A brand renowned worldwide for its durability and quality, there are plenty more attributes that make Le Creuset so expensive and highly regarded. Today we’re going to be learning all about this Dutch oven dear by investigating the reasons for Le Creuset’s good reputation and their claim to superiority.
We will also be comparing some cheaper alternatives and seeing how they hold up to Le Creuset!
Table of Contents
- A Little Bit About Le Creuset
- 8 Reasons Why Le Creuset Products Are So Expensive – The Benefits Of Le Creuset
- Is Le Creuset Overrated? – The Alternatives
- Are Le Creuset Worth The Price: All Your Options
A Little Bit About Le Creuset
If you haven’t already heard of them, Le Creuset is a luxury French cookware brand renowned for having high-quality colorfully-enameled pots and pans. They are most well-known for their “French ovens” or “cocottes” – a type of Dutch oven, but the full stock of their products is extensive. They have whole lines of different products, ranging from pots and pans to mugs, tagines, fondue sets, and ramekins!
French for ‘the crucible’, the name Le Creuset has a clever dual meaning. A crucible – also called a melting pot – is a tool used by blacksmiths that holds molten metal, and can withstand incredibly high temperatures. This is a reference to the fact that Le Creuset’s cookware can also tolerate high temperatures, and may also be a nod to the multicultural origin of the brand. Crucibles are also used to cast iron, adding another layer of significance to the name.
This TikTok also showcases lots of different Le Creuset products for anyone curious about the cookware:
Right, now that we’ve got all that down, let’s get started!
8 Reasons Why Le Creuset Products Are So Expensive – The Benefits Of Le Creuset
Heirloom Quality Cookware
During my research, the best way I saw Le Creuset summed up was as ‘heirloom quality’. Having gone through countless reviews, comparisons, and testimonies, I truly think this is the biggest difference between Le Creuset and cheaper cookware – and is by far the best argument in favor of this brand.
To provide some context, cast iron is notorious for lasting forever – provided you take care of it. But cast iron protected by a layer of high-quality enamel? It might just about survive the apocalypse! While researching, I found a vintage Le Creuset oven from 1958 that had *minimal* chipping. This photo below is of yet another vintage set, which the owner claims was sold to her for just 7 dollars!
Needless to say, there’s no reason to worry about how long will Le Creuset last.
How Does Le Creuset Compare To Other Brands In Terms Of Durability?
Anything made of cast iron is already bound to last for years. The difference in Le Creuset’s cookware is that it is coated with enamel – more importantly, it’s coated with good quality enamel. This is where other brands deviate the most.
The easiest way to put it is this; buy Le Creuset and the enamel completely covers the pan. It likely won’t crack or chip for years and years to come, let alone get the chance to rust.
Now, buy enamel-coated cast iron from Target. Your pan will probably look like it’s been through a warzone before long – cracked and chipped enamel, rusted areas, and a pan that is stupidly heavy to boot.
Le Creuset comes at a premium because it’s made well with quality materials – materials that’ll keep it working well for a lifetime. With Le Creuset, you buy once and cry once.
Warranties And Guarantees
Not only are Le Creuset’s products of high quality – they also come with a guarantee, no matter what retailer you purchase them from. The best part is that the likeliness of you having to use that warranty is minimal!
Maximum Oven-Safe Temperature
Enameled cast iron is a little different from raw cast iron. This is because enamel – especially low-quality enamel – is prone to melting at sufficiently high temperatures. Cheaper brands may not guarantee that you can use their cookware for grilling or outdoors on-the-flame cooking. Many even have warnings advising against using it for grilling or certain temperatures!
For example, the Lodge enameled is rated for 450-500°F (230 – 260 °C), depending on the handle type, while the higher-end Le Creuset products claim to be oven-safe at any temperature. On the other hand, Le Creuset’s Classic and Signature lines are only rated at 450°F and 375°F (230°C and 190.556°C), so this may be worth considering.
Something that may not be apparent at face value, this quality of Le Creuset’s becomes obvious when cooking. Le Creuset has been said to have much more ergonomic considerations in mind for those using their pans – and rightly so! After nearly 100 years in business, they should know a thing or two about what cooks want from their kitchenware.
This video not only showcases a lot of Le Creuset’s benefits but goes through which features are desirable in a Dutch oven and why.
In this department, it’s the small considerations that matter. Are the handles big enough for secure holding? Is the pan a good shape for self-braising? Will it fit in the oven? How difficult is it to move around, and is the bottom too dark to spot browning? All of these are good questions to ask when investing in expensive or long-lasting cookware.
Another example of these considerations is induction compatibility. While enameled pans are better for protecting glass stoves while using cast iron, not all brands’ enameled cast iron is induction compatible. Le Creuset stands out in that its entire cast iron line (save from stoneware) is compatible with induction stovetops.
Enameled cast iron is great because it’s much easier to clean and maintain than regular cast iron. On top of that, you’re free to cook with acidic ingredients! And if you get a pot with a lighter interior like Le Creuset, it’s far easier to tell when to stop browning.
Founded in Fresnoy-le-Grand, Le Creuset was thought up by Belgian industry experts Armand Desaegher and Octave Aubecq. Desaegher was a cast iron specialist and worked in conjunction with Aubecq, who was celebrated for his skills in enameling.
The company having been in France for so long has made a change in Fresnoy, and these enameled pots and pans have become part of French culture.
The products are made using good quality traditional techniques, with their own enamel ensuring the best quality. Some even claim that the way the enamel is created is a proprietary, industry secret!
While not all Le Creuset products get made in France, all of them have that European influence, and thus the quality awarded to these techniques.
Torn between a pretty skillet vs pan? Le Creuset cookware is esteemed for sporting beautiful, two-toned enamel – they’re the only company with this level of a tone shift, ensured by the company trademarking this feature. On top of this, they have some stunning different shapes to choose from. Just look at this downright adorable heart-shaped skillet, not to mention the flower pot in the video below!
A cheaper high quality alternative that can compete in this department is Staub. I’ve linked an incredibly charming pumpkin oven they have on sale here!
And finally, we arrive here. Le Creuset is an old, established brand with a good reputation, giving it one more leg to stand on – its name. The novelty, the care put into the products, the story, and the aesthetics all come together to create this. If they know that their brand is better, they can charge a premium, and while you are paying a little for the brand, the difference in quality compared to others is marked.
Is Le Creuset Overrated? – The Alternatives
I’ve created a table below so you can compare the different pros and cons of other brands! I chose to compare Dutch ovens as they’re usually what people are interested in when looking for enameled cast iron cookware.
|DUTCH OVENS||SIZE||PRICE||DURABILITY||GRILL SAFETY||ERGONOMICS AESTHETIC|
|Le Creuset||6.75 qts||$1,366.68||Heritage quality – 100/10||Safe||9/10|
|Staub||6 qts||$445.00||Heritage quality – 100/10||Safe||10/10|
|Cuisinart||7 qts||$191.41||7/10||Not safe||5/10|
|Lodge||6 qts||$115.22||5/10||Not safe||6/10|
Now that you have the stats, I’ll chime in with some extra information that I found in my research.
The brands mentioned most when Le Creuset came up were Lodge and Staub by FAR. In terms of price and quality, I’d put Staub a little higher up than Lodge, but both were well-liked. Despite this, owners of both Le Creuset and other brands noted a major difference in the speed of wear and tear in their cookware.
However, most people who solely owned cheaper brands stated that they were still pretty happy with their pans and that they do last a good long while! Whether or not these pots have warranties or lifetime guarantees available will depend on where you get them from.
Are Le Creuset Worth The Price: All Your Options
So, Is Le Creuset really the best?
In my opinion… Yes, Le Creuset is the best. But the good news is that not everyone needs the best! Le Creuset is best for folks who want a pan that they can pass down to their grandkids – it makes for an excellent wedding gift, but if you just need a pan that’ll last you ten years, most other brands should be fine.
If you want to experiment with cooking, maybe get a cheaper pan until you’re ready to commit to a Le Creuset. On the other side, if you’re an avid camper or like to use a Dutch oven daily, Le Creuset may prove to be a good investment for you.
If the price of a Le Creuset is too steep, there are a few different routes you can take! You could go to an outlet retailer for a discounted price, or wait to find them on sale. You could even search thrift stores for underpriced vintage pans! If you can get them at a reduced price, Le Creuset is worth it for sure.