The leaves are changing colors, the temperatures are (finally) dropping, and suddenly, the thought of turning on your oven doesn’t instill a sense of sweaty dread. Fall is the time to reintroduce warm, cozy meals (or snacks or desserts) to your repertoire and serve them to the people you love. There’s one kitchen tool that stands out as an MVP in this regard: the Dutch oven.
It’s the perfect vehicle for creating soups, stews, breads, meat, and even simple roasted vegetables. On the stovetop or in the oven, the hefty cookware can help you whip up a meal for many (Friendsgiving, perhaps?)—or, let’s be honest, the hearty one-person meal you totally deserve after a long week. The Dutch oven, after all, just wants you to be happy. So we asked six of our entertaining idols to share which ones put a smile on their faces—and their favorite things to make in them.
The One That Can Feed a Crowd
I am in love with my Staub 7.25-quart green Dutch oven. The deeply saturated hue is very of the moment, but don’t be fooled by its beauty—it really is the workhorse of my kitchen. One of my favorite, no-fuss ways to cook fish is to slow roast it in the Dutch oven, which guarantees it won’t be overcooked. I start by roasting fennel and bright citrus on high heat, then add creamy white beans, fragrant herbs, and briny olives before dropping the temperature and adding cod filets. Slow roast for 35 minutes and you’ll have the most full-flavor meal with a hearty veggie base.
—Athena Calderone, entertaining expert at Eye Swoon
The One That’s Small but Sturdy
My first home in New York City was in a giant commercial loft in a desolate part of Bushwick, Brooklyn. Within my first month of living there, a pristine two-quart, cherry red Dansk Dutch oven appeared on the curb right in front of my door. It felt like a lucky sign. Six years later, I’m no longer in the loft and I have a place of my own—but I still use it for everything! Because of its petite size, my Dansk is perfect for long-cooking everything from soupy black beans to spicy tomato sauce and makes just enough for one person—me!
—Natasha Pickowicz, pastry chef at Café Altro Paradiso
The One That’s Wallet-Friendly
My Dutch oven is the classic Lodge cast-iron one. It’s super-affordable and great for so many purposes. My favorite thing to prepare in it right now is sourdough bread. There is nothing more satisfying than working the dough; being patient in the proofing process; and then having a hot, beautiful, golden loaf come out of the oven.
—Nikki Krecicki, founder of Provisions
The One That’s the Talk of the Town
I’ve owned a few Dutch ovens in my life—some name brand and some generic. Right now, my favorite is my yellow one gifted to me by Great Jones. I christened it by making a braised chuck with onions. I love it because it’s a bit lighter than my other Dutch ovens, which is good for my carpal tunnel, but it still yields great—no pun intended—results.
—Kia Damon, culinary director at Cherry Bombe
I recently got the Dutchess from Great Jones in the pink macaron color and it’s beautiful enough that I skip plating and just take it to the table to serve. Besides savory stews, I love using it to bake a super-easy Hella bread pudding. I take whatever leftover bread I have—croissants or challah works really well—slather Hella between the bread pieces, line them up inside the Dutch oven, pour custard on top, and bake until I get crispy edges.
—Jessica Young, founder of Bubble
I live for delicata squash season. I slice and roast the squash in the Dutchess with ricotta, honey, and whatever herbs are still hanging on for dear life in my garden, and then serve with good bread.
—Sierra Tishgart, cofounder of Great Jones
See more entertaining ideas:
My Secrets to a Low-Stress, Maximum-Fun Dinner Party
3 Underrated Herbs That Will Make All Your Fall Dishes Taste Better
Aran Goyoaga’s Tagliatelle Is Kid-Approved and Dinner Party–Friendly