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19 Dishes to Make in Your Dutch Oven That Aren’t Stew

Kenyan chargrilled chicken in a stout cast iron Dutch oven dish.
From My Point of View/Shutterstock

We all know a hearty stew belongs in a Dutch oven, but there’s no need to limit what this versatile kitchen tool can do! Whether you’re making chicken or sourdough, your Dutch oven has you covered.

Stews are great, but we wouldn’t own a Dutch oven if that’s all you could use them for. Dutch ovens are multitalented. They were created during a time when cooking over a fire wasn’t just a fun throwback but essential to survival.

All those pioneers who spent their nights cooking over an open flame weren’t living off soup. They had a vast selection of dishes to choose from then, and we have an even larger one now. Plus, we no longer need an open flame. Your favorite stove burner or oven will do just fine.

Main Dishes

Here are some main attractions you probably didn’t know you could cook in your Dutch oven:

  • Red wine-braised short ribs: A quintessential Dutch oven dish! We love this recipe in particular, as do it’s 158 other reviewers, so we doubt you’ll disagree.

Get the Recipe: Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

  • Chicken Adobo. This vinegar-laced Filipino dish is delicious, regardless of the cooking vessel. But, in a Dutch oven, it comes out melt-in-your-mouth tender with half the cleanup. If you haven’t had the chance to try this dish, we highly recommend it!  And don’t limit yourself to chicken—it works just as well with pork.

Get the Recipe: Chicken Adobo

whole chicken, roasted with coconut and lemongrass, in a Dutch oven
  • Whole roast chicken: There’s something supremely comforting about the smell of chicken roasting in the oven all afternoon. We also love that this recipe includes instructions to move this dish outside over a campfire, should you be so inspired.

Get the Recipe: Oven Roasted Chicken

  • Carnitas: These crispy little pork bits are always a good decision, and a Dutch oven is a great way to make them. We love a recipe like this because one day of cooking leaves you with leftover shredded pork you can use all week!

Get the Recipe: Carnitas

  • Lamb Tagine: The word “tagine” refers to a clay cooking vessel, similar to a Dutch oven but with a cone-shaped top. It’s used to make braised dishes that contain lamb, chicken, or dried fruit. A Dutch oven works just as well for this traditional lamb and apricot version.

Get the Recipe: Lamb Tagine

  • Duck Confit: This sounds fancy, but once upon a time, it was considered a very humble French dish. To “confit” means to cook meat in its own fat. The result is a very tender, rich, and well-preserved entree. Once the confit process is complete, the meat lasts in the fridge for up to three months and can be frozen up to one year.

Get the Recipe: Duck Confit

  • Fried Chicken: An obvious choice for a Dutch oven as the deep sides of the pot make deep-frying a breeze. For perfect fried chicken, brine the chicken pieces first and always use a thermometer to ensure the oil temperature is correct.

Get the Recipe: Fried Chicken

  • Jambalaya: This meaty southern staple is packed with flavor. It has a lot of ingredients and can be time-consuming to make, but it also makes fantastic leftovers.

Get the Recipe: Jambalaya

  • Lasagna: This is probably not a dish you think of when you think of Dutch ovens. And this version isn’t like the kind you pull out of the freezer. However, all the components are here, and you make it in one pot, so we think it’s worth the superficial sacrifice.

Get the Recipe: One Pot Lasagna

  • Ropa Vieja: When translated, the name of this dish means “old clothes.” It gets its name from the long, shredded strands of slow-cooked flank steak that resemble strings of cloth in the final dish. Slow cooking a lean-cut flank steak, might sound ill-advised, but this traditional Cuban dish turns out perfectly tender every time.

Get the Recipe: Ropa Vieja

Side Dishes

Cheesy Dutch Oven potatoes.

If you’ve already prepared your main dish, you can use a Dutch oven to make some savory sides! We’ve got some suggestions:

  • Dutch Oven Potatoes: There are many potato variations you can make in a Dutch oven, but we like these the best. After all—few things come close to the wonders of spuds with cheese.

Get the Recipe: Easy Dutch Oven Potatoes with Cheese

  • Baked Beans: A pretty obvious choice, right? Just don’t forget to soak the beans overnight if you’re going to make them from scratch!

Get the Recipe: Baked Beans

  • Tomato Sauce: Does anything compare to a homemade tomato sauce simmering on the stovetop all Sunday afternoon? We don’t think so. Give this one a try, and you might never go back to jarred marinara.

Get the Recipe: Tomato Sauce

  • Risotto: This high-maintenance dish requires constant babysitting, so it’s not typically one we’d use the Dutch oven for. Leave it to Ina Garten, though, to warm our hearts with an almost stir-free recipe.

Get the Recipe: Easy Parmesan Risotto

  • Wild Rice Pilaf: Plain rice is boring, but wild rice pilaf is a dish fit for even the grandest of occasions. The Dutch oven makes it extra simple because it allows you to move from stovetop to oven seamlessly for better temperature control.

Get the Recipe: Wild Rice Pilaf with Cranberries and Pecans

  • Spaetzle: You can boil any pasta in a Dutch oven, but spaetzle, although technically more of a dumpling, is special. You can make this at home without advanced dough rolling skills or special tools. For this particular recipe, all you need is a teaspoon!

Get the Recipe: Spaetzle (German Dumplings)

Baked Goods and Treats

A loaf of artisan bread in a dutch oven.
Ulmus Media/Shutterstock

If you’re looking for an easy way to make a special treat, break out the Dutch oven! Here are just a few of the sweeter things you can use it for:

  • Sourdough Bread: Those pioneers we mentioned earlier also baked this in a Dutch oven because it creates the perfect bread-rising environment. You need your own starter for this one, but it’s well worth the effort!

Get the Recipe: No-Knead Sourdough Bread

  • Jam: Pick your fruit, grab some sugar, and gather a few jars. Homemade jam is super-easy to make, and a Dutch oven is a perfect way to make it! You can make some as harvest ends, and then give it as gifts for the upcoming holidays.

Get the Recipe: Blackberry Jam

  • Applesauce: The scent of tart apples and spicy cinnamon drifting from your Dutch oven is sure to warm up even the dreariest of fall afternoons. Plus, you can jar, preserve, or share the resulting applesauce all year long!

Get the Recipe: Applesauce

There you have it—19 new recipes to try!  And if you don’t yet have a Dutch oven, it’s never too late. You can pick up this classic kitchen apparatus and see how many dishes you can create.

Lauren Sakiyama Lauren Sakiyama
Lauren Sakiyama is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry. She has managed restaurants, country clubs, and large-scale event operations, but her passion has always been about the food. Read Full Bio »
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