The Simple Way To Clean Burnt Food From A Dutch Oven

Ah, the Dutch oven. That lidded vessel that browns vegetables, braises meat, and bakes bread like a dream when it's not displayed on your shelf like a prized heirloom. Whether it's a classic Le Creuset, a heavy-duty Staub, or any other brand, Dutch ovens share the ranks of cast iron skillets and precious stoneware as kitchen essentials you're likely to have for years and years to come — if you treat them well. 

We've been seeing a lot of Dutch ovens in glossy editorials and all over food YouTube lately, and some designs have even become synonymous with the chefs to whom they belong, like the cute yellow Dansk pot that's featured in Samin Nosrat's Netflix series "Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat." But even Dutch ovens aren't perfect, and they'll sometimes get food stuck to them like any other pot — especially after a long braising session. If you're having trouble removing burnt scraps from your Dutch oven and don't want to damage the pot's surface, read on for a trick to remove pesky stains. 

Try kosher salt to clean your Dutch oven

In its roundup of tips for taking care of your Dutch oven, The Kitchn suggests using kosher salt to help remove burnt food and stains, which also applies to any other enameled cast iron cooking tool you might have in your kitchen. "I just sprinkle on the salt, add a little water, and scrub any burnt-on bits with a sponge," says The Kitchn's former tools editor. "It's one of my absolute favorite cleaning tips." 

If salt alone isn't quite doing to trick, the outlet also suggests adding a little lemon juice. Indeed, The Kitchn suggests the same method for cleaning your cast iron skillet, which consists of pouring one cup of coarse kosher salt into the "still-warm" skillet and scouring with a kitchen towel before throwing out the salt and rinsing the skillet with hot water. 

Why kosher salt? Thanks to its high sodium chloride content, kosher salt is a common ingredient in household cleaning products (via Puracy). Thanks to its naturally scratchy texture, it works to both dissolve burnt food and scrub it away at the same time. You might want to spring for that extra-large box on your next grocery run.