Dutch Oven Dutch Baby over the Campfire

Our child’s favorite weekend breakfast treat is a Dutch baby.

Slice of Dutch Baby with strawberries and blueberries on green plate

In fact, we typically have to make two of them. He eats one and we share the other. (Why yes, we do have a son who is trying to eat us out of house and home!) Because he loves these so much we wanted to figure out a camping Dutch Oven Dutch Baby.

We have tried multiple recipes for a Dutch Oven Dutch Baby made over the campfire found on the internet and every single one of them created too much batter for our liking which makes the pancake too thick and take way too long to cook. And before you say we need a different size Dutch oven, I swear we double and triple checked the size of ours against the size of the recipe.

What did we do? Developed our own version! We took our favorite homemade Dutch baby, based off an Alton Brown recipe, and tweaked it to work on our campfire.

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Who doesn’t love food cooked over a campfire? Actually, we know a lot of people who don’t and we just have to feel sorry for them. Because we love to cook over a campfire, especially in our Dutch oven. This tool is so flexible in allowing one to cook in a variety of methods. And it allows us to create all sorts of tasty meals while camping.

Cooking in a Dutch Oven outdoors:

While it can be intimidating to cook over a campfire in a Dutch oven at first once you know how to do so it will become a favorite method. This versatile tool offers the ability to roast, simmer, bake, and fry all while enjoying the outdoors. You will want to change your coal placement depending on what type of cooking you are doing. A quick explanation is as follows: Baking is 3:1 (three times as many coals on top as on bottom), Roasting is 1:1 (equal number of coals top and bottom), Simmering/Stewing is 4:1 (four times as many coals underneath as on top), and Frying is No Ratio (all the coals on the bottom to concentrate the heat).

For reference, our Dutch oven is a 12 inch/6 quart Cast Iron Camp Dutch Oven.

What we love about the Dutch Oven Dutch Baby:

  • They are the easiest pancakes ever
  • It is a blank canvas for toppings
  • Our child gets giddy when they appear

The Ingredients:

  • Butter (melted)
  • Flour (all-purpose)
  • Sugar (vanilla infused is fun)
  • Salt (kosher is best)
  • Eggs (at room temperature)
  • Milk (at room temperature)
  • Vanilla (we make our own!)
  • Cinnamon (optional)

The Process:

Dutch oven covered in gray coals
child mixing ingredients in zip top bag outside
two zip top bags, one with wet ingredients, one with dry
  1. Start your campfire or heat up your grill so that your heat source is ready. Let the flames die out and the charcoals turn grey prior to cooking your food.
  2. Arrange enough of your coals in a circle to surround the Dutch oven without being touched by them. Carefully place your oven in the middle of the circle and preheat it while you get the batter ready.
  3. Add your eggs, milk, and vanilla into a zip top bag and smoosh together thoroughly.
  4. Combine flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon in another zip top bag and mix.
  5. Carefully add dry ingredients to wet ingredients bag and smoosh until completely mixed and your batter looks frothy.
melting butter in Dutch oven in fire pit
baked Dutch baby in Dutch oven
strawberries and blueberries over Dutch baby in Dutch oven
  1. Melt the butter in your preheated Dutch oven, making sure to completely coat the base of the Dutch oven.
  2. Pour batter into the Dutch oven and level it out. Then place the lid over the oven.
  3. With grilling tongs or a shovel, place a number of coals on the surface of the oven. Because we are baking our batter, we want to use the 3:1 ratio considered best for baking in a Dutch oven. This means we want three times as many coals on the lid as we need circling around the oven.
  4. Cook Dutch baby with the coals for about 20 minutes, rotating the lid one quarter turn every five minutes.
  5. Check to see if your batter is cooked. If so, remove the coals from the lid and take the pot away from the heat.
  6. If you are topping your Dutch baby with warmed fruit, add it now, place the lid back on, and let sit for five more minutes.
  7. Slice, serve, and enjoy!

Note: Traditionally the batter is made in a blender, but we don’t take one camping. Therefore, be prepared to have your child knead the zip top bag thoroughly before pouring into the hot cast iron. Or see below for alternate directions.

How to make a Dutch baby without a blender:

If you don’t have a blender but you do have other cooking items available, we recommend the below steps to make your batter. This is slightly easier than the zip top bag method we typically follow. But it does make for more dishes that need to be washed which can be difficult/annoying while camping.

  1. Whisk eggs and vanilla in a large bowl.
  2. Beat in the flour and other dry ingredients until you don’t see any lumps.
  3. Slowly add the milk, whisking continuously, until slightly frothy.
  4. Pour batter over melted butter in the Dutch oven.
  5. Continue with steps listed above.

FAQ and How to Customize:

Q: Why is it called a Dutch baby?

A: The Dutch baby is the same as a German pancake and, as the story goes, it was on the menu at a café in Seattle named Manca’s. The owner’s daughter couldn’t pronounce the word Deutsch (which is the German word for the German language) and called it Dutch. From there we have the name Dutch baby.

Q: What makes the Dutch baby rise?

A: It seems magical, but we promise you it is science. By mixing the batter until it is frothy (technical term there) you are adding in air. Then, the heat from the cast iron mixing with the air creates steam which makes the lift. And that is also why it quickly deflates once it is removed from the oven.

Q: We don’t like berries. What other toppings do you suggest?

A: One of the reasons we love a Dutch baby is because you can top them with just about anything and it will be tasty. Or you can top it with nothing, and it is still enjoyable. Having said that, we love powdered sugar always. Other sweet toppings might be peanut butter, syrup, jam, or cinnamon sugar. A savory approach might be a fried egg and/or some shredded cheese with herbs.

Suggested Side Dish:

We love to cook up some sausage or bacon to go with our Dutch oven Dutch babies. If carbs are your thing, hash browns or breakfast potatoes are always tasty. And we love to warm up some fruit to go on top of the dish.

General Tips for Dutch Oven cooking:

  • Start your charcoal so the flames have died out by the time you are ready to cook. We are looking for a medium-high heat and we will need plenty of coals once the dish is prepared. How do you know a medium-high heat? It is at the correct temperature when you can hold your hand about 2 inches above the heat for only 2 to 3 seconds.
  • Just like preheating your oven, you want to preheat your cast iron prior to adding your food. This will allow it to cook evenly.
  • Once your Dutch oven is preheated, add a little oil or fat before adding your food. This helps keep it from sticking to the cast iron, especially if you haven’t seasoned it recently.

Equipment Needed:

  • Dutch oven: You will want a cast iron one intended for use outdoors over the fire, not an enameled one intended for use inside a kitchen. This recipe is intended for one that holds five to six quarts. We love our Lodge cast iron Dutch oven with built in tripod.
  • Zip top bags: These work great for mixing, when you don’t have the ability to do a lot of dishes while camping.
  • Measuring cups and spoons: Sometimes we premeasure everything at home and keep the dry in one bag with the wet in another bag to mix at the campsite, but we still like to keep these in our camp kitchen kit.
  • Heat resistant gloves: If you are going to be working around a fire, at some point you will probably get burned. These gloves can help prevent that.

More Breakfast Recipes to Enjoy:

Enjoy a show-stopping Dutch oven Dutch baby while camping with this simple recipe!

If you choose to make one of these, we would love to see your results. Tag us on Instagram @campinganswer to show us a photo and tell us what you used for toppings on your buttery, delicious pancake.

Dutch Oven Dutch Baby

Enjoy a show-stopping Dutch oven Dutch baby while camping with this simple recipe!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Resting time5 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Dutch oven
Servings: 4 people

Equipment

  • Dutch oven
  • 2 Zip top bags
  • measure cups/spoons
  • Heat Resistant Gloves

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 1/2 cup milk room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon optional
  • assorted toppings fresh fruit, powdered sugar, syrup, etc.

Instructions

  • Start your campfire or heat up your grill so that your heat source is ready. Let the flames die out and the charcoals turn grey prior to cooking your food.
  • Arrange enough of your coals in a circle to surround the Dutch oven without being touched by them. Carefully place your oven in the middle of the circle and preheat it while you get the batter ready.
  • Add your eggs, milk, and vanilla into a zip top bag and smoosh together thoroughly.
  • Combine flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon in another zip top bag and mix.
  • Carefully add dry ingredients to wet ingredients bag and smoosh until completely mixed and your batter looks frothy.
  • Melt the butter in your preheated Dutch oven, making sure to completely coat the base of the Dutch oven.
  • Pour batter into the Dutch oven and level it out. Then place the lid over the oven.
  • With grilling tongs or a shovel, place a number of coals on the surface of the oven. Because we are baking our batter, we want to use the 3:1 ratio considered best for baking in a Dutch oven. This means we want three times as many coals on the lid as we need circling around the oven.
  • Cook Dutch baby with the coals for about 20 minutes, rotating the lid one quarter turn every five minutes.
  • Check to see if your batter is cooked. If so, remove the coals from the lid and take the pot away from the heat.
  • If you are topping your Dutch baby with warmed fruit, add it now, place the lid back on, and let sit for five more minutes.
  • Slice, serve, and enjoy!

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