Don’t be afraid to use that Dutch oven that lies forgotten in the basement. If you are familiar with using a Dutch oven, you know that Dutch oven desserts are the ultimate. There is nothing better than topping off a campout dinner than with a dessert that is golden brown straight from confines of a cast iron pot – the Dutch oven.
How do I cook a Dutch oven dessert? There are seven secrets to great Dutch oven cooking, and these secrets also apply when baking a great dessert for your campout. Don’t be afraid of your Dutch oven, just use the right number of coals and heat, wonderful ingredients that you can find in your home pantry, cook, and enjoy. No dessert will taste better than a Dutch oven cobbler, pudding, cake or even popped corn done in the great outdoors.
Once you learn the secrets to Dutch oven cooking, you will never want to cook simple hotdogs and hamburgers over an open flame. Keep your dutch oven handy, pack it up when you go camping, and be excited for the flavors of dessert to melt in your mouth. It’s okay to crave marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate cooked over a campfire, but if you look at these recipes, you will even find a recipe for Dutch oven S’ mores.
Six Secrets to Dutch Oven Cooking
When picking out a Dutch oven, there are a couple of guidelines to keep in mind. Don’t even consider an aluminum Dutch oven. They do weight less than a cast iron oven, but they do not retain heat very well, nor do they distribute heat as well. The flavor of food will be a bit different if you use aluminum. Aluminum gives a chalky taste to foods, and cast iron gives foods a smoked flavor to your foods.
Your Dutch oven must be cured. Curing or seasoning keeps your Dutch oven from rusting and gives the oven an interior coating that prevents food from sticking. It’s very simple to cure a dutch oven. Wash the entire pot well with hot soapy water. Washing removes the waxy coating from a new oven that was put there as a shipping preservative. (Note: Don’t ever use soap on your Dutch oven again.)
Heat your Dutch oven, with the lid on, to about 350-degrees in your home oven. (Or use a fire or coals or briquettes.) Once the oven is hot, pour in a small amount of oil and while wearing heavy leather gloves, use a clean cotton cloth to wipe to the surface inside and out. Once you have coated your Dutch oven, heat it to about 350 degrees for an hour. Let the oven cool slowly.
Do make sure that after each subsequent use and cleaning you wipe a very light coat of oil over a dry, warm oven.
The Right Tools
There are specific utensils required for Dutch oven cooking such as spatulas, long spoons, and long forks. Make sure the utensils you use with your Dutch ovens are made of wood, plastic or Teflon. If you use metal utensils, try not to scrape too hard on the inside or bottom of your Dutch oven. Metal utensils can scrape off the curing, and the last thing you want is bare metal showing through the black coating on your Dutch oven.
Get a pair of loose-fitting leather gloves. Some chefs use welding gloves or gauntlets, but any good thick leather gloves should work fine. You will also need a lid lifter or a wire-handled hook. The best lid lifter is a design that combines a hook with a three-legged brace. The three legs fit against the top of the lid, and the hook goes under the lid handle. This type of lifter is excellent for keeping coals and ashes on the lid out of your food as you lift off the lid.
A Good Fire
Even seasoned outdoor chefs aren’t sure how to use this secret: prevent burned bottoms, raw tops and dried out foods by using properly sized and spaced coals to control the interior temperature for your Dutch oven. Just about all baked good can be successfully baked at 350 degrees, which is the ideal temperature for a Dutch oven. To maintain this temperature, use coals from a fire that are about the same size as charcoal briquettes.
Often it is best to use charcoal briquettes. Briquettes burn longer and more evenly than coals from a fire. Use the best briquettes you can afford. There is definitely a difference in quality, and more expensive brands are worth the cost. The easiest formula for determining how many coals to use to get a Dutch oven heated is to use two coals per inch of oven diameter on the lid, and two less for the bottom. For example, if using a 14 inch Dutch oven, use 14-16 coals on the lid and 12-14 on the bottom of the Dutch oven.
If you need a higher temperature inside your oven, use more coals. Place coals two at a time on the lid, and one under the oven. Increasing coals by two on the lid will add another 50 degrees. Two additional coals on the top and one bottom will bring your oven’s temperature up to 400 degrees. Rarely, you will even need an oven of more than 400 degrees.
Foods prepared in a Dutch oven have an aroma and flavor you will never match using any other cooking method. The taste is always perfect, but don’t expect your food to look as if it were cooked in a household oven. It will be a “little” different in appearance.
When you cook dessert and vegetable dishes, regulate the heat and watch the food. Never just put the coals on your Dutch oven and walk away, hoping it will cook perfectly. You do need to check on the heat and condition of your Dutch oven foods occasionally.
Knead Your Dough
Dutch oven bread can be difficult, but wonderful cornbread, biscuits, rolls, and sourdough loaves are great when baked in the Dutch oven. When you cook bread, the larger the Dutch oven, the better. To successfully brown bread, you must alter the cooking time for the last five to eight minutes of the traditional 24-30 minute, 350 degrees baking time.
Love Your Dessert
To make the perfect dessert in your Dutch oven, carefully regulate the heat, watch the food, and stir ingredient together thoroughly. You will never disappoint your campers when you make dessert in a Dutch oven. Dessert always turns out spectacular (unless you let it burn!)
Dutch Oven Campfire Dessert Recipes
The best desserts made in a Dutch oven are the ones you ate when you were a kid camping. It’s hard to forget the wonderful cobblers, pies, and cakes made and baked in a Dutch oven.
Dutch Oven Campfire Fruit Cobbler Recipe
Fruit cobblers are the tastiest and easiest dessert you will make in a Dutch oven. The cobbler is even better if you use fresh fruit, but canned, bottled, or even frozen fruits work just as well.
¼ cup butter
Any type of fruit or combination of fruit (peaches are awesome).
½ cup milk
½ cup of flour
¼ cup of sugar
1 Tbs baking powder
Pinch of salt
Place ¼ cup of butter at the bottom of your Dutch oven and melt it over the fire or with coals.
Mix fruits with some sugar depending on your taste and place them over the butter.
In a separate bowl mix ½ cup of milk, ½ cup of flour, /4 cup of sugar, 1 Tbs baking powder and a pinch of salt. Mix thoroughly and pour this mixture over the fruits.
Leave the Dutch oven medium fire to cook your dessert slowly. It only takes about 30 minutes for your cobbler to cook to perfection. Serve with milk, whipping cream or ice cream.
Dutch Oven Campfire Dump Brownies Recipe
If you like chocolate and marshmallows and chocolate chips, these brownies will quickly be your favorite on a camping trip.
2 1/ cups brown sugar
¾ cup butter, melted
1 ½ cups flour
½ cup cocoa ¾ tsp salt
1 cup of chocolate chips
1/ cup milk
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tsp vanilla
Mix everything except the mini marshmallows and chocolate chips. Pour into a well-greased Dutch oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove coals from the bottom of the Dutch oven and cook for another 10 minutes. Add marshmallows until the top is coated and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Replace the lid until the marshmallows and chips have started to melt.
If you use a 12-inch dutch oven, place the dutch oven over 10-12 hot coals. Put the lid on the Dutch oven and use 12-14 coals on the lid. Cook as directed. Remove the dutch oven from the coals (keep the coals on the top of the oven) and cook for about 10 minutes. Remove the lid, add the marshmallows and chocolate chips, replace the lid and watch for the marshmallows and chocolate chips to melt.
Dutch Oven Campfire Peach Cobbler (video)
Dutch Oven Campfire S’Mores Recipe
S’Mores are a campfire tradition and who hasn’t roasted a marshmallow over the campfire, combined it with graham crackers, and chocolate for a scrumptious camping night-time snack. You can make S’Mores in your Dutch oven, too. Making S’Mores in a Dutch oven may not be as fun as roasting marshmallows over the fire, but it is tasty.
Miniature marshmallows, one package
Milk Chocolate candy bars (Hershey milk chocolate bars are a tradition)
Grease a round cake pan that fits in the Dutch oven. Use cooking spray. Break up the graham crackers and candy bars. Layer the pan with graham crackers, then the chocolate bars, then marshmallows. Start with graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows until the pan is full.
Place the cake pan with the goodies inside your Dutch oven — Cook in the Dutch oven over hot coals for about 30 minutes. The time you cook your S’Mores actually depends on how many coals you use. When the chocolate and marshmallows are melted, then your S’Mores are ready to eat. Take the cake pan out of your Dutch oven, and pass around the campfire.
Dutch Oven Apple Crisp (Video)
Dutch Oven Campfire Rice Pudding Recipe
Rice pudding is the ultimate comfort food, and you can easily make it on a campout. Have made this for family outing dozens of times.
S cups of water
1 cup 20-minute rice
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp salt
1quart whole milk
4 beaten eggs
1 cup raisins
Boil water and salt and add rise. Steam cook for 25 minutes or until rice is tender. Remove from Dutch oven and rinse oven. Blend milk, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the Dutch oven, Add rice and raisins. Sprinkle cinnamon on top and place over coals or briquettes. Cover and add heat to the top (about 10-12 coals)
Place 10-12 hot coals under the dutch oven to boil water after adding rice and salt put on lid and steam for about 30 minutes. Watch rice to make sure it does not run or stick. Remote rises from the Dutch oven and pour the liquid mixture into the Dutch oven. Add rice and raisins and add the lid. Place about 10-12 coals on top and cook for about 10 minutes. Serve with ore cinnamon, cream or milk.
Dutch Oven Campfire Pineapple Upside Down Cake Recipe (Video)
Dutch Oven Campfire Sourdough Cookies Recipe
Don’t think you can make cookies in a Dutch oven? Well, think again. These will quickly become a favorite of your families when they are camping.
1 ½ cups brown sugar
1 cup butter
3 cups quick oats
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp nutmeg
1 cup shortening
2 cups sourdough
1 ½ cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
Cream together sugar and shortening. Add sourdough and oats and mix well. And the rest of the ingredients. Linea Dutch oven with wax paper and place on the heat.
Drop by teaspoon into the Dutch oven. Put the lid on and bake for 12-15 minutes or until done. If you use a 14” Dutch Oven, you should be able to bake about 14 cookies. Keep about 1-10 coals on the bottom (more and you may burn your cookies), and 12-14 coals on the lid. You can take the lid off periodically to check and see if the cookies are browning.
Dutch Oven Campfire Donuts Recipe (Video)
Dutch Oven Campfire Pineapple Cobbler Recipe
Similar to other fruit cobbles, this pineapple cobbler dish has a burst of pineapple that makes this cobble extra special. When the cobbler is done, it should be toasty brown and smell divine.
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp grated lemon peel
¼ cup butter, melted
¾ cup Bisquick mix
1 beaten egg
1/3 cup Bisquick mix
4 cups fresh pineapple chunks
2/3 cup sugar.
Combine sugar, 1/3 cup Bisquick mix, lemon peel a pineapple. Pour into a 10” Dutch oven. Mix ¾ cup Bisquick mix, sugar, and egg. Sprinkle over the top. Drizzle with butter and bake for 45-50 minutes. Finish off with whipped cream.
(you can vary the ingredients if you are using a larger dutch oven.)
Put the lid on the top. If using a 10” Dutch oven, use 6-8 coals and on the bottom and 8-10 coals on the top. Watch the heat and add more colas if needed.
Dutch Oven Rocky Road Dessert Campfire Recipe
Chocolate dessert is perfect anytime. Rocky road dessert has become a family favorite for after dinner or just as a snack during the day.
2 cups chocolate chips
2cups chopped nuts
2/3 cup cocoa
1 tsp salt
2 cups mini marshmallows
1 cup butt, melted
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup four
1 tsp baking powder
Mix well butter, sugar and vanilla. Add the eggs, flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Spread into a 12” greased Dutch oven and bake for 30 minutes.
Top with chocolate chips and marshmallows and nuts — Replace lid for 5-10 minutes.
When using a 12” Dutch oven, use 10-12 coals on the bottom and 12-14 coals on the top. These coals should cook your rocky road dessert within about 30 minutes. Check to make sure it isn’t burning and if it is, reduce the number of coals you are using.
Serve with whipped cream or just spoon out a bowlful and enjoy.
Dutch Oven Popcorn Campfire Recipe
Popcorn isn’t an actual dessert, but it is fun to make in a Dutch oven and a treat to share around the campfire.
Pour oil in the bottom of a hot Dutch oven, completely cover the bottom, and place popcorn in the hot oil, enough to cover the bottom of the Dutch oven and maybe a bit more. Popping corn in a Dutch oven is a bit of a trial and error experiment so you will need to decide how much popcorn to add to the oil.
Place your Dutch oven over hot coals and frequently shake while cooking. You will hear the corn popping against the side of the Dutch oven! Pull the Dutch oven off the heat when most of the kernels are done and pour them into another bowl. Salt the popped corn, and pass around the campfire.