Why Did My Dutch Oven Broke: Everything You Need To Know (2023)

You have invested a lot of money in your Dutch Oven and therefore do not want it to break. Unfortunately, one day you look at it and it looks damaged. What happened?

Why did my Dutch Oven break?There are a few things that can break your dutch oven, but the most common causes are rapid temperature changes, heating when empty, or an inferior brand. It may also be that the crack is already present in the enamel, so you don't have to worry about that.

Why Did My Dutch Oven Broke: Everything You Need To Know (1)

In the following article, we look at what can cause a Dutch Oven to crack, detailing cracks, chips, and warping. If you want to learn more about how to avoid this, read on.

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7 reasons why cast iron cookware can crack

Thermal shock: The most common cause

Cracks in the casserole are often caused by a rapid temperature change that puts undue stress on the casserole.

Let's take an example of where this happens. You have a cold Dutch Oven that you put in an already preheated oven.Never do this.

The Dutch Oven doesn't have time to get used to the higher heat like it does with the slow preheating of the cast ironconventional ovenwarm up.

I also advise against putting a hot Dutch oven in cold water. Allow the pot to cool before placing it in the cool water to avoid drastic sudden changes in temperature.

(Video) Is it Bad if My Enamel Dutch Oven, Skillet, or Pot is Chipped?

While cast iron Dutch ovens are sturdy and can withstand high temperatures of up to 700 degrees Fahrenheit when seasoned, you should never let that change in temperature come suddenly.

Expert tip:Despite general advice to the contrary, you shouldn't preheat an enamelled casserole before setting it outViolationthe dough inside, as thermal shock can occur when the cold bread dough rises. The bread dough can rise even more, which e.g. causes further problemsViolationinside the oven

Enamelled Dutch Oven like that ofDigelen requires special care as the enamel is particularly prone to cracking in the event of thermal shock.

Related Reading: How Hot Can a Dutch Oven Get? –her

Quality: It makes a difference

Aside from thermal shock and improper care of your casserole dish, sometimes this cookware can crack due to inferior quality. You can do everything right with the wrong brand and still break it.

In other words, you get what you pay for.Le Creuset and Duststand out as the best brands in cooking, and as long as you avoid things like thermal shock or blatant abuse, the Dutch oven will last for years.

With the cheaper oneEnamel Cookware, it can start cracking after a while despite your best warnings. You should look carefully as the crack does not always penetrate straight through to the cast iron.

Never use an enameled dutch oven with chips in the cooking area as they can continue to chip and leave sharp bits of enamel in your food.

Overheating of the Dutch Oven

Why Did My Dutch Oven Broke: Everything You Need To Know (2)
(Video) Simple rules for cast iron care

We've already mentioned that you can heat cast iron up to 700 degrees Fahrenheit, but you probably shouldn't be doing that. Dutch Ovens can also cook your food well at lower temperatures because cast iron retains heat longer and conducts heat better than aluminum or ceramic.

This means you use less electricity because you don't have to set the highest heating level. A sign of overheated cast iron is that it will smoke when overheated. If left for too long, cracking may occur.

Part of the problem is that higher temperatures burn the spices, protecting your spicescast iron. Normally this won't cause a Dutch oven to break, but you don't want to risk it.

Preheat an empty Dutch Oven

When you place an empty Dutch Oven in an oven or over a stovetop, something needs to be inside during the preheating phase. Without them, you run the risk of cracking the enamel of your casserole. You can add cooking oil, water or even butter to the pan.

Expert tip:Make sure you always add enough as the other danger is not adding enough butter oroilin the dutch oven and it still crackles. To give you an idea, add enough to cover the bottom of the pan.

Read Best Oils For Seasoning Cast Ironher

Proper care of your Dutch Oven

The final note is that you should take proper care of your slow cooker as this will extend its life and reduce the risk of cracking.

Never put your Dutch Oven in the dishwasher as this can wear down the enamel.

While some brands like Le Creuset say their Dutch ovens dodishwasherOf course, putting them in the dishwasher isn't the wisest decision. Hand wash preferred.


You don't need to season an enameled Dutch oven, making maintenance easier.

If you have a regular cast iron casserole, you should do that tooseasonit a few times a year. This is usually also done outside of the pan, since spices prevent thisrusts.

Well-seasoned cast iron pans release food more easily and last for generations.

Never use steel wool on a slow cooker as it can damage the finish or scratch the enamel.

Luckily, enamel can take a beating, but that doesn't mean you should willingly give it a spanking.

To maximize the life of your Dutch Oven, follow these steps when cleaning:

  • Start cleaning the outside
  • Gently massage the interior to clean it
  • Scrub the pan with a paste made from baking soda and water

Related Reading: Learn how to clean enameled cast iron -her

Benefit from lifetime guarantees

Why Did My Dutch Oven Broke: Everything You Need To Know (3)

BothDust and Le Creuset, reputable cookware brands, offer a lifetime guarantee on their Dutch Ovens and other cookware if the enamel is cracked or chipped.

(Video) How to Cure a Rancid Dutch oven | Dutch oven Cooking

Don't ignore it. In particular, if there are chips or cracks in the cooking area, there is a risk that food will be eaten from them.

Many companies offer a lifetime warranty on their Dutch Ovens in case of cracks or chips. However, always be aware of the limitations.

Expert tip:When unpacking cast iron cookware, thoroughly inspect the parts, including the lid, before using it for the first time. Check the cover for chips, cracks and warping. The handles and loop lifters on the lid must not be damaged in any way.

Cracked Dutch Oven: Can you cook with it?

As long as the crack or chip is not along the cooking surface, you can still cook with it. They have cast iron under the enamel.

Some people even cook with a crack or chip in the cooking area, but this is not advisable as enamel can build up in your food.

Not only that, as soon as your Dutch Oven begins to crack and splinter, you can see more chips and cracks forming. You don't have to put up with that as many companies offer a lifetime warranty if it breaks.

Although you might pay more for Staub or Le Creuset, they support their products. At Le Creuset you can replace your broken Dutch Oven free of chargeGuarantee.

Finally - why did my Dutch Oven break?

Hopefully this article will shed some light on whycasseroleThe crack and what to do about it. We also took a look at how you can prevent it from breaking.

In the event of a rupture, fall back on the warranty. Many companies offer a unique guarantee on cast iron products, as cast iron has been known for generations.

(Video) Chipped Enamel on My Le Creuset - What Do I Do?

If you've avoided the things mentioned here and your Dutch Oven is still cracking, it may just be due to the brand or product quality.

Stew Cooking Stones


Why Did My Dutch Oven Broke: Everything You Need To Know? ›

You have a few things that can crack your Dutch oven, but the most common causes include rapid heat changes, heating when empty, or a poor quality brand. The crack may also already have existed on the enamel, which means that you don't have to worry about it.

What damages Dutch oven? ›

Using Metal Utensils

Most Dutch ovens are made with enameled cast iron, which is wonderfully nonstick but can scratch. Avoid using metal utensils, which can scrape the finish. Instead, reach for silicone, plastic or wood.

How long should a Dutch oven last? ›

When time allows, you can reach for the same Dutch oven to turn out perfectly crusty bread or tender braised meat. A Dutch oven is one of the most reliable pieces of cookware in your kitchen, and when properly cared for, it should also last a lifetime.

What happens if you overheat a Dutch oven? ›

Because Dutch ovens do such a great job of retaining heat, using them on medium-high or high heat is actually too hot. The pot can scorch if it's this hot and food can burn and actually stick to the surface.

When should I throw out my Dutch oven? ›

It's time to replace your Dutch oven if you see the enamel chipping inside of the pot. When you're stirring up your next soup, the last thing you want is chips of enamel flaking off into the broth. So the second you see any coating flaking inside of your Dutch oven, retire it and look for a new model.

Can you damage a Dutch oven? ›

While Le Creuset's enamel is designed to be durable in most conditions, says Nate Collier, spokesperson for Le Creuset, "Thermal shock may still occur," which could cause the enamel to crack or flake off. In general, subjecting your Dutch oven to extreme temperature fluctuations can be damaging.

What not to put in Dutch oven? ›

You should not cook acidic sauces and foods such as tomatoes, lemons, and other citrus foods, delicate proteins like white flakey fish, and eggs. Also, sticky foods, such as desserts with sugary sauces before carrying out a thorough seasoning of your cast-iron Dutch oven, skillet, or pan.

What is the rule of 3 Dutch oven? ›

The best rule of thumb is to take the diameter of your Dutch oven (for example, 12 inches), and add three for the number of briquettes (of coal) on top. Then, take the diameter of your Dutch oven and subtract three for the number of briquettes underneath.

Why should you not heat empty Dutch oven? ›

It can heat up too fast and the surface and food can burn. Also, you never want to preheat it while empty — this can cause the enamel to crack — so drizzle your olive oil in first and then switch the stovetop on. This applies when you're making no-knead bread, too: Never put a cold, empty pot in a hot oven to heat up.

How much should I spend on a Dutch oven? ›

Prices range from $60 to $400. If well cared for, these pans can last a lifetime, so don't be afraid to spend a bit more if it means getting the one you truly want. Our tests found that any of these pots can do a fine job braising meat, and most can quickly bring 4 quarts of water to a near-boil.

How hot is too hot for a Dutch oven? ›

When using a Dutch Oven in the oven, however, you should check with the manufacturer to determine the maximum safe temperature for baking. Generally, most enameled Dutch Ovens should be safe to about 450 degrees Fahrenheit, but you'll want to be sure before you get started.

Can you leave water in a Dutch oven overnight? ›

Dry the pot with a paper towel or cloth. Be careful not to leave any standing water in the pot (or leave the pot to soak), which can cause rust.

Can you leave the lid on a Dutch oven? ›

Some recipes call for boiling food uncovered, like making pasta or reducing a sauce. When braising meat in a Dutch oven, we always plop the lid on top, even if it's only partially covered. The lid will trap the steam inside, keeping the braised food nice and tender as it cooks.

Do you preheat Dutch oven with lid on or off? ›

Preheat Dutch oven in the oven with the lid off at 500F/260C. Many bakers will continue preheating for 10-20 minutes after the oven reaches target temperature to ensure the Dutch oven is at its hottest. Lower the loaf into the Dutch oven using a sling made of parchment or silicone.

Can Dutch oven go over open fire? ›

Dutch ovens can also be suspended over a campfire using a tripod, placed on a campfire cooking grate over a fire, or placed directly on top of embers. Depending on your stove, it is also possible to use a Dutch oven on a camp stove.

Can you heat a Dutch oven with nothing in it? ›

Preheating an empty Dutch oven may cause the enamel to crack and shed, damaging the cookware permanently. If you want to preheat a Dutch oven, you should put some oil or butter in the pot before placing it in the oven or on the stovetop.

What should I not cook in cast iron? ›

5 foods you should never cook in a cast iron skillet
  1. Tomatoes.
  2. All other highly acidic foods.
  3. Eggs.
  4. Delicate Fish.
  5. Sticky Desserts (Unless your pan is very well-seasoned)
Aug 17, 2021

Can you ruin a cast iron Dutch oven? ›

Dutch ovens are meant to be used, that's why they have such a high-quality finish on the inside. This finish can be damaged by heat, scraping with the wrong utensils, incorrect cleaning practices, and general misuse. These will only damage the finish and make it hard for your food to cook evenly.

What destroys cast iron? ›

6 Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Cast Iron Skillets
  • You don't allow time for the pan to heat up. ...
  • You use the same skillet for savory and sweet. ...
  • You don't clean the pan quickly enough. ...
  • You let your skillet soak. ...
  • You don't re-season the skillet. ...
  • You store the skillet while it's still wet.
Jul 18, 2020

Is it healthy to cook in Dutch oven? ›

Is cooking in a Dutch oven healthy? Most of the time, cooking in a dutch oven is perfectly healthy! You can make many healthy recipes in your cast iron pot! The enamel companies use is completely non-toxic and food-safe, so you don't have to worry about that.

Is Dutch oven too heavy for oven? ›

Most Dutch ovens are made from enameled cast iron, and they're quite heavy—we've tested options that weigh more than 18 pounds. In most cases this heft is helpful: Heavy cast iron retains heat well, which makes it ideal for baking picture-perfect, crusty loaves of bread as well as deep frying.

What do you put under a Dutch oven? ›

Coal Placement Is Key

What is this? Depending on the temperature you need to cook, you'll put a certain amount of coal underneath the Dutch oven and on top of the lid. Generally, this is one-third of the coal under the oven and two-thirds on top of the lid.

Can you cook everything in a Dutch oven? ›

It's most famous for slow cooking and braising meats. However, you can cook everything from quick, weeknight pasta dishes to soups and stews to desserts in a Dutch oven. You can even use it for baking bread.

Why are Dutch ovens so expensive? ›

Why Are Dutch Ovens So Expensive? A cast iron Dutch oven is a hefty piece of equipment, and all that iron comes at a cost: a lot of material goes into constructing this multi-purpose pot.

What is the best color for a Dutch oven? ›

Consider the interior color of your Dutch oven. You're usually going to see either black interiors or a lighter color, like tan. Lighter interiors are great because they allow you to see better into the pot while you are cooking. The brighter environment lets you view easily the contents of the deep cooking vessel.

What is the most popular size of Dutch oven? ›

A 5–7 quart Dutch oven is the sweet spot for most home cooks. This size is great for cooking for four people (often with leftovers). Representatives from both Staub and Le Creuset tell us that their most popular size is 5 1/2-quarts, and that's the size most Epi editors have at home, as well.

Do Dutch ovens wear out? ›

Dutch ovens are versatile kitchen workhorses that have a place in any kitchen. And, if taken care of, they can last years on end. It is normal for there to be some wear and tear in the form of faint stains, dulled enamel, and light marks from utensils.

How do I protect my Dutch oven? ›

  1. Keep the clips that come with your pot. ...
  2. Store it down low. ...
  3. Use kosher salt to clean any burnt-on bits. ...
  4. Or boil baking soda and some water. ...
  5. Use oven cleaner for extra dirty pots. ...
  6. Avoid using super-high heat. ...
  7. Don't use metal utensils. ...
  8. Don't put it in the dishwasher.
Jul 4, 2022

Is it bad to let a Dutch oven soak? ›

Remove Food and Oily Residues

If food remains, use a non-abrasive plastic scraper to tackle the problem. Since cast iron rusts, never leave the Dutch oven to soak in a sink of water or use steel wool or a metal scraper. Both will harm the seasoned finish.

What happens if you overheat enameled cast iron? ›

Cast iron retains heat so efficiently that overheating will cause food to burn or stick. With the exception of Grills, the enamel surface is not ideal for dry cooking. Your choice of liquid, oil, fat or butter should completely cover the base before heating begins.

Why should you avoid putting a Dutch oven into cold water? ›

Though Dutch ovens are made of thick, sturdy cast iron, they are still vulnerable to thermal shocks, just like any other metal pot or pan. Let your Dutch oven cool before putting it in cold water to prevent residual heat from reacting with the water, which can warp your pot or damage its glaze.

When should you throw out enameled cast iron? ›

Just like with traditional cast iron cookware, you should replace enameled cast iron cookware if any cracks appear. Enameled cookware is more likely to crack than traditional enamel from sudden temperature changes.

Do chefs use Dutch ovens? ›

Though there are many kitchen tools a good chef needs to complete their collection, a Dutch oven is arguably one of the most important due to its versatility.

Is it OK to boil water in a Dutch oven? ›

There are so many different uses for Dutch ovens: Dutch ovens are great for both the stovetop and the oven, making them ideal for braising meat; cooking soups, stews, and sauces; boiling water for pasta; frying chicken; and even baking bread.

Why can't you heat an empty Dutch oven? ›

Preheating it empty or on high heat.

It can heat up too fast and the surface and food can burn. Also, you never want to preheat it while empty — this can cause the enamel to crack — so drizzle your olive oil in first and then switch the stovetop on.


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