Can You Fry in A Dutch Oven?

Dutch ovens are incredibly versatile cooking tools. You can sear meat and finish it in a flavorful liquid in the same Dutch oven. The only question is, can you use a Dutch oven to fry your favorite foods?

Yes, you can. Dutch ovens have high side walls that can be used to hold several quarts of frying oil to deep-fry your favorite meats and veggies.

In this guide, I’ll explain in detail what a Dutch oven is, what you can use it for, and how you can safely use it as a deep fryer.

What Is a Dutch Oven?

What Is a Dutch Oven


You may think I’m exaggerating by saying this, but every household should own at least 1 Dutch oven. But before I talk about the awesomeness of this cooking tool, what exactly is it?

A Dutch oven is a large pot. They have a lid that fits snugly and is heavy and wide but relatively shallow. The typical image of a Dutch oven is an enameled cast-iron casserole with small handles on opposite ends of the brim and a heavy lid, but this is not necessarily the case.

The most defining features of a Dutch oven are its heavy construction and tightly fitting lid, which practically guarantee 100% success when cooking at a low temperature for extended periods of time. Not only that, but you can transfer a Dutch oven from your stove to an oven and back without having to worry about causing heat damage to it.

What Are Dutch Ovens Used for?

A Dutch oven can do the job of any other kitchen appliance, from slow cookers to air fryers to regular ovens. Because of how quickly and easily everything can be thrown into the pot and heated, it is likely the most popular cooking vessel among campers and outdoor enthusiasts.

For use indoors, there are enameled cast-iron Dutch ovens. These ovens look great and perform just as well as their ancestor, the centuries-old outdoor coal cooking pot.

You can make fantastic, nutritious meals in either of the two types of Dutch ovens currently on the market. In most people’s minds, Dutch ovens conjure images of hearty, slow-cooked meals where the meat practically falls apart at the touch of a fork.

Can You Fry in a Dutch Oven?

Regardless of what type of Dutch oven you have, you can use it to fry food. In fact, because of its enormous depth, it’s even possible to deep-fry French fries and donuts without damaging the pot’s finish.

Here’s what you should do if you want to use a Dutch oven to fry food:

1. Add oil to the pot

To begin, you must have oil in order to fry food. A standard Dutch oven can hold anywhere from five to seven quarts of food. The amount of oil needed to coat the bottom of your Dutch oven will vary depending on its size. Fill the pot with oil at least two-thirds of the way.

You may need to add more oil when frying larger portions of food. You shouldn’t fill the oil container more than halfway since overfilling a pot with hot oil can lead to kitchen fires.

2. Preheat the oil to the right frying temperature

The next step is to slowly preheat the Dutch oven. Dutch ovens can easily be scorched if placed directly over an extremely high heat source. Maintaining a consistent medium heat throughout the cooking process is still sufficient for frying.

When deep-frying, the oil temperature should be between 350 and 400°F. The quality of your food will drastically improve once you find the sweet spot within this range. Food cooked at lower temperatures takes longer to prepare and absorbs more oil. You risk burning the food before it’s done cooking if the heat is too high.

3. Fry your food in the Dutch oven

Now that everything is ready, you can start frying. There are a few things to keep in mind while frying that will keep you safe and make the process go more smoothly. First, slowly and steadily place the food into the oil. Be careful not to drop the food since it can cause oil to splash above the pot’s walls and onto your stovetop.

Do not crowd the Dutch oven if you want to cook efficiently. Ideally, you should prepare food in smaller, more manageable batches in order to leave enough room for your food to cook evenly. Also, overcrowding a pot will significantly reduce the temperature of the oil, causing more fat to seep into your food.

A metal or silicone tool can be used to safely remove the food from the fryer once it has finished cooking. Keep in mind that the temperature of the oil will shift after cooking, so take this into account before adding the next batch of food into the Dutch oven.

Because of the temperature drop, you’ll need to increase the cooking time of the next batch you make. Give the oil a chance to reheat in between batches to keep from having to adjust the cooking time.

What Type of Oil Is for Frying in A Dutch Oven?

What Type of Oil for Frying in a Dutch Oven


In this guide, I explain the best types of oils used for grilling. While frying and grilling are completely different cooking methods, they both rely on high heat, which can affect the quality of your cooking oil.

When using a Dutch oven to fry food, you need to pay attention to the smoke point of the fat. Ideally, you’ll have a heat-resistant oil on hand, which can withstand temperatures exceeding 350°F before they release foul odors into the air.

However, if you’re shallow-frying in a Dutch oven, you can get by with a more flavorful oil—e.g., olive oil. Just make sure to keep a close eye on the oil’s temperature so that it doesn’t go past its smoke point, altering its flavor and aroma.

What Size Dutch Oven Do You Need?

Dutch ovens come in a variety of sizes, typically ranging from half a quart all the way up to 14 quarts and larger. So, how do you choose the right Dutch oven size?

Essentially, bigger Dutch ovens are ideal for larger families or groups of people. However, they’ll also have a wider base, meaning that it’ll take more power and a wider burner to bring the pot up to temperature.

Smaller Dutch ovens measuring between ½ to 2 quarts are usually reserved for cooking food for 1 to 4 people, especially when preparing stews. However, for larger groups, you’ll need to prepare food in batches, causing the first batch to become stone-cold before the final batch is ready to serve.

In general, 2 to 4-quart Dutch ovens are the most popular sizes. That said, you should choose your Dutch oven based on how many people you plan on feeding at once. In addition, bigger is not always better, but there’s such a thing as too small.

Can You Fry Turkey in a Dutch Oven?

Technically, you can, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

You can use a large Dutch oven (10 quarts or larger) to fry a small turkey (5 to 12 pounds). If you don’t have a Dutch oven that large, consider cutting the poultry and frying it in batches.

If you want to fry a whole turkey, you’ll need to pick up a turkey frying kit, such as the 30-quart fryer from NUUK. Deep-frying turkey can be incredibly dangerous due to the displacement of hot oil after submerging the bird. So, take the proper precautions before a turkey in boiling hot oil, and only do it outdoors!

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