Adding a Dutch oven to your cookware collection is a great decision overall as they’re versatile, spacious, and can be used on the stovetop as well as in the oven. But are Dutch ovens non-stick?
Whether Dutch ovens are non-stick or not depends on several factors. Some factors that make Dutch ovens non-stick are the material they’re made from, the heat you use while cooking, and the amount of fat you add to the pot. All of these factors affect the extent of non-stickiness of a Dutch oven.
Keep reading to take a deep dive into the world of Dutch ovens. By the end of this guide, you’ll understand which Dutch ovens are non-stick.
What Are Dutch Ovens Usually Made Of?
Dutch ovens were made of cast iron for hundreds of years.
Cast iron is known for its durability, heft, and great heat retention.
This is why many cast iron cookware pieces are passed down from one generation to the next.
They can be family heirlooms that stand the test of time.
Nowadays, though, cast iron isn’t the only contender in the race.
Enameled cast iron was introduced within the last 100 years or so.
It’s basically traditional cast iron coated with a layer of shiny, smooth enamel.
Enameling helps protect the cast iron body from the elements and virtually eliminates problems like rust.
More recently, Dutch ovens have been branching far and wide.
Currently, you can get stainless steel, cast aluminum, and ceramic-coated aluminum Dutch ovens; each of them offers a unique advantage, as we’ll discuss below.
Are Cast Iron Dutch Ovens Non-Stick?
A bare cast iron Dutch oven is not non-stick when it comes from the factory.
However, you can develop a non-stick cooking surface on it by seasoning it.
What Is Cast Iron Seasoning? And How Do You Do It?
Seasoning is the process of coating the cast iron cookware with a neutral oil, then heating it to bond the oil with the surface of the cast iron.
This prevents moisture from reaching the cooking surface, which causes food to stick and rust to form.
You can season your cast iron Dutch oven using these simple steps:
- Wash your cast iron Dutch oven with soap and water, then thoroughly dry it with a clean towel.
- Take a piece of kitchen paper or soft cloth and wipe the interior of the pot with a small amount (1 tsp) of neutral oil, like vegetable or canola oil. Avoid extra-virgin olive oil as it can burn easily.
- Preheat your oven to 450°F (225°C), then put your uncovered Dutch oven in for about 15 minutes. Face it down on the middle rack so that the interior is facing the heat; you can also do this with the lid.
- Repeat this about 3–4 times, and you’ll notice a shiny coat of seasoning has developed. That coating will prevent food from sticking to your cast iron Dutch oven.
A seasoned cast iron Dutch oven will give you all the benefits of a sturdy pot with a non-stick surface that can withstand high heat.
Just make sure to clean it using silicone scrubbers.
Never use soap and avoid cooking acidic foods, like tomato sauce, in it.
Are Enameled Dutch Ovens Non-Stick?
An enameled Dutch oven is non-stick only when using medium heat over the stovetop.
It’s ideal for slow-roasting or braising in the oven over relatively low temperatures.
Enameled Dutch ovens were the answer to the annoying aspects of bare cast iron, such as rust, reseasoning, and the question of hygiene when you can’t wash it with soap.
Are Le Creuset Dutch Ovens Non-Stick?
Le Creuset is one of the oldest enameled cast iron Dutch oven brands that still exist today, and yes, they’re non-stick.
Just make sure you use medium heat and add plenty of cooking fat while sauteing.
Although Le Creuset is on the expensive side, you can justify it because their enameled cast iron Dutch ovens are still made in France to this day.
You know you’re getting quality when 30 different experts take part in making your cookware!
Is Tramontina Dutch Oven Non-stick?
Tramontina is an established cookware brand from Brazil that offers Dutch ovens made from different materials at very affordable prices.
Their enameled cast iron and ceramic-coated aluminum are non-stick when used at medium temperatures.
Tramontina also offers stainless steel Dutch ovens that can take higher heat.
Just be careful and add enough oil to prevent the food from burning.
What Other Brands Offer Good Dutch Ovens?
If you’re discouraged by the high pricing of Le Creuset but still want to invest in a high-quality enamel cast iron Dutch oven, you can check out other brands like Staub, Lodge, or Cuisinart.
These brands sit at different price points, but each of them comes with a lifetime warranty for household use.
What Makes Food Stick To A Dutch Oven?
Even when you use a good-quality, well-seasoned, or enameled cast iron Dutch oven, you might still have your food sticking to the bottom.
Sticking can be the result of using very high heat since cast iron is known for its great thermal conductivity and heat retention.
Food that burns quickly, like onions and garlic, usually has a high sugar content that caramelizes to the bottom of the pot.
As we know, sugar and caramel are sticky, which encourages even more sticking!
Another reason for sticking might be not using enough fat to coat the bottom of your Dutch oven.
Fat creates an insulation layer that distributes heat evenly across the cooking surface of your Dutch oven.
If you’re using a good amount of oil and medium heat and notice your food sticking, make sure your bare cast iron Dutch oven has been recently seasoned.
And if you’re using enameled cast iron, check for any scrapes or cracks in the enamel layer where the cast iron might be exposed.
Which Dutch Oven Material Should You Choose?
Bare cast iron scores the highest points for durability and the ability to withstand high cooking temperatures.
However, the high-maintenance aspect can deter people who simply don’t have the time.
There’s also the problem of cast iron leaching dietary iron into food that needs to be kept in check.
Enameled cast iron comes with a different set of problems.
While you’re protected from rust and the danger of food sticking, you need to be careful when handling it.
If you drop your enameled cookware, there’s a high chance the enamel coat will crack.
Stainless steel, cast aluminum, and ceramic-coated aluminum Dutch ovens are all relatively new to the market.
They have the advantage of being lighter in weight than cast iron, but they seem to lack cast iron’s thickness and heat retention ability.
They’re a great option for people on a budget, though!
How To Care For Your Dutch Oven?
A good-quality Dutch oven will stand the test of time if you take good care of it.
Just be aware that different Dutch oven materials require their own set of rules to provide many years of safe and satisfactory use.
Here are some of these rules, according to the material.
Bare Cast Iron
- Never use soap to clean it.
- Use silicone scrubbers and silicone or wooden utensils.
- Keep the interior well-seasoned.
- Avoid cooking acidic foods.
Enameled Cast Iron
- Avoid scraping or dropping it.
- Use medium temperatures.
Stainless Steel And Cast Aluminum
- Avoid very high heat, as food will burn easily.
- Soak in warm, soapy water to clean.
- Avoid scrubbing using steel wool.
- Avoid dropping or using metal utensils.
- Season with a thin coat of oil every so often.