This article was last updated on September 5th, 2020
Dutch ovens are amazing in their versatility and their wide range of uses. Since the 1700s, these iconic culinary tools have made their mark, and continue to do so. Everyone knows their amazing in-oven properties to create the perfect Coq au vin or casserole, but what about using your Dutch oven on the stovetop?
To use your Dutch oven on a stovetop, you must consider which materials it is composed of, and how to use them on specific surfaces to protect your food, stovetop, and pot. You may use your Dutch oven on electric, gas, induction, glass-topped, and Vitroceramic stovetops.
If you are keen to start trying out your Dutch oven on top of your stove instead of in your oven, I have formulated some handy tips to get you started.
What Is a Dutch Oven?
Dutch ovens have been around for a long time. Originally made from brass in the Netherlands and cast in sand molds, an enterprising American Abraham Darby cribbed the design in 1704.
He found a far more cost-effective way to make these dutch ovens by producing them in cast iron. In the 18th and 19th centuries, cast iron pots were so valuable that they were mentioned in the owner’s will.
There are many kinds of Dutch ovens today, and most are still cast iron-based.
There are ceramic versions, cast aluminum Dutch ovens, and the iconic enameled iron of Le Creuset. Dutch ovens are versatile and can be used on open fires, charcoal ovens, and stovetops.
The poor heat conduction of a dutch oven means that it retains its heat well, so it is the perfect choice for slow cooking of stews, casseroles, and rich meat dishes.
Dutch ovens can function well on a stovetop, but you should take precautions to ensure that your pot is not damaged or your food may burn.
When considering if you may use your Dutch oven on a stovetop, you should consult your manufacturer’s guidelines.
You should ensure that the pot is cast iron or aluminum and not coated ceramic or stoneware. This will crack if heated on a stovetop and should always be used inside an oven.
Due to the ceramic material’s nature, if it is not evenly heated, some parts will expand while the other cooler parts will not. This imbalance will cause your ceramic pot to break.
How to Use a Dutch Oven on a Stove Top
Follow these simple steps to cook in your Dutch oven on the stove to prepare soups, casseroles, or stews.
- Have all ingredients peeled, chopped, and diced. Herbs and spices, salt, pepper, and liquids measured.
- Add oil and heat the Dutch oven up over low to medium heat.
- Sear and brown any meat – remove and set aside.
- Add more oil and saute’ onions, garlic, ginger – whatever your recipe requires. (usually for a couple of minutes)
- Return meat to pot, add vegetables, other ingredients, liquid, and return meat to the pot. Stir until combined.
- Brown pot to the simmer replace the lid, reduce heat enough so the Dutch oven is lightly simmering.
- Cook for the required time.
Using Dutch Ovens on Induction Cooking Plates
Induction stoves work by transferring heat created by magnetic energy, making them perfect for a typical dutch oven.
The copper wire beneath the cooktop heats the metal pot via alternating current that produces a magnetic field. Because the dutch oven is ferromagnetic, these magnetic waves pass through into the pot itself.
Using your dutch oven on an induction stovetop is a safe and energy-efficient way to cook your food. Because heat is limited to your vessel’s bottom, the rest of the area remains cool enough to touch.
What to Avoid When Using Your Dutch Oven on an Induction Stove
Dutch ovens function best when they are heated up slowly to mid-range temperatures. Do not preheat your dutch oven to high temperatures, or you will risk the food at the bottom burning before the rest of the meal is cooked.
Make sure that your Dutch oven is room temperature or warmer when you introduce it to heat. Temperature changes may affect your enamel through accelerated expansion or contraction of the metal.
Ensure that your cast iron pot does not scratch your induction stove’s glass surface. It is a good idea to place parchment, paper, or Silpat mats between the glass and the base of your pot.
Round bottomed Dutch ovens will not work on an induction plate.
Using Dutch Ovens on Glass Top Cooking Plates
Although your seasoned cast-iron pot will work perfectly on a glass top stove, your glass might not fare as well.
Enamelled cast-iron Dutch ovens are a much better alternative as their smooth surface will not cause scratches on your glass as easily as the cast iron.
However, the weight of even enameled Dutch ovens may be a concern if you should perhaps drop them in the cooking process.
Cast iron pots are not always smooth and might have burrs and imperfections in the iron finish that can leave scratches on your beautiful glass top.
What to Avoid When Using Your Dutch Oven on Glass Stovetops
Lift your pot gently rather than sliding your Dutch oven. If you need to slide your Dutch oven onto your plate, lift it gently and place it in the desired position instead.
Make sure not to knock or drop your Dutch oven when lifting it onto your glass top. The cast-iron pots are much heavier than your standard cooker range of products, may chip or worse, break your glass top. Use both hands to lift your pot and set it gently into place.
Wash your cast iron before using it on your glass top stove. Cast iron Dutch ovens absorb more oil and collect foodstuff over time than your standard cookware due to its porous nature.
These deposits may burn on your glass stovetop and leave stains on your glass. Don’t worry, you can wash your cast iron pot with soap and water as long as you season it after each wash.
Ensure that there are no chips or imperfections in your pot’s enamel or the cast iron before using it on your glass top.
Cast iron can be sanded to remove burs, but the surface will still not be ideal for glass tops.
Purchase a heat diffuser to set between your stovetop and your cast iron pan. Heat diffusers are handy for protecting sensitive surfaces. If you aren’t familiar with the heat diffuser, this COOZYER Heat Diffuser is an example.
Using Dutch Ovens on Electric Stoves
Dutch ovens work well on electric stoves, and it is easier to work with than glass or induction hobs because the electric ring burners don’t show scratches and are generally hardier. Cast-iron pots may be shifted about on electric plates without fear or scratches, which is beneficial.
Because electric burners take longer, you will need extra time to bring your pot up to temperature.
What to Avoid When Using a Dutch Oven on an Electric Stove
Don’t leave the electric burner on high once your pot is heated. You don’t need to keep your electric plate high because cast iron retains heat well.
Instead, put your electric plate on medium for a longer period to get the process started.
Once your food is heated, turn the heat down to low to prevent hot spots or scorching. It will continue to heat your food residually because cast iron retains heat well.
Using Dutch Ovens on Gas Stoves
Both enamel-coated and seasoned cast-iron Dutch Ovens to work well on a gas stovetop. Scratching is prevented by the bottom of your Dutch oven being supported by the hobs.
Make sure to heat your Dutch oven on a slow heat because gas heats quickly than other stove points.
What to Avoid When Using a Dutch Oven on a Gas Stovetop
Dutch ovens need a long and moderate preheating before your food begins to cook. If you rush this step, you will have hotspots, and the heating will be uneven.
Enamel Dutch ovens can scorch if placed too long on burners that are set too high.
Slow and easy is the best policy with Dutch ovens, because once the heat conducts through the pan, it stays hot even at low temperature.
Other Considerations When Using Dutch Ovens on Your Stovetop
You may use Dutch Ovens on all heat sources, electric, gas, radiant plates, Vitroceramic glass induction gas, and flame.
However, it would help if you keep these rules in mind:
- Enamel surfaces are not suitable for dry cooking, and your liquid choice of oil butter or fat should cover the entire bottom of the pot before heating.
- Medium heat is the best setting, even for searing and frying.
- Allow the pot to heat gradually for the best cooking results.
- High heat should only be used to boil water, vegetables, pasta, or reduce stocks and sauces.
- Never preheat a Dutch oven on high heat before lowering your cooking heat because this can cause sticking and uneven cooking.
- Never submit your Dutch oven to extreme temperatures, such as cold water after cooking or moving from a cold source to a hot area.
If you are keen to try out your Dutch oven on your stovetop, here are some great recipes to start you off.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Bake on a Stove Top?
Yes, you can bake on a stovetop. The process is similar to that carried out in a Dutch oven when baking over a campfire or well place hot coals or briquettes.
- It requires a large Dutch oven or cooking pot with a lid.
- A wire rack that can sit inside the cooking pot.
- A separate cake tin or similar in which the baked goods will be cooked.
- Heat up the cooking pot at a high temperature
- Insert the cake tin or other tray.
- Cook for 5 minutes at a high temperature – lower heat and cooker for a further 20 minutes or until goods are baked as required.
- Take great care in removing the cake pan out of the hot cooking pot.
What Can I Use Instead of an Oven?
There are many options for substituting an oven. The choice will depend upon the type of meal you want to prepare.
These appliances can be used instead of an oven.
- Roaster ovens
- Instant Pots
- Multi-purpose cookers
- Slow cookers
- Air fryers
- Electric fry pans
- Bread ovens
To Finish – How to Use a Dutch Oven on a Stove Top
Dutch ovens can be used in various ways, and no other cooking pot can function as well on an open fire as an induction stove.
Understanding your cast iron oven’s unique requirements will ensure that your dishes will be sumptuous, and your stovetop and Dutch oven will last.
You may even want to start thinking of who you will bequeath your Dutch oven to in the distant future.
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