Seasoning Your Dutch Oven by Donald Burger, Houston, TX
Seasoning Your Dutch Oven
by Donald Ray Burger
Attorney at Law

There are almost as many techniques for seasoning your new Dutch Oven as there are owners of Dutch Ovens. Practically every book on Dutch Ovens includes a section on seasoning your Oven. Also, Lodge includes directions on this subject with their Ovens. Below is the technique I like to use.

1. Wash your new Dutch Oven thoroughly with soap and a sponge or plastic scrubber. There is a protective coating on new Dutch Ovens that must be removed. The coating is there to prevent them from rusting. Dutch Ovens are cast iron. Rust can appear in a matter of minutes if water is left on them. The coating stops that while they are in shipment. But it must come off before use.

2. This will be the only time you use soap on your Dutch Oven.

3. After washing, dry the Oven with paper towels. If you have a gas range turn on a burner and place the lid on the burner for about a minute. This will complete the drying process. Do this separately for both sides of the lid and both sides of the "pot." If you have an electric range turn the oven on "warm" and place the lid and pot in the oven, with the door open. This is a routine you should get into for every time you rinse your Dutch Oven. The heat will pretty much insure no moisture is left on the Dutch Oven.

4. You can season your Dutch Oven in the house, if you have to. An oven set to 350 degrees will do the trick. Make absolutely sure you have put a cookie sheet with sides under the lid and pot before seasoning. And make sure that cookie sheet is lined with heavy duty aluminum foil so you don't ruin the cookie sheet. The oil you are going to use will liquidize and run off. If nothing is there to catch it you will be in trouble. Listen to the voice of experience. The easiest way to season a new Dutch Oven is to use your propane grill. Nothing to clean. Who cares about the cooking oil smell. Just make sure the oven will fit inside the grill with the cover closed.

5. We are ready. Start your oven or grill preheating. Take a paper towel and some Crisco and coat the inside and outside of the top and the pot. Really slop it on. Rub it in. Get messy.

6. Once coated, set the lid upside down in the oven or grill. If seasoning your Dutch Oven inside your house (not recommended), don't forget the cookie sheet to catch the grease as it melts. Next, set the pot upside down next to the lid. You set the pot upside down so that the grease doesn't pool on the "inside" bottom of the pot. It doesn't hurt your cooking if it pools on the "outside" bottom, because you don't cook on that surface. Bake lid and pot at 350 degrees for about forty-five minutes.

7. Remove them carefully with an oven mitt and paper towel (to keep the grease off the fabric of the mitt).

8. Use more paper towels to wipe the oil off the lid and oven.

9. Recoat both lid and oven with more Crisco (or you can switch to canola oil at this point) and repeat the heating process for another forty-five minutes.

10. Turn off the oven or grill and let the Dutch Oven cool naturally.

11. Once it is cool enough to touch (about an hour) wipe off the excess oil then recoat with a very light coat of canola oil. That's it. Ready for food.

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