How to Clean Your Dutch Oven

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Keep your Dutch Oven looking brand new with these simple cleaning tips.

By Izzy Johnson
Aug 4, 2022
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Cooking is inherently messy—spills, burns and accidents happen. Cleaning up may not be the most enjoyable part of the cooking process but it’s one of the most important. Our Enameled Dutch Oven is one of the most versatile pieces of cookware in the kitchen. It’s an investment, sure, but if you follow these steps and take proper care of yours, it can withstand almost anything you put them through, lasting for years, or even decades. Here, we break down several cleaning methods from basic washing to what to do when things get seriously stuck.

How to Clean a Dutch Oven

No matter which cleaning method you choose, there are some crucial things to keep in mind as you clean your Dutch oven. The first is to be gentle—you don’t want to scratch the enamel, especially on the interior. For this reason, neve use an abrasive sponge like steel wool. This can damage the beautiful finish, which gives our Dutch Oven a somewhat non-stick cooking surface. Instead, opt for a soft sponge or a plastic scrubber.

Second, when you’re finished cleaning your pan, make sure you let it dry fully before storing it. After going to the trouble of carefully washing it, you don’t want your Dutch Oven to develop any rust. Both the lip of the pan and the lid are unfinished, exposing the cast iron core. To avoid rust, thoroughly dry with a dish towel. This will also prevent water-spotting on the enamel.

Keeping these things in mind, follow along with the steps below to properly clean your Dutch Oven, no matter what mess you’re dealing with.

Method 1: Soap and Water

When you’re braising or cooking pasta, sauce can spatter or leak out onto the exterior of your Dutch oven. First, allow your Dutch oven to cool thoroughly before placing it in the sink. Next, start by cleaning the outside with hot, soapy water and your soft sponge.

If this is a basic clean up, simply wash the Dutch Oven with dish soap, scrubbing as necessary. For more stubborn spots, allow your pan to soak in hot water with a couple drops of soap. Leave it for 15-20 minutes, allowing for the food to soften, then resume scrubbing.

Method 2: Bar Keeper’s Friend

For burns that won’t budge, it’s time to get a little professional help. Bar Keeper’s Friend is a handy all-purpose product that can be used for a variety of tasks. We like it for cleaning Stainless Clad, too. The bleach-free formula is great for difficult stains but its scrubbing power won’t come at the expense of damaging your cookware.

You can use Bar Keeper’s Friend in two ways. For all over cleaning, simply sprinkle it over the bottom of the Dutch oven and scrub with a damp sponge. If you’re dealing with tougher stains, mix with a small amount of water to form a paste, and let that sit on the affected area for up to 30 minutes, then continue to scrub as usual. You may need to repeat this process several times.

Method 3: Baking Soda

If you don’t have Bar Keeper’s Friend, baking soda is a good option that you likely already have in your pantry. You can use it just as you would Bar Keeper’s Friend and make a paste to help scrub away burnt bits but it’s also good for heavy-duty stain removal when it looks like the surface of your Dutch Oven is beyond repair.

For the most stubborn messes, bring 4 cups of water to a boil, then add 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Let that fizz away for a few minutes, stirring gently with a Wooden Spoon. The ensuing reaction should cause caked on food to rise up from the bottom and as it softens, you can also scrape some up with the Wooden Spoon. Continue this process for about 5 minutes, then remove from heat and dump out the water. If any stains still remain, use the paste method. Remember, the baking soda will leave some residue behind, so make sure you rise out your Dutch Oven one more time before you dry it.

Ready to Cook?

Now that you know how to clean your Dutch Oven, you can enjoy cooking in it with confidence. Remember, it’s a very durable piece of cookware, and even when stains look dire, it’s likely just a matter of elbow grease to get it looking good as new again. Check out Chef Tracy Malechek-Ezekiel of Birdie’s making her version of Spaghetti Bolognese. It’s perfect for when you want a warm, meaty bowl of pasta and makes more than enough to feed a crowd. Any sauce drips or burnt bits can easily be cleaned using the methods outlined above.