A Dutch oven is a versatile piece of cookware that can be used for baking, braising, roasting, and more. While it may seem like a daunting task to season a Dutch oven, it's actually quite simple. In this blog post, we'll show you how to season your Dutch oven quickly and easily.
What are the Benefits of Seasoning a Dutch Oven?
Before we get into the steps of seasoning a Dutch oven, let's first talk about why it's important to season your Dutch oven in the first place. Seasoning is the process of creating a non-stick surface on your cookware. This is accomplished by heating oil until it forms a polymer film on the surface of the metal.
Not only does this help to create a non-stick surface, but it also helps to prevent rusting and corrosion. Seasoning also gives your cookware a nice patina that will only get better with age.
Frequency of Seasoning
You must season your Dutch oven before cooking in it for the first time. If you skip this step, your food might stick to the surface. To test whether your pan is seasoned, cook a small piece of food in it before adding everything else and ruining the meal.
However, the seasoning process does not stop here. We recommend that you cook with oil or lard in your Dutch oven to keep the seasoning going, and re-season your oven after each meal and cleaning.
Gather the Seasoning Material
Caring for your cast-iron Dutch oven is easy, and you don't need any expensive tools or products. Chances are you have everything you need in your home already, like:
- You can use either vegetable oil or lard to get a high smoke point without burning the food and affecting its flavor. Peanut, canola, sunflower, and soybean oils can withstand high heat better than olive oil or butter.
- Anything nonabrasive you can use to apply the oil to the pot and wipe away any excess - like paper towels or a soft rag. We've all been there. You're cooking away and suddenly you realize that the oil or lard in your pot has gone rancid, making everything smell terrible. Before you can use it again for cooking, you would need to clean and season the cast iron skillet. It is best to use quality paper towels, a soft rag, or cheesecloth. The oil should be warm and not hot.
With a clean Dutch oven and all your supplies ready you can begin the seasoning process.
Steps for Seasoning a Dutch Oven
1. Pour about ½ cup of oil into your Dutch oven and use the lint-free cloth to evenly coat the entire surface of the pot, including the lid. If the surface quickly absorbs the oil, add more as needed. However, be sure not to have too much lard or oil left over by the end of cooking. Continue rubbing the oil in until the surface has a rich shine and there are no longer any dry areas.
2. Place the pot upside down on the top wire rack in your preheated oven. If you have an electric oven, be sure to place foil on the bottom rack to catch any drips.
3. Bake for 1 hour, then turn off the oven and allow the pot to cool completely in the oven.
4. Once cooled, remove the pot from the oven and wipe out any excess oil with another lint-free cloth.
5. Your pot is now ready to use! Be sure to wash it with hot soapy water after each use and dry it thoroughly to prevent rusting.
Summing It Up
Cooking with cast iron is an art form that dates back more than 300 years. Seasoning your cast-iron Dutch oven is an excellent way to exercise both patience and time management.
A cast-iron Dutch oven is an invaluable kitchen tool that will only grow more precious to you the longer you own it. Seasoning is an important part of the cooking process, and it can even be fun! The more time you spend getting to know your Dutch oven, the greater your appreciation for it will become.
If you would like you can read our review of the top Dutch ovens for camping - maybe you will find one that would be perfect for you.