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Le Creuset alternatives?

The better half has a bee in her bonnet about wanting Le Creuset cookware. The enamelled cast iron stuff. I have no objection to this but would appreciate some objective points of view.

Now, I had a mother who, as my very foodie father will tell you, could not cook anything - he makes his own sushie, has a selection of tagines, makes his own sushi, etc. Personally, my greatest victory in the kitchen is slow and low temperature salmon and homemade tartare, that's about it. I do not purport to know anything about cooking and cookware.

Le Creuset is not cheap, but the nature of good equipment is that its very seldom cheap. I dare say that's a point we all understand very clearly around here. However, before I go ahead, would anyone suggest an alternative with similar performance and a lower price tag, or should I just take the plunge and accept the costs?
 
Le Creuset pots and pans are now made in thailand as well, although the price is still
made in france.

I would say Lodge, Raro, Chasseur....all more reasonable.
 
Lots of good alternatives. Although I have a couple Le cruset that I do love, I use them any time I cook. Got them as wedding presents so didn’t have to spend the big bucks for them.
 
Specifically which pieces of enameled cast iron cookware are you looking for? Skillets? Dutch oven? Baking pan?
Lodge is generally a solid brand at a good price point, but there can be better options for specific pieces.
Another important point to remember: for some brands of dutch ovens, the lid's knob isn't always oven-safe at higher temperatures, and may require replacing with an oven-safe version.

Of course, you could always just skip the enamel and go straight cast iron. Even cheaper, that way. :001_tt2:
 

Doc4

I'm calling the U.N.
Moderator Emeritus
I got SWMBO a couple of enameled cast iron fry pans a while ago. She had a checkered past in terms of properly treating the seasoning on my cast iron cookwear, and they "looked nice" all colourful and such so more appealing in that way.

Fast forward a few years and ... the enameled stuff is sitting unused in a corner of the basement, and the enamel of one is badly cracked and chipped that started when "someone" tried cooking with it at "too high a heat". She is, however, a regular user of the good old cast iron fry pans.

now made in thailand ... although the price is still made in france.


Of course, you could always just skip the enamel and go straight cast iron. Even cheaper, that way. :001_tt2:
Yeah.

IMHO a good seasoning on cast iron is far easier to cook on ... far more non-stick and so forth ... than enamel.
 
IMHO bite the bullet and get the Le Creuset. She'll be happy and if she uses them wisely they will last several lifetimes.

Chris
 

Intrigued

Contributor
I currently have both Staub & Le Creuset in various sizes. I also had a Lodge. The enamel coating is definitely better on the Staub & Le Creuset. They all get a lot of use, but if I were starting from scratch, I would probably go all in on the Staub. It's black matte interior enamel does a beautiful job of searing meats and is much easier to keep looking nice without showing the staining that the white interior enamel of the Le Creuset will on occasion.
 

TexLaw

Contributor
If you can be patient and not terribly picky, you can find some very good quality Le Creuset on ebay and save a bundle. Just pay very close attention to the photos.
 
I got SWMBO a couple of enameled cast iron fry pans a while ago. She had a checkered past in terms of properly treating the seasoning on my cast iron cookwear, and they "looked nice" all colourful and such so more appealing in that way.

Fast forward a few years and ... the enameled stuff is sitting unused in a corner of the basement, and the enamel of one is badly cracked and chipped that started when "someone" tried cooking with it at "too high a heat". She is, however, a regular user of the good old cast iron fry pans.







Yeah.

IMHO a good seasoning on cast iron is far easier to cook on ... far more non-stick and so forth ... than enamel.
+3, I've both vintage cast black and one Le Creuset, which is ok, but not 10 times ok .. and mine (the LC) stained pretty quickly
 

Alacrity59

Moderator Emeritus
Specifically which pieces of enameled cast iron cookware are you looking for? Skillets? Dutch oven? Baking pan?
Lodge is generally a solid brand at a good price point, but there can be better options for specific pieces.
Another important point to remember: for some brands of dutch ovens, the lid's knob isn't always oven-safe at higher temperatures, and may require replacing with an oven-safe version.

Of course, you could always just skip the enamel and go straight cast iron. Even cheaper, that way. : 001_tt2:

Important questions.

I tend to like pressure cooking in stainless steel for stock, stews, and really more . . kind of supper things. If I'm going to take a bit more time for big batches of stuff on the stove top and oven I like the enameled cast iron. Fry pans for the morning eggs, sausages, potatoes, etc. my preference is carbon steel pans. I like cast iron too but they take longer to heat up a bit heaver to handle and a bit harder to clean.

I'm sure folk are going to protest. How can you beat cleaning instructions for a carbon steel pan. As hot as it is run it under water and let the sticky bits pop off. . . well my interpretation.
 
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DoctorShavegood

Ambassador
I bought the Martha Stewart's coated cast iron pots in 3 quarts and the larger 6 quarts. They've held up extremely well and the lid handles are very large.
 
Try a Le Creuset outlet store:

https://www.lecreuset.com/outlets

They have the cookware at discounted prices. Minor cosmetic issues in finish, primarily, and closeout items or colors that no one wants. My wife picked up a couple of pieces from our local store, and they're fine. The discounts can be substantial.

Don
 
Staub is a bit nicer than LeCreuset, IMO. Made in France. However, for most tasks, clad, carbon steel, or something else works as well. Maybe better. I have it all.

The Chinese made stuff will chip easily. Look for Staub on sale; worth the $, I think. Most enameled CI gets chipped in the sink. Heavy.

Suggest you start with one piece. If it gets used, add a piece. :)
 
'Staub' is another one in the same ballpark, no experience with either.
https://gearpatrol.com/2018/03/26/best-dutch-oven-brand-staub-le-creuset/
dave
I currently have both Staub & Le Creuset in various sizes. I also had a Lodge. The enamel coating is definitely better on the Staub & Le Creuset. They all get a lot of use, but if I were starting from scratch, I would probably go all in on the Staub. It's black matte interior enamel does a beautiful job of searing meats and is much easier to keep looking nice without showing the staining that the white interior enamel of the Le Creuset will on occasion.
+1,000,006

Definitely Staub fans in our household. Also, pretty much anything else in enameled cookware (ie. cheap) is the same as tossing your money into a big black hole.

I’ve gotten good deals on Staub at Cutlery and More. Recently got a very great price on a small 4 quart Staub Dutch oven at Bed, Bath & Beyond for $99.
 
This is the $99 Staub that normally sells for over $200. I may have said that it was a 4 quart, but I’m not exactly certain anymore, since the box is gone. The 9 3/8” dimension is pretty accurate of the diameter.
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It has only been used once, so far, by Mrs. OldSaw and she has decided to leave the ribbon on the knob for some reason.
 
I have 5 enameled pots that are constantly used from soups, to roast chicken, to ragu, to braised food, to stews like Nabeyaki Udon. 3 are Staub and 2 are from Founteau Blu ( no longer available). Yes, get they are good tool. My roux (and Gumbo) improved when I went to cast iron.

+4 on Staub versus le Crueset, or others. If I was high temp frying, then go Lodge, otherwise Staub.

Buy one nice pot, and if it works for you, you may grow and shift your cooking. Similar to my journey from cartridge razor and can foam to brushes and wet shaving.
 
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