ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Types of Dutch Ovens

Updated on January 7, 2013

Dutch Oven Casserole Dishes

Modern Dutch ovens have looped handles on the side of the dish and an enamel coating.
Modern Dutch ovens have looped handles on the side of the dish and an enamel coating. | Source

Dutch vs. French Ovens

Several companies have dubbed their product a "French Oven." These ovens are identical to the Dutch ovens, but are simply made by French manufacturers. Le Creuset and Le Chasseur are well-known French producers of this style of casserole dish.

The History of Dutch Ovens

In the 1700's, the Dutch had perfected the process of casting brass containers in dry sand molds - this process resulted in smooth, sturdy vessels. A man by the name of Abraham Darby traveled to Holland to observe this process, and returned to England to improve on the process. Shortly thereafter, Darby started shipping his patented cast iron cookware to the new colonies in America. The name "Dutch Oven" most likely comes from the process of casting the pots in a dry sand mold, invented by the Dutch.

Other possibilities for the origin of the cookware come from those who sold and used the pots. They were often used by the Pennsylvania Dutch, and may have obtained the name from association with the Pennsylvania Dutch population.

Very early Dutch ovens had legs for standing over a fire. A recessed lid and legs allowed food to be baked inside the oven with dry heat, as opposed to boiling food in water. Once cast iron stoves became common, the legs and recessed lid were no longer needed. The ovens were redesigned to have a flat bottom and domed lid.

Modern Dutch ovens are usually made from cast iron and coated in porcelain enamel, though the pots can be made from other materials (cast aluminum or ceramic). Cast iron distributes heat evenly and is considered the best material for these ovens.

Cooking in a Dutch Oven

Dutch Oven Uses

This type of cookware is extremely versatile. Dutch ovens are extremely good for:

  1. Roasting chicken
  2. Casseroles
  3. Baking bread
  4. Cooking roasts
  5. Stews
  6. Cobblers

Dutch Oven Manufacturers

Oven Style
Traditional loop handle Dutch oven.
Cast iron
Traditional loop handle Dutch oven.
Cast iron - some enameled pots available.
Le Creuset
"French" oven - modern with side loop handles.
Enamel coated cast iron

Lodge Dutch Oven

Lodge 4.5 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven. Blue Enamel Iron Dutch Oven with Self Basting Lid. (Carribbean Blue)
Lodge 4.5 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven. Blue Enamel Iron Dutch Oven with Self Basting Lid. (Carribbean Blue)

This enamel coated Dutch Oven by Lodge comes in many different colors and does not require the seasoning of a raw cast-iron pot.


Cast Iron Dutch Ovens

A cast iron Dutch oven, cooking a delicious meal.
A cast iron Dutch oven, cooking a delicious meal. | Source

Cast Iron or Enamel?

The traditional ovens are made from cast iron. These pots are very heavy, sturdy, and unlikely to break. Some claim a metallic flavor is imparted to the food, and prefer the porcelain coated ovens. Which type is best?

Cast Iron Pros:

  • Food can be deep-fried in cast iron ovens.
  • Properly seasoned cast iron will become non-stick.
  • Extremely durable, will last for decades (or centuries).

Cast Iron Cons:

  • Must be seasoned properly.
  • Must be hand washed with hot water and a brush (no soap).
  • May rust if not properly cared for.
  • May impart a rancid taste if not oiled and stored appropriately.
  • May impart a metallic taste if not seasoned properly.

Enamel Pros:

  • Can be washed with soap and water, or even in the dishwasher.
  • Does not need to be seasoned; no special maintenance is required.
  • Available in many colors and designs.

Enamel Cons:

  • The enamel may chip or break over time.
  • Food cannot be deep-fried in an enamel oven.

How to Season a Cast Iron Dutch Oven

How to Season a Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Seasoning cast iron cookware is not the same thing as cooking in cast iron - the pot must be coated in the right type of oil over a period of time to prevent rust and to create a non-stick surface. The best oils for seasoning iron pots are high in Omega-3 fats, like alpha-linoleic acid (ALA's). These oils have a high level of polyunsaturated fats, which produce a hard polymer on the surface of the pot.

Animal fat (lard from pigs) was the original type of fat used to season iron, but pigs are now fed lower-quality food on industrial lots, which lowers the amount of Omega-3 fats in the lard. Animal fats are more likely to become rancid, so they should be avoided.

A good alternative is flax seed oil, which is high in Omega-3's. Olive oil may also be used to season cast iron cookware.To season a cast iron pot, simply:

  1. Coat a thin layer of oil on the cast iron.
  2. Wipe it off (some will remain in the pores of the pan). The pan should appear dry.
  3. Turn it upside down in a cold oven and bake it at 450°F for an hour once the oven reaches the set temperature.
  4. Turn the oven off and let the pan cool in the oven for about 2 hours.
  5. Repeat this process at least six more times.

Removing Stains from Enamel Ovens

Sometimes an enamel Dutch (or "French") oven will become stained. Removing the stains is simple, though care must be taken not to dull the surface. Make a cleaning solution by mixing 1 gallon of hot water, 1 cup bleach, and 3 tablespoons of baking soda. Submerge the enamel plated dish and check the pot every 10 minutes. If it is left in the solution too long, it may dull the finish.

Some stains may never completely disappear. Once the stain is either gone or greatly diminished, remove the pot from the cleaning solution and rinse under cold water. Dry the dish and apply a light coat of oil, if desired.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • leahlefler profile imageAUTHOR

      Leah Lefler 

      6 years ago from Western New York

      I haven't used mine in a couple of weeks, teaches12345, because it has been so very hot and I can't bear to think of making a casserole. I can't wait for fall to roll around so I can make some roast chicken or some pumpkin bread in mine!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      There's nothing like having a good dutch oven to cook those family favorites. Thanks for your information on this cookware and how to care for them .

    • leahlefler profile imageAUTHOR

      Leah Lefler 

      6 years ago from Western New York

      That cast iron Dutch oven should last a lifetime! They really should be on everyone's kitchen tool list, Hyphenbird. I absolutely love ours!

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 

      6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      Dutch ovens are very versatile. Mine is cast iron and I love it. Thanks for a great article about this historic kitchen helper.

    • leahlefler profile imageAUTHOR

      Leah Lefler 

      6 years ago from Western New York

      They vary considerably in cost, Cara - and are worth it if you make a lot of casserole type dishes. I far prefer the enamel type, but we don't camp often. To be honest, when we camp we have a tendency to eat dinner out!

    • cardelean profile image


      6 years ago from Michigan

      You have some really great information in here Leah. I have always wanted a Dutch oven but just haven't made the purchase. I didn't realize that the cast iron ones needed to be seasoned. I think the ease of the enamel ones sound good to me but if we ever take up camping more regularly I may have to purchase a cast iron one.

    • leahlefler profile imageAUTHOR

      Leah Lefler 

      6 years ago from Western New York

      Dutch ovens are found throughout US history, Riverfish, which I think is fascinating! Martha Washington had one!

    • Riverfish24 profile image


      6 years ago from United States

      Super cool hub topic and well researched hub! Interesting stuff!

    • leahlefler profile imageAUTHOR

      Leah Lefler 

      6 years ago from Western New York

      Seasoning cast iron takes a bit of work - you could skimp on a few steps or apply a thicker layer of oil, but then you risk rust (too little oil) or rancid flavor (too much oil). They're great casserole dishes in the kitchen, krsharp05, but I have to admit I prefer the enameled ones!

    • leahlefler profile imageAUTHOR

      Leah Lefler 

      6 years ago from Western New York

      I love them - they are so versatile and make a great roast chicken! I hope you get one, Om - they make so many great colors (I like the enamel ones personally - though a cast iron one would make more sense for those who bring them camping).

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 

      6 years ago

      Thanks for this interesting info, Leah. I seriously want to buy a Dutch oven right now. For me, an enamel Dutch oven is probably a better choice since I don't usually deep-fry food. Plus, I like that it can be cleaned in a dishwasher. Scrubbing pots and pans isn't my forte! lol

    • krsharp05 profile image

      Kristi Sharp 

      6 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      It sounds like the cast iron Dutch oven might be more difficult to maintain. I can't imagine having to season it seven times in a row! I've never owned a Dutch oven but it would be fun to learn how to use one. Excellent hub and a lot of good information. -K


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)