Heat Source Aside, What Advantages Do Electric Dutch Ovens Have?

Electric Dutch ovens, while not yet mainstream kitchen staples, deserve a spot in your kitchen arsenal. For those who don't know what they are, electric Dutch ovens merge the heavy cast-iron base and tight lid of traditional Dutch ovens with an electric unit that acts as the source of heat — much like the heat source for a rice cooker. On paper, electric Dutch ovens function similarly to other electrically powered cooking appliances, which might make you wonder what sets them apart from the competition.

This appliance actually has a lot more built-in versatility than you would think. For starters, it comes with a fully detachable traditional Dutch oven, which means that it isn't limited to only being cooked in the electric unit that must always be plugged into an outlet. The pot itself is safe to place on a stovetop or in a conventional oven, giving you the freedom to adjust to different cooking demands if using the countertop electrical unit isn't ideal for a certain recipe or situation.

For example, instead of searing beef short ribs or bone-in chicken legs on the countertop in the unit itself, where you don't want oil flying everywhere, you can remove the Dutch oven and cook over the stovetop, where you don't mind a little bit of mess. After getting a good crust on the meat, you can then pop the heavy lid on and conveniently set the pot in either your oven or the electric heating unit where it can finish cooking.

Other advantages of electric Dutch ovens

Just as appliances like rice cookers and slow cookers have gotten more sophisticated software upgrades over the years, electric Dutch ovens also feature a host of modes to help home cooks achieve exactly the results they desire. Add to that they have the same vast cooking capabilities as standard Dutch ovens, they have a much larger cooking range than the aforementioned appliances. 

Want to make any rice dish from plain white to spicy jambalaya? The electric Dutch oven has you covered. Want perfectly tender red wine braised short ribs? Cook every step from start to finish in the electric Dutch oven. Want to bake an entire loaf of bread? Forget the breadmaker, the electric Dutch oven can do it! It can slow-cook foods like chili and roast, too. What can't the electric Dutch oven do?

Perhaps the most easily overlooked advantage to the electric Dutch oven is the fact that since it's either enamel or cast iron, you don't have to worry about a potentially toxic nonstick coating or ingesting harmful chemicals from a cheap ceramic coating. Cast iron versions will need re-seasoning from time to time to prevent food from sticking, but that's a simple process that only requires a small amount of cooking oil and time in the oven. As long as you take care of your electric Dutch oven, it will take care of you for years to come.