Is Le Creuset cookware worth it? We tested 7 pieces to find out
- You probably know Le Creuset for its beautiful, well-crafted, and versatile enamel Dutch ovens. It created its first one in 1925, and still makes all of its Dutch ovens in the same foundry in France.
- Its cookware is expensive, but not without reason. Le Creuset's products last for years (if not generations), are made with distinct attention to detail, and come in many eye-catching colors.
- We've used seven of its products, including its signature enamel cast iron Dutch oven, oven-ready stoneware, and non-stick cookware.
- Below, you'll find our reviews of a variety of Le Creuset products, along with a history of the company and how it became one of the most coveted cookware brands in the world.
Though startups like Made In are making headway against traditional kitchen brands, there are some decades-old names that home cooks may never let go of.
Topping registry and gift lists everywhere, these legacy brands have been wished for, raved about, and passed down from generation to generation. For good reason - their products help to make your grandmother's famous chocolate chip cookies as well as your newfangled (her words, not yours) quinoa cacao bites.French cookware company Le Creuset is one such name, representing the height of craftsmanship and style, and accordingly, price. Its enamel cast iron Dutch ovens are widely considered the best in the industry, which is why many people are willing to commit to the $200+ investment and few ever regret it.
You can't miss them in a kitchen. They're the smooth and glossy, weighty and substantial, brightly colored centerpiece of a shelf, stove, or countertop, and after cooking with them, you're unlikely to ever forget them. Basically, Le Creuset is the rare brand that's really as good as everyone says it is. The experience is kind of like going to your first SoulCycle class - you enter a cynic, but you emerge (hopefully less sweaty) a zealous convert.
A brief history of Le Creuset - then and now
Le Creuset was created in 1925 by two Belgian industrialists, one who specialized in casting and the other in enameling. After meeting at the Brussels Fair, they created a foundry in Fresnoy-le-Grand, an area in northern France located along a major trade route.
The cast iron cocotte, also known as a French oven or an enameled Dutch oven, was their first product. Its Flame color, a Le Creuset signature, is said to have been modeled after the vibrant orange hue of molten cast iron inside a crucible ("le creuset" in French).
The cocotte was a groundbreaking product at the time because it made the kitchen staple of cast iron cookware both more functional and beautiful. It was something that home cooks could rely on every time to perform at high levels and also an aesthetically pleasing piece that looked good on stove tops and dining tables. Based on Le Creuset's enduring success, it looks like our tastes haven't changed much.After World War II, as competitors flocked to steel and aluminum to make their cookware, Le Creuset doubled down on its enameled cast iron efforts, expanding into a range of other pieces and experimenting with exciting new colors. Today, you can shop its iconic Dutch oven alongside specialty cookware like woks and Moroccan tagines, bakeware like casserole dishes, and dinnerware.
How to shop Le Creuset cookware and what to buy
Enameled cast iron was and will remain Le Creuset's specialty. Its slow heat distribution and strong heat retention make it great for medium and low-heat cooking, from slow-cooking meats to roasting vegetables to baking rich desserts. The smooth interior encourages beautiful, delicious caramelization, plus it prevents sticking and is easy to clean. This material is safe to use on all heat sources, including electric, gas, induction, outdoor grill, and oven. Whether you're a first-time Le Creuset buyer or expanding a decades-old collection, this versatile, high-performing cookware is the main one to shop. All cast iron pieces are made in the original French foundry and each is hand-inspected by 15 people. They come with a limited lifetime warranty.
Stoneware is best for baking tasks. It heats uniformly to create that coveted golden-brown crust while making sure that everything inside is cooked evenly, and it releases food easily. All stoneware pieces come with a limited 10-year warranty.
Nonstick is a newer venture for Le Creuset, and a nicer-quality upgrade from the nonstick stuff you've used before. Compared to cast iron, these aluminum-core products heat up quickly. All nonstick pieces come with a limited lifetime warranty.
Where to shop Le Creuset
Le Creuset's full lineup of products is available on its website, where you can get free shipping on all orders, find recipes and events, and start a gift registry (through MyRegistry.com). It's easiest to shop all of Le Creuset's gorgeous colors and special limited-stock or limited-edition collections on the company's website.
However, you can also find sales and exclusive colors at specialty retailers like Williams-Sonoma, Sur La Table, and Crate & Barrel, and department stores like Nordstrom and Macy's. It's available at Amazon as well. It might be more convenient to buy Le Creuset at those places if you shop there frequently.
Putting Le Creuset cookware to the testThree of us tested the cookware types I mentioned above - enameled cast iron, stoneware, and nonstick - to put the nearly 100-year-old company to the test. While this was my first experience cooking with Le Creuset, my editors have been using their pieces for years and can attest to the durability and wear of their cookware.
Below, learn more about what it's like to cook with Le Creuset, from the classic Dutch Oven to the lesser-known Grill Pan.
Shop Le Creuset cookware here: Le Creuset, Williams-Sonoma, Sur La Table, Crate & Barrel, Nordstrom, Macy's, Amazon
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