A Dutch oven is a thick-walled cooking pot with a tight-fitting lid. Dutch ovens have been used as cooking vessels for hundreds of years. They are called casserole dishes in English speaking countries other than the USA, and cocottes in French. They are similar to both the Japanese tetsunabe and the Sac, a traditional Balkan cast-iron oven, and are related to the South African Potjie and the Australian Bedourie oven.
Use in cooking
Dutch ovens are well suited for long, slow cooking, such as in making roasts, stews, and casseroles.
When cooking over a campfire, it is possible to use old-style lipped cast iron Dutch ovens as true baking ovens, to prepare biscuits, cakes, breads, pizzas, and even pies. A smaller baking pan can be placed inside the ovens, used and replaced with another as the first batch is completed. It is also possible to stack Dutch ovens on top of each other, conserving the heat that would normally rise from the hot coals on the top. These stacks can be as high as 5 or 6 pots.