5 Best Dutch Oven Substitutes You Probably Already Own

As soon as the brisk fall weather comes in, I begin to crave warm, hearty dishes such as beef stew. When I first reached out to my Grandma for her recipe, she started out with “pull out your Dutch oven..” At that time, I only had about 3 pieces of cookware (none of them being a Dutch oven). When I asked Grandma what can I substitute for a Dutch Oven she seemed astounded that I dare not have this kitchen staple.

Luckily, I do have a Dutch oven now. But, those early years of only having whatever cookware I could find in a thrift store or borrow from a friend helped me find some of the best dutch oven substitutes.

What Are Dutch Ovens

“As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases made through links in this post”

A Dutch oven is a heavy pot made of cast iron, enameled cast iron, cast aluminum or ceramic. The most popular and recognizable type is the enameled cast iron Dutch oven


This cookware is not cheap which is why many people wonder what can be used instead of a Dutch oven for cooking many dishes. Dutch ovens can be used to cook virtually anything and maintain heat extremely well. 

Dutch ovens can handle high heat and can be used both on the stove and in the oven. You can use one to simmer dishes like chili all day. You can even use them for frying foods, making soups and even baking.

Pictures of Dutch Ovens

Cookware You Substitute For a Dutch Oven

The great thing about cooking is the fact that you can improvise. Nothing is truly set in stone and many great food recipes were the result of someone having to “wing it” at the last minute and ending up with something truly spectacular. Here are some of the best substitutes for a Dutch oven.

1. A Deep Skillet or Frying Pan

Calphalon Classic Nonstick Saute Pan With Cover, 5 Quart, Grey

As long as you have a deep skillet with fairly high sides it can be used in the place of a Dutch oven. The ideal substitute will be oven-safe to allow you the ability to sear or brown meats on the stove and then transfer directly to the oven to finish cooking.

2. Try Using a Slow Cooker or Instant Pot

A slow cooker such as the Crock-Pot is a versatile substitute for a Dutch oven. They aren’t the most useful for braising or searing but they are perfect for cooking meals that require slow and low cooking.

3. What To Use Instead of a Dutch Oven for Bread? Consider the Cast Iron Skillet

When searching for a Dutch oven substitute for baking bread or desserts, look no further than your cast iron skillet. This is an optimal choice as they are constructed of the same material.

The steam that forms when baking bread in a Dutch oven is what makes the perfect crusty bread.You can replicate the same steamy conditions inside your oven as you bake bread in your cast iron skillet. Just add some ice cubes into a separate hot thick-walled skillet or dish at the time you place your bread into the oven for baking.

Related Article: Who Makes the Best Cast Iron Skillet

4. Electric Deep Fryer

Serious cooks will consider nothing less than a heavy, tall Dutch oven to fry chicken. However, you can yield great results by using a deep fryer as a dutch oven substitute.

What I really like about deep fryers is the ability to control and monitor the temperature of the oil. Without this capability or a separate food thermometer it would be a guessing game to figure out if your oil is hot enough.

Cook healthier by using an air fryer instead of a deep fryer 

An air fryer uses approximately 95% less oil than a deep fryer. Anything that you can fry in a traditional deep fryer, you can fry in an air fryer. Therefore, it can also be used instead of a Dutch oven for purposes of frying.

Related Article: Best Air Fryer For One Person

5. A Stockpot is Possibly the Best Substitute for a Dutch Oven

Cuisinart 744-24 Chef's Classic Stainless Stockpot with Cover, 6-Quart,Silver

When researching what cookware I can use instead of a Dutch oven perhaps the best alternative was a stock pot. The larger stock pots such as 5-quart and above are pretty much the same size of most Dutch ovens and will function quite the same way, particularly for stews and soups that are cooked at sustained low heats.

Related Article: What Size Stock Pot Do I Need

You will however, want to use a stockpot that has a heavy bottom. You will risk burning your dish if cooked over a long period of time in a thin-bottomed stock pot.

Our Final Thoughts On Dutch Oven Substitutes

We are glad to have provided you with this list of the best alternatives to a Dutch oven. As you can see, you have a variety of choices depending on the meal that you wish to make. 

At some point you may choose to purchase your own Dutch oven. But until then, remember that cooking is a fun experience with little to no rules which allows you to improvise as needed.