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Camp Dutch Oven Cooking Tips

Camp Dutch oven cooking is simple and fun when you know how!

Dutch oven in fire

You can make delicious meals and desserts in a camp Dutch oven. Here are some Dutch oven cooking tips to make your campfire Dutch oven experience a success.

Season your Dutch oven.

A well-seasoned Dutch oven has a non-stick surface - just effective as Teflon, and much healthier to use!

Here are the instructions for seasoning cast iron - and everything else you need to know about Dutch oven care.

Be sure to season the oven at home - not at camp. It is a much easier process in the comfort of your kitchen!

Bring the right equipment.

Besides the oven itself, you'll need

spade beside campfire

You may also want a tripod for suspending the oven over the fire, or a special lid lifter. I haven't used either of these, but they look handy!

Build your campfire early.

Don't wait until you are hungry before you start the fire! Build it long before you want to eat. It will take a while for the fire to burn down to coals.

Move some of the coals to one side of the firepit.

The long-handled spade comes in handy here!

coals on one side of firepit

One side of the firepit is your cooking area. The other side is for making fresh coals.

Continue feeding the fire so you'll have fresh coals if you need them.

Preheat the Dutch oven.

Bring the oven to cooking temperature before you put the food in it.

Once the coals are ready, place the empty Dutch oven on the coals, with its lid on.

Test the temperature.

Here's how:

  • Using an oven mitt, carefully remove the lid.
  • Place your bare hand - carefully - just above the Dutch oven. Don't touch the oven.
  • Count how many seconds it takes until you have to remove your hand.

How long can you hold your hand above the oven?

  • about 1-2 seconds - very hot
  • about 3-4 seconds - hot
  • about 5-6 seconds - medium hot
  • about 7-8 seconds - warm

Of course, this will vary from person to person. Some people can stand more heat than others. Once you've done this a few times, you'll know your own tolerance.

If the oven is hotter than you need

Remove it from the firepit, move some of the coals to the side, and put the oven back.

If it's not hot enough

  • Remove it from the firepit, move some coals from the fire into the center, and put the oven back.
  • Put some coals on top of the lid. Most Dutch oven lids have a rim that will keep the coals from rolling off.

Check your food frequently.

Cooking time will be unpredictable.

If things are heating up too quickly, take the Dutch oven off the fire for a few minutes. 

Add a bit of water to prevent scorching.

Just like when you cooking on a stove at home!

Watch out for ashes.

No matter how careful you are, ashes will float onto the top of the lid.

ashes on lid of Dutch oven

Each time you remove the lid, go slowly and carefully so that the ashes don't end up in your food.

Focus on your cooking.

As you might guess, camp Dutch oven cooking takes all of your attention!

Don't plan to do other things at the same time. Have another adult on child duty while you're cooking.

Following these tips will help to ensure that your camp Dutch oven cooking is a success!

Now that you know about camp Dutch oven cooking, visit this page for even more Dutch oven information and some easy recipes.

Are you planning a camping trip? You'll want to visit The Camping Family home page! You'll find lots of helpful tips about everything from planning to packing to cooking.

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