Is Le Creuset cookware worth it? We tested 7 pieces to find out

le creuset review 6Le Creuset/Instagram

  • 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 review 9Williams-Sonoma

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

le creuset review 7Le Creuset/Instagram

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.

le creuset review 8Williams-Sonoma

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 test

Three 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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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Picks team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at insiderpicks@businessinsider.com.

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Round Dutch Oven

Round Dutch Oven
Round Dutch Oven (5.5-Quart), $350, available at: Le Creuset | Amazon | Williams-Sonoma | Nordstrom

We used it to cook: beef stroganoff, broccoli and sausage orzo skillet, chicken pot hotdish, and so much more.

Why we love it: The 5.5-quart version of the popular Le Creuset Dutch oven isn't cheap at $350, but it's the cornerstone of my kitchen; it offers a lot of versatility, a durable design, and crucially, even heat distribution. I use it to cook easy, one-pot meals on most weeknights — everything from beef stroganoff to spring peas and asparagus risotto to a broccoli and sausage orzo skillet. —Ellen Hoffman, director of content strategy

I use a 4.5-quart version of this Dutch Oven, the same one that had previously belonged to my former boss' wife. She and I would swap recipes through her husband, delivering muffins and breakfast bars and favorite recipes to each other via his briefcase. At a holiday party at their home one year, she gifted me one of her Le Creuset pots along with her matching frying pan. She gave it to me because she was growing partial to her Staub Dutch oven and didn't need so many in the house, but it was still one of the kindest gifts I've ever received. I love cooking in it and especially using it to serve stews, sauces, and orzo during dinner parties. —Sally Kaplan, Insider Picks editor

Signature Lite Grill Pan

Signature Lite Grill Pan
Signature Lite Grill Pan, $180, available at: Le Creuset | Williams-Sonoma

We used it to cook: grilled summer squash phyllo pie, Beyond Meat sausages

Why we love it: When I'm too lazy to fire up the grill on our rooftop (so, most of the time), I opt for this stovetop grill pan. It gives my veggies and meat substitutes the perfect grill marks, and it's easy to move around on the burner if there's a hot or cool spot (which happens with square-shaped pans). I've been grilling lots of summer squash on it lately, and there's something so satisfying about turning it over to see those little charred and caramelized bits. The surface is relatively non-stick, so food comes up cleanly as your flipping it, and wipes off easily as you're scrubbing it later. —Sally Kaplan, Insider Picks editor

Mini Cocottes

Mini Cocottes
Mini Cocottes, $100, available at: Le Creuset | Amazon | Nordstrom

We used it to cook: single-serving/app-sized mac and cheese, veggies, baked eggs, apple pie

Why we love it: These are hands down the most adorable pieces of cookware I own. The mini versions of the brand's classic cocotte are perfect for serving personal desserts, side dishes, and snacks like nuts or candy. They're made from stoneware, so they're best used in the oven — in most cases, on a baking tray and uncovered. The set I got came with a cookbook filled with recipes optimized for tiny portions, but if you're comfortable with experimentation, I can see the potential to get really creative (and cute) with these mini cocottes. —Connie Chen, reporter

Square Dish

Square Dish
Square Dish, $50, available at: Le Creuset | Amazon | Bed Bath & Beyond

We used it to cook: fudgy vegan brownies, roasted apricots with coconut sugar, cornbread, and a million other things

Why we love it: I've had this square dish for about three years now, and it's one of the most-used dishes in my kitchen. I bake quick-breads and brownies in it, use it to roast veggies at high temperatures, and even make pot pies with fluffy, crispy drop biscuit crust. The coating on the stoneware is so glossy and smooth that it's always easy to clean — mine has been through hell and back and still looks as new as it did the very first day I got it. —Sally Kaplan, Insider Picks editor

Nonstick Saute Pan

Nonstick Saute Pan
Nonstick Saute Pan, $145, available at: Le Creuset

We used it to cook: vegetarian "meat" sauce, garlicky zucchini noodles

Why we love it: I have a lot of nonstick pans, but I threw two of them out after I cooked with this one for the first time. The nonstick coating is above and beyond what I've experienced before — it took about three seconds to wash the pot I cooked this sauce in because there was absolutely nothing sticking to it. Not only that, but it provided fast, even heat throughout, and the walls of the pan are just high enough that you can use it as a saucepan and saute pan interchangeably. It's an excellent value for $145 — I use it all the time. —Sally Kaplan, Insider Picks editor

Braiser

Braiser
Nonstick Saute Pan, $145, available at: Le Creuset

We used it to cook: lemon thyme chicken thighs, rigatoni and chicken with vodka sauce (family recipe), and lots of other bigger, saucy pasta dishes

Why we love it: This pan is the perfect size for the kinds of one-pot, saucy pasta dishes I make all the time. It's super wide and deep enough that I don't have to worry about adding too much liquid and having the contents spill over the sides. It's also great for cooking meats and veggies since, like I said, there's plenty of surface area so everything has room to get nice and crispy. —Ellen Hoffman, director of content strategy

Rectangular Casserole

Rectangular Casserole
Rectangular Casserole, $110, available at: Le Creuset | Amazon

We used it to cook: Enchiladas, lasagna, pasta casseroles

Why we love it: The depth of this 3.5-quart casserole dish is ideal for any recipes that call for layering, and the stoneware construction ensures every layer, whether sweet or savory, heats evenly and comes out of the oven piping hot. Though you might think the enamel would be too delicate to touch with a knife, rest assured you can slice into your casserole worry-free. I do wish the handles were slotted so I'd feel safer carrying it out of the oven, so just be extra careful about not dropping your hard work on the ground. —Connie Chen, reporter

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