Choosing The Best Dutch Oven Cookbook: 6 Great Choices

A dutch oven is an excellent addition to every homesteader’s kitchen as it’s the perfect tool for making a wide variety of meals without dirtying many dishes. When choosing the best dutch oven cookbook, you’ll want to consider what dishes you want to cook, how much time you have to make your meals, and how comprehensive you’ll want the recipe collection to be. Below are my top 6 picks that will accommodate both those that are new to using a dutch oven and those who are looking for variety in their recipes. 

*If you’re in a hurry, I’d recommend the Cook It In Your Dutch Oven: 150 Foolproof Recipes as the best one. This cookbook provides a variety of recipes with an additional “why it works” section that teaches you the best techniques for getting perfect results from dutch oven cooking.

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Choosing Your Dutch Oven and Cookbook

Best Dutch Oven Cookbook

What Can I Make With A Dutch Oven?

red dutch oven

What can you make with a dutch oven? Practically anything! One of the benefits of the dutch oven is that it can be used as both a stovetop accessory as well as a small oven. Most popularly, people make stews, bread, soups, and sauces in their dutch pots. I also use mine for beverages such as homemade kombucha tea, cider, and ginger beer. Here is a list of additional dishes (linked to recipes) that you can make at home. 

Why Is Cooking In A Dutch Oven Better?

Red Dutch Oven

Dutch ovens have several advantages over other traditional pots. Firstly, they are highly durable. A dutch oven may be the only pot you purchase in your life, unless you desire to have several of them in different sizes or finishes. They are so long-lasting that they may even be items that you give to your children for multi-generational use. Enamel dutch ovens can crack and iron-cast dutch ovens can rust, so it’s important to consistently care for them to extend their usage. 

Dutch pots are also fantastic conductors and retainers of heat and allow for your food to cook consistently and evenly. Ther oven-proof lids allow for moisture and heat to say within the device which prevents drying and breaks down fats and fibers to create tender and digestible dishes. 

Dutch pots are also usable outside of the kitchen. If you have a cast-iron dutch oven, you can use it in camp fires as well. They will take the high heat and evenly disperse it to the pot to make sure that the flames don’t overcook or undercook portions of your food. 

Choosing The Best Dutch Oven For You

Dutch oven in campfire

Since dutch ovens are a long term investment, it’s important to pick the best one for you. Here are some factors to consider when picking the perfect one for you:

Materials

Firstly, you’ll want to consider the material of your dutch oven. Most dutch ovens come as a cast iron or enameled cast iron pot. The enameled pot allows for the easiest maintenance schedule. Just cook, hand wash your pot, and you’re done. However, they can’t be preheated and cannot be placed in campfires.  Cast iron dutch ovens require regular seasoning (baking with a layer of oil on the surface to condition the metal) and cannot be cleaned regularly with water or soap. Their advantage is that they can survive any type of heating and can be repaired even if they become super rusty. 

Size

In order to choose the best size dutch oven, you’ll want to consider what dishes you’ll be making. A large dutch oven (13 to 15 quarts) can roast an entire turkey. I use a medium dutch oven that is 5.5 quarts to make bread, beverages, vegetables, ribs, and roaster chickens in. Small dutch ovens (.5 to 2 quarts) are perfect for small presentation-based dishes and desserts such as creme brulee. They are also good for quickly cooking meals for one or two people. 

Another reason that size is important is that dutch ovens get very heavy very fast. While you may want to batch cook meals in a large pot, it may be very difficult to lift and move it, especially when it’s full. Many people including myself prefer to leave their dutch ovens on the stovetop permanently. If you’re planning on doing this, make sure it’s not too large so that you can use other pots and pans without having to move it. 

Heat Capacity

Some dutch ovens can be heated more than others. If you’re making bread, you’ll need your dutch oven to handle up to 450 to 550 degrees fahrenheit. Cast iron dutch ovens can handle up to 700 degrees fahrenheit. 

Cook It In Your Dutch Oven: 150 Foolproof Recipes

This cookbook is a great choice for those who are new to using the dutch oven and want to make sure their recipes have the best chance of success. It’s published by America’s Test Kitchen so you can trust that it’s a thoroughly researched and executed cookbook. 

This book focuses on roasting, braising, frying, baking, and even dessert making. It also includes a dutch oven rating system for you to assess the quality of your dutch oven (or to help decide which one you will purchase). The “getting started” section will cover several additional topics for beginners who want to understand the various uses of the pot. 

The “Why This Works” section in the book further explains how and why the recipe has been assembled in a certain way and teaches you how to use the best techniques and ingredients possible for this dish. Recipes range from traditional to more ambitious and contemporary, keeping most levels of cooks engaged with a variety of options. 

The 5-Ingredient Dutch Oven Cookbook

Looking for a pain-free simple approach to the dutch oven? This cookbook is designed for busy people who don’t want to worry about getting together too many ingredients to make a dish. Even with a minimal ingredient list, this cookbook is quite comprehensive and provides meals ranging from breakfast to dessert, allowing you to use your dutch oven all day long. 

Recipes are labeled as dairy, nut, or gluten free for easy identification. There is also a comprehensive guide to dutch pots that will help you choose and care for your item if you haven’t grabbed one yet. 

I would especially recommend this book for those who have or plan on getting an enamelled dutch oven since it will be much easier and quicker to clean up. Each recipe has a small blurb with variations, tips, and substitutions, and the occasional historical tidbit for those who want to dig a bit deeper. 

The Dutch Oven Cookbook: Recipes for the Best Pot in Your Kitchen

This cookbook was written by Sharon Kramis was a student of the famed James Beard and has owned a chain of panini shops, so she is well versed in the world of recipe making. This book spans both traditional and contemporary recipes and is perfect for someone who wants to explore the versatility of the dutch oven. 

This book is divided into five chapters: chilies and chowders, sides and appetizers, soups, main dishes, accompaniments, and desserts. The recipes are often basic and feature ingredients that are easy to find. A 5.5 quart dutch oven is best for accommodating the portions of this cookbook, however, you can adapt the measurements to any size. 

The Outdoor Dutch Oven Cookbook

This unique camping dutch oven cookbook was written by Sheila Mills, who is the head chef and co-owner of the Rocky Mountain River tours. She has compiled her 30 years of experience with outdoor cooking into this book and it is a very comprehensive guide for those who want to use their dutch ovens over open campfires.

Recipes in this compilation will take some time to prep and there’s a balance of recipes that source fresh ingredients as well as prepared ingredients, which is great for flexibility when deciding which ingredients to bring. One good idea would be to prep your meals before heading out on your camping trip to make the cooking experience as easy as possible. 

Most recipes only need a single dutch oven, however, a few do require an additional cast iron pan or dutch oven to make sauces or side dishes in. The book includes a temperature guide letting you know how many coals will need to be placed under or on top of your food to keep it properly heated. 

Remember that only cast iron dutch ovens can withstand the heat of an open campfire. Keep your enameled dutch oven at home!

New World Sourdough: Artisan Techniques for Creative Homemade Fermented Breads

For those who are looking to master a specific and time-honored tradition of bread making, this book will serve as a comprehensive guide that will teach you how to create several types of bread. The first chapter teaches the tools, ingredients, and techniques necessary. You’ll learn how to create and take care of a sourdough starter, mixing, shaping, proofing, and baking bread. 

This cookbook covers rustic styles of bread such as sourdough, whole grain, ciabatta, english muffins, french bread, and pretzel buns. It’s second section covers enriched breads such as coco pan de coco, cuban muffins, pao do queijo, challah, and jamaican hard dough. 

One Pot Vegan Cookbook

This completely plant-based cookbook features 125 recipes that can be made in a dutch oven. The recipes are designed to be quick and straightforward for busy families who don’t have a lot of time to wash dishes or endlessly prep their meals. The author also focuses on vegan versions of comfort food, making sure that the dishes will be liked by adults and kids alike. 

There are also several international recipes and you’ll be able to prepare Morrocan, Indian, Japanese, and Thai cuisines to expand your culinary horizons. You’ll also find recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert, providing options for any occasion. 

Summary

Rachel Dennis

Getting started with a dutch oven is an exciting journey that will allow you to experiment with different types of cuisines without the hassle of needing a variety of pots and pans to complete your dish. They last forever and evenly distribute heat for fantastic results every time you use one. 

What cookbooks or recipes have been the best for your dutch oven? Let me know in the comments below, and happy cooking! 

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