An Expert Guide to Le Creuset BakewarePublished on 09/18/2023 · 9 min readStep into the delightful world of baking as Kitchen Expert Kate Wilson dives into the quality craftsmanship and timeless charm of Le Creuset!
Breakfast is served - Blueberry muffins in Le Creuset nonstick muffin pan! Photo by Kate Wilson
TL;DR: Founded in France almost a century ago, Le Creuset bakeware has stood the test of time in kitchens worldwide. Read on to discover more about their premium materials, unique features, and expert tips that will help you make an informed choice when upgrading or adding to your current bakeware collection.
From cooking for large crowds professionally to training staff on culinary equipment, I am always excited to try the newest technology in the kitchen. At home, I've personally used and tested many products from the Le Creuset bakeware collection to ensure it meets the highest standards of performance and durability. What started as a love for the brand's eye-catching colored enamel has developed into a deep appreciation for the consistent quality of their cookware and bakeware line.
Why Choose Le Creuset Bakeware?
With a legacy dating back to 1925 in Fresnoy-le-Grand, France, Le Creuset (pronounced luh-croo-zay) is renowned for its exceptional craftsmanship, using only the finest raw materials across every collection. Today they stand as a true pioneer in the world of kitchen color innovation and continuously lead the way in crafting exceptionally durable, versatile bakeware. From their iconic enameled cast iron to their durable stoneware and nonstick metal collections, they remain at the forefront of kitchenware excellence.
The Le Creuset brand is a premium one with a price tag to match, but each bakeware piece comes with a limited lifetime warranty that covers faulty workmanship and/or materials when used in normal domestic conditions. This promise highlights the brand's confidence in their exceptional materials and manufacturing practices across their cookware and bakeware lines.
They have also taken active steps towards sustainability by installing solar panels on their manufacturing plants, producing enough electricity to run all aspects of the brand's production naturally.
Le Creuset also uses recycled materials, up to 30% in their cast iron and stoneware products, and they've switched to eco-friendly packaging made from recycled materials as well. Their goal to become a leader in sustainability within the cookware industry is driven by an unwavering commitment to the environment and the promise of a greener future in the culinary world.
What to Consider When Buying Le Creuset Bakeware
What Type of Material Is Best for My Needs?
The Le Creuset bakeware line is made of different materials for different types of baking. Their stoneware collection bakes evenly and is great for casseroles, roasted vegetables, and desserts like cake or brownies. The cast-iron products are known for superior heat retention, and the nonstick metal is great for cookies, muffins, and loaves that need an easy release from the pan.
Is the Bakeware Easy to Clean?
Many of the items in Le Creuset's bakeware collection are dishwasher safe; however, it is highly recommended that you hand-wash to preserve the natural properties of the pot or pan. Enameled cast iron is maintenance-free and typically easy to clean, as are the products in the nonstick and stoneware collections.
Is the Le Creuset Bakeware Line a Good Fit for My Small Kitchen?
While many of the iconic Le Creuset pieces are relatively large and heavy, it's helpful to know that almost every item does come in smaller sizes to accommodate smaller families and/or spaces. For instance, the Heritage casserole dish offers a 2.5-quart and 4-quart option, and the signature Dutch oven is available in multiple shapes and sizes.
Is the Stoneware Safe to Use in the Freezer, Microwave, and Broiler?
Le Creuset stoneware is safe in the oven up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and freezer-safe up to -9 degrees Fahrenheit. It is also suitable for microwave and broiler use, but keep in mind it is not safe to use on a direct heat source like a stovetop.
What Are the Different Types of Le Creuset Bakeware?
1. Enameled Cast Iron
All of the benefits of cast iron (see below), without the maintenance. While best known for roasts, stews, and soups, an enameled cast-iron piece is just as capable at baking breads and casseroles.
- Superior heat distribution and retention
- Ready to use — no seasoning
- Easy to clean
Keep in Mind:
- Cast iron is heavy, making it more difficult to transport from oven to table
- While retaining heat is considered a benefit, it does stay hot to the touch longer and will not allow a dish to cool down quickly
As timeless as it is beautiful, the Le Creuset stoneware line is perfect for baking hearty family favorites like lasagnas, casseroles, and yummy desserts. Many come with tight-fitting lids to retain heat and moisture, and some of the seasonal designs like pumpkin- or apple-shaped dishes are just too special to pass up.
- Superior heat distribution for uniform browning and cooking with no hot spots
- Colorful porcelain enamel glaze finish is non-porous, non-reactive, and scratch- and stain-resistant
- Naturally nonstick interior releases food easily and resists cracking
Keep in Mind:
- While the stoneware collection is sturdy and durable, it is still subject to chips and the damage that typically occurs when dropped or mistreated
- Stoneware is not as tolerant of extremely high heat and is not to be used directly on the stovetop
From individual muffin, sheet, and pizza pans to full bakeware sets and even cooling racks, Le Creuset has a complete line of products known for easy release and cleanup.
- Durable, heavy-gauge carbon steel provides excellent heat conduction
- Lightweight pans won't bend or warp and are resistant to scratches
- Consistent, light browning compared to most dark metal baking pans, which tend to over bake/brown because of the way they conduct heat
- Wide rims with heat-resistant silicone grips for easy oven removal
Keep in Mind:
- Nonstick coating generally contains per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that, while closely monitored, are important to learn about for the sake of public and personal safety
What to Consider When Buying Le Creuset Bakeware
Is Le Creuset Worth the Money?
As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. Le Creuset uses premium raw materials in their cast-iron and stoneware products, contributing to their overall performance and durability. Their nonstick items are free of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and built to last without the coating scratching or wearing off, whereas less expensive options use lower-quality coatings that do not stand the test of time. Aside from these two important factors, the brand has a strong reputation and history in the cookware industry, and they are trusted by professional chefs and home cooks worldwide.
Are the Pieces Designed for One Purpose or Are They Versatile?
As mentioned above, many pieces can be used for several types of dishes. The signature enamel cast-iron Dutch oven is perfect on the stovetop or oven and suitable for roasts, soups, stews, sauces, braising, baking, and more. Their iconic, multi-sized cocottes are perfect for French onion soup, baked desserts, and even serving fruit or storing herbs and salt.
What Happens if I Damage My Le Creuset Bakeware?
There are different warranties depending on the product, but one thing is for certain: Le Creuset prides themself on exceptional customer service. Defective items will be replaced free of charge or with an item of equivalent value if the original is no longer available, and the original owner is covered as long as they own the item.
How to Choose the Best Le Creuset Bakeware
I frequently receive requests for premium bakeware advice from customers. Below are a few examples of what I recommend depending on their specific needs.
- Needs: Jordyn is an avid cook and baker who loves to entertain. Aesthetics are extremely important to her, and she believes the vibe is almost as important as the food! She is looking for pieces with personality that can easily go from the oven to the table.
- Features to look for: Themed pieces or seasonal colors.
- Products to consider:
- Le Creuset Heritage Covered Rectangular Casserole — The Heritage casserole dish is made from premium stoneware, which delivers excellent temperature regulation and an easy-to-clean, natural nonstick interior. The tight-fitting lid keeps food warm, and the large size easily feeds a crowd. Finally, it comes in limited-edition designs and stunning colors like the iconic Flame, which just so happens to match the turning leaves of autumn — Jordyn's favorite time of year to entertain!
- Le Creuset Signature Oval Dutch Oven — Everyone in Jordyn's large family looks forward to her famous bread pudding, and she likes nothing more than to serve it up right from the oven. This 6.75-qt Dutch oven (almost) guarantees that everyone will get a hearty serving.
- Needs: Reyni has perfected her bread game in her boyfriend's bread-making machine and is ready to step it up. She wants to bake some bread “the old-fashioned way” and give loaves away as gifts for the holidays.
- Features to consider: Materials that are known for even baking.
- Products to Consider:
- Le Creuset Signature Bread Oven — Seeing this piece up close and personal would convert anyone into an “old fashioned” bread baker. It honestly deserves a spot on display in any kitchen. Made from enameled cast iron, the purpose-built shape produces high-end bakery results. The domed lid traps and circulates steam, and the signature base encourages even browning. The result? A perfectly baked loaf with a crispy crust that features the iconic Le Creuset insignia on the bottom — perfect for gifting!
- Le Creuset Heritage Loaf Pan — Reyni may want to ease into her bread-making venture and use a classic loaf pan her first few times. Made from premium stoneware, this pan delivers excellent heat distribution and uniform browning and is large enough to help create meals for two or loaf-style cakes.
- Needs: With a busy work schedule, Justin is looking for a quick and easy solution to cooking and baking. He prefers pieces that are extremely versatile and easy to clean, and ones that he won't have to replace anytime soon.
- Features to consider: Non-stick properties, versatile pieces.
- Products to consider:
- Le Creuset Sheet Pan — From roasted vegetables to nachos and chocolate chip cookies, the sheet pan is about as versatile as it gets. Heat-resistant silicone grips are a nice feature on this pan, making removal from the oven nice and easy.
- Le Creuset Pizza Pan — Something told me Justin was a pizza fan, and this one definitely fit the bill. Small holes in the bottom allow for the dough to heat up evenly and quickly, the latter being a big selling point for him. This pan also features the silicone tabs and wide-rim handles.
Finding the Right Le Creuset Bakeware for You
From baked meals to special treats and scrumptious desserts, Le Creuset definitely has bakeware options for every occasion. Want to find the right one for you? Get in touch with me or any of the Kitchen Experts here at Curated for help in narrowing things down. We might even share Jordyn's bread pudding recipe with you, too!