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I like to think of the day I brought home a Dutch oven as the day my kitchen changed forever. That may sound dramatic, but seriously — there really is no better pot around. I now cook with my Dutch oven so much that it has a permanent spot on my stove. Rather than getting tucked away after I am done with it, like all my other pots and pans, it stays put because I am almost certain I’ll be reaching for it again the next night.
Want to get hooked like me? Embrace your Dutch oven and make these 10 recipes to start. They are all you’ll need to convince you that it’s true love.
1. Hearty Batches of Chili
Thanks to creamy beans, tender vegetables, and stewed tomatoes, this vegetarian chili provides all the hearty satisfaction of a meat-heavy dish (sans the meat).
Get the recipe: Vegetarian Chili
A big batch of creamy mac and cheese is likely to be the most comforting meal to ever come out of your Dutch oven.
Get the recipe: Creamy Mac and Cheese
Dutch ovens are perfect for making one-pot pasta recipes. This is a great one to get started with because it shows you just how utilitarian a Dutch oven can be. The large size of the pot means you can cook everything — pasta and sauce — all together to make a single dish without feeling like you’re cramped for space. Plus you can top the whole dish with cheese and move a Dutch oven to the broiler with ease.
Get a recipe: One-Pot Meatballs & Pasta Os
4. Pots of Comforting Soup
Sure, you can make soup in any ol’ pot — but make it in a Dutch oven and you can feed a crowd or simply make enough to eat for lunch all week or freeze in batches for another day. I keep my Dutch oven on the stove at all times just so I can churn out a big pot of soup weekly. The larger the oven, the larger the crowd you can feed.
Get a recipe: Italian Wedding Soup
5. Hearty Vegetable Stews
Like soup, stew is another great fit for the Dutch oven. The heavy weight of the pot allows you to simmer things low and slow for the hours required to result in a deeply flavored stew. It’s the only excuse you need to stay in your sweats all Sunday, letting the stew bubble away as you finally finish your book.
Get a recipe: Kale and Cannellini Bean Stew
No need to dust off your casserole dish when you already have your Dutch oven within reach waiting for you. Sauté aromatics; layer them with ingredients like rice, vegetables, and protein; and you’ve got a one-pot casserole that’s easy and satisfying. You often don’t even have to transfer the pot to the oven.
Get a recipe: Honey-Garlic Shrimp Stovetop Rice Casserole
Your Dutch oven not only roasts the bird well, but it also roasts the side dishes at the same time. Place the chicken on top of a pile of vegetables and let the steady heat of the pot do all the work. That means a comforting chicken dinner is suddenly a possibility any night of the week, and it’s a mess-free affair at that.
Get a recipe: How To Cook a Whole Chicken Dinner in the Dutch Oven
You might not have an Italian nonna to simmer a ragu for you all day long, but having a Dutch oven means you’re equipped to still whip up a delicious Sunday sauce. The heavy pot has the great ability to retain heat, which is ideal when you’re simmering something on the stove for a long time, like a ragù. Any good meat sauce, whether it’s a classic Bolognese or something more unique, is a great contender for a Dutch oven.
Get a recipe: Lamb Bolognese
It’s hard to argue with the perfection of juicy, fall-off-the-bone short ribs — they’re truly comfort food at its best. Since a Dutch oven can go seamlessly from stove to oven, it’s the ultimate choice when making any sort of braised meat that’s browned on the stovetop and then cooked in the oven, slowly, for hours. That will give you plenty of time to make the mashed potatoes, because you know you’ll need them.
Get a recipe: How To Make Short Ribs in a Dutch Oven
10. Stove-to-Table Risotto
If you’ve never made risotto before, the thought could be intimidating. But trust me — the Dutch oven will give you all the courage you need. Plus, you get to admire your pretty new pot as you stir and stir. Suddenly you’ll feel like an accomplished cook and want to invite all your friends over to show them you can make killer risotto. (You definitely should do that, by the way.)
Get a recipe: How To Make Risotto at Home
While it’s smart to keep some canned beans on hand, taking the time to simmer a pot of dried beans on the stove really makes you the pantry maven you strive to be. The Dutch oven can do all the work here, so let it. The results will be ridiculously flavorful beans you’ll want to turn into soup, pile onto salads, and even whirl into hummus.
Get a recipe: How To Cook Beans on the Stove
This version takes just like the classic, but leans on smart grocery store buys to make it totally doable on a weeknight. Truly. Everything comes together quickly in a Dutch oven before you drop mounds of homemade cream biscuit dough on top, then slide it into the oven.
Get the recipe: Shortcut Dutch Oven Chicken Pot Pie
13. One-Pot Turkey Dinner
Cooked in a Dutch oven, this braise delivers both the main course and sides, plus a rich sauce that serves as your stand-in the for traditional gravy. It’s a Thanksgiving-style one-pot meal that delivers turkey so tender it falls off the bone with the touch of a fork yet still boasts ultra-crispy skin.
Get the recipe: Dutch Oven Braised Turkey
If there is one Dutch oven recipe that will spoil you, it’s this one, which is just what you deserve after working your way through all these firsts with you and your pot. Since it can retain such great heat, your Dutch oven has the ability to mimic a bread oven that rivals those at bakeries. Once you’ve baked your own bread and realize not only how easy it is, but also how delicious it tastes, you may never go back.
Get a recipe: How To Make No-Knead Bread
15. The Most Tender Braised Chicken
Your heavy Dutch oven is just right got holding the chicken snuggly in the pot as it braises in rich coconut milk and gets infused with warm spices and aromatics.
Get the recipe: Chicken in Coconut Milk with Lemongrass