You just found a fantastic recipe, one that you’re dying to recreate. There’s only one problem, it calls for a dutch oven, and you don’t have one. Now what?
It’s true; every kitchen should probably have a dutch oven. But we’ll cut you some slack. Maybe you’re cooking at an Airbnb, and your supplies are limited. Or, perhaps you’re visiting your friend from college, the one who doesn’t know the difference between a skillet and a sheet pan. Whatever the case, we’ll assume you’re not here by choice.
Not to worry though, you don’t need a dutch oven to make a dutch oven recipe. It may be a little complicated without the appropriate tool, but dinner will still get to the table. And, when hunger is the issue, that’s all you really need to happen.
Dutch Oven Substitutions
A dutch oven is just a deep lidded pot that’s strong enough, traditionally, to be placed directly over a campfire. What you use instead is determined by what you were trying to make.
For soups, chilis, and stews, any large stockpot will do. Traditionally those dishes are made entirely on the stove, and will not need to be transferred to the oven.
If your recipe calls for transferring the dish from the stove-top to the oven, as you would with braised beef or pork, you’ll need to use a deep-sided oven-proof skillet instead. Alternatively, you can begin your dish with a regular pot on the stove, one that’s not oven-proof. Then, transfer everything from the stove-top to an appropriately sized casserole dish that can go in the oven. This last option is the most dangerous as the potential for steaming hot food splatter is high. Be careful and move slowly; thick oven mitts are a must.
So when you find yourself in someone else’s poorly stocked kitchen, when you crack your perfectly enameled dutch oven on the floor, or when you’ve just moved, and you realize your dutch oven didn’t make the move with you, don’t turn away from that perfect one-pot recipe. Instead, follow our advice and cook your dutch oven dinner without a dutch oven.