Le Creuset vs Cuisinart: Should You Save or Splurge?

Published Categorized as Journal

On one hand, we have the affordable dutch oven from Cuisinart. On the other, the world-renowned Le Creuset’s dutch oven.

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This is the battle of the brands and you’ve got a front-row seat. I’ve put the two up against each other in this easy-to-read guide so you don’t have to.

Let’s see how both products have gained the reputation they have today!

Table of Contents

round orange pot beside vegetables

Le Creuset vs Cuisinart Dutch Ovens: An Overview

Le Creuset

Beginning in 1925, reigning in Fresnoy-Le-Grand, France, Le Creuset has been at the forefront of the dutch oven market for almost a century.

The brand is well reputed for producing the highest-quality cookware and today is still made in the same foundry in Northern France.

Its signature ‘volcanique’ color is the hallmark of the family home, giving an expensive look to any kitchen.

When buying Le Creuset, you’re not just buying the product. You’re buying into the history of the brand and creating a tradition among your own family, creating an heirloom that you can pass down to next generation.

There are so many shapes and sizes of Le Creuset’s dutch ovens, from the traditional round and oval shape to heart-shaped. There is even a recent harry potter signature collection of their dutch ovens!

Although dutch ovens were Le Creuset’s hallmark product, they have now gone on to produce a wide variety of the finest enameled cast iron cookware products, from braisers and skillets to cooking utensils and crockery.

why is le creuset so expensive

Cuisinart

From 1971, Cuisinart has been America’s answer to European cooking. Their dutch oven is a good contender to their Le Creuset counterpart.

Their dutch oven is a solid mid-range choice that will give a good performance with a price range that is much more affordable than Le Creuset.

The first thing that springs to mind about Cuisinart are products that are easy to use and dependable.

If you have a lower budget then the Cuisinart oven is the perfect one for you. Compared to its Le Creuset counterpart it is only a fraction of the price!

Cuisinart Chef's Classic Enameled Cast Iron 7-Quart Round Covered Casserole, Cardinal Red

At a Glance: Which is Better for Me?

Here I am comparing a top-of-the-range Le Creuset dutch oven with Cuisinart’s mid-range one.

Here is a quick brief on the key features of each of the brands.

Le Creuset

Le Creuset’s dutch ovens really are at the forefront of the market, and have the best quality.

The Le Creuset dutch oven is the most expensive on the market and if its quality you’re looking for, look no further.

  • Handmade in France using high-quality materials
  • Lasts more than one lifetime
  • Expensive
  • Lighter than other dutch ovens

Cuisinart

From an American company, these dutch ovens are a great mid-range contender. They have excellent cooking abilities, arguably equal to the Le Creuset counterpart.

  • Very similar looking to the Le Creuset dutch oven
  • A fraction of the price of Le Creuset
  • Mass produced in China

Le Creuset vs Cuisinart: What is the Difference?

Here I have listed the dimensions and abilities of the two products in an easy-to-read table, comparing the two.

Comparison of Dimensions Between Le Creuset’s and Cuisinart’s Dutch oven

ManufacturerLe CreusetCuisinart
MaterialEnameled cast ironEnameled cast iron
Dimensions10 x 10.8 x 4 inches11.6 x 11.6 x6.2 inches
Weight11.2lb12lb
Maximum temperatureup to 500 degrees Fahrenheitup to 500 degrees Fahrenheit
WarrantyLifetime warrantyLimited Lifetime warranty
Country of manufactureFranceChina
Dishwasher safeYesYes
Freshly baked bread in the red dutch oven

I love a good pros and cons list. Before I completely deconstruct the two products, I’ve made a summary of the pros and cons of both products. This will help you to decide which product is the better choice for your family cooking.

Pros: Le Creuset vs Cuisinart

Le CreusetCuisinart
Great heat-retentionMore affordable than Le Creuset
Oven safe for temperatures up to 500 FahrenheitOven safe for temperatures up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit
Easily cleaned; dishwasher safeEasily cleaned; dishwasher safe
Induction stovetop compatibleInduction stovetop compatible
Larger handles
Tighter fitting lid
Durable enamel coating
orange cookiware set

Cons: Le Creuset vs Cuisinart

Le CreusetCuisinart
ExpensiveProne to enamel chipping
Slow to heat Smaller handles than Le Creuset
HeavyHeavier than Le Creuset’s dutch oven
Only 2 colour choices

Cooking performance

Both cast iron dutch ovens have excellent cooking capabilities. They both retain heat very well and provide an even heat distribution.

Excellent for slow cooking, both products have great non-stick capabilities and can simmer foods for long periods of time without causing food to burn or stick to the bottom.

Even when cooking tomato-based dishes, neither product’s sand colored enamel was discolored.

Both products retain heat really well and can withstand high oven temperatures of up to 500o Fahrenheit (260 oC).

Verdict: Draw

Design

Both Le Creuset and Cuisinart’s dutch ovens have a similar design, with tall walls allowing you to fit large birds or meat loins without crushing with the lid.

Both enameled dutch ovens are porcelain-enameled cast iron, which does not impart any flavors to the dish, nor does it absorb odors.

Le Creuset

Le Creuset’s Signature range has a superior design than the Cuisinart. The handles are 45% larger, making them safer and easier to use, particularly when wearing oven gloves.

The knob handle on the lid is larger on Le Creuset’s dutch oven, which is ideal when wearing oven gloves, providing a much sturdier and safer grip.

The lid is much more tight fitting than the Cuisinart. With built-in lid stabilizers, this provides a secure, no-slide fit helping to lock in the moisture and preventing food from drying out.

Le Creuset comes in a vast range of colors, that will complement any kitchen decor. This is a real added bonus when using your oven as a serving dish!

Cuisinart

The knob handle on the Cuisinart model is the same color as the rest of the body, which is something to note.

The handles are much smaller than those on the Le Creuset dutch oven. While this makes it easier to store, it also makes moving and handling less comfortable, particularly when wearing gloves.

Cuisinart’s dutch oven is also much heavier which is another factor affecting comfort when moving and handling.

Verdict: Le Creuset

Material quality

Both products have a sand colored interior which is excellent for monitoring food when cooking. Ideal for browning meat and preventing your food from burning and sticking to the walls.

Some brands have a dark interior which makes it very difficult to see the progress of your food, particularly when cooking meats.

Le Creuset

Using high-quality products, Le Creuset’s dutch ovens are produced in France, and are actually lighter than the Cuisinart dutch ovens.

The enamel exterior really has been made to last and even after heavy use is highly resistant to chipping.

Cuisinart

Mass-produced in China, the Cuisinart enameled cast iron has been shown to chip easily with wear and tear. They are also heavier than Le Creuset’s dutch oven.

Chipping on the exterior of the oven won’t affect its ability to cook great meals, but it can create an eyesore.

Verdict: Le Creuset

Cuisinart Cast Iron Casserole, Cobalt, 7-Quart

Maintenance

Le Creuset

As a product that can appreciate over time, you want to keep your dutch oven looking pristine and polished. Even though it’s dishwasher safe, it can cause the enameled cast iron exterior to look dull.

That being said, putting it in the dishwasher won’t affect its performance or non-stick capabilities. Nor does it cause any chipping of the exterior enamel.

Cuisinart

The manufacturer’s label on the Cuisinart dutch oven says it is dishwasher safe, but there are reports of chunks of the exterior enamel cracking and chipping from using it in the dishwasher.

Verdict: Le Creuset

Price

Le Creuset

Le Creuset is the leading brand for dutch ovens and unfortunately, high quality comes with a high price.

If you’re wanting to read more about why Le Creuset is so expensive, I am here to help!

Cuisinart

Cuisinart’s products are definitely more affordable, which is what makes their products so attractive.

Verdict: Cuisinart

Warranty

Le Creuset

Le Creuset offers a lifetime warranty on all their products. Where a repair cannot be made, they will replace your dutch oven.

Cuisinart

A lifetime warranty is offered by Cuisinart, which covers manufacturing defects. General wear and tear are not covered. Be aware of this if purchasing as there are common reports of the enamel chipping and cracking. This is not covered by the warranty.

Verdict: Le Creuset

round blue ceramic bowl

Why Should I Buy a Dutch Oven?

Dutch ovens are a fantastic way to elevate your cooking. Used for slow roasting, stewing, baking and braising, dutch ovens are highly versatile.

Dutch ovens are heavy-duty pots and have thick walls and a tight-fitting lid. This design creates high heat retention within the pot, cooking food throughout nice and evenly. The tight-fitting lid also locks in all the moisture and returns the condensation to the food, keeping your meal nice and moist throughout!

Once removed, dutch ovens retain the heat and keep food warmer for longer. Dutch ovens also double as a serving dish, so this beauty can go from oven to table and look the part while doing so.

The opposite is also true: when kept in the fridge, it will keep food cooler for longer once removed, which is perfect for parties on a warm summers’ day!

red and black roaster oven

Are Dutch Ovens Practical?

One-pot cooking is such a joy for so many reasons. Dutch ovens enable the flavor from all the ingredients to combine and complement each other, marrying themselves together to create a flavor that will become a nostalgic memory for your family for years to come.

They can make cooking seem quite effortless. The full meal can be put into the dutch oven and left to slow roast, combining all the ingredients together while locking in moisture and preventing food from going dry.

Dutch ovens are also very easy to keep clean. The enamel coating is non-stick and even baked-on foods can be removed with a little boiling water or after soaking.

Their large size also means that one batch of a meal can be stretched out a few days, catering for lunches later in the week. This is perfect for busy households and takes some of the pressure off!

List of Reasons Why You Should Buy a Dutch Oven:

  • Highly versatile – can be used for all types of cooking
  • Creates high heat retention – Evenly cooks food throughout
  • Tight-fitting lid locks in all moisture – avoids food drying out
  • One-pot cooking creates amazing flavors
  • Easy to keep clean

Factors to Consider When Buying a Dutch Oven

Size

This is dependent on the size of your family and what you mainly plan on using your dutch oven for.

There is a huge variety of sizes available, but a typical family of four can be easily fed using a 5 to 7 qt. pot. (4.7-6.6 liters).

There are smaller and larger dutch oven sizes available, depending on your needs, and the price tag will vary relative to the size you choose.

Shape

Dutch ovens come in a couple of shapes – mainly round and oval. If you’re looking for something different, there are other types too – my personal favorite? A pumpkin dutch oven!

STAUB Ceramics Petite Pumpkin Cocotte, 16-oz, Burnt Orange
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The round shape is your standard enameled cast iron dutch oven. It has quite a good surface area and excellent for all purposes, including baking bread.

The oval shape may be better suited to those who frequently cook whole birds to accommodate for the shape.

Overall, no matter what frequents your dinner table, there is definitely a dutch oven suited to your needs!

Caring for Your Dutch Oven

As an investment piece, you’ll need to look after your dutch oven with the utmost care. After all, Le Creuset dutch ovens value can appreciate over time!

Whether you choose the Le Creuset or the Cuisinart dutch oven; follow these tips and in the future when the next generation is using your dutch, they will thank you!

List of ways to care for your dutch oven

  • Heat slowly to avoid heat cracks in enamel
  • Use heat-resistant silicone or wooden cooking utensils
  • Choose a dutch oven marked dishwasher safe
  • Avoid contact with metal in the dishwasher
person holding cooking pot

FAQs: Le Creuset vs Cuisinart

Why is Le Creuset so expensive?

Le Creuset has been handmade in France for almost 100 years using high-quality materials. Their products are highly durable and have a family heirloom quality. Their value will also appreciate over time.

What is another alternative to Le Creuset?

If you’re wanting a high-quality, French-made dutch oven at a lower price, the Staub cocette is your best bet. The Staub cocette (which is essentially a dutch oven) has a great self-basting function on the lid.

Where do Le Creuset and Cuisinart manufacture their products?

Le Creuset products are handmade in Northern France. Cuisinart products are mass-produced in China.

Staub Cast Iron 5.5-qt Round Cocotte - Cherry, Made in France
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So, Which is the Better Dutch Oven? Cuisinart or Le Creuset?

As you can see, Le Creuset’s dutch oven is the clear overall winner.

Both products have amazing cooking abilities and their functionality seems to be pretty on par, other than Le Creuset having a tighter fitting lid.

If you’re looking for functionality on a budget, then the Cuisinart dutch oven is the best choice.

It is a perfect entry-level dutch oven for those who are new to cast iron dutch oven cooking.

That being said, despite similar functionality there is a big difference when weighing up all the other factors.

If you’re looking for something that will stand the test of time, begin a family heirloom, (and are willing to pay the price) then the Le Creuset dutch oven is the one for you.

By Anna

Hey, I’m Anna; writer, editor and amateur cook extraordinaire! Food has been my life and my passion for the most of my life – it’s crazy to think I didn’t pursue a career in cooking. I’m obsessed! However, keeping cooking as an obsessive hobby has worked for me – my passion grows as the years pass by – maybe I wouldn’t say the same if it was also my day job! I hope you find cooking inspiration, entertainment and “stop and think interesting tid-bits” throughout my writing – and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got anything you want to share. Food feeds the soul – so get eating!

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