooking pot is one of the most important utensils in the kitchen. It is used to cook food. The cooking pot has been around for many thousands of years. Nowadays you can buy such a pot made of different metals. The pot is used on the cooker and is very easy to clean compared to the Dutch Oven.

Braising pot

The casserole is a fireproof pot, also called a cocotte. It is used for roasting and baking. In contrast to the Dutch Oven, the casserole is made of porcelain or stoneware. Dishes such as ragouts, stews, soups, gratins and soufflés are made in a casserole. Each of these pots has its own advantages and disadvantages. The roasting pot comes closest to the Dutch Oven. Everyone probably has the saucepan in their range and the casserole is also one of the classics in German cuisine. None of these alternatives comes close to the versatility of the Dutch oven.

Buying criteria: These are the criteria you can use to compare and evaluate Dutch ovens

The following section will give you more detailed reasons for choosing between the many possible Dutch ovens. You can compare fire pots with the help of these listed criteria:

  • Size
  • Place of use
  • Material
  • Frame

In the following paragraphs, we will explain what is important in each of these criteria.

Size

The size of the Dutch Oven depends on how many people you want to cook with it, but also how often you prepare food with it. You should also be aware of how much your family or friends eat. Here is a table that shows you roughly how much is enough for a certain group of people.

Capacity number of people
approx. 3 litres 2-3 people
4 litres 2-4 people
6-7 litres 6-8 people
8 litres 7-9 people
11 litres 10-14 people
17 litres 15-20

There are many sizes to choose from. You should also bear in mind that larger pots are more difficult to clean.

In addition to the food in the pot, a dish can also be prepared on the lid.

Of course, depending on the size of the fire pot, the weight is also higher. A pot with a capacity of 4 litres already weighs 8 kilograms including the lid. A Dutch oven with an 8-litre capacity weighs about 11.6 kilograms and a pot with an 11-litre capacity 15 kilograms.

Where to use

Where you can use a Dutch oven depends on the factors rack and size. You can use a Dutch oven with feet for barbecues and place it in the embers or directly over an open fire. Such Dutch ovens often have lids that are also equipped with feet to place them over the fire or hot coals. A Dutch oven is more versatile if it does not have feet. Then you can also use it in the kitchen on the cooker or in the oven. Of course, you can also place this fire pot over hot coals or hang it on a swivel grill. Tripod stands are often supplied with Dutch ovens without feet. So you can use the fire pot in the kitchen or outdoors. Most fans of the Dutch Oven, however, believe that the pot is an outdoor cooking utensil.

The Dutch Oven can also be used on a gas grill. However, professionals prefer to use it on swivel grills, charcoal grills or kettle grills, as better all-round heat is possible here.

The Dutch Oven is very popular with campers. (Image source: unsplash.com / Tegan Mierle)

Material

Since almost all Dutch Ovens are made of cast iron, we describe the advantages of this metal in the form of the Dutch Oven and what you should look for when buying one. Cast iron is particularly robust and durable. In addition, cast iron generates a lot of heat and the material can store heat longer and more strongly. With the pot, it is possible to provide all-round heat by placing hot coals on the lid, which is also made of cast iron. However, the lid can also be used as a pan to prepare other dishes. With the fire pot, you should make sure that the cast iron is evenly thick all over. This indicates a high quality of workmanship and that the pot will heat up evenly all over. Cast iron is quite heavy, so it is important to know whether the grill can withstand the weight of the Dutch oven. The feet and handles of the pot should also not be too thin, because they could break if the heat is too high. So the handles should be a little thicker. When you store the pot, make sure that there is a small gap between the pot and the lid so that the Dutch oven does not start to crack. Nevertheless, the lid should fit snugly on the pot, so it is best to put something between the pot and the lid so that air can circulate.

Rack

As already mentioned, you can roughly distinguish between a Dutch oven without feet and one with feet. The classic Dutch Oven is said to have three feet and is thus placed over the hot embers and used exclusively over an open fire. The advantage of the feet is that the pot is closer to the embers and heats up more quickly. Such a pot usually has a lid that is also equipped with feet. This turns the lid into a pan or baking tray. Thus, the lid offers another possibility to prepare a meal. A Dutch oven without feet is an all-rounder and can be used outdoors as well as indoors. So it doesn't matter where you want to cook, on the cooker, in the oven, on the barbecue or on the swing barbecue. A pot stand is often included. With it, it is possible to place the Dutch Oven in the embers without feet.

Facts worth knowing about Dutch ovens

How do I clean my Dutch Oven?

Cleaning is an important part of the longevity of the Dutch Oven and very important for the taste of the food. One of the most important points for cleaning is never to use washing-up liquid. This destroys the protective layer, patina, and the pot has to be re-baked. In addition, the fire pot also absorbs some of the washing-up liquid. This is released into the food the next time it is used and is noticeable in the taste. The food becomes inedible. So you should loosen the dirt with hot clear water and then use a sponge or brush. If the dirt does not come off, put the Dutch oven filled with water into the embers for 10 minutes. Then remove the residue with a wooden or plastic scraper. After cleaning, you should rub the pot with care oil or a care paste. Do not store the pot in an airtight container. Allowing air to circulate through the pot prevents rusting. Here you can find a video on what to do if the Dutch Oven is dirty and how to bake it:

Who invented the Dutch Oven?

The Dutch Oven, as the name suggests, was developed by the Dutch. This was placed or hung over an open flame in the open air. With the European settlers, the Dutch Oven came to Australia and the USA. The pot was introduced there in the 18th century and used for cooking, roasting and baking all kinds of meals. Pennsylvania was one of the first areas where the Dutch Oven was spread by the German settlers. The Dutch oven also became known in South Africa, but under the name potjie. In the 19th century, the Dutch Boers brought it from the Netherlands to South Africa. The typical stew there is still called potjiekos in South Africa today. In addition, the Englishman Abraham Darby spent a few years in the Netherlands and learned the production of cast iron. He later brought this to England and patented his process. He is considered one of the founders of industrialisation in England.

Image source: 123rf.com / mannpuku

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