Sunday, December 20, 2009

Seasoning your dutch oven

You have chosen the dutch oven that is right for you. Now what? Well, your new dutch oven needs to be seasoned or cured. You might notice that there is a waxy coating all over your oven. This is just a protective coating, but you will want to remove it before you start cooking. First, you need to wash your dutch oven in hot, soapy water. This is probably the only time you will do this. The easiest place to season your oven is in your oven. Seasoning can be done on a BBQ grill or over coals, but indoors is much easier. Your will heat your dutch oven with the lid on, to 200 degrees. While the oven in hot, coat it with a thin coat of cooking oil, bacon grease, shortening or lard, both inside and out. Use a clean cloth or paper towels, and be sure to wear gloves or use oven mitts. After the dutch oven is oiled, heat it to 350 degrees for about an hour. It is normal for the oil to smoke when it is heated. You may also want to put a cookie sheet or similar pan on the rack below the dutch oven to catch any potential oil drips. This won't be a problem as long as you didn't oil it to heavily. After your oven has been heated for an hour, turn it off and allow the dutch oven to cool slowly. Be sure to leave a LIGHT coating of oil on the dutch oven. Your dutch oven is now ready to use!

If you are like me you haven't used your dutch oven in a while (ahem...15 years) it will need to be reseasoned. You can tell it needs to be reseasoned if when you open the lid, you start to get sick from the smell. Don't worry, all is not lost. Just follow the same steps you would if you were seasoning a new oven. Dutch ovens are very forgiving of neglect. Thank heaven for that, because the way I have treated mine is criminal. They have a healthy coating of dust, and smell terrible from lack of use. But some heat and a nice coating of oil, and they will soon become my best friends!


  1. I haven't used mine in a year, should I re-season it? Or should I just clean it with the water/vinegar mixture and put some oil on it and call it good? Thanks!

  2. Bree--I would re-season it. After a year you take a chance on the oil being rancid and you don't want to find out that it is while your eating. Yuck! Its super simple and worth the time!

  3. I was taught by our ranch cook, and my Grandma, to do the same as you, but make sure the oil is an extremely light coating, put the DO back in oven, turn heat to 350F, start the 60 min timer when it hits 350F, then turn the oven off after the 60 min and let cool to barely cool enough to handle. Then do the extremely light oiling again, the 60 min at 350F, cool down, and do it all a 3rd time. Now you have a very Black, almost nonstick DO, with a dry non sticky seasoning.

    As far as storing, if you do a three time seasoning, it should be good for years if in a climate controlled area (house or apt) where it doesn't get very hot, humid, cold, etc. I put rubber pieces or bent strips of cardboard between the lid and pot, or better, leave lids off. Before use, I'll also smell it closely, then rub a finger on the inside and taste the finger, but even after 4-5 years on a shelf, they are usually ready to use after a quick hot water and clean (no soap) sponge out. My DO sponge has never seen soap, and is slightly oily from the oil I apply to keep breads and other foods from sticking.


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