Can You Use a Cast Iron Dutch Oven on the Stove?

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Can you use a cast iron Dutch oven on the stove? Yes! Contrary to popular belief, you can cook with cast iron on any stovetop. Learn the do’s and don’ts of cooking in a cast iron Dutch oven on your stove.

Dutch oven on gas stove

For most of my life, I heard only gas stoves are suitable for cast iron. The old wive’s tale of suburbia claimed that the weight of cast iron will shatter a gas or induction stove.

So when I was learning to cook from scratch and evolving into a homstead-ish life, I was desperate to use cast iron. But more than anything, I felt disappointed that I couldn’t because I didn’t have a gas stovetop.

It wasn’t until 2020 that I finally got my first gas stove (other than the one I had when I was 18 and didn’t know how to use). I was beyond excited to start cooking in cast iron because I finally had “the right” type of stove.

But it turns out I had been misinformed all along. You can cook with a cast iron Dutch oven on any stove: gas, induction, electric, or glass.

If you are building a suburban homestead, it can feel like your home and kitchen can never be rustic enough to “really” cook like a homesteader. But the reality is it doesn’t have to be.

A good Dutch oven is a homestead staple, and with it, you can effortlessly integrate cooking rustic meals in cast iron no matter where you live, what you do, or what type of stove you have.

White dutch ovens with text "Can you use a Dutch oven on the Stove?"

What is a Dutch Oven?

A Dutch oven is essentially a casserole dish with thick walls. However, the humble casserole dish and the rustic Dutch oven differ mostly in the tight-fitting lid and versatility.

Dutch oven lids are heavy and tight-fitting, designed to trap and recirculate moisture. Even though a casserole dish usually has a lid, it’s generally loose-fitting.

Because the snug lid locks in the steam, Dutch ovens are commonly used for baking sourdough bread because the steam is what creates sourdough’s beautiful and coveted oven spring. But the heavy lid is what also lends itself to delicious meals like garden vegetable soup, slow-cooked stews and tender braised short ribs.

And even though grandma’s Pyrex casserole dishes are cute, they don’t offer the versatility of a cast iron Dutch oven. From baking to frying to sauteeing, and from the stovetop to the oven, a cast iron Dutch oven is one of the most versatile pieces of cookware.

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Can You Use Cast Iron on Any Stove?

The good news is that you can use a cast iron Dutch oven on any heat source. Of course, there are some precautions when cooking on glass surfaces. But with a few simple practices, a Dutch oven is safe to use on any surface, including glass and induction stoves.

Some manufacturers claim that glass cooktops are not suitable for cast iron. However, that’s most likely because they are protecting themselves from damage and repair claims while the stove is under warranty.

Cast iron Dutch ovens are very heavy, especially when they are full. So, of course, I wouldn’t recommend slinging your Dutch oven on any cooking surface. Gas and coil ranges are durable and can handle cast iron more easily. The trick to using cast iron on glass and induction stoves is to be gentle with it.

Woman holding seasoned cast iron dutch oven

Benefits of Using a Cast Iron Dutch Oven on the Stove

  • Easy transition from stove to oven – Dutch ovens are extremely versatile, and they can easily go from the stovetop right into the oven. This is especially great for using your Dutch oven for slow cooking. For stew, for example, I sear the meat, sauté the veggies, toss in freeze-dried herbs, and boil the broth on the stove. Then, I put it in the oven around 200° F for the whole day.
  • Combine cooking techniques – A Dutch oven is unique in that you can combine just about every cooking technique in a single pot. You can sear meat, sauté veggies, and braise the dish all in your Dutch oven. This offers depth of flavor that can’t be replicated in other cookware pieces. Plus, a cast iron Dutch oven doubles as a slow cooker.
  • Natural, non-stick surface – Well-seasoned, non-enameled cast iron is a naturally non-stick surface. So you don’t have to worry about questionable chemicals and coatings.
Staub Dutch oven lid

Cons of Using Cast Iron Dutch Oven on the Stove

  • Potential for damage – With proper care and precautions, cast iron is completely safe to use on any type of range, including a glass stovetop and induction surfaces. However, sliding or dropping a heavy Dutch oven on glass will likely cause damage.
  • Hand-wash only – I recommend hand-washing your Dutch oven with warm water and dish soap. Technically, enameled cast iron is dishwasher safe, but most manufacturers still recommend handwashing. Never put non-enameled cast iron in the dishwasher. It will ruin the seasoning and break your heart.
  • It’s really heavy – Cast iron is very heavy. So, if lifting more than 10 pounds is a challenge, I recommend using lighter cookware. If you keep it on the stovetop and don’t move it much, it might not be a problem. But when I pull my large Dutch oven filled with stew out of my bottom oven, it’s about as heavy as I can lift from that angle.
  • Hot spots – Hot spots are where the heat is unevenly distributed, which is common in cast iron. Luckily, the remedy is simply preheating your Dutch oven longer.
Lodge seasoned dual cooker

Using a Cast Iron Dutch Oven on a Glass Stovetop

  • Lift, don’t slide – Cast iron’s bottom can be rough, so dragging it across your glass stovetop can leave scratches. This is less of a concern if you have an enameled cast iron Dutch oven. But overall, the safest bet is picking up your cast iron to move it.
  • Don’t drop – On average, an empty 5-quart Dutch oven weighs about 10 pounds. With food, it can weigh significantly more. So dropping that on your glass stove will almost guarantee a shattered cooktop. Take precautions so you don’t drop your heavy Dutch oven.
  • Change your cooking methods – If you are new to cooking with cast iron, there is a learning curve. The proper burner temperature for cooking in your stainless stock pot might be totally different than you cast iron Dutch oven. Unlike other types of cookware, cast iron isn’t as responsive. It holds heat and takes time to cool down.
  • Bust out your utensils – If you like to flip pancakes in mid-air (which is impressive, by the way), you’ll have to simmer down and grab a turner. Shaking and jostling your cast iron increases the chance of damaging your glass stove.
  • Be careful with cold water – Pouring cold water into hot cast iron will cause it to break. Be mindful of this when adding cold liquids while cooking.
Woman holding white cookware

Cast Iron Best Practices

  • Mind the temperature – Most cast iron is safe for high temperatures. But some of the pretty Dutch oven lids with decorative handles are oven-safe to only 450° F or lower. This probably isn’t an issue when cooking on the stovetop, but be sure to check the temperature range for your Dutch oven.
  • Don’t burn dry – An old-school method for drying cast iron is to stick it on a hot burner after washing and letting the heat dry it off. Heating empty cookware can damage the seasoning or enamel, and it’s too easy to forget about it and leave your burner on.
  • Avoid metal and sharp utensils – Metal utensils are theoretically safe to use with cast iron. However, they could scratch the enameled coating or the seasoning on non-enameled cast iron. To save yourself the trouble, I recommend sticking with wood utensils.
  • Use the lid – The lids on some of my stainless steel pots and pans are distant memories. I never use them. But part of what makes a Dutch oven unique is the lid. So take advantage of that asset! Water boils faster when you put the lid on it, and slow-cooked food is more tender when using the Dutch oven lid.
  • Grab your oven mitts – The handles are usually made of cast iron, and they get hot, hot, hot. Always use oven mitts when moving or picking up your hot Dutch oven.
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Cast Iron Cooking Methods

The answer might seem too simple to be true. But when it comes to Dutch oven cooking, you can do it all: boil, fry, braise, simmer, sauté, slow cook—all of it.

Some of my favorite ways to use my cast iron Dutch oven are deep frying sourdough fried chicken and sourdough donuts, simple family meals like homemade cheeseburger helper, and baking breads like our favorite chocolate sourdough bread.

If you aren’t used to cooking with cast iron on the stove, I recommend starting with lower temperatures first. The cooking process is the same, but cast iron gets hot and stays hot. So if you turn your burner to high heat and find that your steak is burning, it will be hard to reduce the temp.

Eventually, though, not only will you find yourself with a favorite burner (that was the first sign I was aging), but you will also find that you have a favorite temperature range for your cast iron.

Close up of enameled Dutch oven on the stove

Enameled vs. Non-Enameled Dutch Ovens

Cast iron Dutch ovens are either made of seasoned cast iron or enameled cast iron. I have both and love them for different reasons. And I don’t think I could live without both in my kitchen. But if you are torn between them, here is a snippet of my experience using both:

Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

An enameled Dutch oven is cast iron covered in a non-porous coating. It’s a common misconception that enameled Dutch ovens are non-stick. However, the coating is not a non-stick surface. Instead, it is a hard glass coating that protects the cast iron from rusting.


I love my enameled cast iron Dutch ovens, which never leave my stovetop. They are aesthetically pleasing while also practical. I use them for just about everything, from boiling pasta to making hearty broccoli cheese soup or gnocchi with cream sauce.

What I like about enameled cast iron over non-enameled cast iron is that I don’t have to worry about rust or using acidic ingredients like tomato paste or vinegar. There isn’t a need to protect the seasoning like there is with non-enameled cast iron.


My biggest complaint is that the enamel coating can scratch, which cannot be repaired. When enameled cast iron scratches, it can lead to uneven cooking. Though the enamel isn’t toxic, it has to go somewhere when it scratches off, and I don’t want it in my food.

Additionally, often, an enameled cast iron Dutch oven is an investment piece. Staub and Le Creuset, for example, can cost hundreds of dollars, which may not be reasonable for many home cooks.

Close up of seasoned cast iron on the stove

Non-Enameled Cast Iron


In my heart of hearts, I’m a sucker for classic cast iron. For example, it might not have the aesthetic appeal like Le Creuset Dutch ovens. But it’s rustic and simple and cooks like a dream. I have one non-enameled cast iron Dutch oven that I use for both cooking and baking.

Non-enameled cast iron can last a lifetime, possibly generations. Sure, the enamel finish can last a long time. Eventually, though, it will scratch. And that can’t be repaired.

Old-school, plain cast iron is durable. Scratches, rust, and damaged seasoning can be repaired. And it’s significantly cheaper. A non-enameled cast iron Dutch oven is one of the best investments a home cook can make. It’s cheap and lasts a lifetime.


Compared to enameled varieties, non-enameled is a little more high-maintenance. It easily rusts (though good seasoning and drying after each wash prevents rust). And not all ingredients jive well with it. Tomatoes, vinegar, and other acidic foods can damage the seasoning.

However, it’s worth it! With proper care and maintenance, non-enameled cast iron will last a lifetime and possibly generations. It’s cheaper than enameled cast iron, works just as well, and lasts longer.

Three Dutch ovens on the stove

Can a Cast Iron Dutch Oven Go from the Stove to the Fridge?

There are a few reasons why I don’t recommend putting your cast iron in the fridge. First, you have to wait for the food and the Dutch oven to completely cool. Even though it’s heavy, cast iron is brittle. So even the best Dutch ovens can crack when a sudden temperature changes occur.

Plus, putting hot food in the fridge can raise its temperature. Condensation can build up inside the Dutch oven while it cools, leading to soggy food that is more likely to spoil.

But also, a heavy cast iron pot filled to the brim with soup, for example, might be too heavy for your glass shelves. It isn’t worth the risk. So I recommend transferring your food into a storage container, letting it cool down, then sticking it in the fridge.

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