An Expert Guide to Le Creuset Cookware

Published on 06/19/2023 · 7 min readUnleash culinary excellence with our Expert guide to Le Creuset Cookware. Explore timeless craftsmanship and superior performance for your kitchen!
Alex Alcarraz, Kitchen Expert
By Kitchen Expert Alex Alcarraz

tl;dr Everybody has their favorite cookware and dishware products. For me, the French company Le Creuset leads the pack in terms of quality and design. It has been in the cookware business for just about 100 years, and is still going strong. In this article, we’ll discuss everything about the ubiquitous French brand: their history, types of cookware, and what any home chef can whip up with it.

Who Is Le Creuset?

Le Creuset dates its history all the way back to before World War Two. Armand Desaegher and Octave Aubecq met at the Brussels Fair in 1924 with the idea of enameling different kitchen products. Within a year, Le Creuset was born, and strategically located in Northern France. In that very same year, their first round Dutch oven was produced.

During the second World War, Le Creuset intensified their efforts in making enameled cast iron and became a well-known innovator. Over the next few years, Le Creuset acquired foundries and other competitors, and finally saw its expansion into the American market in 1974—settling in South Carolina.

As the success of Le Creuset products continued to grow, so did its reach. During the 80s to early 2000s, the brand expanded its influence to Hong Kong, Switzerland, Brazil, Japan, and other countries. With expansion came new designs and production of more than just pots, pans, and skillets. Pepper mills, utensils, and unique cookware were also added to the product line up. Since its creation, Le Creuset has focused on becoming a staple in homes worldwide, and they’ve certainly achieved it.

What to Ask Yourself Before Buying Le Creuset Cookware

Do I Like Diverse Colors?

The colors offered by Le Creuset are undeniably diverse and beautiful. The first Le Creuset Dutch oven was colored in the original "Flame." This signature color is a rich ember hue inspired by the process of casting iron into a mold. From there, the choices have become almost limitless, with new colors emerging every year for all sorts of occasions.

How Do I Want to Clean My Cookware?

Although most Le Creuset products are dishwasher safe, it is highly recommended to wash them by hand under warm water and soap with a non-metallic sponge. This will protect the product from possibly getting damaged during cleaning. For a more interactive demonstration, check out this video.

How Much Does Le Creuset Cookware Cost?

Le Creuset cookware typically costs more than other brands. It is important to mention why this is. This cast iron cookware is made in France by hand to this day. The finish on them is of very high-quality enamel coating that, from personal experience, is more than sturdy.

Le Creuset cast iron skillets typically start around $100 for their eight-inch size. While the cast iron saucepans, cocotes, and Dutch oven often start at about $175, and go to about $450 per piece with small variances depending on special sales. Their stainless steel and nonstick cookware is still on the higher end of prices, starting at about $250 depending on the number of pieces and specific collection.

After owning a couple of Le Creuset cookware items, I can see why their prices are higher. The cookware is solid, made to last, and will always double up as a perfect service item on a table.

Differences in Le Creuset Series

Le Creuset cookware is offered in two different series: Classic and Signature. The Classic is the original version. The Signature is the upgraded version. Both will operate very similarly when it comes to cooking. However, there are some small differences in their build.

At first glance the Classic and Signature series are relatively the same. However, this is not quite the case for the expert eye.

  • Knobs: The knobs in the classic series are smaller and less resistant to temperature above 375F. The signature series' knobs are heavier and larger, being able to easily handle temperatures up to 500F.
  • Handles: In the classic series, the handles can allow space for roughly three fingers. Whereas the signature series' handles are roomy enough to hold four fingers. This makes the transport of a fully loaded pot or pan much easier and safer.
  • Enamel: This is the finishing material that encases the cast iron. In the classic series, it has been very common to see some chipping and discoloration during the lifetime of the cookware. In order to combat this, the signature series has a denser enamel coating that is more resistant to thermal shock and chipping.
  • Lid: In the signature series the lid has a tighter fit and the ridge lines are more accentuated than in the classic series.

Different Types of Le Creuset Cookware and Their Usages

Le Creuset is widely known for its versatility. This is thanks to their ease of use and additional kitchen ware tools and accessories . However, their iconic lineup continues to be the bread and butter of this maker. Let's see which cooking methods pair best with these iconic pieces.

Stews and Braises

The Le Creuset Signature Round Dutch Oven. Photo courtesy of Le Creuset

Low and slow cooking methods pair well with Dutch ovens and braisers. Use the heated pot to add great sear marks on your proteins and veggies before adding your flavored liquids and stewing slowly on the stove top or braising slowly in the oven.

Roast and Saute

The Le Creuset Signature Iron Handle Skillet. Photo courtesy of Le Creuset

The advantage of the iconic pieces from Le Creuset is their ability to go from stove top to oven without any worries. The skillets and griddles are great examples of this feature. Skillets are great for cooking any ingredient on the stove top and then finishing it in the oven without adding additional liquids. However, the sides of a skillet are too shallow for moist cooking methods.

Interestingly enough griddle pans can also be used in a similar fashion as skillets. Sear something on the stove top and then place the whole thing in the oven. Roasted vegetables and fish would be ideal for a griddle pan due their low moisture content and quick cooking time. Of course eggs, pancakes, and bacon are highly welcomed in this incredibly versatile piece of cookware.

Soups and Sauces

The interesting part about these two categories is that there can be a lot of overlap on which pans can be used. Both the braisers and Dutch ovens can be used for sauces and soup. If you are making a lot of tomato sauce or soup, or if you plan on a lot of gravy or a hearty chowder, either one of these pots would be great. Alternatively, the saucepans that Le Creuset offers are also amazing. The large handle allows for plenty of room when needing to comfortably sauce a dish tableside.

Cakes, Bread, and Casseroles

Once again, the classic Dutch oven and braiser can be amazing tools when making bread and casseroles. They are great multipurpose tools. There are also traditional casserole dishes that are essentially very thick baking trays. They make great casseroles and delicious flat breads.

Everyday Use

The best way of knowing that a piece or set of cookware is worth its price is by looking at its everyday usage. All of Le Creuset's products are made to be used during more than just special occasions. Instead, they are meant to be used during every meal and every day. Their ability to distribute heat evenly, make great one-pot meals, and provide a beautiful serving vessel if needed make them essential to everyday cooking.

Le Creuset Vs. Competitors

Is it worth its price? A topic that is largely discussed nowadays is the idea of value versus price. There are many cookware pieces out in the market that are of a similar build and style to Le Creuset enamel cast iron cookware. Target and Amazon sell similar dutch ovens and the like for prices much lower than Le Creuset. However, many reviews and comments end with chipped or broken pots.

Staub offers similar engineering, but differs in small details. The brand offers more muted colors, moisture trapping lids, and heavier build. So, there is a lot of personal preference that falls under this specific comparison.

Without a doubt, Le Creuset cookware is meant to last. You will have a hard time finding it in a dumpster or trash bin. These are pieces that are passed down from one generation to the next due to their aesthetics, performance level, and status.

Chat With a Real Expert

The Le Creuset Signature Cast Iron 5-Piece Set. Photo courtesy of Le Creuset

Le Creuset offers more than just enameled cast iron cookware. They have diversified their offerings across their evolution through the years. A full line of cookware including ceramic bakeware, stainless steel cookware, tea kettles, knives, utensils and more make up the list of Le Creuset products. Chefs and home cooks rely on this brand to care and serve friends and loved ones.

If you’re interested in Le Creuset cookware, or simply in starting your cooking journey, reach out to a Curated Kitchen Expert, like me. We offer free advice and gear

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