If Dyson is the hallmark of “making it” with vacuums, Le Creuset is the status brand for cookware. The shape, the bold colors and the heirloom potential make it one of the most coveted items for a kitchen, especially on a wedding registry — and for good reason.
The Le Creuset Dutch Oven is one of the world’s best-performing pots because it goes through an intense inspection process to ensure its quality. But what is it about Le Creuset that makes it the best of the best?
What Is Le Creuset?
Founded in 1925, Le Creuset pioneered colorful cookware that didn’t compromise on build and quality. It started during an era when cookware was utilitarian, everything is black or gray. So two French artisans, Armand Desaegher, a casting specialist, and Octave Aubecq, an enameling expert, created a cast-iron pot glazed with a layer of colorful enamel. Their ironic first color, Volcanique (known today as Flame) was inspired by the glowing orange hue of molten iron.
The Iconic Le Creuset Dutch Oven
Fun fact: Le Creuset’s Dutch oven isn’t, well, an actual Dutch oven. Dutch ovens have raw cast iron to create a nonstick surface. We use them for moist cooking methods and for baking and deep-frying. Because Le Creuset’s Dutch oven is a cast iron pot glazed with an enamel coating, it is technically a French oven or “cocotte.” In order to remain consistent and familiar in the U.S. market, Le Creuset named their famous pot the Dutch Oven rather than the French oven.
Despite its international growth and expansion, Le Creuset’s enameled cast-irons continue to be manufactured in the Fresnoy-le-Grand foundry in France. Each piece goes through six inspections to ensure they are perfect.
Today, the Le Creuset Dutch Oven is the brand’s most popular item that is sold in over 60 countries. It’s famous, not only for its color and high price tag but for being one of the best heavy-duty pots out there. The enamel is easy to clean and the innovative, thin cast iron with tight-sealed lids allows for even heat distribution and retention.
The Le Creuset Lifetime Warranty
The lifetime warranty covers Le Creuset’s entire enameled cast iron line. Yes, lifetime. Of course, you cannot sabotage your pot to swap it for a new one. They will replace your cast iron cookware for free if it breaks during normal use. This warranty covers nothing that isn’t under the cookware instructions.
Other lines from Le Creuset also have generous warranties, so even if you don’t end up with a cast iron line product, check out their site for the fine print of what is and isn’t covered.
Things to Consider When You Invest in Le Creuset Products
For the Le Creuset Dutch Oven, you want to think about what you’ll use it for. Will you be making stews and soups or will you use it more for roasts and braises? Stews require tall sides and not as much width, while roasting or braising requires a wider base for proper cooking.
Luckily, Le Creuset doesn’t discriminate against foods and comes in a wide variety of sizes. Their smallest is the one-third quart Cast Iron Mini Cocotte, and the largest is the Oval Dutch Oven with a capacity of over 15 quarts. The brand’s bestselling size is the 5.5-quart Round Dutch Oven and the 6.75-quart Oval Dutch Oven; both can make between four to six servings of food.
Another thing to consider is: Will your cooktop accommodate other pots and pans when you’re using the Dutch oven? Keep that in mind when you’re looking into the larger size pots.
Because the cast iron has enamel, it won’t require the same level of care a regular cast iron would, but being mindful will ensure you have a quality Dutch oven heirloom to pass down to your grandkids.
Since the Dutch Oven has enameled cast iron, you won’t need to season it like normal cast iron. However, the enamel doesn’t mean that it’s damage-proof. To avoid cracks, avoid cooking over high heat and cool down the pot before putting it under cold water. And while the Dutch ovens are technically dishwasher safe, it’s recommended you wash them by hand in the sink with warm water.
If you’re going to pay the price for the gold standard of Dutch ovens, you want to clean them and maintain their quality.
How To Save on Le Creuset Cookware
Shop the Le Creuset Outlet Store
If you aren’t interested in finding more affordable options and are determined to get a Le Creuset Dutch Oven at a lower price, check out their outlet stores. (Yes, Le Creuset has outlets!) The merchandise coming into the outlets are ones that may have passed the initial inspections, but ultimately came with a few defects here and there.
However, just because it is technically an outlet, don’t expect the usual steep discounts you’ll find at other outlet stores. At most, you’ll find items up to 15% off. Occasionally, there will be additional sales where you can build your own sets and save more as you buy more.
Shop Le Creuset Sales
Retail sites also occasionally have Le Creuset cookware on sale. The only catch is they’re often only applied to certain colors and smaller sizes. In addition, limited or special designs (like a Yankees theme) can be found on discount — you just won’t have the classic look. Check retailers like Williams Sonoma, Amazon and Sur La Table for sales opportunities on Le Creuset merchandise throughout the year.
Shop the Le Creuset Black Friday Sale
Right alongside every other retailer, Le Creuset offers Black Friday deals. In 2021, we saw the Le Creuset Noël Collection Santa Claus Dutch Oven reduced to $320 (reg. $400) and 40% off the Le Creuset Signature 3.5-quart Sauteuse Oven, for example. So when you’re out holiday shopping this year, don’t forget to pop over to Le Creuset to see what they’re cooking up for Black Friday.
Shop the Le Creuset Factory Sale
They hold the Factory To Table Le Creuset Sale in different cities. They feature exclusive discounts on products from around the world, including limited-edition colors and rare shapes and styles that you can’t find in the U.S. Find out when one of these sessions is coming to a location near you.
Buy Secondhand Le Creuset Cookware
If you want a Le Creuset without spending $350 plus on it, consider buying secondhand or finding a vintage one. Two things, though: The generous warranty won’t cover your cookware as a non-original buyer, and if the interior has worn enamel, it will limit what you can do with the pot. If you’re using Dutch Oven as a baking tool for making bread, it may fill the role fine. But for braising and making soups or stews, having the full interior lining is crucial.
Is Le Creuset Worth It? The Verdict
Yes, there are definite dupes out there for a Dutch oven, but according to experts, nothing will compare to Le Creuset’s build, quality and longevity. This is something that can last generations — if maintained properly.
To have a Dutch oven that can keep its functionality and perform well for years and years makes this a worthy investment. You get a generous lifetime warranty for the enameled cast-iron line. And with the number of colors it comes in, it will look beautiful and match any kitchen seamlessly.
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