This is the second post in a series on learning to cook outdoors in cast iron and with Dutch Ovens. I think it’s a vital skill to learn, and it’s fun, too. Thanks to Outdoor Cooking, again, for helping me out with gear and answering questions as I go along. I want to be brutally honest here, Outdoor Cooking supplied me with gear to use for these posts. However, all of my opinions about the products are honest and all my own. I never trade my opinion for money or products. Ever.Who’s ready to eat??!!

Dutch Oven Lasagna

This time around, I didn’t just jump in and assume that I knew what the heck I was doing. I actually did a little research and I was rewarded for my efforts with this beautiful (and HUGE!) lasagna for our Sunday dinner. Not only was the lasagna cooked perfectly, but by using the dutch oven I was able to make it outside while I was doing my weekly baking inside in the oven. That’s what I call a good use of time and space.

To start, we rigged up a little outdoor cooking space that was better than I used last time. We’re in the process of building a permanent fire pit/cooking pit, but until it’s done this works fantastic. My husband laid down some extra bricks and put an old cast iron grate over the top of that. Behind the bricks, we stacked up a row of cinder blocks and then put another one on the top of that. This created a super nice wind break and the bricks on the bottom kept the cold ground from sucking all of my heat away. Whew! That was some descrition, eh? So, next we lit some briquettes and I stepped back inside to get my lasagna assembled. By the time I was done, my charcoal was, too.

lasagna before cooking

Then we used the “plus 4, minus 4” rule to set out the circle of hot coals for the bottom of the dutch oven. Basically, you take the size of your dutch oven (I had a 12 inch one) and subtract 4 to get the number of coals for the bottom of the oven and then you add 4 to the size to get the number of coals for the top. There should be roughly twice as many above as there is below. This figure will get you to about 350 degrees or so.

lid on before coals

Remember, heat rises, so you have to force the heat DOWN into the dutch oven by using more heat on top. In my case, we needed a ring of 8 coals on the bottom, HOWEVER, it was raining and windy again, so we added 2 extra on the bottom for a total of 10 to combat the adverse conditions. Using the same rule, we needed 16 on the top but, again, we added an extra 2 to help offset the nasty weather.

dutch oven with coals The lasagna needed to cook for an hour, about the same time it takes to bake in my conventional oven, so I left it alone and let the dutch oven do it’s thing. After about 30 minutes, I rotated the dutch oven 180 degrees and peeked in. Everything looked great, so i left it alone. After 60 minutes, the lasagna was completely done, we just needed to brown the top. So I added a second ring of coals to the top of the dutch oven and took it off of the bottom coals. This helped the top to brown and kept the bottom from overcooking. At this point, we left and fed our cows. When we got home about 20 minutes later, our lasagna was perfectly cooked and we were starving!

cooked lasagna

Lessons Learned: Cooking in a dutch oven is fun, but learning how to brown something in one was AWESOME! It’s just a little thing that makes so much difference. I’m not going to lie, I felt pretty amazing after I successfully made our dinner in a dutch oven and it was actually edible. It was fantastic, to be honest, and I feel just a little bit more comfortable with this outdoor method of cooking.

Tools Used: 

  1. 12 Inch Dutch Oven
  2. Charcoal Lighter Basket
  3. Lid Lifter
  4. Cast Iron Conditioner (after clean up, of course)


Other Posts In This Series:

Biscuits Baked Outdoors In A Dutch Oven

If you need more outdoor cooking inspiration, consider following my Around The Campfire Pinterest Board

11 comments on “Dutch Oven Lasagna

  1. Pingback: Biscuits Baked Outdoors In A Dutch Oven | Cookes Frontier

  2. Cheryl Trusty


  3. Deborah

    Oh my goodness!!! That looks amazing! I can’t wait to make it. BTW your pics are so great. I could use your help!!! 🙂 Great Job!!!

  4. Pingback: Very Berry & Cherry Cobbler | Cookes Frontier

  5. Pingback: Parmesan, Cheddar, & Garlic Dinner Rolls | Cookes Frontier

  6. luvmybuzzards

    Thanks for this recipe! Made it tonight… Some thoughts about the recipe

    1. It was really yummy!

    2. The recipe has you have 2 layers of cheese… next time I make it, I will change it to have 4 layers… follow the order it says to put everything in, but use a quarter of the cheese instead of half and do it two extra times. This will give you more noodles in the lasagna, which I would have preferred. You will need to have a second box of oven ready noodles if you do it this way.

    3. I only used about 6 cups of sauce instead of 7 1/2 cups. If you make the extra layers as suggested in #2 above, you will need the extra sauce.

    4. Consider making it so it is finished cooking about an hour before you are ready to eat. We let it “sit” about 10 minutes and it was still very hot and very “soupy.” Flavor was still great though. By the time we were done eating and scooping the extras into leftover containers, it had set up a bit better… and was still burning hot on the bottom.

    5. Mine didn’t get all brown and pretty on top even though we added more coals. Maybe it needed more time?

    6. I used a Dutch Oven Paper Liner and it made clean up a snap!

  7. Pingback: 12 Genius Campfire Meals

  8. Pingback: Off Grid Cooking

  9. Pingback: Top 50 Skillet Meals - I Heart Nap Time

  10. Debra Chestnut

    Do you have cook books for sell on off grid cooking, and off grid food preparing?

  11. Pingback: 30 Dutch Oven Recipes for Indoors and Out - Earning and Saving with Sarah

Comments are closed.