All-Clad vs. Le Creuset: Which Stainless Steel Cookware Is Better?

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Are you upgrading to premium stainless steel cookware, but not sure whether to buy All-Clad or Le Creuset?

You can’t discuss stainless steel cookware without talking about All-Clad. Since the 1970s, they’ve been leading the category with their made-in-America, high-performing, ultra-durable, and elegantly designed pots and pans.

On the other hand, Le Creuset is a French cookware company best known for its iconic enameled cast iron Dutch ovens, which they’ve been perfecting since 1925. However, they also offer high-quality stainless steel cookware that can hold its own against All-Clad.

In this comparison of All-Clad vs. Le Creuset, you’ll learn how their stainless steel cookware stacks up in terms of design (with lots of pictures), construction, performance, price, and much more.

If you’re shopping for stainless steel cookware, but not sure whether to buy All-Clad or Le Creuset, keep reading.

Note: Since All-Clad doesn’t make enameled cast iron cookware, I’ll be focusing this comparison on the differences between each brand’s stainless steel offerings.


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Product Offerings

All-Clad specializes in fully-clad stainless steel cookware. Each of its nine collections offers unique construction and features.

All collections boast a beautiful stainless steel interior, perfect for browning and braising.

Most collections have a stainless steel exterior, which increases durability, makes it warp-resistant and allows for compatibility on all cooktops, including induction. But, a few have either a copper or aluminum exterior.

The most popular stainless steel collections from All-Clad are D3, D5, and Copper Core. For more information on the top All-Clad collections, check out my article: Which All-Clad Cookware Collection Is the Best for You?

Le Creuset, on the other hand, specializes in enameled cast iron cookware, and they’re best known for their Dutch ovens, but also offer two stainless steel collections: Classic Stainless Steel and Signature Stainless Steel.

Le Creuset’s collections offer a stainless steel interior and exterior, and some pans are coated with a non-stick surface. All of their stainless steel pots and pans are compatible with induction cooking surfaces.

Materials and Construction

All-Clad and Le Creuset both make fully-clad stainless steel cookware. But what does this mean, and why is fully-clad important?

The cookware isn’t made of only stainless steel. Instead, there are at least three layers. The interior and exterior layers are steel. The middle layer is usually aluminum because it’s a great heat distributor, but All-Clad also offers cookware with copper at the core.

The layers are bonded together throughout the pan, not just the base. Each layer has an equal thickness, so the heat distributes evenly across the cooking surface, even up the sides.

Before I dive into the rest of the details, here’s a comparison chart that shows the difference in materials and constructions between the two brands.

(Swipe left and right to view the entire chart)

Cookware CollectionBonded LayersCooking SurfaceCoreExteriorPrice
All-Clad D55Stainless steelStainless steelStainless steel$$$$
All-Clad LTD3Stainless steelAluminumHard anodized aluminum$$$
All-Clad C4 Copper4Stainless steelCopperCopper$$$$
All-Clad Copper Core5Stainless steelCopperStainless steel w/ copper ring$$$$
All-Clad D3 Stainless3Stainless steelAluminumStainless steel$$$
All-Clad MC²2Stainless steelAluminumAluminum$$$
All-Clad TK3Stainless steelAluminum or CopperStainless steel$$$$
Le Creuset Classic3Stainless steelAluminumStainless steel$$$$
Le Creuset Signature3Stainless steelAluminumStainless steel$$$$

You’ll notice that Le Creuset only offers 3-ply with an aluminum core. All-Clad cookware’s materials and constructions vary by collection, so each offering boasts a unique cooking experience.

For example, All-Clad offers 3-ply, 4-ply, and 5-ply cookware. The Copper Core and C4 Copper collections have a core layer of copper instead of aluminum. Copper has high thermal conductivity, so it responds quickly to temperature changes on your cooking range.

Bottom line—All-Clad offers cookware with different construction to match your cooking needs, Le Creuset only provides one type (3-ply, aluminum core).

Design

All-Clad and Le Creuset both offer beautiful and practical cookware. But in terms of stainless steel, All-Clad has a wider variety of designs.

With All-Clad, the designs differ by collection, whereas Le Creuset only has two collections, both similar in performance and appearance.

Exterior

All-Clad cookware comes in a polished or brushed exterior; you can choose based on your personal preference. A polished exterior, found on the D3 and Copper Core collection, is shinier and reflective, like a mirror.

Which All-Clad Cookware Collection Is Best For You
All-Clad D3 (view on Amazon)

The brushed exterior, found on the D5 Brushed Collection, has a matte finish, which is less glossy. It’s fingerprint-free; there won’t be a bunch of smudges after heavy handling. And after a thorough cleaning, it always looks brand new. Plus, many customers claim that the brushed finish hides scratches.

Le Creuset, on the other hand, doesn’t offer a variety of exterior aesthetics. Their stainless steel cookware is all polished.

If the polish dulls, you can quickly restore it using a stainless steel cleaner such as Bar Keepers Friend (available on Amazon).

Handles

All-Clad handles are permanently secured with steel rivets for ultimate durability. They have a U-shape indentation at the top to help disperse heat and stay cool.

All-Clad handles
All-Clad handles

Unfortunately, not everyone loves their contoured handles. Some customer reviews on Amazon complain that the handles are uncomfortable, noting that they are too long, thin, and sharp.

For some users, this makes the cookware difficult to maneuver, pour, and clean. I’ve used All-Clad for years and have no complaints about the handle, but enough customers complain that it’s worth noting.

Like All-Clad, Le Creuset handles are secured with stainless steel rivets. Le Creuset, however, boasts more comfortable handles with rounded edges and the brand’s logo engraved at the base.

Some of their products, like the Signature 3.5-Quart Saucier Pan, include a helper handle to make lifting and moving the cookware a breeze.

Le Creuset recommends always wearing an oven glove in case the handles get hot — although they are designed to stay cool.

Lids

Some All-Clad products, like the D3 Fry Pan and the Copper Core Sauce Pan, come with stainless steel lids to retain heat and lock in moisture.

All Clad Stainless Steel Lid
All Clad Stainless Steel Lid

The All-Clad TK Collection offers one universal lid to fit the entire assortment of pots and pans, saving you storage space. However, some customers complain that the lid in this collection isn’t as snug.

Keep in mind that the lids in every All-Clad collection are stainless steel—so you can’t see the contents of your pot—and they get quite hot.

Le Creuset stainless steel collections also include stainless steel lids, but the design varies between collections.

The Classic collection includes smooth stainless steel lids with rectangular-shaped lid handles.

Le Creuset Classic Stainless Steel Cookware
Le Creuset Classic Stainless Steel Cookware (Photo Credit: LeCreuset.com)

Lids in the Signature collection have Le Creuset’s iconic three-ring pattern with the brand name embossed on one side, matching its trademark enameled cast iron pieces.

Instead of handles, these lids sport round stainless steel knobs, just like Le Creuset Dutch ovens.

Le Creuset lids fit snuggly, and some also have a dimple on the lid to control the steam output.

Overall, both brands produce elegant and functional cookware. Le Creuset might have the edge when it comes to handle comfort, but All-Clad provides many more options.

What Others Are Saying

Both All-Clad and Le Creuset have fantastic reputations. Let’s have a look at some of the accolades for each brand’s stainless steel cookware.

Good Housekeeping: Best High-End Stainless Steel Cookware Set — All-Clad D5 Brushed Stainless Steel (see full review)

Good Housekeeping says the All-Clad D5 Brushed Stainless Steel collection is “the Vitamix blender of cookware” and praises its superior durability and even heating from edge to edge.

The Spruce Eats: Best High-End — All-Clad D5 Brushed Stainless Steel (see full review)

The Spruce Eats showers praise on the All-Clad D5 collection for being “jewels of the kitchen” and “workhorses.” You can find everything you need in the D5 collection. The Spruce Eats loves the warp-free design, and the even heating and the flared rims that make pouring sauces super easy.

Wirecutter: Buy It for Life — All-Clad 3-Ply Stainless Steel (see full review)

Wirecutter refers to the All-Clad D3 Stainless Steel collection as quality, durable cookware practical enough to last a lifetime. Although it has a high price tag, it’s worth the investment. In their tests, this collection heated evenly, was comfortable to use, and was perfect for all styles of cooking.

Cnet: Favorite Overall — All-Clad D3 (see full review)

Cnet has awarded the All-Clad D3 as their favorite overall cookware set. That’s a big deal. They also state that while it’s not cheap, it should last a lifetime.

The Strategist: Best Professional Grade Cookware — All-Clad D5 Brushed (see full review)

The Strategist awards the All-Clad D5 Brushed collection as the best professional-grade cookware. They’re great for professional and home cooks alike. This set is durable enough to last a lifetime, and according to trusted reviews, food tastes better when prepared in these pots and pans. 

Good Housekeeping: Best Stain Resistant Stainless Steel Cookware — Le Creuset Stainless Steel Cookware Set (see full review)

Good Housekeeping points out that the Le Creuset Signature stainless steel collection is stain resistant and will maintain its appearance for years. Reviewers also note its ability to sear steaks to perfection as well as the collection’s beautiful aesthetic.

BBC Good Food: Best Investment Saucepan Set — Le Creuset Stainless Steel (see full review)

The BBC Good Food team has awarded the Le Creuset stainless steel saucepan for being the most long-lasting investment. They note that the cookware ensures fast and even heating with the secure lids locking in moisture and flavor.

Independent: Top 3 — Le Creuset Stainless Steel Saucepan (see full review)

Out of 11 amazing cookware collections, Independent has awarded Le Creuset as number three, saying that these pieces are “hard to fault.” The lids and handles are great; the steel can handle any utensils; there are helpful capacity markers, and the round pouring rim is a fantastic feature. 

Overall, All-Clad gets more accolades because they specialize in stainless steel cookware, and they built their entire reputation on it, whereas Le Creuset is better known for their dutch ovens. However, both brands receive high praise overall.

Price

All-Clad and Le Creuset are premium brands; therefore, their stainless steel cookware comes with a premium price tag.

When you compare the All-Clad D3 collection and Le Creuset’s Classic and Signature collection — which are both similarly constructed — the prices are similar.

All-Clad, despite its reputation, is slightly less expensive than some of the Le Creuset cookware items. For example, the All-Clad D3 12-inch Fry Pan (including the lid) is typically less costly than the Le Creuset Signature 12-inch Fry Pan (with no lid), but the exact price depends on where you buy.

However, when you look at All-Clad’s higher-end collections, like the Copper Core, the prices are higher than Le Creuset. For example, the Copper Core 12-inch fry pan is much more expensive than Le Creuset Signature 12-inch frying pan.

You can compare prices for more All-Clad and Le Creuset products on Amazon using the links below:

All-Clad and Le Creuset FAQs

Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about each brand.

Where Do They Make Their Cookware?

Most of the All-Clad collections are made in the United States — Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, just outside of Pittsburgh, to be exact. But the HA1 collection, made of hard-anodized aluminum, is made in China. Le Creuset cookware is either made in France, Portugal, or Thailand.

Is It Oven-Safe?

Yes — both brands offer oven-safe stainless steel cookware. All-Clad’s cookware is oven-safe up to at least 500°F, but the D3 Collection, Copper Core, and D5 Collection are oven-safe up to 600°F. Le Creuset’s stainless steel collections are oven safe up to 500°F.

Is It Dishwasher-Safe?

All-Clad stainless steel collections — including the D3, D5 Brushed, D5, and Copper Core — are all dishwasher safe. However, some of their other collections, such as the C4 Copper Collection, are handwash only. Le Creuset stainless steel collections are dishwasher safe, except for the pans with a non-stick coating.

Is It Compatible With Induction Cooktops?

Le Creuset stainless steel collections are compatible with induction cooktops. The All-Clad D3, D5, Copper Core, and TK collections are compatible with induction, but the C4 Copper, LTD, and Master Chef collections are not.

Does It Come With a Warranty?

All-Clad and Le Creuset offer limited lifetime warranties (All-Clad’s warranty, Le Creuset’s warranty) for all their cookware. As long as you use the products correctly and follow care instructions, they promise to replace or repair any cookware with material or construction defects. Their warranty doesn’t cover anything used in commercial spaces or normal wear-and-tear.

Where Can You Buy It?

You can buy All-Clad and Le Creuset stainless steel cookware on their official websites (All-Clad.com, LeCreuset.com). It’s also simple to purchase both brands on Amazon (All-Clad, Le Creuset), although the Le Creuset Classic collection is only available on LeCreuset.com. You can also find All-Clad and Le Creuset at major retailers, including Williams Sonoma, Macy’s, and Bed, Bath & Beyond.

What’s the story behind the names?

There’s a story behind every brand name. All-Clad’s name is rooted in the fact that they were the first brand to produce fully-clad (i.e., all-clad) cookware. Le Creuset is french for “the crucible.” A crucible is a container in which metals are melted or subject to high temperatures. The name, Le Creuset, is inspired by the bright orange color of cast iron when it’s inside a crucible — and this color has become a signature to the brand.

Bottom Line: Should You Buy All-Clad or Le Creuset?  

When you’re deciding between All-Clad and Le Creuset stainless steel cookware, it’s not a question of which brand is the best—they’re both excellent. It’s a matter of determining which brand is right for you.

Let’s recap the key differences:

  • Options: All-Clad specializes in stainless steel cookware and offers nine unique collections. Le Creuset is famous for it’s enameled cast iron cookware and only offers two stainless steel collections. So, with All-Clad, you get a lot more variety and options.
  • Construction and Materials: All-Clad’s construction varies by collection; you can pick the right one for your cooking needs. Le Creuset only offers 3-ply construction with an aluminum core.
  • Design: Both brands have an attractive and functional design. All-Clad offers more variety (copper exterior, copper ring), but some customers complain that the handles are uncomfortable.
  • Accolades: All-Clad receives much more praise and accolades for its stainless steel cookware, but that’s its primary product line. Le Creuset gets lots of recognition for its Dutch ovens, but only a few shoutouts for its stainless steel cookware.
  • Price: Both brands are expensive. In some cases, All-Clad is more expensive, but in others, Le Creuset is the most costly option. Pricing varies by product and retailer. Shop around and explore all the options to get the best deal.
  • Oven-Safe Temperature: Both are oven-safe, but All-Clad can handle up to 600°F, and Le Creuset can handle up to 500°F.
  • Induction Compatibility: All Le Creuset collections are induction-compatible. Most All-Clad collections are induction-compatible, but a few are not.

You can’t go wrong with either brand, but if you need a little nudge to help you decide, I recommend going with All-Clad.

Why?

Because All-Clad has a long track record of performance and durability, and they provide several options for cooks of all skill levels.

If you want standard 3-ply cookware that performs exceptionally well and won’t break the bank, go with the D3 collection.

If you want cookware that’s a bit more forgiving (slower to respond to temperature changes), the D5 collection is your best bet.

If you want responsive cookware that provides more control, I recommend the Copper Core or C4 Copper collections.

Even though-Clad is expensive; it’s worth the investment since it lasts forever.

With that said, Le Creuset is a trusted cookware brand dedicated to quality craftsmanship. Its stainless steel collections are limited, but they cover the needs of most home cooks. If you prefer the design and feel (especially the handles) of Le Creuset, go with it. You won’t regret it.

You can check out both All-Clad and Le Creuset stainless steel cookware on Amazon at the links below:

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