If I Only Had One Pan-What Would It Be?

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Today, I thought to myself, what if I only had one pan? What would it be? It didn’t take long for me to zero in on a cast-iron Dutch oven that is flat on the bottom and has a lid.

A Dutch oven is probably the most versatile pan you can have in your kitchen. You can use it to sauté, steam, simmer, fry, and bake almost anything. Let’s teach others how to use one!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I would love a griddle, a frying pan, and more. But, if I only had one pan, what would I choose? For me, a 5 or 6-quart Dutch oven is the largest one I can carry when full. Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron 5-quart Dutch Oven I have several 6-Quart Dutch Ovens with legs as well.

But today, I’m talking about the flat-bottom Dutch Oven. The Dutch Ovens with legs and the lids with a lip can stack and cook with multiple Dutch Ovens on top of each other. What a versatile cookware choice for your kitchen inventory!

If I Only Had One Pan-What Would It Be?

If I Only Had One Pan-What Would It Be?

Why are they called Dutch ovens?

We all know that Dutch ovens are designed as a thick-walled pot used for cooking and they come with a tight-fitting lid. The cast iron materials, along with the design for the lid and possibly legs, make them very efficient. The cast iron materials have made them economical enough that almost any family can afford one or more.

I’ve wondered for a long time how they got their name. My research provided some interesting history. Back in the early 1700’s, a fellow from Bristol, England by the name of Abraham Darby was involved in making brass materials used in the brewery business.

He decided to visit the Netherlands to see how they manufactured their brass since it seemed so popular. He found out they used sand to cast the metal rather than the traditional loam and clay. Their brass products had a nice fine finish which he liked, but their products tended to be more expensive.

He returned to England and spent years trying to find a way to cast a more cost-effective material so he could sell them to the masses. He finally developed and patented a sand-cast iron pot that he felt was fitting to call a Dutch oven due to its roots from the Netherlands.

How do I use and care for my Dutch oven?

Let’s talk about cast iron first of all. You must hand wash it, or if it’s seasoned well, you can wipe it out while it’s still hot, using a hot pad. I don’t recommend cast iron pans on glass stovetops, it can scratch them and even crack them if you are not careful. Also, the heat required to make them efficient to cook properly is significant.

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The nice thing is this, you can use a Dutch Oven on your gas stovetop, in your oven, on your barbecue, and even in your fire pit, if you have the right equipment to use.

I have the cutest RED Lodge Dutch Oven, I love it, but it can’t be used outside. It’s perfect for dishes made in the house that are cooked on the gas stovetop and in the oven. It makes the best Sourdough bread! In case you missed this post, How To Make A Sourdough Starter + Bread

Red Dutch Oven

If I Only Had One Pan-What Would It Be?

Please keep in mind there are other brands of cast-iron Dutch ovens. I only have Lodge Dutch ovens. When I first started buying them you had to season them yourself, now they come pre-seasoned. In case you missed this post, How To Season Cast Iron Pans.

Now, look at this Dutch oven with the lid off. I want you to think about all the things you can do if you only had this one pan.

If I Only Had One Pan-What Would It Be?

Here are just a few things you can do with a 5-6 Quart Dutch oven:

  • Boil water
  • Make soup
  • Boil spaghetti or any pasta
  • Cook beans
  • Cook rice
  • Bake potatoes
  • Bake bread
  • Make a pizza
  • Make your favorite breakfast casserole
  • Make Puffy Pancakes Popeye Pancakes Recipe 
  • Biscuits are easy to make in it
  • Cook Grilled cheese sandwiches
  • Cornbread is awesome in castiron
  • Brownies bake evenly
  • Scramble eggs
  • Fried or over-easy eggs
  • French Toast
  • Pork Chops
  • Cook roasts
  • Fry chicken
  • Bake a ham
  • Pulled pork
  • Sloppy Joes
  • Chicken pot pie
  • Lasagna
  • Hashbrowns with cooked bacon bit with cheese
  • Peach cobbler
  • Literally any casseole
  • Short ribs
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Scalloped potatoes
  • Meatloaf

This is the 5-quart Duch oven with the lid on.

If I Only Had One Pan-What Would It Be?

How do I clean cast iron?

Here’s the deal, you can go to thrift stores and hopefully find some cast iron cookware. I realize everyone is now on the lookout for cast iron cookware at garage sales, thrift stores, and antique stores. In most cases, you can scrub the rust off with a scrubber and then use some fine steel wool to make the cast iron smooth again.

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Remember, some cast iron cookware is seasoned when you purchase them, yay! Then all you have to do is wash them with warm soapy water (I know it says not to this, but I need to know they are clean). Then you lightly rub some oil on them after heating them in the oven the FIRST time.

Cast Iron Cookware

Here are the instructions on how to season used or old cast iron cookware:

  1. Scrub the used cast irons pans to get as much debris off of them as possible. Sometimes you will see some black residue, that’s okay.
  2. Lightly “sand” the pans and lids with fine steel wool.
  3. Wash the cast iron cookware with warm soapy water and pat dry.
  4. Coat the pans completely with vegetable oil.
  5. Place a large piece of foil in your oven and place the lid and pan upside down to catch the drips from the oil.
  6. Heat your oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Bake your cast iron cookware for 60 minutes.
  8. Turn the oven off after 60 minutes and let the pans sit overnight, or until cool.
  9. Remove the pans and lids and wipe off any excess oil with a soft cloth.
  10. I place paper towels between my pans and store them in bags, or at least those you don’t use very often.

Is there a charcoal chart I can use to determine the temperature?

Years ago, I contacted Lodge Manufacturing to see if I could use their website information in my posts and they said yes. Here is a PRINTABLE Lodge Dutch Oven time and temperature chart I put together after getting permission from the company: Dutch Oven Cooking Chart

In case you missed my DIY Dutch oven stand from years ago:

My awesome brother-in-law built this for Mark and me. How To Make A Dutch Oven Stand

Dutch Oven Stand

Final Word

I hope you enjoyed my post, if I only had one pan, what would it be? It’s all about making do with what we have and making it work if we had to.

It’s teaching our family to cook from scratch and eating at home. Please keep prepping, stay safe, stay well. May God Bless this world, Linda

30 thoughts on “If I Only Had One Pan-What Would It Be?

  • October 9, 2021 at 7:42 am
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    I love my cast Iron and use it nearly everyday. Love baking cornbread and Shepherds bread in it. Years ago, I was lucky enough to get my hands on an original Grizwold skillet at a garage sale for $5. Apparently they didn’t know it’s value. It is by far my favorite skillet to use. Nearly all my pieces have at one time or another been used over a campfire.

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    • October 9, 2021 at 8:55 am
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      Hi Pam, oh my gosh, an original Grizwold!! SQUEAL! And for $5.00! That is so awesome! I really want people to know all the many things they can cook in cast iron. They are so versatile!! Linda

      Reply
  • October 9, 2021 at 8:02 am
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    Linda, great post as usual for you! I do have a whole set of cast iron cookware. I have extra skillets as well. One skillet is dedicated to cornbread. Nothing else is cooked in it. Everything and Anything cooked in Cast Iron just tastes better to me. One of my skillets was my grandmothers. I treasure it. One I got for $5 at a thrift store. The set I have, I think came from Fingerhut, but can’t be sure.

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    • October 9, 2021 at 8:57 am
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      Hi Deborah, I saw something on Pinterest I think that showed someone’s cast iron pans all hung on the wall! It was gorgeous! I love hearing you have a whole set, isn’t it awesome? Oh, and the cornbread pan, love hearing that one! Linda

      Reply
  • October 9, 2021 at 8:55 am
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    I love cast iron for cooking. The only issue I have is the weight.

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    • October 9, 2021 at 8:59 am
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      Hi Ram J et, you are not alone in that thought! I have neighbors that donated all of their cast iron pans because they were too heavy to use! They are heavy, but boy does the food taste better in them! Linda

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  • October 9, 2021 at 8:57 am
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    Linda,

    You can also make BBQ Country Style pork ribs in a Dutch Oven that will melt in your mouth. Just use low heat. And I agree. If I only had one pan this would be it. Makes the best cornbread ever.

    Reply
  • October 9, 2021 at 9:00 am
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    Good choice! I had two Dutch ovens but gave one to my son and living alone find one is enough. Especially when you clean it right away after use. I use my two cast iron frying pans most often but also have cast iron bread pans and a griddle. I also have a few smaller cast iron frying pans that come in handy now and again and one is currently being used as a spoon rest on my stove. A friend gave me a fancy red silicone frying pan handle pot holder made by Lodge that I’m still getting used to.

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    • October 9, 2021 at 9:37 am
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      Hi Alice, Oh I bet your son loves the Dutch oven you gave him!! I have always wanted to make bread in cast iron loaf pans. I wish they made smaller ones. I need to look around to see if they have started making one-pound loaf pans. Boy, that would be so awesome! I keep my cast iron frying pan on the stove all the time. I have a few of those red handles made by Lodge, I need to practice with them. I tend to use my frying pans without handles more often. Life is so good with cast iron! Great comment, Linda

      Reply
  • October 9, 2021 at 9:40 am
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    Hi Linda! I have more cast iron than anyone has a right to, and I love all of it!!! Having to pick just one would be so hard, but for just two of us I have a deep skillet with a flat lid that also is a shallow skillet. They are great with coals under or on top, you can use either to make almost anything…I would really miss my tiny pans that cook 2 eggs perfectly or single pancakes…

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    • October 9, 2021 at 12:00 pm
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      Hi Jan, oh my gosh, I love love love hearing this!! LOL! It would be hard to choose just one, I know, right? BUT, if you had limited funds, one is better than none. LOL! I really want people to love cast iron! I would love a shallow skillet with a lid. I have the shallow skillet but, hmmm. I may look for a lid for it! Great idea! Oh, I picked up one of those small cast iron pans. I had to buy it, it was so tiny and so cute! Just right for one pancake or two eggs! You gotta love it! Linda

      Reply
  • October 9, 2021 at 11:27 am
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    How about if I could only have one small appliance? Mine would be a slow cooker.

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    • October 9, 2021 at 12:05 pm
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      Hi Suzie, you are so right, I have to have my slow cooker as well!! Great comment, Linda

      Reply
    • October 9, 2021 at 12:05 pm
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      Hi Suzie, you are so right, I have to have my slow cooker as well!! Great comment, Linda

      Reply
  • October 9, 2021 at 12:36 pm
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    I have many cast iron pans and they are wonderful!! I use them all the time. Some of mine date back to the 1930’s . I have a variety of sizes of frying pans, bean pots(flat bottom) Dutch ovens and some Dutch ovens with legs. They will last for many years if taken care of well. I also have on of the stands you gave out the info. on before.

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    • October 9, 2021 at 4:25 pm
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      Hi Cheryl, oh those cast iron pans from the 1930s are treasures! It’s so nice to have a variety because you can use them in so many different ways. I love hearing you have a Dutch oven stand! Yay! Linda

      Reply
    • October 9, 2021 at 4:27 pm
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      Hi JoEllen, I like that one, thank you! It’s like having two pans in one, yay! Linda

      Reply
  • October 10, 2021 at 1:14 pm
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    I, too, have several cast iron pans, the small ones are great on the Blackstone griddle to heat refried beans or chili, my frying pan I use for cornbread and the very best Pineapple Upside-down Cake EVER. I like your picture of Dutch oven in wheel on pipes. For tall fire?

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    • October 10, 2021 at 2:18 pm
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      Hi Kay, the wheel well with the pipes is so I don’t have to bend over to use my Dutch oven! My brother-in-law made it for me. It has a grate to keep the charcoal from falling through while cooking. Linda

      Reply
      • October 11, 2021 at 5:32 pm
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        Thank you! An attached grate and using charcoal would be great! I’ll have to show my husband and see if he will build one for me. Do you have a pattern/directions by any chance??? Thanks again, Kay

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        • October 11, 2021 at 6:12 pm
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          Hi Kay, glad you found the directions! I got a couple of wheel wells from car repair places for free (they didn’t have a match)! I was willing to pay but they were covered with spider webs, they were glad to give them away! Linda

          Reply
          • October 11, 2021 at 9:13 pm
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            We own a fleet of tow trucks, all sizes, so wheels should be no problem. Thanks, Kay

      • October 11, 2021 at 5:47 pm
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        Sorry, I re-read article and found the directions to click on to make the stand, so printing it off. And I had my email address as my ‘normal’ one and maybe I’ve been signed up with my GMAIL account for when we travel, so going to use it on this Comment! Thanks, Kay

        Reply
  • October 11, 2021 at 8:36 am
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    Our Scout Troop only uses cast iron when we car camp. It’s break proof so teenage boys can’t destroy it! Imagine, an entire new group of kids who know how to cook on and properly clean cast iron cookware. Some of the boys even carry their own chainmail rag for cleaning. Two weeks ago they made basic breakfast, scrambled eggs and bacon is pans, biscuits in a Dutch oven, biscuits and gravy and eggs on the second day, chicken alfredo (from scratch!) and chicken and dumplings for their dinners.

    Reply
    • October 11, 2021 at 9:15 am
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      Hi Blue, oh my gosh, I LOVE LOVE LOVE your comment! It’s so awesome they know how to cook so many really good dishes! Yay for Scout Troops! Linda

      Reply
  • October 12, 2021 at 12:46 pm
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    I have 3 dutch ovens – 12 inch, 10 inch deep, and 8 inch. All have legs, also called camp dutch ovens. I learned, before I ever purchased one, that you can fry with the lid turned upside down (I watched a guy making crepes on the lid), you can oven cook with coals on top and underneath, and you can hang the pot over a fire to cook just like a regular pan. I would hate to have to give up my cast iron fry pan, griddle and wok but I would be able to do everything I really need to do with just one of my dutch ovens.

    Reply
    • October 12, 2021 at 1:11 pm
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      Hi Leanne, I hear you on having several different sizes of Dutch ovens. Now I want to make crepes! I would hate to give up my cast iron fry pan, and griddle but I wanted to show people with just one Dutch oven you can survive!! Life is good, Linda

      Reply

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