Teach your Scouts how to enhance their cooking skills using a Dutch oven

The first-year patrol is planning its menu for the upcoming campout: cereal for breakfast, peanut butter sandwiches for lunch and hot dogs for dinner.

This isn’t the Scouts’ first time camping; this is the third outing in a row with such simplistic fare. This might be an opportune time to introduce them to the wonders of Dutch-oven cooking. Traditionally, camping Dutch ovens are heavy cast-iron pots that make baking outdoors easy. You can also steam, fry, sauté or boil food in them.

If your Scouts need a little help concocting some creative dishes, show them these recipes from Scout Life magazine. The recipes include how to make pizza, breakfast casserole and turkey. The latest entries, which will be featured in the October 2022 issue, feature troop-submitted ideas that can satisfy your sweet tooth.

You can find Dutch-oven cooking instruction videos here.

Cooking tips

Use Dutch ovens on the ground and on durable, fireproof material, like rock, gravel or dirt. Always have a bucket of water handy to douse any wayward flames or extinguish coals when you’re done cooking.

How do you control the temperature in a Dutch oven? Change the number of hot coals on top and underneath the oven. Check out how many coals you need for different temperatures in this conversion chart for ovens from 8 to 16 inches in diameter.

After you’re done cooking and enjoying your meal, properly clean the Dutch oven. For a well-seasoned oven, you can use a sponge or nonmetallic scrub pad and warm water for washing and rinsing. You can also use salt and a paper towel to wipe it clean. Don’t use metal scouring pads, which will damage the oven’s coating.

You don’t generally use soap, but check the manufacturer’s instructions; small amounts of mild detergents could be OK to use.

After you’ve cleaned your oven, add a thin layer of food-grade oil over its entire surface, including the legs and handles. For storage tips, click here.

Submit your recipes

If you have a tasty recipe, like this one below from Troop 163 of Washington, Ill., feel free to share it with Scout Life magazine here or with Scouting magazine here. They might be featured in a future post.

Black Forest Cobbler 

Cook time: 35-45 minutes, temperature: 350 degrees Fahrenheit.


2 cans cherry pie filling

1 can apple pie filling

1 yellow cake mix

1 chocolate cake mix

1 stick butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup oatmeal

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon


Line your Dutch oven with a double layer of foil. Pour cans of pie filling into bottom of Dutch oven. Mix the chocolate cake mix with 2/3 of the water required in the mix instructions. Pour it over the filling inside the Dutch oven.

Mix the yellow cake mix with 2/3 of the water required in the mix instructions. Pour over the chocolate layer. Mix the oatmeal, sugars and cinnamon and sprinkle over the cake mixes.

Slice the stick of butter into pats and cover the top of the cobbler. Place the lid on and bake until done. It should take between 35 and 45 minutes at 350 degrees. That’s with about 10 coals on top and five on bottom.

About Michael Freeman 445 Articles
Michael Freeman, an Eagle Scout, is an associate editor of Scout Life and Scouting magazines.