Le Creuset review: We tested its classic Dutch oven and 6 other pieces – Business Insider
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- Le Creuset is known 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 tested 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.
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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.
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, but also an aesthetically pleasing piece that looked good on stovetops and dining tables alike. 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.
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’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 (the “Artichoke” shade looks as delicious as the real thing), and Crate & Barrel, and department stores like Nordstrom and Macy’s. It’s available at Amazon as well, but it might be more convenient to buy Le Creuset at those places if you shop there frequently.
Three of us tested the cookware types I mentioned above — enameled cast iron, stoneware, and nonstick — and put the nearly 100-year-old company to the work. While this was my first experience cooking with Le Creuset, some of my colleagues 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
Round Dutch Oven
Round Dutch Oven (5.5-Quart), around $360, available at: Le Creuset | Amazon | Williams-Sonoma
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, Executive Editor
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 a few years ago, 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, Senior Editor
Mini Cocottes, $100, available at: Le Creuset | Amazon
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 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, Senior Reporter
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
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
Braiser, $200, 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
Rectangular Casserole, $115, 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 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
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