I made a really big one-pot meal in a cast iron (enameled) dutch oven and I'm fairly lazy. So I take all the leftovers once cooled, slap the lid on, and put it in the fridge.

The next day, it's time to reheat the food. Again, being lazy (and not owning a microwave), I want to just put the entire dutch oven right onto the stove and crank on the gas.

Is there any danger in damaging the dutch oven (cracking of the iron or enamel) by putting very cold iron onto the burner?

  • 2
    Check this question on thermal shock affecting pans of different materials.
    – J.A.I.L.
    Commented Nov 27, 2012 at 8:32
  • 2
    My question is, there's only a 30 degree temperature difference between fridge and room temp but the flame is hundreds of degrees different so I'm wondering why 30 degrees would matter toward cracking the enamel.
    – Rob
    Commented Nov 27, 2012 at 12:31
  • As an aside: if your Dutch oven were "naked" cast iron I would worry about the iron reacting with the food if you leave it in the fridge overnight, especially if the food is acidic. But enamel is almost completely inert, so you're safe on that count.
    – Erik P.
    Commented Nov 27, 2012 at 15:43

4 Answers 4


According to Le Creuset's care and usage instructions for their enamel coated cast iron cookware, sudden drastic temperature changes may result in cracking. Other anecdotal remarka on various cooking websites also agree that cracking can occur from sudden tempurature changes.

Le Creuset website

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    Cracking of the enamel, I presume, and not the iron.
    – Rob
    Commented Nov 27, 2012 at 12:28
  • That warning is probably more for the enamel coating, which can craze in that scenario, than the underlying cast iron, which is quite resilient.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Commented Nov 27, 2012 at 13:56
  • I have yet to see the actual cast iron crack in all my years of owning cast iron pans. They must mean the enamel can crack under extreme temperature changes. Commented Nov 27, 2012 at 14:17
  • oh cristina, i am the only person i have ever heard tell of this... (well..., besides the person that was cooking at the time..) ..i saw with my own eyes, as it actually happened. a cast iron pan, blew a perfect 22calibur size hole right in the center of the pan, and it blew straight up through the pan and also through the exaust unit above the stovetop, with a very violent force...just like a bullet.!!! it was on an electric coil top stove and we were cooking breaded chickin livers in oil...oh yeh, the chicken livers were awesome... so yummy
    – spacecat
    Commented Feb 14, 2015 at 23:58

Yes, there's a danger but mostly if you're blasting the dutch oven with a lot of heat. Say from the 'fridge to the hottest burner of a professional stove. I wouldn't worry too much; those things are pretty tough. (I've done this many times in the decade I've cooked with dutch ovens. So far, so good.)

Another reason you likely don't want to do this is because the cycles of reheating (if you reheat more than once) may degrade the flavor.

  • Yes, I would worry more about reactions between the cast iron and the contents, than reheating the iron. As long as it is not acetylene torch fast, the pot itself should be fine.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Commented Nov 27, 2012 at 13:57

I often make soups and stews in my dutch oven. I have, on many occasions, taken the oven directly out of the fridge and back over the fire. While this practice is not recommended, I typically use a low flame to reheat foods in the dutch oven and have never experienced any problems.


I cook in cast iron. Chicken, beef, pork, fish, or anything. As long as it cooks through, I throw the whole (cooled/covered) pan in the fridge. Some stuff will taste irony/rusty. You'll know what you do and do not like. If it was cooked it won't poison you. So stop worrying. Throw it back on the stove, heat it up, and eat those delicious leftovers like God intended. Tho an inexperienced cast iron user should be careful as rust can form in the pan and may be a heath risk

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