What’s a Dutch Oven and Why Do You Need One?

A Dutch oven is the ultimate cookware for one-pot dinners. It’s a large, wide, deep pan with a tight-fitting lid that stands out from other pots and pans in a well-stocked kitchen for its ability to take high temperatures and retain heat.

Dutch ovens are typically made from cast iron or enameled cast iron. (Fun fact: Enameled Dutch ovens are also known as French ovens.) Our Rockcrok® Dutch Oven is made from durable, heat-resistant clay that’s surprisingly lightweight and goes in the microwave, too.

Most people think of Dutch ovens only for hearty soups and stews, but it’s also one of the best pots you can use for browning meats, boiling, braising, baking, and deep-frying. Here are some of our best Dutch oven recipes that show off what it can do.

Rockcrok Dutch Oven
Rockcrok® Dutch Oven

Make Pasta In a Dutch Oven

You need plenty of room to fully incorporate all the cheesy goodness and noodles in this Skinny Mac ‘N Cheese. It’s a big hit with families because it’s easy, yummy, and it’s loaded with vitamin-rich cauliflower.

“My husband and I love it, as well as our 13-year-old daughter. We play around with different cheeses, sometimes add sausage, and it's always good. And, you don't feel guilty because of the cauliflower.”
from Oregon
Skinny Mac 'N Cheese

Dutch ovens are perfect for cooking pasta and mixing sauce all together in one dish. You can combine everything together without losing a single noodle.

This fresh, easy Bruschetta Pasta dish is cooked entirely in the microwave.

“I do this recipe at parties all the time! I love that it's quick and easy and in one pot! It's a great meal for people who don't think they can cook.”
from New York
Bruschetta Pasta

Simmer Stews and Chowders

The reason Dutch ovens are associated with soups, stews, and chowder is that you can build flavors and richness easily on the stovetop and in the oven using one vessel.

Our Chicken Pot Pie Chowder starts building flavor by softening onion and garlic on the stove and then baking the whole thing in the oven with biscuits sitting on top until they turn golden brown.

“Our family loves this recipe! It looks and tastes delicious!”
from Tennessee
Chicken Pot Pie Chowder

Browning meat is another way to develop deep, savory flavors in stew or soup. This White Bean, Kale & Sausage Stew starts with browning the sausage and then building up the dish all in one pot until it’s bubbling and delicious.

“OMG! I love this so much. I can eat the whole thing by myself. Definitely a winter favorite this year.”
from New York
White Bean, Kale & Sausage Stew

Slow Cook in a Dutch Oven, Too

Our Dutch oven easily converts into a slow cooker with a slow cooking stand, so you don’t have to leave the oven running all day to make Root Beer Ribs. They’re so easy to make! Just add your favorite barbecue seasonings, barbecue sauce, and root beer.

“Amazing! This will be my third time making these ribs in my Pampered Chef Rockcrok®. This is an all-time favorite in our house. The meat falls right off the bone.”
from Missouri
Slow Cooker Ribs
Root Beer Ribs

Why wait for a formal Sunday night dinner for hearty Corned Beef & Cabbage? This corned beef cooks all day while you’re away and then finish the cabbage in the microwave when you get home. That way, the cabbage is tender, but not soggy. This corned beef recipe cooks while you’re out doing other things and then you finish the cabbage in the microwave when you’re ready to eat.

“This recipe did not disappoint. It was easy to assemble, and the kitchen smelled wonderful as it cooked. I was skeptical about not cooking the cabbage in the microwave at the end, but it worked.”
from Pennsylvania
Corned Beef and Cabbage
Corned Beef and Cabbage

Now that you know what makes cooking in a Dutch oven so great, what recipes will you try? Homemade bread? Braised chicken? Chili? Tell us in the comments below.

5 Responses to What’s a Dutch Oven and Why Do You Need One?

  1. Laurie Sullivan February 21, 2020 at 4:24 pm #

    Where can I find the French Onion Soup recipe! It looks awesome!

  2. Kelly Greene May 8, 2020 at 8:34 pm #

    Can the Dutch ovens be used in a fire pit?

  3. Saraphina May 16, 2023 at 10:58 am #


  4. Linda December 26, 2023 at 3:47 pm #

    I have the old stoneware from the 90’s. I have a large stone bowl and the piece that can be used as a lid. Can it be used as a Dutch oven? Also can I use it on the stovetop or only in the oven?

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