A French cookware manufacturer founded in 1925, Le Creuset is best known for its colorful enameled cast iron cookware known as “Cocottes.” Many people say their Dutch ovens are the best in the industry, which explains why people pay over $200 for Le Creuset Dutch ovens. You can use Le Creuset on all heat sources, and you can buy their products in over 100 colors.
In this buyer’s guide to Le Creuset’s products, you will soon see that you are not limited to enameled cast-iron cookware which of course is where Le Creuset’s journey started. You will discover stoneware, stainless, nonstick cookware along with the many other products that enhance Le Creuset’s range. You will also have the information you need if you are ready to invest in Le Creuset cookware.
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History of Le Creuset
Le Creuset, which means “the crucible” in French is the product of two Frenchmen’s love for perfection and craftsmanship. When casting expert Armand Desaegher and enameling expert, Octave Aubecq teamed up in 1925 their lives changed forever. So did the history of cookware.
From their foundry in Fresnoy-le-Grand in Northern France, they produced their first offering of enameled cast iron cookware.
A Dutch oven with the color known as “Volcanique” (today’s “Flame”). The color was inspired by the intense, glowing orange hue of molten cast iron in the foundry’s cauldron.
The color is still today one of Le Creuset’s most sort after across their entire range of cookware.
Where is Le Creuset Cookware Made
Le Creuset enameled cast iron cookware is still produced in the foundry in Frenoy-le-Grand, Northern France.
Le Creuset’s other cookware ranges include enameled steel cookware, oven-ready bakeware (stoneware), non-stick cookware and bakeware, and stainless steel cookware (fully-clad, tri-ply).
These ranges are produced worldwide, in the United States, China, and Portugal, under the watchful eye of Le Creuset to ensure the perfection of all pieces.
Le Creuset’s Manufacturing Process
Le Creuset manufactures sustainably using the following process;
- New high-quality raw materials as well as 85% recycled iron and steel
- Melted raw materials are poured into the sand molds known as ‘Creuset’, where the Le Creuset name originated
- Each Le Creuset piece is truly an original because after cooling the molds are broken away. The sand is recycled over and over to create thousands of new Le Creuset pieces
- Cookware pieces then receive multiple layers of enamel color then baked at temperatures of 1400°F and over
- 15 Le Creuset craftsmen inspect each piece of cookware through the entire manufacturing process
- The end result is a piece of heirloom cookware that Le Creuset guarantees with a “Lifetime Warranty”
Why is Le Creuset so Expensive?
A piece of Le Creuset cookware can cost upwards of $400.00 depending upon the size you choose for example a 9.5-quart oval Dutch oven will cost in the vicinity of $450.00.
Let’s take a look at the reasons for the high price of Le Creuset cookware;
Brand Recognition: Le Creuset, since 1925, is a brand that has continued to supply high-quality handmade cookware revered by professional chefs and home cooks alike. All while continuing to produce and manufacture heirloom cookware “the Le Creuset way” which invariably costs more than cookware made on production lines.
Materials and Manufacturing: All materials are high quality and manufacturing processes have been refined for almost 100 years. Every piece is original (breaking of molds) and the expert hands-on approach has never been replaced by machines. This combination is reflected in the price, the old adage you get what you pay applies to Le Creuset.
Design and Performance: Le Creuset cookware is available in pieces for stovetop and oven for braising, boiling, stewing, slow cooking, roasting, baking, and frying. Any cooking function you want to carry out you will be able to achieve this in the many shapes, sizes, and glorious colors available.
Generous handles and knobs for safe use, fitted lids to retain moisture, smooth surfaces for food release, and easy cleanup are features revered by Le Creuset owners. Interchangeable knobs are available in (phenolic) black, stainless steel, and gold with various shapes, and limited editions also available.
Durability and Warranty: Each Le Creuset piece whether it is enameled or tri-ply steel has a lifetime warranty so is made to be durable and perform well at any high temperature (500°F for cast iron) thrown at it.
So as you can see Le Creuset’s superiority in this cookware space is second to none apart from one serious competitor that certainly keeps Le Creuset pushing the envelope for greatness.
Are there any alternatives to Le Creuset? There is only one manufacturer of enameled cast iron cookware in the same class as Le Creuset and that is Staub. Who manufactures a world-class product with an entirely different look and feel.
Read about Le Creuset’s biggest enameled cast iron cookware competitor STAUB in my comparative article Staub vs Le Creuset.
Le Creuset Dutch Ovens (French Ovens)
Let’s take a close look at the most used and most popular enameled cast iron pieces of cookware – THE DUTCH OVEN also known as Cocettes and French ovens.
Le Creuset Dutch Oven Design
Let’s begin with this large Dutch oven it is Le Creuset’s Signature round Dutch oven (also known as a French Cocotte or casserole dish) and has smooth enamel coating its sand molded cast iron core. The most popular Dutch oven size that Le Creuset sells is its Signature 5.5-quart round Dutch oven, in fact, it is the perfect size Dutch oven for a family of 4 – with leftovers.
Cast iron Dutch ovens are naturally induction-ready due to their magnetic cast iron core. They can be used on any stovetop as well as are oven safe up to 500°F.
The handles are sizable for ease of use and the generous stainless steel knob is also oven safe for up the 500°F. Black knobs are heat resistant up to 375°F.
Le Creuset Dutch Oven Performance
Thick-based and walled cast iron with heavy tight-fitting lids is what is required for optimum even heating. It also provides heat retention and keeps moisture in for a Dutch oven’s self-basting action to perform at its best.
If you cruise my site you know that I use a trusty Aldi Dutch oven to prepare multiple dishes at one time like my famous Dutch oven rice. My Le Creuset Dutch oven performs better every time.
Why? Because unlike my Le Creuset’s snuggly fitting lid the Aldi lid freely slides across the top of the pot, hence does not seal correctly. Suffice to say the Le Creuset Dutch oven retains at least 10% more moisture.
Le Creuset Dutch Oven Durability
Le Creuset cookware are pieces that will be handed down to future generations so are made to last. They do not warp due to thick cast iron walls and sturdy base. The three layers of enamel are chip resistance as well as non-reactive this certainly assists with avoiding interior staining and sticking.
Le Creuset Shapes
Le Creuset casseroles come in many shapes, you will occasionally find themed limited-edition releases such as the Disney or Star Wars releases. Here are a few core shapes you may be interested in (remember the availability may vary worldwide);
- Round Wide
- Chef’s Oven
- Pumpkin Cocotte
- Heart Cocotte
- Fleur Cocotte
- Fleur Oval Cocotte
|See my full review of the Le Creuset 5.5-quart round Dutch oven|
|See my full review of the Le Creuset 6.75-quart oval Dutch oven|
Le Creuset Sizes
Check out the huge size range for both round and oval Dutch ovens.
Le Creuset Round Dutch Oven Sizes by Letter and Number
|14||–||1 qt||0.09||3.8 lbs||Pie, dessert||1||PRICE|
|16||A||1.5 qt||1.3 ltr||6 lbs||Pie, dessert||1-2||PRICE|
|18||B||2 qt||1.8 ltr||7.25 lbs||Desserts, sides||2-2||PRICE|
|20||C||2.5 qt||2.4 ltr||7.8 lbs||Sides, stews||2-3||PRICE|
|22||D||3.5 qt||3.3 ltr||8.75 lbs||Soup, stews||3-4||PRICE|
|24||E||4.5 qt||4.2 ltr||9.5 lbs||Soup, stews||3-4||PRICE|
|26||F||5.5 qt||5.3 ltr||10.5 lbs||Lasagne||5-6||PRICE|
|28||G||7.25 qt||6.7 ltr||11 lbs||Whole meat||7-8||PRICE|
|30||H||9 qt||8.5 ltr||12.25 lbs||Entertaining||9 plus||PRICE|
|34||I||13.25 qt||12.5 ltr||16.5 lbs||Entertaining||9 plus||PRICE|
Le Creuset Oval Dutch Ovens by Letter and Number
|17||1||1 qt||0.09 ltr||4.4 lbs||Pie, dessert||1||PRICE|
|23||–||2.75 qt||2.6 ltr||8 lbs||Dessert, sides||2-3||PRICE|
|25||C||3.5 qt||3.2 ltr||8.5 lbs||Soups, stew||3-4||PRICE|
|27||–||4.25 qt||4.1 ltr||10 lbs||Soup, stew||4-5||PRICE|
|29||E||5 qt||4.7 ltr||11.08 lbs||Bread, soup, stew||6||PRICE|
|31||G||6.75 qt||6.3 ltr||12.55 lbs||Family serves||6-8||PRICE|
|33||–||8 qt||7.5 ltr||14.8 lbs||Lasagne||7-8||PRICE|
|35||H||9.5 qt||9 ltr||16.15 lbs||Large cuts meat, meal prepping||8-10||PRICE|
|40||–||15.5 qt||14.1 ltr||24.9 lbs||Entertaining||12-14||PRICE|
Le Creuset Colors
Stunning colors have come to characterize the Le Creuset brand. Le Creuset designed this pan to perfectly cook roasts, stews, and soups. You might look at this as a one-stop dish because of its versatility.
Le Creuset’s Most Popular Colors
As said before, Le Creuset has built a reputation on its colorful cast iron pans with over 25 available choices.
Le Creuset has core colors that are always available but other colors will come and go. It should also be noted that colors can vary from country to country.
These are just a few Le Creuset colors:
|Cerise Red||Satin Black||Volcanic Orange|
Did you know that color has hidden importance? Armand Desaegher, the casting specialist for Le Creuset, settled on a bright orange as their first color.
The name Flame took its inspiration from the color of molten cast iron. If you visited Fresnoy-le-Grand, France, which is where you’d find Le Creuset’s factory, you’d see it painted in an orange hue that’s a classic.
Le Creuset Drops a New Color Olive: April 2022
Le Creuset – New Color Releases – Agave Hue and Artichaut
I am totally in love with this new blue/green color in Agave Hue – it will match other pieces in my collection Marseille Blue and Palm cookware, stoneware, tableware, and accessories.
Care and Cleaning Le Creuset Pots and Pans
A bonus of using enameled cast iron cookware is that it does not need to be seasoned. But general care will save the surface of the enamel. For example, use wooden or silicone utensils and avoid metal.
Although Le Creuset cookware is dishwasher safe Le Creuset themselves advises that handwashing is the best practice.
Handwashing: I highlight this aspect with Le Creuset because as much as possible, you don’t want to damage your cookware, pots, and pans.
Firstly, never plunge a hot pan into cold water. The thermal shock from hot to cold can warp the pan and crack it. If you have food caked onto the pan, soak it in warm water. Let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes before you wash it.
Secondly, you might use a brush to clean the pan, but never use scourers or an abrasive cleaner because this could damage the enamel.
Using Le Creuset cleaner and/or conditioner (my article explains what cast iron conditioners are) from time to time will help the pan to retain its new appearance.
Storing Le Creuset cookware: Don’t stack other cookware on top and use the stoppers provided by Le Creuset when storing with the cookware’s lid on.
Related: How to Clean and Care for Le Creuset
Expert Tip: – Although manufacturers of seasoned cast-iron and enameled cast-iron say that their pieces are dishwasher safe – I recommend washing by hand and drying thoroughly.
Carrying out this task will save you heartache and time. The heartache from having dull and/or cracked enameled cookware and time from restoring seasoned cast -iron.
Pros and Cons of Le Creuset Enamel Cast Iron Cookware
|Le Creuset – PROS||Le Creuset – CONS|
|Made in France in 1925, by a renowned brand||Most expensive in this cookware class|
|Retains heat for even cooking and optimum moisture||Con of all cast iron cookware, slow to heat up|
|Generous handles for safety and to combat the fully laden weight||Con of all cast iron cookware, heavier than other materials|
|Generous interchangeable Le Creuset replacement knobs that are oven safe||The light interior may discolor without the correct cleanup after every meal|
|Use on all heat sources cooktops, ceramic, electric, induction, gas as well as oven safe up to 500°F|
|Cleanup is easier than other brands|
|The largest variety of shapes, sizes, and colors than any other cast iron enamel coated brand|
|With care, these heirloom pieces will be handed down through the generations|
|Limited Lifetime Warranty|
Is Le Creuset Worth the Money?
Considering how you will pay over $200 for Le Creuset pans, you have to wonder, “Is it worth it?” That answer depends on who you are. If you will use them a lot in the kitchen and you have money to spend, Le Creuset will be worth the extra cost of the pan. That said, most Le Creuset pans don’t last as long as seasoned cast-iron pans, which can last anywhere from 75 to 100 years if well taken care of.
Le Creuset pans will last five years, 10 years, or even more, depending on the type of pan that you bought and the way you use and maintain it. Not everyone will find that worth the money. If you won’t use your Le Creuset cookware at least once a week, you may come to despise how much money you spent on it.
Le Creuset only uses the best materials in their products, which accounts for the higher cost. Someone who doesn’t have the money to spend nor the passion for cooking could probably pass on this brand.
Cooking Tips – Cast Iron Cookware
Why does food stick to cast iron?
How to prevent food from sticking to enamel cast iron!
Stop bread sticking to cast iron during baking…
Biggest Benefit of Le Creuset Pans
Unlike bare cast-iron pans, you don’t have to season Le Creuset pans because the enamel layer serves as a hygienic seal. It protects the pan even from the most ardent scraping. The pans stay heated for a long time, and they don’t chip. Le Creuset pans have a reputation for their beauty.
Another benefit that is very important to homemakers is that the entire Le Creuset range is color-coordinated. So you can buy bakeware, tables, and accessories to match your cast iron enamel cookware.
Consider the Purpose When Buying the Pan
- What types of food will you be cooking
- The heat source you will be using
- Shape type of food – roasts for stews
- Size – how many will you be cooking for
- Decor colors
Dedication to Quality Craftsmanship
Le Creuset tests its products under arduous conditions to guarantee quality. Before the product reaches its endpoint, 15 people have inspected it for quality. The company rejects 30 percent of its products coming up the assembly line because of imperfections.
This means that they have to meltdown (recycle) the metal a second time to recast it to perfection. An arduous process for quality, explains why the brand costs more than the competition.
Le Creuset ranks at the top of the culinary tree, and most chefs call it the most coveted of cookware. Not everyone needs Le Creuset, but people who love to cook will appreciate pans like this and get their use from them.
The brand outperforms the competition in key areas, such as:
- Product range
- Materials (cast iron, stainless steel, toughened non-stick, enamel on steel & Stoneware)
- Range of colors
- Build quality
Is Le Creuset really that expensive? Check out this article on why some cast-iron Dutch ovens can cost more than others.
What Can You Cook in Your Le Creuset Cookware?
Known for its versatility in the cooking world, Le Creuset Dutch ovens can cook almost anything. They can roast meats and vegetables, cook stews and soups, bake bread, and make casseroles.
Many cooks prefer electric fryers, but you can use a Dutch oven to do a surprisingly good job. The oven heats the oil in the pan and fries it with great results.
Before you buy a Le Creuset pan, check the capacity to ensure that it meets your needs. You want the pan to hold enough for meals with other people.
Cooking with your Le Creuset for the first time;
After you have bought a Le Creuset pan, never pre-heat the cast iron on high heat because cast iron holds the heat in better than other pans. You will burn your food. The only time to use high temperatures with cast iron is when you want to boil water.
If you want to do dry cooking, Le Creuset may not work as well for it. Except for its grill pans, the enamel surfaces from Le Creuset don’t lend themselves to this style of cooking. Oil, liquid, fat, or butter should cover the whole pan before heating it.
Never preheat a Le Creuset pan without liquid because this can damage the enamel. When you pay upwards of $200 for a pan, you don’t want to damage it.
Links are at the bottom of the page to great articles that go into a lot more detail about Le Creuset Dutch ovens, cookware, and accessories.
Le Creuset’s Cookware Range
Dutch ovens are only the beginning of Le Creuset’s cookware range you can also expect to see braisers, skillets, saucepans, roasters, sauciers, grill pans, casseroles, balti dishes, rice cookers, Moroccan Tagines, stainless steel cookware, bakeware, nonstick cookware and enamel on steel products.
Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron Cookware Range
Le Creuset’s enamel cast-iron cookware has been produced for decades and is their premium cookware range. These pieces are still produced in France and every piece is inspected before it leaves the factory.
Made from the finest cast iron and coated in the smoothest blemish-free surface you will ever encounter. Can be used on all your kitchen heat sources it will prepare all your favorite recipes and some you haven’t thought of yet. Roasting, slow-cooking, braising, bread baking, and the list goes on.
Le Creuset Stoneware Range
Le Creuset’s enamel-covered stoneware maintains even temperatures. It resists thermal shock. It can be used in the conventional oven, and microwave oven broiler and is freezer and dishwasher safe. DO NOT use direct heat.
Le Creuset Stainless Steel Cookware
This cookware is constructed of a full aluminum core with a magnetic exterior that will work on induction cooktops. They are finished with professional-grade stainless steel that resists oxidization and discoloration. Generous handles and knobs for ease of transport and safety. Oven safe to 500 degrees Fahrenheit – once again a lifetime warranty accompanies this cookware.
Le Creuset Enamel Coated Steel Cookware
Carbon steel is lightweight and durable, making it perfect for everyday use. It speeds up the cooking process and retains heat to keep food warm for hours! The porcelain enamel coating makes it resistant to stains and flavors, so you can cook virtually anything without worrying about your pots or pans getting ruined.
Le Creuset Toughened Non-Stick Cookware
This cookware is made from hard-anodized aluminum with a stainless steel base. Providing consistent heat and a POA-free never flake surface. Cooktop, including induction, to table with larger helper handles that stay cool. It is dishwasher safe and comes with a Le Creuset lifetime warranty.
Le Creuset Toughened Non-Stick Bakeware
With a lifetime guarantee, this Le Creuset non-stick bakeware is made from heavy gauge carbon steel. It is PFOA-free, heats evenly, and is nonstick to assist with keeping your baked goods from adhering to the pan.
Le Creuset’s Tableware
The luxury does not have to finish once your meal is prepared and cooked. Le Creuset has an extensive range of tableware for you and your guests to enjoy.
- Coffee & Tea
- Trivets & Coasters
- Themed Products – Disney & Star Wars
Le Creuset’s Accessories
As well as décor pieces in their range Le Creuset has an awesome range of accessories to assist with cooking, safety, and cleaning these include:
- Enameled Cast Iron Deluxe Round Trivet
- Silicone French Trivet
- Revolution Scraping Spoon, Wood
- Stoneware Spoon Rest
- Silicone Handle Grips
- Silicone Handle Sleeve
- Felt Pan Protectors
- Nylon Brush
- Cookware Cleaner
- Wine Stoppers
- Cork Removers
How Do You Pronounce Le Creuset?
Frequently Asked Questions
Some of Le Creuset’s most commonly asked questions…
Can Le Creuset go in the dishwasher?
Yes and no is the correct answer. Le Creuset advises that you can clean Le Creuset with the dishwasher but over time the exterior will become dull. So they recommend hand washing in hot soapy water, rinsing well, and drying thoroughly.
Can you use Le Creuset on induction?
Le Creuset works fine on an induction hob. The brand designed its products to heat evenly throughout the pan. You can do this even on low heat. Induction cooking uses magnets to heat the food, and hidden within the Le Creuset pan is a layer of cast iron. Cast iron heats incredibly well on induction stovetops.
How do I know if my Le Creuset is vintage?
The bottom of Le Creuset cookware will have the Le Creuset name, there will be a double-digit number for identifying its matching lid. There will be a Diamond mark of Le Creuset as well as the words Made in France or France.
How can you tell a fake Le Creuset?
First, look for the brand name at the bottom of the pan. Second, check for the size mark with a double-digit number on the pot. Third, you will see a marking that either says, “France” or “Made in France.” Le Creuset is a French brand.
Check out my article to learn to identify authentic Le Creuset pieces How Can You Tell a Fake Le Creuset?
Can you microwave Le Creuset cookware?
Le Creuset stoneware can be used safely in the microwave. Le Creuset cast iron cannot be used in the microwave. Enameled cast iron is not microwaving safe as it has a metal core, the metal Le Creuset knobs are not safe for the microwave either.
Le Creuset mugs are microwave safe as they are enamel-coated ceramic, so go ahead and enjoy a hot beverage or mug muffin in your favorite Le Creuset mug.
How do you heat Le Creuset?
Low to medium heat is the best practice when heating Le Creuset cast iron cookware. Cast iron heats up a little slower than other cookware materials, this also means that it takes longer to cool down. So if you heat your pan too hot when adding ingredients it could turn into a nightmare very quickly and your dish will be ruined before you even start.
Why does everything stick to my Le Creuset?
The reason your food is sticking to the inside of your enameled cast iron cookware is that the surface is not non-stick. Oil and/or liquid are required to ensure food doesn’t stick, then heat up the pot over low to medium heat before adding ingredients.
See my in-depth article about “Cast Iron Sticking” and easy tips to avoid food sticking to your enamel cast iron cookware.
Can you still use chipped Le Creuset?
Le Creuset advises that you should not use chipped cast iron enamel cookware. Simply because you will eventually end up with enamel in the dishes you prepare as the chip becomes larger. Cast iron and enamel are some of the safest cookware to use, but you don’t want your cooking ruined with crunchy pieces through it…
Does Le Creuset go on sale?
Yes, there is Le Creuset at discounted prices somewhere every day. Le Creuset has an in-store and online “Factory to Table Sale” around March/April. Don’t forget the big shopping days like Black Friday, Presidents Day Sale, as well as Yearly and Half Yearly sales.
Check out my article to find out where and when to get the Best Le Creuset Prices: Locations, Sales & Clearance Outlets
Industry Support for Le Creuset (What the chefs are saying)
Chefs who love their Le Creuset cookware as reported by the Zero Report; Los Angeles restaurant District’s Executive Chef Hansen Lee and Macks Collins, chef of Mad Pambazos.
Well, and Good spoke to Barry Tonkinson, director of culinary research and development at the Institute of Culinary Education, who uses a set of Le Creuset enameled cast iron cookware in his own home.
Le Creuset Buyers Guide Review: Is Le Creuset Worth It
Le Creuset has delivered the finest quality since 1925. As you can see from their arduous quality-testing process, they pinpoint lower quality and recast it for top-notch quality.
Still, today in 2021 each Le Creuset piece of cookware gets handcrafted using the finest materials. With that said, if the budget is of utmost importance, you may want to look at a different brand.
Le Creuset features the best quality, but the cost reflects it too, and because this isn’t the type of product that lasts forever, not everyone will find it worth the higher cost. You have to look at it if you know you will get the use out of it.
One-Pot Cooking Rocks
Source: Le Creuset