How to clean your Dutch oven

In this cold season I’ve been using my Dutch oven more than ever. So, I’m very inspired to write about Dutch oven topics. Today, we are taking a break from recipes and we are going to talk about caring for you cast iron Dutch ovens.

While having a lot of great qualities, cast iron cookware is not easy to maintain, especially if we are talking about bare cast iron cookware that has to be seasoned regularly. Furthermore, bare cast iron can rust if you don’t take care of it properly and you must be very careful when washing it.

That’s why they have invented enameled cast iron. Enameled cast iron is cast iron with a vitreous enamel glaze coating that prevents rusting, allows thorough washing and eliminates seasoning.

I use Dutch ovens that are made with enameled cast iron so I’m going to write a few thing about caring for an enamel cast iron pot.

Here are some basic tips:
• Hand wash your Dutch oven. Although most enameled Dutch ovens are dishwasher safe it’s still recommended to wash it by hand with minimal soap and warm water. Why is that? Well, the repeated use of the dishwasher may damage your Dutch oven causing the dulling of the enamel finish. So, once in a while you can use your dishwasher, don’t do it very often. After all, it takes just a minute to wash it by hand!

• Make sure that before you begin washing it, your Dutch oven has cooled down because the contact between the hot pan and the cold water will cause thermal shock and crack the enamel. Once your enamel has cracked, you will have to replace your Dutch oven.

• When washing it don’t use metallic pads and abrasive cleaners. Even though enamel cast iron can withstand more thorough washing than bare cast iron, do not exaggerate. Abrasive cleaners and metal pads will damage the enamel, so use sponges and brushes. If, after you have finished cooking, there are some food residues left, fill the vessel with warm water and then leave it to soak for 15 to 20 minutes. After that, wash it in the usual way.

• After you’re done with the washing, dry thoroughly your Dutch oven. You can use a cotton or paper towel to wipe the excessive water or moisture. Don’t drain dry or store away while damp. Store your Dutch oven in a dry and clean location with the lid off or ajar to ensure air circulation.

Follow the above and your Dutch oven will last for years and years. High quality enamel Dutch ovens are not quite cheap, so taking care of one in a proper will ensure its durability. 

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54 Responses to How to clean your Dutch oven

  1. mike says:

    I have very badly burned enameled dutch oven. Do you have any advice please



  2. Anonymous says:

    How would you recommend seasoning an enameled dutch oven and how often would you recommend do this? I just bought my first one and i used vegetable oil in the lip of the bowl and lid and put it in the oven at 350 for an hour….I didnt turn the pot over so the oil pooled in the bottom but other than that is it good to go? Im planning on cooking soup tonight:)Thanks:)

  3. Theresa Patterson says:

    Sorry left my name out on the first email:) How would you recommend seasoning a enameled dutch oven and how often would you reccomend do this? I just bought my first one and i used vegetable oil in the lip of the bowl and lid and put it in the oven at 350 for an hour….I didnt turn the pot over so the oil pooled in the bottom but other than that is it good to go? Im planning on cooking soup tonight:)Thanks:)

  4. Kevin says:

    I would like to know if there is any way to clean the bottom of my dutch oven I was in the hospital and it was used while I was in now the bottom is dark brown and I cant seem to clean it out PLEASE HELP lol

  5. bapsi says:

    As far as I’m concerned that’s the main downside to Le Creuset dutch ovens. I use baking soda for lighter staining and Barkeeper’s Friend for heavy stains. Some people use Dawn but I haven’t tried it. Still, there are some stains that are impossible to remove but I wouldn’t despare because it’s just an aesthetical issue and it doesn’t interfere with the overall performance of the cookware.
    Here is a thread on the subject on Chowhound so maybe you’ll find some good advice on how to remove the staining:

  6. bapsi says:

    Theresa, you don’t need to season an enameled dutch oven, because of the enamel coating. Le Creuset and Staub are like that so there is no seasoning (that is why I love them!). You only need to season the bare cast iron dutch ovens.
    p.s. hopefully your soup turned out delicious!

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    Here is something you can read on the topic.

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