How to Clean Rancid Iron Dutch Ovens

Iron dutch ovens are useful for campfires or cooking for a lot of people.
Iron dutch ovens are useful for campfires or cooking for a lot of people. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Iron dutch ovens are large pots with a lid made of cast iron. They are useful in cooking soups or stews and other items at home or even cooking over a campfire. Improper care and cleaning can cause the iron dutch oven to develop a rancid or metallic taste that transfers to the foods you prepare in the pot. Cleaning the dutch oven properly and re-seasoning it will make it look new again and get rid of the rancid taste.

Things You'll Need

  • Mild dish-washing detergent
  • Plastic scraper or stiff nylon brush
  • Soft, dry cloth
  • Fine-grit sandpaper or steel wool
  • Solid vegetable shortening or vegetable oil
  • Small microwave-safe dish
  • Paper towels
  • Aluminum foil

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Wash the iron dutch oven with hot water, a mild dish-washing soap and a plastic scraper or stiff nylon brush.

Scrub any rusted or discolored areas or pits on the surface with the sandpaper or steel wool.

Rinse the dutch oven with hot water and dry it thoroughly with a soft, dry cloth.

Melt about a 1/4 cup of solid vegetable shortening in the microwave for a 10 to 30 seconds until it liquefies. You can use vegetable oil if you don't have the solid shortening.

Spread a thin layer of the melted vegetable shortening or oil over the inside and outside surfaces of the dutch oven and lid with a paper towel.

Preheat the oven to 350 to 400 degrees F.

Tear off a sheet of aluminum foil and place it on the lowest rack in your oven. This catches any drips from the oil.

Place the dutch oven and lid on the top rack of your oven upside down.

Bake the seasoned dutch oven and lid for one hour. Turn the oven off and leave the items inside until they are cool to the touch.

Rub a thin layer of the melted shortening or oil over the cooking surface on the inside of the pot and bring it halfway up the sides.

Place a paper towel in between the lid and pot and store it in a cool, dry area. This helps prevent rust in the future.

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