Dutch Oven Baking on a Wood Burning Stove

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Dutch Oven Baking On A Wood Burning Stove

Baking in a Dutch Oven on your wood burning stove is a great way to use your ‘free’ source of heat and make some delicious food while you are at it! You can use a Dutch oven to make a wide range of baked goods in your oven, on a wood stove, or on a campfire. It does take a little getting used to, so try this when you have some time to experiment.

If you have an old fashioned wood cook stove with an oven built in, I’m jealous! We didn’t have room for one of these. So our wood stove was selected for size, clearance, and ability to heat our home.

Check out my post on How to Cook with a Wood Stove.

This post contains affiliate links.

Self Reliance Challenge

One of my goals this year is to increase my self reliance skills. Learning how to bake with my wood burning stove was high on the list. For the month of January I am taking part in a self reliance challenge with a group of other bloggers who write about homesteading and self reliance topics. You can find links to their websites here.

Dutch Oven Baking On A Wood Burning Stove

Cooking in a Dutch Oven

Cooking in a Dutch oven is usually a method I use when we have a campfire in our backyard. A nice bed of coals is necessary to get the best results. Put your food in the Dutch oven, place it on the coals, and pile hot coals on top to bake your food evenly.

Although you may use the Dutch oven in your range, I haven’t tried this method. It takes some time to heat the cast iron through to cook in it, and usually I’m opting for energy efficiency and easy prep when I use my range.

Since we heat the house with wood in the winter, I’ve been wanting to learn to bake bread and other goodies on the wood stove. It seems like a waste to turn the electric oven on when we have the wood stove cranked up! I looked into a special oven that you put on top of your wood stove and they look like a nice thing to have. However, none of them will fit on the top of our wood stove…they are too large. In addition, they are a bit pricey and I’ve already got a Dutch oven.

cast iron
An assortment of cast iron, including Dutch ovens, on display at the Autumn Pioneer Festival in Belvidere, Illinois.

Baking in the Dutch Oven

I’ve used the Dutch oven for some of my baking adventures on top of the wood stove. Most of my experiments came out pretty well, but it has been a learning experience. I’ve learned quite a bit along the way. Here are some things that are helpful if you are baking on top of a wood stove, using a Dutch oven.

Tips For Baking In A Dutch Oven On The Wood Stove

  • Preheat the Dutch oven on top of the wood stove
  • Set the lid next to the Dutch oven on the wood stove to preheat
  • Use a trivet under the Dutch oven, unless it has feet
  • Make sure your pan will fit inside the Dutch oven, if you are using one
  • Keep the wood stove burning evenly, a good bed of hot coals works well
  • Use an oven thermometer (if you have one) to test the temp in the Dutch oven before adding food
  • Stay close to the stove in case food starts to burn
  • Keep oven mitts handy
  • For moist foods, leave lid slightly ajar to allow moisture to escape

Preheat the Dutch oven and lid separately. Set the lid on the top of the wood stove, next to the Dutch oven so that it heats up as much as the bottom. Place an oven thermometer inside of the Dutch oven prior to adding the food to check the temperature. Place the preheated lid on top and wait a few minutes, then check the thermometer to make sure the temp is about right.

If your Dutch oven doesn’t have feet, use a stable trivet or an air bake cookie sheet under it to prevent burnt bottoms!

Don’t stoke up the wood stove too hot or let it die down as you are baking. It is best if you have a nice bed of hot coals in the stove. Add small amounts of wood at a time, as needed.

Granola in my Dutch oven

Start Out With An Easy Recipe

For your first attempt at baking in a Dutch oven on your wood stove, try something fairly easy. I did a batch of Cinnamon Raisin Granola and did not use a lid so the moisture would escape from the granola.Granola requires an occasional stirring to prevent it from burning.

It came out quite well and I didn’t have to use any electricity. I made a half batch of granola, since the Dutch oven is smaller than the pans I usually use in the oven. But since the wood stove is going every day in the winter it is easy to stir up a batch of granola and bake it every week or so.

Cornbread in the Dutch oven, cooling on my range.

Next, Try An Intermediate Recipe

My second baking experience with the Dutch oven on top of my wood stove was a batch of cornbread. The first batch got a bit scorched on the bottom. For that batch, I poured the batter directly into the Dutch oven. I tried again a few days later, using a pan placed inside of the Dutch oven. I also used an air bake cookie sheet under the Dutch oven as an added measure to prevent scorching. The combination worked well.

To bake cornbread, I used my favorite recipe and poured the batter into a well greased 9″ round cake pan. The round pan fits better in the Dutch oven. Always check first to be sure the pan will fit! I carefully lowered the pan of batter into the preheated Dutch oven with an air bake cookie sheet underneath it. Next, I set the timer according to the recipe directions.

The cornbread was rather sticky on top and there was a lot of moisture inside the oven. To avoid this problem, I set the lid slightly askew to allow moisture to escape.

More Advanced Baking Adventures Planned!

My next loaf of whole wheat bread will be baked in the Dutch oven on the wood stove. I’m looking forward to sharing the results! Normally I would use the bread maker so I can get other chores done. But I do enjoy making bread by hand and I think the Dutch oven will do a nice job.

Maybe someday I will invest in one of the camp ovens, like the Butterfly Camping Oven, if it fits on top of my wood stove. I’d like to try a pan of muffins or a rectangular cake tin. Have you ever used one of these ovens on your wood stove? I’d be interested in hearing about your experience in the comments!

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Lisa Lombardo

Freelance Writer at Tohoca, LLC
Lisa writes in-depth articles about gardening and homesteading topics. She grew up on a farm and has continued learning about horticulture, animal husbandry, and home food preservation ever since. She has earned an Associate of Applied Science in Horticulture and a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She is a self proclaimed gardening freak and crazy chicken lady.

In addition to writing for her own websites, Lisa has contributed articles to The Prepper Project and Homestead.org.

The author lives outside of Chicago with her husband, son, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and a variety of poultry.
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About Lisa Lombardo

Lisa writes in-depth articles about gardening and homesteading topics. She grew up on a farm and has continued learning about horticulture, animal husbandry, and home food preservation ever since. She has earned an Associate of Applied Science in Horticulture and a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She is a self proclaimed gardening freak and crazy chicken lady. In addition to writing for her own websites, Lisa has contributed articles to The Prepper Project and Homestead.org. The author lives outside of Chicago with her husband, son, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and a variety of poultry.

27 comments on “Dutch Oven Baking on a Wood Burning Stove

  1. Laurie Sunshine

    This is great!
    We’ve always cooked with wood, but never cooked on it.

    Two yrs ago we bought our first cast iron Dutch oven, and use it regularly over the fire. We love what comes out of it! It’s our Friday evening family tradition.

    This…we will need to try.

    Currently, we don’t have a wood stove, because we are RVing it for awhile, but when our cabin gets finished, this would be a perfect way to get to use our Dutch oven when it’s too cold/wet to sit around a fire outside!

    We have don’t Dutch oven cooking on our rv gad stove. Works. But you don’t get that wood stove/fire taste. Maybe it’s the smoke, LOL!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lombardo Post author

      Hi Laurie,
      Best wishes with builing your cabin! I bet it is fun and challenging to live in an RV and homestead…I look forward to reading more about your adventures!

      I think you might be right about the wood smoke. 🙂 I love cooking in my Dutch oven!

      Reply
  2. Rachel

    Instead of an engagement ring, my husband bought me a small wood stove with a cook top.

    To fry eggs in (enamelled) cast iron, heat the skillet first, then add butter until it sizzles ….. & then break the eggs into the skillet ….. so that they don’t stick! After initial heating, placing the skillet up on egg rings (Australia)/trivet prevents overheating. Also, using a lid/enamel plate helps create the steam that cooks so well!

    I also have a spun steel camp oven. If I use round cake tins as extra high trivets, I can then bake round breads or small loaves of banana cake – by sitting this camp oven on top of the coals IN THE FIREBOX! One can tell when the baking is ready by walking outside & smelling the aroma that comes out of the flu!! Ha ha!!

    For simple cooking in French ovens on an outdoor fire, I can refer you to strangers and pilgrims on earth blogspot.

    There is nothing quite like the comfort that a wood fire gives!!

    Rachel

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lombardo Post author

      Hi Rachel,
      What a guy! I didn’t want an engagement ring…hubby bought a camera for me instead. 🙂
      Thank you so much for the information! I don’t have an enameled cast iron skillet…but it would make a great birthday present. 🙂

      I want to try some of these ideas, but they may have to wait until fall when we have the wood stove fired up again. Now that spring is warming things up, I don’t need the wood fire so much. Not that I’m complaining!
      Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
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  5. Lacey

    This is something I want to start doing this year, so I’m so excited you wrote this post! It’s perfect! I will be trying my own dutch oven/wood stove baking soon!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Let me know how it goes, Lacey! I am always happy to hear suggestions and tips from other homesteaders. 🙂

      Reply
  6. Bethany

    I adore cast iron. I have pans of my grandma’s.. they’re true heirlooms and useful. I don’t have a wood stove though it’s on my wishlist!!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      How wonderful that you have some of your Grandma’s cast iron! Enjoy using it! It took a long time for us to get a wood stove…patience is a virtue, righ?!

      Reply
  7. Shawna

    Great post, Lisa! I’ve never attempted to cook on a wood stove, going to have to give it a try sometime! I love my dutch ovens but don’t use it nearly enough and need to re-season them too.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Thanks, Shawna 🙂 Usually I can just wipe my cast iron down with some vegetable oil and they’re good to go. I hope you get a chance to try cooking on your wood stove!

      Reply
  8. Dianne

    Great post! I have a dutch oven I found in an old barn. Of course it is rusty, so it needs to be seasoned. I have never even thought of trying to cook in it. Though I do use my iron skillets all the time. Thanks for the information, I will add this list of things to try. You’ve encouraged me.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Dianne,
      I’m glad to share! Candy has a great article about seasoning cast iron. Best wishes with cleaning up your rusty gold. 🙂

      Reply
  9. Kristi Stone

    We have a wood burning stove inside of our home (in addition to a regular kitchen). What a cool idea to use that heat for cooking as well! I have never done that, but I’m super excited to try now!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Kristi,
      It is super easy to put a pot of soup or stew on the wood stove…try that first and work your way up. 🙂

      Reply
  10. farmgal

    I love cooking with my cast iron, hubby has a hard time with eggs, but they are so lovely when done right.. I use cast iron when it comes to cooking over wood heat.. its just perfect that way..

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      So true, Farm Gal! Eggs can be a little tricky. You have to grease up that cast iron really well and heat it up so they don’t stick. 🙂

      Reply
  11. Marla

    I grew up in a house that when I was a small child all we had were a wood cook stove. Sometimes it can be hard to control the temperature in them depending on the stove so your advice with starting with something simple is a good idea. Thanks for the great guidelines and helpful tips on how to use a cookstove.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Yes, controlling the temperature is a fine art. Glad to share, Marla…thanks for stopping by and sharing your memories!

      Reply
  12. candy

    Dutch oven cooking is something we totally enjoy during especially during the summer and fall weather. Make so many great meals cooking outside.

    Reply
  13. Nancy W

    I can’t wait until we move into a new home that has a wood stove! i miss our wood stove and the wood heat and the ability to cook on it! Great advice, list I have a great collection of cast iron!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Best wishes with the house hunt, Nancy! I bet you are having fun looking 🙂

      When you move in, you will be so excited to unpack all that cast iron!

      Reply
  14. Robin

    Cooking is one of the reasons we heat with wood. It doesn’t matter how long the power is out in winter, we’ll have hot meals, fresh coffee, and warmth. I love cooking in the wood stove on warmer days when I don’t have to have the fire blazing, or when I’m letting the fire die down so I can clean ashes. You can’t beat the flavor when you cook this way.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      So true, Robin…I bet you make some amazing meals on your wood stove! I love your blog and all the wonderful recipes you share. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  15. Lisa Lynn Post author

    Thank you, Julie! I had to wait for quite a few years to realize this dream! Growing up we had a wood stove that allowed us to cook on top, but I always admired the old fashioned kind with the oven. Maybe someday. 🙂

    I love cast iron too…If I had more room, my cast iron collection would expand to fill the available space…lol!

    Reply

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