Yes, you can use a Dutch oven on the stovetop. However, you need to check the material it is made from.
While Cast iron and aluminum work well on a stovetop, Ceramic and stoneware dutch ovens are not compatible on a stovetop.
There are also certain precautions you must take while using a Dutch oven on gas, electric, glass, and induction stovetops.
Read on to find out all the details regarding your Dutch oven and how to use it on different stovetops.
What is a Dutch oven?
A Dutch oven is the most cherished piece of cookware for all of us here in the United States.
Fun fact: Cast iron dutch ovens have been highly valued since the 18th century. They used to be mentioned in people’s will!
You can bake, broil, roast, simmer, fry, and make delicious casseroles, risotto, soup, curries, and stews in a Dutch oven.
It is versatile cookware that fulfills the need of all recipes due to its excellent heat retention capabilities.
Today, you can find Dutch ovens made from different materials in the market.
The most commonly used material is enameled cast iron although aluminum and magnetic stainless steel are not far in popularity.
The first sure thing you must do before placing it on any stovetop is to read the manufacturing instructions. Following the guidelines will save you from a lot of trouble.
Ceramic or stoneware dutch ovens are exclusively meant for baking. They will crack when heated on a stovetop.
This happens because parts near the heating surface will expand whereas those parts further away from the burner will be cooler. The imbalance in temperature causes the Dutch oven to break over a stovetop.
Also read: What Can You Use Instead of Dutch Oven (Dutch Oven Substitutes)?
Let us move towards the compatibility of Dutch ovens on various stovetops.
Using Dutch Oven on a Gas Stovetop
Here is the good news: you can use cast iron or enameled cast iron comfortably on a gas stovetop.
Your Dutch oven will rest on the burner hobs protecting your stovetop from its heavyweight
You do not have to worry about the uneven bottom. The supporting hobs around the flame will take care of even exposure of the bottom surface to the flame.
Keep in mind since a gas stovetop has open flames, your Dutch oven will heat up quickly compared to other stovetops.
This is why to avoid scorching in a Dutch oven, reduce the time duration or the temperature to medium-low.
The Dutch oven will not turn cold as once it’s heated up, it remains hot at low temperatures as well.
Slow and steady is your mantra for using Dutch ovens on a gas cooktop.
Using Dutch Oven on an Electric Stovetop
Electric stoves have electric plates that have a heating element underneath.
The electric burner is well protected from harm. So you don’t have to worry about the bottom of the Dutch oven causing any scratch on the stovetop.
What you have to keep in mind is to keep the heat on medium.
Cooking on Dutch ovens with an electric stovetop is a slow procedure. It takes up more time to reach the correct temperature.
To avoid hot spots, turn the heat from medium to low. The Dutch oven will continue to cook under the same heat due to its excellent heat retention ability.
Using Dutch Oven on an Induction Stovetop
Any ferromagnetic material (has a good quantity of iron or magnetic stainless steel) works like a charm on the induction plate. They allow the magnetic waves to pass through the pot.
The induction cooking happens due to the formation of a magnetic field that generates heat inside your Dutch oven.
An induction stovetop is the best choice for cast iron and enameled cast iron Dutch ovens. Just make sure they don’t have a round bottom.
Using induction stovetops for Dutch ovens saves you a lot of energy. Only the part beneath the Dutch oven gets heated up while the rest of the surface remains cool to touch.
Also, food gets cooked faster on an induction stovetop compared to all other stovetops.
Remember that the induction can reach a high temperature within seconds. Always cook on low to medium heat or the bottom of the Dutch oven may burn.
Avoid sudden exposure to extreme temperatures on the induction stovetop.
Slow consistent heating is your key for using the Dutch oven on an induction cooktop.
To protect your glass surface from the rough surface of Dutch ovens, use Silpat mats or parchment paper between the bottom of the Dutch oven and the top of the induction burner.
Make sure to remove all fallen food particles as they may stick beneath the Dutch oven and cause improper cooking.
One of the modern stove-top that is finding its way into American homes is the modular stovetop. It has all heating elements included in one.
You get an induction burner, a gas burner, and an electric burner all in one stovetop. A modular stovetop is a very comfortable place for Dutch ovens.
Precautions to Take While Using Dutch Oven on a Stovetop
- Let the Dutch oven heat up slowly
- Keep the burner on low to medium flame for cooking including browning and searing.
- Never place an empty Dutch oven on the stovetop. It will burn the bottom. Add a little oil or water and heat your Dutch oven gradually. Keep all the ingredients ready- peel and slice them beforehand.
- If you need to boil water or reduce sauces, gradually increase the temperature to high. Keep it on high for a short duration then slow down your heat.
- For sauces, curries, and soup, once the dutch oven is heated up, turn the temperature down to simmer and cover your pot until done.
- To avoid sticking and uneven cooking, open it up and stir the ingredients up a bit.
- Preheating a Dutch oven on a stovetop is not recommended. Instead, let the Dutch oven reach room temperature before placing it on low heat on a stovetop.
- Do not expose your Dutch oven suddenly to extreme temperature changes from cold to hot or hot to cold immediately. It will cause expansion and contraction of the metal in your Dutch oven and damage the surface.
- A rough surface on the bottom can cause scratches on the glass cooktop. Always lift and place and never slide the Dutch oven on the glass surface.
- Take care to not drop the Dutch oven on the stovetop. Use stable kitchen gloves to lift and place to and fro from the stovetop.
- Food residues should always be wiped away before placing your Dutch oven on any stovetop. Failure to remove food particles causes them to burn and stain your stovetop.
- Always wash your Dutch oven with warm soapy water. As it absorbs food materials and oils quickly, it needs to be thoroughly cleaned to remove all previous food smells.
- Always use a classic indoor Dutch oven instead of an outdoor Dutch oven with legs. That is useful in coal fires, campfires, etc.
- Make sure there are no cracks on the Dutch oven before placing it on the stovetop.
- The enamel lining should not be chipped or glass will get mixed up with your food.
- The Dutch oven will be quite hot after cooking. Use kitchen gloves to gently lift it from the stovetop.
Tips on Cooking Styles Using a Dutch Oven on a Stovetop
- If you need to thicken the gravy or dry roast your meat, instead of increasing temperature, remove the lid of your Dutch oven
- Slow cook soups, curries, broths, and casseroles to get the most flavourful mouthfuls.
- Fry the veggies first, then brown your meat, and then add the liquid for deep flavors.
- Season your cast iron Dutch oven after every use
- For desserts use consistent steam.
To sum up, depending on what your Dutch oven is made from, you can use the Dutch oven on any stovetop.
Dutch ovens are compatible with gas, electric, induction, and ceramic stovetops.
Stoneware and ceramic Dutch ovens should not be used on a stovetop. They will crack and break on a stovetop.
The key to using a Dutch oven on a stovetop involves slow and consistent cooking. Do not place an empty Dutch oven on a stovetop. Cook it on low to medium heat and let the Dutch oven gradually heat up.
Once your Dutch oven is heated up, continue cooking on low heat. The temperature inside will remain the same due to the excellent heat retention quality of the Dutch oven.
Be careful while using a Dutch oven on a glass stovetop. Lift and place instead of gliding it to avoid scratching.
You can also use Silpat mats or parchment paper to tone out the uneven ridges on the bottom surface of your Dutch oven.
I would like to stress the importance of reading manufacturing instructions that come along with your Dutch oven. They are your best guide.
I hope my tips assist you in trying out your favorite recipes using the ” One-Pot” on your stovetop. All the best!
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