Cleaning a Dutch Oven

by April Reinhardt
(last updated July 18, 2016)

Made of cast iron, a Dutch oven is a cooking pot with a tight-fitting lid. Because of its thick iron composition, a Dutch oven is a favorite cooking utensil for campers. Originally made by the Dutch in the late 1600s, the cast metal cooking vessels were tall and had a flange around the top edge to keep coals and ashes out of the food. In early American history, legs were added to Dutch ovens to hold them above campfire logs and coals. Dutch ovens were so popular that they were willed to family members at death.

Centuries later, Dutch ovens are still mostly made from cast iron, and are still a piece of favored cookware. Cleaning a Dutch oven depends upon the age of the iron, the method of cooking you've used, and what types of foods and elements you've had inside of it. Follow these steps to clean a Dutch oven:

  • When your cast iron Dutch oven is brand new, it is not seasoned and is manufactured with a thin protective layer of wax or shellac. Before you can use it, you must thoroughly scour the piece down to the bare metal, rinse and dry it thoroughly, and then apply saturated fat to the inside. Heat the Dutch oven to a high temperature to make the fat bond with the metal. The more you cook with your Dutch oven, the more fats bond with the metal. When it is well seasoned, simply wipe the oven with a damp cloth to remove traces of food, apply a thin layer of oil, and store it away until the next use.
  • If your Dutch oven was used over a campfire and it has burnt and stuck-on food on the inside, and ashes and hard coal debris on the outside, then you must strip the oven down to the bare metal and season it again. Use a sink full of hot water and very stiff steel wool to scrub the oven. You may need to use a steel brush. If there is still burnt and charred residue inside of the oven after scrubbing it, pour two liters of Coca-cola inside and allow it to stand for at least thirty minutes. Use your steel wool and brush again to scrub at the debris, and then drain and rinse.
  • Once you have scoured the oven back to the bare metal, season your oven as described above.

Once your Dutch oven is well seasoned from many uses, you do not need to wash it with soap and water. Simply scrap out any food remnants, wipe it out with paper towels or a wet rag, rinse it, then pat it dry with a paper towel and put it away.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

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