What Can I Cook in a Dutch Oven? Everything.

What to cook in your beloved Le Creuset cast iron cookware.

January 17, 2022
Photo by Linda Xiao

Owning a Dutch oven is proof that you’ve made it. No matter what else is going on in your life, you can come home to a dependable piece of cookware that will cook soups, stews, braised meats, and bread better than any other piece of equipment in your kitchen.

My Le Creuset Dutch Oven is one of my prized possessions. It’s bright orange—a color I intentionally chose because it’s the brand’s signature hue—and has a gold knob, that I swapped myself and never looked back. Who needs a dining room tablewhen you have a Le Creuset Dutch oven? (Don’t answer that, I know how it sounds.)

Of course, Le Creuset isn’t the only brand that makes dutch ovens. Nowadays you have your pick from established kitchenware brands like Emile Henry, Staub, Cuisinart, and Lodge to newcomers like Great Jones and Misen. They come in a rainbow of colors, a whole host of different sizes, and in both oval and round shapes. There’s a Dutch oven to fit every budget and every kitchen. And once you obtain one, there are all kinds of great ways to fill it.

For regular weekdays and snowy weekends, there’s tortellini, chuck roast, sweet potatoes, kale, chicken thighs, and lentils that are yearning to be turned into a delicious one-pot meal.

1. No-Knead Sourdough Bread

No loaf pan is needed to make this sourdough bread. A Dutch oven works double duty to both create steam, which helps the bread to rise, while the enameled cast iron creates a crusty exterior.

2. Nach Waxman's Brisket of Beef

One of the best things to cook in a Dutch oven is a tough cut of meat, like pork shoulder or brisket. It’s the perfect vessel for handling a large piece of meat that needs to cook low and slow for hours. Give this simple preparation of beef brisket a go.

3. Pomegranate-Braised Pot Roast

Told you a Dutch oven is good for meat! Sure, you can cook pot roast in a slow-cooker, but a Dutch oven brings out so much more flavor. Here, a four-pound boneless chuck roast braises in a combination of hearty root vegetables, tomato paste, onion soup mix, chicken stock, red wine, and pomegranate molasses.

4. Spinach Tortellini Soup by Joanna Gaines

On a cold day, settle into a comforting cooking project like homemade soup. This one comes together sneakily fast (in just 20 minutes), which is perfect for when you need to get dinner on the table like five minutes ago.

5. Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce With Onion & Butter

This is easily the most famous tomato sauce recipe. The beauty comes in its simplicity—all you need are super-ripe tomatoes (or your favorite canned San Marzano tomatoes), a generous amount of butter, white onion, and salt. If you really want to feel like an Italian grandmother, you obviously should cook it in a Dutch oven.

6. Dutch-Oven Scalloped Idaho Potatoes

I grew up with scalloped potatoes cooked in a casserole dish so the idea that the same cheesy, creamy side dish can be done in a Dutch oven is a new, but welcome change in my life.

7. Butternut Squash Soup with Miso and Coconut

Braised meats aside, the Dutch oven really proves its worth for homemade soups. This one is a totally vegan butternut squash soup that gets creaminess from coconut milk, heat from cayenne pepper, and warmth from cumin and freshly grated ginger.

8. Baked Beans

Canned baked beans are convenient but homemade have much better flavor and texture (sorry, but it’s true!). You can make them as sweet or spicy as you like, but recipe developer Merrill Stubbs turns to bacon fat (brilliant), chopped canned tomatoes (I’m listening), Dijon mustard (duh), and brown sugar (double duh).

9. Smoky Clams for Two

A little bit of smoked paprika and sausage bring big flavor to this quick Dutch oven recipe.

10. Herby Mushroom Stew

Food52 Resident Carolina Gelen puts her Dutch oven to good use with this vegetarian stew that features a pound and a half of mixed mushrooms cooked with basic pantry staples (think: soy sauce, stock, balsamic vinegar, and red wine) for lots of umami-packed flavor.

11. One-Pot Roast Chicken a la Julia Child

Recipe developer Jennifer Clair attempted to recreate Julia Child’s method for cooking roasted chicken and vegetables in a Dutch oven—we think she succeeded, but try it for yourself.

12. Barley & Root Vegetable Rainbow Stew

Not only will this vegetable stew warm you up from the inside out, but it will also make you feel nourished all night long. (Oh, and if you’re wondering, yes it can be cooked in a Dutch oven).

13. Cheesy Potato Soup With Peppered Scallions

Think of this like a vichyssoise soup but instead of leeks, you’ll find so, so much cheese (a necessary and beautiful swap).

14. Pulled Pork

I find that cooking pulled pork in a Dutch oven rather than a slow cooker or Instant Pot yields more flavorful meat, as it has had the opportunity to caramelize on the outside. Not only do you crispier bits of pork, but the seared meat seals in all of the juices as the pork breaks down.

15. Mexican Chicken Noodle Soup

Grandma’s chicken soup just got a punchy upgrade from jalapeño peppers, a generous amount of fresh lime juice, chopped cilantro, coriander, and cumin.

16. Chicken Stew With Potatoes, Carrots & Celery

“Nourishing, easy, and flavorful, this chicken stew feels like a big warm hug if you ever need one. Whether it's putting a comforting meal on the table on a weeknight or nursing a loved one back to health, this recipe will come to your rescue. The best part? It takes only 30 minutes to put together,” writes recipe developer Rachel Gurjar.

17. Beef Short Rib Bourguignon With Garlicky Panko Gremolata

Beef bourguignon is my all-time favorite dish to cook in a Dutch oven. It’s the easiest, and yet most impressive, dinner I can make, all in one sturdy pot. Serve with mashed potatoes for the ultimate comfort food meal.

18. Rice Pilaf With Crispy Chickpeas & Cashews

Assigning editor Rebecca Firkser has done a public service by sharing her three key tips for making fluffy, flavorful rice pilaf in a Dutch oven.

19. Our Favorite Chili

While you can make our chili recipe in a slow cooker, it’s tastes better and comes together more quickly when cooked in a Dutch oven (I know I sound like a broken record, but I only speak the truth). This one is extra good because it uses a trio of beef chuck, Italian sausage, and ground veal.

20. My Favorite Bolognese

Bolognese was made for the Dutch oven (okay, I don’t actually know if this is true, but it makes sense, right?). “The longer you can slowly simmer this sauce, the better it will taste,” writes recipe developer Josh Cohen.

21. A Pot of Beans & Greens

This beautiful bean stew is filling and inexpensive (a unique 2-for-1 special!). Assigning editor Rebecca Firkser perks up a pound of beans with dried chile, olive oil, and a previously-frozen Parm rind.

22. Chicken Stock

Give a chicken carcass and bones a second life by making homemade stock in a Dutch oven.

What’s your favorite thing to cook and bake in a Dutch oven?

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Jon Beaty
    Jon Beaty
  • Calidadfood52
  • Coach
  • jpriddy
  • Nat
Former Food52 Staff Editor


Jon B. January 27, 2023
Holy cow, what a great article. Thank you!! The universe realized the dutch oven I bought a week ago hasn't been used yet. So excited to try these!!!
Calidadfood52 February 27, 2022
I like & enjoy your articles on the ''What Can I Cook in a Dutch Oven? Everything.''
It is a wonderful article! You provide a lot of information, I like it. Pomegranate-Braised Pot Roast recipe is new to me!
I have written a dutch oven content https://kitchendecalidad.com/best-dutch-ovens-for-bread/.
If you have time, you can check it out. Hope for the best.

May God bless!

Coach February 22, 2022
Love all the recipes!

Can one use a carbon steel oven for the no knead bread?
jpriddy January 27, 2022
Yes! All of this (though all vegetarian) is why I love my four (4!) Le Cruiset of various sizes. My most recent discovery is roasted fruit. I have sugar-, gluten-free, and vegan family members. Last fall I peeled, cored, and sliced 6 apples, added a handful of raisins and another of chopped fresh dates, some ginger, cinnamon, and a tiny pinch of clove. I put it in lightly oiled low Dutch oven, put on the lid and roasted it until it collapsed (a couple of hours at 325-350°) and began to bubble all around the edges, then I took the lid off for a while to thicken. It was a spectacular dessert, sweet from the fruit alone. Sometimes I have added dried mango or cherries or something from the freezer. I've added a couple tablespoons of fruit juice if it starts too dry. We like it with plain yogurt, a sprinkle of homemade granola on top, but it's a treat on its own.
Coach February 22, 2022
Sounds fabulous!
Nat January 21, 2022
I think the phrase "Dutch Oven" might not have the same meaning in the US that does over here in the UK.
TXExpatInBKK January 27, 2023
It does, but only if you are 12 years old.
Jaybird January 20, 2022
I have a 6.75qt oval Le Crueset (cirese color) given to me by my mother. She had it for nearly 15 years and I've had it for just over five. So between us it's been in the family for 20 years and still looks brand new. They are high maintenance cooking tools so proper care (and use) is a must!

That said, I would never do any shellfish like clams in it whose shells are abrasive that over time cause microscopic damage to the enamel during cooking and stirring (and yes even Le Crueset has their own clam recipe). Once those tiny scratches are there that you can't even see, they do not go away and become pockets for permanent staining no matter how good you clean it after use.

However, besides being a great artisan bread making vessel, it does a fantastic job of doing a wide variation of fish dishes as well as making great smoked slow cooked pork butt for pulled pork indoors when you can't Green Egg overnight (hint on the latter: use good natural liquid smoke like from Stubbs). You won't get the award winning char bark of course, but you will get the internal flavor for the technique it is - and you won't catch pneumonia in freezing rain in the middle of the night waking up to the low temp alarm. I learned this method living in an apartment years ago where outdoor grills and smokers were banned.
Devon C. January 20, 2022
Don’t forget that you can also make amazing desserts in a Dutch oven!
LeSue January 20, 2022
I love my Le Creuset Dutch oven, inherited from my Mom. It cleans up really well, but over the years the bottom has grown darker and darker. Can you remove long-term stains from the interior enamel? How? Nothing I've tried works.
Ann January 20, 2022
Have you tried a paste of Oxi Clean. I used it on my Lodge Dutch oven and it looks like new! (almost)
Jaybird January 20, 2022
Le Creuset cookware requires careful cleaning as well as cooking. I'm not sure what your cleaning method is/was, but you have to follow their instructions to the "T" or you will get long term staining. Also, microscopic scratch marks can cause permanent staining no matter how good you clean it. So if you've used any abrasive cleaners for cleaning or utensils for cooking, it won't be returned to a new look (or stirring around abrasive shellfish like clams).