The Cooking Methods A Cocotte Is Perfect For

Few pieces of kitchenware are as much of a culinary flex as a cocotte. The French term for a Dutch oven, this versatile cooking pot made from enameled cast iron has been around since the 17th century, when it was invented in the Netherlands, per Kitchn. You probably know it from the colorful versions made by Le Creuset, favored by TikTok foodies as the ultimate symbol of aesthetic, domestic adulting (via Food & Wine). Their larger Dutch ovens conjure up images of cozy, rustic, cottagecore dinner parties, while their mini cocottes are beloved by single-serving influencers proving that sometimes self-care is garlic confit for one.

These gorgeous casserole dishes are not cheap, costing upwards of $500 for a larger size (via Le Creuset). But they are built to last a lifetime, since despite being made of metal, their enamel surface prevents rust and degradation. According to Real Simple, cocottes are generally oven-safe up to very high temperatures and can be used on the stovetop for searing meat or sautéeing aromatics, then shelved in the oven to allow for baking or braising.

But, as multipurpose as some recipe developers claim they are, is it true that you can cook just about anything in a cocotte?

Cocottes are a soup season savior

Cocottes can be used to cook anything from baked brie to brownies, but they really shine as vehicles for casseroles, soups, and stews. Dutch ovens work by collecting steam from the cooked food in the lid of the cocotte, which then releases back into the dish in a self-basting loop, according to Le Creuset. Anything that needs to be cooked for a long time on a low heat will benefit from the careful construction of these heavy-duty casserole dishes.

A Le Creuset could be used for anything from these Red Wine Braised Short Ribs, which result in tender meat that falls apart on your fork, to this Herby Ham and Bean Soup, which breaks down white beans into a lush, creamy delight. Cocottes are used two ways in this French Onion Soup from Once Upon A Chef, for caramelizing onions and building a broth, and later for broiling cheese and croutons to golden, gooey perfection. To give yourself a kickstart on a cold morning, you could even consider something along the lines of this Dutch Oven Cheesy Bacon & Eggs breakfast casserole from Taste of Home. 

As a cheat code, just remember that if it's comfort food, it'll probably cook up real nice in one of these bad boys.