A great cookbook can provide hours of blissful entertainment and directly correlate to hundreds of mouthwatering meals. A mediocre cookbook will more than likely just collect dust.
If you own a Dutch oven and need some help deciding what and how to cook in it, you need a cookbook with expert advice specific to Dutch ovens.
So how can you choose the best dutch oven cookbook for you? We recommend weighing them against criteria such as commonality and number of ingredients called for, ease of preparation, variety of recipes, the skill level required of the cook, and general aesthetics.
If you’re ready to start using your Dutch oven to it’s fullest potential, take a look at the 7 best Dutch oven cookbooks and start cooking.
What is a Dutch Oven?
A Dutch oven is a cast iron pot with a tight-fitting lid. They’re incredibly versatile and can move easily from the stovetop to the oven and back again as your recipe demands.
Dutch ovens are also popular for outdoor kitchens and camping because they can be easily used on open fires without any damage.
Why is it called a Dutch oven? The Dutch were doing the majority of their cooking in cast-iron in the 17th century, converting their cookware from the brass the loam and clay that was more popular in England.
A visiting Englishman discovered the more economical cookware and patented a casserole dish made of the metal, respecting the origins by calling it a “Dutch oven.”
How to Use a Dutch Oven
Dutch ovens are very versatile pieces of cookware, but there are still some tips and best practices that you’ll want to follow to get the most out of your dish. Here are our top pieces of advice:
- Slow cook over low to medium heat to protect the finish of your oven and prevent your food from scorching
- Care for your cookware. If your Dutch oven is raw cast-iron, avoid using harsh soaps and chemicals to clean it, and make sure to keep it nicely oiled and seasoned. If it’s enamel-coated, don’t try to scour the stains off the surface with steel wool, but instead use gentle baking soda and vinegar. Also, avoid putting it in the dishwasher.
- Keep temperatures relatively consistent. Don’t try to go from fridge cold to pre-heated oven-hot directly, or vice versa as it can cause cracking. You should also avoid pouring cold water or liquid directly into an empty Dutch oven that is already hot.
The 7 Best Dutch Oven Cookbooks
The best cookbooks provide you with recipes that you love and feel confident cooking over and over again. Your skill level in the kitchen, flavor, recipe style preferences, and the number of people you are feeding will make your needs unique to your home.
In our list of the best Dutch oven cookbooks, we take into consideration the number of people the recipes feed, how many ingredients are used and how specialized they may be, the experience level required to follow the instructions, and a few other important considerations.
If you have a Dutch oven, at least one of the following 7 cookbooks will pique your interests, if not more.
|Cook It in Your Dutch Oven
|America’s Test Kitchen
|Best overall Dutch oven cookbook
|The Camp Dutch Oven Cookbook
|Best for campers and glampers
|The Dutch Oven Cookbook
|Most unique Dutch oven recipes for practiced home cooks
|The 5-Ingredient Dutch Oven Cookbook
|Fewest ingredients per recipe
|Modern Dutch Oven Cookbook
|Best for new, learning home cooks
|All-in-One Dutch Oven Cookbook for Two
|Janet A. Zimmerman
|Best cookbook for 2 people
|Dutch Oven and Cast Iron Cooking
|Most varied cookbook
1. Cook It in Your Dutch Oven
150 Foolproof Recipes Tailor-Made for Your Kitchen’s Most Versatile Pot by America’s Test Kitchen
America’s Test Kitchen never disappoints. With more than 60 cooks, editors, and tasting experts, it is no wonder they’re able to create beautiful cookbooks with recipes that any home cook.
Regardless of skill, you can recreate any of these recipes for yourself and your family.
- From one-pot meals to frying or roasting, there are recipes for any and every mood
- Full-color photos create just the right guidance and motivation
- Bake bread and desserts too
Biggest Drawback: Some of the recipes in this cookbook take traditional classics and teach you how to recreate them in your Dutch oven. Many other recipes are much more elaborate, calling for less common ingredients and requiring more initial preparation. This cookbook is geared towards the home cook who has extra time and an adventurous culinary spirit, not busy parents of picky children.
2. The Camp Dutch Oven Cookbook
Easy 5-Ingredient Recipes to Eat Well in the Great Outdoors by Robin Donovan
One of the biggest perks of having a cast-iron Dutch oven is that you can take it with you camping or use it over any fire, outside of your kitchen. Gone are the days of camping meaning nothing but hot dogs.
With this cookbook, you can supplement those weiners with more than 85 different dishes that require 5 ingredients or less.
- The perfect cookbook for new or practice campers
- Recipes for breakfast, snacks, mains, and even desserts included
- Clear and detailed instructions for using a Dutch oven camping in addition to the recipes
Biggest Drawback: Personal tastes make a big difference to the type of cookbook you’ll love and value for the rest of your life. This cookbook has a variety of ethnic, easy to cook meals that not all Americans would consider reasonable camping fare or kid-friendly food. However, for those who prefer to glamp, this will elevate your meals considerably without requiring a lot of extra time or storage for ingredients and cookware.
3. The Dutch Oven Cookbook
Recipes for the Best Pot in Your Kitchen by Sharon Kramis
If you love cooking, trying new flavors and ingredients, and using the beautiful Dutch oven that you own, this cookbook will be a staple for you.
The authors are experienced cooks who have adapted gourmet recipes to work in a Dutch oven, giving you plenty of opportunities to have a new recipe simmering every day.
- Great for practice home cooks new to cooking in a Dutch oven
- Variety of recipes that are both meat and vegetable-based
- Plenty of one-pot easy meals, but also many side dishes and more creative meals
Biggest Drawback: If you’re looking for easy, low-ingredients, one-pot meals, this is not the cookbook for you. Many of the ingredients are not overly common, though they can probably all be ordered through Amazon and are easy to either skip or substitute, but only if you already know what you’re doing.
Also, there are pictures, but not for every recipe, which is slightly disappointing.
4. The 5-Ingredient Dutch Oven Cookbook
One Pot, 101 Easy Recipes by Lisa Grant
In direct contrast to the previous cookbook that featured many unique, uncommon ingredients and complex recipes ideal for a more experienced cook, this book is designed with simplicity in mind.
With over 100 recipes that use only 5 ingredients each, you can make comfort meals comforting to cook, too.
- Includes a comprehensive guide to cooking with a Dutch oven
- Great variety of recipes that are simple to make and not overly repetitive
- Notes for dietary restrictions, such as vegan, gluten or nut-free, etc
Biggest Drawback: The 5 ingredients in each recipe does NOT include staple pantry ingredients that you’re expected to have on hand at all times, like seasonings, flour, or broth. This is easy for an established home kitchen to handle, but it is very important for new cooks to know. It is a great way to learn how to build up a staple pantry as anything the book “expects” you to have on hand is probably something very handy to stock up on.
5. Modern Dutch Oven Cookbook
Fresh Ideas for Braises, Stews, Pot Roasts, and Other One-Pot Meals by Rockridge Press
This cookbook is perfect for new cooks learning how to combine flavors and make delicious meals without spending their entire day in the kitchen or going to culinary school.
Every recipe comes with tips for customization and ways to make the recipe work for you, with what you have including substitutions and basic cooking tips.
- Offers tips and guidance for using and maintaining a healthy Dutch oven
- An impressive variety of recipes with over 100 one-pot meals
- Includes options for gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and vegetarian cooking
Biggest Drawback: There are no pictures and no nutritional information provided. The recipes are easy and work well for a busy, “modern” cook, but they do often rely on canned or pre-packaged items, which isn’t always ideal. Also, many of the recipes will work fantastically in an enameled Dutch oven but could be problematic on a more traditional, uncoated cast-iron oven.
6. All-in-One Dutch Oven Cookbook for Two
One-Pot Meals You’ll Both Love by Janet A. Zimmerman
Many Dutch oven cookbooks, including the ones on this list, are designed for families or larger gatherings. They often serve 4 or even 6 at a time.
For singles or couples, this can mean eating the same meal every day of the week, which isn’t always inspiring. This cookbook is designed specifically to make 2 meals per recipe with your Dutch oven, reducing leftovers and waste substantially.
- More than 90 recipes designed for 2 people
- Most recipes take approximately 1 hour to prepare, involving only 15 minutes of prep time
- Includes a sample meal plan from breakfast to dessert
Biggest Drawback: Once again, there are only a few pictures and no nutritional information. We understand that printing in color is expensive, but that doesn’t stop us from being disappointed.
7. Dutch Oven and Cast Iron Cooking
125+ Tasty Recipes for Indoor & Outdoor Cooking by Anne Schaeffer
This cookbook combines much of what we love most from all of the above options but doesn’t necessarily specialize in any one area.
There are recipes for indoor and outdoor cooking, meals that are more complex and adventurous, and some that are easy, classic favorites. This is the book for the cast-iron generalists, which definitely includes Dutch oven lovers.
- Useful tips and instructions for cooking with cast iron both inside and outside
- 125+ recipes that cover all styles and cooking preferences
- Plenty of comfort foods and traditional favorites
Biggest Drawback: If you’re looking for any kind of specificity, this is not the cookbook for you. It isn’t even specific to Dutch ovens, but also includes recipes for pie irons and cast iron skillets. If you thrive on variety, however, this book has a little bit of everything.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cooking in a Dutch Oven
Can Dutch ovens go in the oven?
Dutch ovens are oven-safe so they can be used for roasting, braising and otherwise slow cooking in your oven. The one thing you’ll want to be careful of, however, is any handles that may not be oven safe.
If the lid to your Dutch oven has a removable knob, simply unscrew it before placing your cookware in the oven, or plan to cook meal uncovered or covered using aluminum foil.
Many people also ask can you boil water in a dutch oven, and the answer to that is also yes. You can cook with them like any other pot on your stovetop.
Is there a difference between a French oven and a Dutch oven?
Traditional Dutch ovens are made from raw cast-iron with a tight-fitting, cast-iron lid.
French ovens are a type of Dutch oven, but they have been given an enamel coating. The term French oven isn’t commonly used and in any cookbook or recipe that calls for a Dutch oven, you can just as easily use a French oven.
Many cookbooks even feature images of enamel coated French ovens while still calling them Dutch ovens.
What’s the difference between a Dutch oven and a stockpot?
Dutch ovens are always cast-iron, whereas stock pots are more commonly stainless steel.
Stockpots are designed specifically for making stock, or soup. They’re typically tall and have a large capacity, but they’re made out of lightweight stainless steel to make them easier to transport, even with a large volume of liquid inside.
Dutch ovens, on the other hand, are quite heavy and designed more specifically for slow cooking with even heat or braising. They’re more versatile and can be used stovetop, in your oven, or even over an open fire.
They don’t make a good pot for soup, however, because they’re so heavy on their own that it can make straining and pouring liquid difficult.
Both stock pots and Dutch ovens tend to have handles on both sides of the pot to make them easier to move even though they may be quite heavy.
Up Next: The Best Dutch Ovens For Sourdough