Cast iron cookware is hundreds of years old. Considering that, people should be pretty familiar with them. But you may be confused about cast iron pans and have no idea what they can and cannot cook in it. Especially a cast iron dutch oven. The big question you’re probably wondering is can you boil water in a dutch oven?
The short answer is, yes. You can boil water, soups, and almost all kinds of pasta in both seasoned and enameled Dutch ovens. But you should be a little careful while doing so.
Keep reading to find out more about cooking in a Dutch oven. But first, it’s worth finding out if you have a seasoned or enameled cast iron dutch oven?
Can You Boil Water in a Dutch Oven Safely?
As mentioned earlier, it is possible to boil water in Dutch ovens. To ensure their longevity and your safety, you’ll need to ensure some things depending on the kind of dutch oven you have.
Let’s look at each type of Dutch oven individually to understand what precautions you should take.
Boiling Water in a Seasoned Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Traditional seasoned cast iron dutch ovens are made of a thick layer of iron. The seasoning ensures that food doesn’t stick to the cooker.
But when you boil water for long periods in a seasoned dutch oven, the seasoning is at risk of coming off. This can later make it difficult for you to cook other dishes in your Dutch oven. To avoid the seasoning from stripping off, you should boil water in seasoned Dutch ovens occasionally and for short periods of time.
Moreover, after boiling water, take it out of the pan immediately and wipe your dutch oven dry before storing. Any remaining moisture could cause your pan to rust.
If the seasoning comes off just after one use, simply re-season your cast-iron cooker and you’ll be good to go.
Boiling Water in an Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Enameled cast iron Dutch Ovens are fragile as compared to seasoned ones. Since the enamel and the cooker itself are made of different materials, it doesn’t expand and contract normally when subjected to heat.
That is why you need to be even more careful when you’re trying to boil water in enameled dutch ovens. Start heating them at low heat and gradually increase the temperature to medium. This might take some time as you’re trying to boil water, but it’s important if you want to keep your dutch oven free from damage.
Also, make it a point to never use enameled dutch ovens over open flames or on heat sources where you can’t adjust the heat. Doing this will help you prevent the enamel coating from coming off.
How to Boil Water in a Cast Iron Dutch Oven
- Pour some water into your dutch oven. Then, place it on the stovetop or induction top.
- Heat the dutch oven on low heat and close the lid.
- After a few minutes, turn the heat up to medium without uncovering the dutch oven.
- Take the water off the heat, pour it into a separate container, and dry the dutch cooker thoroughly before storing it away.
Warning: Never pour cold water suddenly into a very hot dutch oven. Doing this can cause cracking or chipping. In the case of an enameled dutch oven, it can even cause the enamel coating to come off.
Monitoring the Temperature
While boiling water in a dutch oven, you need to make sure that the temperature doesn’t become too hot. Especially in the case of enameled dutch ovens, you need to make sure that temperatures remain just at boiling point (212 degrees F) even as you boil water.
In the case of a seasoned Dutch oven, while you do need to heat it up gradually, temperatures above 212 degrees F are acceptable.
Can You Boil Soup in a Dutch Oven?
Yes, you can boil soup in a Dutch oven. Preparing different kinds of soups in a dutch oven is pretty easy. If you keep the following points in mind, you’ll end up with a mind-blowing soup.
- Adjust Your Recipe: Ensure that you modify your soup recipe to suit your Dutch oven. Cooking time in a Dutch oven can vary greatly as compared to a normal pan or pot. If you can’t figure out how to change your recipe, you can always check out some tasty ones online. Or better yet, pick a dutch-oven special old family recipe from your personal cookbook.
- Control the Heat: To prevent your veggies and meat from sticking to the bottom of the dutch oven, always boil your soup at a low temperature with the lid on. You can also finish the soup in the oven if that’s what you prefer.
- Scrape-Off bottom Occasionally: Small bits and juices of meat often stick slightly to the bottom of the dutch cooker even as you’re stirring the soup. Make sure you scrape these bits off the bottom occasionally. They’ll take the flavor of your soup up by several notches.
Can You Boil Spaghetti in a Dutch Oven?
Yes, you can boil spaghetti and other kinds of pasta in a Dutch oven. In fact, dutch ovens are perfect for one-pot pasta recipes. They’re deep and retain heat well, and can cook pasta slowly and steadily for most dishes.
How to Clean a Cast-Iron Dutch Oven
To clean a seasoned cast-iron Dutch oven after you are done boiling, you should get a scrubber, some paper towels, a chainmail scrubber (only if you have tough stains or excessive stickiness), dish soap, and oil.
- Dry-Wipe: Begin by dry-wiping your dutch oven with paper towels. This will make sure all the dirt and lose particles come out.
- Boil: Fill the dutch oven with some water and boil it. Once it comes to a boil, take it off the stove and let it cool.
- Scrub Away: At this stage, most of the stubborn oil and sticky residue should come off. If there’s still some remaining, use your brush scrubber and very little dish soap to remove it.
- Make it Dry: Dry up the dutch oven completely using either paper towels or a dry microfiber towel. To ensure no moisture remains on the surface, heat the cooker slightly.
- Cover with Oil: Pour a little bit of oil into the dutch oven and spread it around with your hand or a paper towel. Wipe off any excess before storing the cooker.
The process for cleaning your enameled cast iron dutch oven is slightly different. You will need dish soap, a gentle scrubber, some paper towels, baking soda, and some hot water.
- Soak: Soaking your Dutch oven before cleaning it can loosen all the grime and make your job far easier. Fill the cooled enameled dutch oven with water. Add some dish soap and let it soak for a few minutes.
- Scrub: Once you see some residue floating on top, dump the water and scrub the cooker gently using some dish soap. If there is too much stickiness, use dish soap, hot water, and baking soda together.
- Rinse and Dry: Rinse the soap off thoroughly and dry the dutch oven using a kitchen towel. You can also leave it on a drying rack.
So there you have it. Can you boil water in a dutch oven? You bet so! We hope boiling water or cooking in a dutch oven will be far easier for you now that you have read our tips above. Dutch ovens are a traditional, one-man/women-army when it comes to cookware and we highly recommend you have one in your kitchen lineup. They are incredibly versatile provided you know how to use and care for them.
Caroline is a co-founder of Morsel – a family recipe cookbook software. When she not working on making our recipe sharing app better for our users Caroline can be found dancy her heart out, exploring the beautiful mountains of North Carolina, and traveling the world one new country at a time.