It's no secret that the Dutch oven is a wiz in the kitchen—from being able to bake a crusty loaf of bread to braising meats, the sturdy cookware is a dream to use. Perhaps one of its best—and most underrated—uses is deep-frying. Instead of buying a bulky countertop deep-fryer, you can use your Dutch oven instead. The large capacity, tall edges, and hefty base means it works just as well for deep-frying desserts like churros, donuts, and other fried treats. No matter what you're deep-frying in a Dutch oven, always use a neutral-based oil such as canola or vegetable, which can withstand high-heat for a long period of time; oils with low-smoke points such as olive oil or coconut oil will burn quickly.
Before adding anything to the hot oil, use a candy thermometer ($10.99, target.com) to check the temperature of the oil; generally, the oil should reach between 350° and 360°F before you begin frying. Once you've made fluffy, golden brown donuts or crispy churros, let the oil cool completely in the Dutch oven, then pour it into a non-recyclable container such as a milk carton and discard in the trash (don't pour it down the drain).
Ahead, we're sharing our favorite dessert recipes that you can fry in a Dutch oven.
Test Kitchen's Favorite Churros
A popular street-snack in Spain, Portugal, and Mexico, churros are long sticks of fried dough rolled in cinnamon sugar and dipped in chocolate sauce. Our recipe calls for making a traditional pâte à choux and piping it loops or long sticks directly into the hot oil using a pastry bag fitted with a star tip.
Boston Cream Donuts
Filled with luscious pastry cream and topped with chocolate ganache, make these classic donuts at home by deep-frying them in a Dutch oven. You can make the donut dough up to 24 hours in advance, which saves time in the morning when you're prepping breakfast.
Russian Snow Twigs
This crunchy, crinkly deep-fried dessert can be made in a Dutch oven! The dough is cut into long strips and fried until golden and crisp, then dusted with powdered sugar. It's a magical wintertime treat.
Everyone's favorite fall treat can be deep-fried in a Dutch oven. Our version calls for a cup of apple cider, plus ground cinnamon and ground ginger in the dough; once the donuts are deep-fried, they're rolled in cinnamon sugar for a sweet, finger-licking finish.