The 7 Best French Cookware BrandsPublished on 05/17/2023 · 8 min readIf you're in the market for new cookware, read on! Kitchen Expert Jacob Lewis lists the top French cookware brands and their top products.
Photo by Jason Briscoe
French cookware companies have a wild history of family struggle persisting through multiple world wars on their homeland, innovation of colorful and timeless designs that have brought inspiration to the kitchen for generations; presently these brands remain as the top choices for chefs and home cooks around the world. Here’s our definitive list of all the best French cookware brands and a little bit about their history and most recognized products.
Founded in Burgundy, France, in 1983 as a premier cookware brand, Cristel is known for high-end options that often feature removable handles. While the concept of removable handles is controversial and very individual, many folks agree that choosing when a cooking vessel has a handle (or not) adds quite a bit of versatility to the stovetop, oven, and storage areas. The main benefit of removable handles is making sure that the vessel can fit in the oven, and then when removed from the oven, the handle will be cool since it hasn’t been sitting in the heat for however long.
The Casteline collection is the top-of-the-line 5-ply option that features removable handles. With laser-engraved measurement marks on the vessel's interior, glass lids, and an easy-pouring edge, this cookware is perfect for anyone who needs easy monitoring and handling. At the top of this concept, Cristel also has various handles that attach to the vessels from wood to stainless, giving a quick change of aesthetic and function. The main downside to consider with this cookware is that removable handles, while offering some versatility, also add some steps to the cooking process, which for some may or may not be perceived as helpful. The other downside is this cookware is about as expensive as stainless steel gets.
Founded in 1830 as a sheet metal plant, the French company has been a family effort that has survived world wars and offered innovations to the kitchen. Known in modern times for their non-stick, carbon steel, copper, and stainless steel cookware, they also make quite a variety of bakeware, knives, and other utensils for professional chefs and home cooks.
The De Buyer Affinity 5-ply Signature cookware set is a testament to their centuries of design and refinement as the shape and handling of these vessels walk the line of performance and beauty that makes for easy serving from stovetop to table. The highly polished 5-ply design ensures their saucepans and stockpot are the most responsive to heating and cooling (aluminum core) while providing the peak in strength most resistant to warping (stainless exterior). Fully covered by a lifetime warranty, you can relax knowing this could be the last set you might ever need to purchase, the downside being the upfront cost is a touch more than similar options.
Known for some of the finest ceramic ovenware in history, using a unique mixture of burgundy clay, Emile Henry established global recognition shortly after founding the company in 1850. In the small town of Burgundy, France, he refined cookware for home cooking, and now he’s renowned in kitchens worldwide. These vessels have high heat retention and can go from the oven to the dishwasher, stovetop, and microwave without issue. Modern innovations include their induction-ready line of ceramic cookware that features a magnetic insert in the cookware's base to give the classic design of their ceramic Dutch oven a new lease on life.
One of the most classic options from Emile Henry is the Sublime Round Dutch oven, which is a ceramic enameled stewpot with a tight-fitting lid that ensures the retention of moisture with all dishes. What’s fun about ceramic in this context is that it heats up quickly and evenly on various cooking surfaces, including stovetops, ovens, microwaves, or charcoal and gas BBQ grills. In addition, there’s no worry of rust or needing to preseason like cast iron because it’s fully ceramic, making it about half the weight of metal options. The only real downside is that ceramic is similar to Pyrex glass, and it can be more fragile than metal if dropped on the ground or shocked with cold or hot water. Last, this version of the pot is not induction compatible, but an option is available on their website.
Founded along the trade routes for many heavy minerals and metals in Fresnoy-Le-Grand, Picardy, France, Armand De Saegher pioneered enameled cast iron around 1925. Saegher was so inspired by the potential of colorful variety that enameling could bring to cast iron that he produced some of the most colorful and inspiring Dutch ovens, leaving them known worldwide as one of the most beloved French cookware brands in history. Each vessel is cast from its own sand mold, giving a unique texture to each product, and folks unanimously agree they are a joy to own.
The Le Creuset Dutch oven is available in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and colors with a durable enamel finish. Naturally compatible with modern induction stovetops and a tight-fitting lid, this product is perfect for roasting and sautéing ingredients before slow cooking them on the stovetop or oven. Because it’s very easy to clean, scratch resistant (still good to avoid metal utensils), dishwasher safe (better to hand wash), and perfect for enhancing a colorful presentation on the dinner table, Le Creuset is a bigger investment than other options. In addition, it’s covered with the confidence of a lifetime warranty and a promise that you can enjoy it for many years. Le Creuset tends to be lighter weight than similar options like Staub or Lodge, making transporting meals from stove to table a little bit less risky.
Thomas Trottier founded his family cookware company in 1814 in the central market of Paris (Halles De Paris) and was known for his pastries and copper molds. Over the next two centuries, the company became one of the largest global producers of fine utensils and cookware. It has retained its image in the professional industry as one of the most versatile and practical designs for professional environments. These days, their product catalog spans several brand names, including MORA, which covers a full range of kitchen products from skillets, bakeware, cutlery, and professional-grade copper cookware.
The copper cookware set is one of the top examples of their commitment to products that last a lifetime. These vessels benefit from a highly conductive copper exterior and an easy-to-use, durable stainless interior, perfect for enthusiastic home cooks and professional chefs. The large handles and hooks beg for these to be hung in the kitchen to be seen and enjoyed. The main thing to note about owning copper cookware is that the copper exterior will change color over time. This tarnishing is okay and does not impact the cookware's performance; keep in mind that some copper cleaning products will bring it back to a shine.
Founded in 1830 in a small village in Normandy, France, Ernest Mauviel decided Villedieu-les-Poeles (The City of Copper) would be the best home for his new cookware company. As a result, the Mauviel product has retained simplicity, elegance, and quality for nearly two centuries, making it one of the most highly regarded names for French copper cookware.
With a bi-laminated copper and stainless steel design, the M’Heritage cookware set is made with 90% copper, making it some of the most responsive cookware in the industry. In contrast, the stainless steel lining ensures flavors are protected and vessels are easy to clean. These are perfect for enthusiasts and professionals who need the most precise heat control. Copper cookware needs to be kept out of the dishwasher, so you’ll need to be committed to handwashing, and it’s important to avoid using extremely high heat as it can damage the premium copper exterior.
Francis Staub founded his company in 1974 in the Alsace region of France, intending to improve the form and function of the conventional enameled cast iron Dutch oven. By focusing on the lid and how to simplify the cooking process by designing it to self-baste, he solved a challenge and made a modern advance in cookware. These days, Staub cookware is owned by Zwilling, renowned as the parent for a wide range of high-quality products from Henckels knives to Demeyere’s clad stainless cookware.
The colorful Staub cast iron 7-quart oval cocotte (Dutch oven) performs similarly to the Le Creuset in that it's induction-ready and has a durable enameled finish. Still, it differs in a few key ways. First, the self-basting lid mentioned above is a proven design that works perfectly, saving time and effort in the kitchen. In addition, the vessel's walls are thicker than average, giving it a more consistent and even-heating performance than other brands that use a lighter-weight design. The only downside to this heavier design is that it takes longer and requires more energy to get the vessel to a proper and even temperature.
French kitchenware will always remain one of the best options in terms of quality and aesthetics. Whether your cuisine is baking, frying, or jumping between the stovetop and the oven, the vessels in this list give a variety that can cover all your needs. If you need more catered advice based on your particular needs in the kitchen, please feel invited to connect with one of our Kitchen Experts!