Why You Should Think Twice Before Using A Dutch Oven On High Heat

I scream, you scream, we all scream for — Dutch ovens? Not a great rhyme, but there's a reason folks have been swearing by them since the 17th century (per Insider).

Dutch ovens are heavy, wide, lidded cooking pots made of enamel-coated cast-iron via Food Network. They can be used for a variety of kitchen necessities, like roasting vegetables, braising meat, and simmering soups. You can even bake bread inside of a Dutch oven. What makes this tool special is its ability to retain heat at a consistent temperature and distribute it evenly. It's the home cook's secret to achieving a perfect slow roast.

Because Dutch ovens are cast iron, they're champs under heat. OvenSpot says most enameled Dutch ovens can take up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. But, as 90s rap trio Beastie Boys once said, slow and low is tempo. Here's why you should think twice before slamming that Dutch oven on the burner and cranking the heat to high. 

Dutch ovens are designed to trap heat

Your patience will pay off. Trust us. Dutch ovens are poor conductors of heat, via The Spruce Eats, so they admittedly take a little longer to heat up than a hungry chef might prefer. The important thing to note about these pots is that once they get hot, they stay hot. Kitchn explains that since Dutch ovens are specifically designed to hold heat in, exposing them to high heat can cause the food inside to burn and stick to the bottom of the pot. The explicit function of the pot is a nice, even slow-cook, and cranking up the heat to high is largely counterintuitive to the tool's use. If you're looking for a flash sear, perhaps grab a skillet. 

High heat can also scorch the finish on your Dutch oven, says Taste of Home. It recommends using medium heat for all recipes, even reducing it to low once the pot has heated up. So, next time you break out that Dutch oven for your meal, grab a coffee and a magazine and buckle in for the long haul. It'll be worth it for a warm, slow-roasted meal and a scorch-free pot.