Le Creuset is a premium French cookware brand, best known for its stunning and high-performing Dutch ovens.
Their cookware checks all the boxes—it’s well-made, beautifully-designed, durable, and versatile.
There’s no question; Le Creuset makes fabulous Dutch ovens, but premium cookware comes with a premium price tag.
So, is Le Creuset worth it? The short answer is yes. Le Creuset is worth it because it’s more durable, beautiful, and performs better than the competition.
- Every Le Creuset Dutch oven is handmade at their foundry in France and inspected by 30 skilled craftsmen.
- Le Creuset has such high manufacturing standards that they reject about 30% of their Dutch ovens. If it’s not perfect, they melt it down and start over.
- They offer over 20 bright and bold colors that make a statement in your kitchen. The color is applied with a gradient for a truly unique look.
Although there are alternatives for half the price, Le Creuset is worth the investment when you consider that you’ll own it for life.
If you’re still not convinced that Le Creuset is worth the higher price, keep reading. In this review, I provide all the facts about Le Creuset cookware that you’ll need to decide for yourself.
Use the links below to navigate the review:
- Le Creuset Prices vs. the Competition
- Why Le Creuset Is So Expensive
- History of Le Creuset
- Where It’s Made
- How It’s Made
- Cooking Performance
- Cleaning and Care
- Design, Colors, and Sizes
- What Others Are Saying
- Alternatives to Le Creuset
- Final Verdict: Is Le Creuset Worth It?
Le Creuset Prices vs. the Competition
Le Creuset cookware is expensive, but how much does it actually cost? And how much more does it cost compared to other brands?
Before I jump into what makes it so unique, let’s look at the prices of Le Creuset Dutch ovens across the sizes and compare them to the competition.
Note: These prices are pulled in real-time from Amazon. You can click on the image or the price to check out more details and read dozens of reviews on Amazon.
|Brand / Dutch Oven||Price||View Details|
|Le Creuset 5.5-Quart Round Dutch Oven||Amazon|
|Le Creuset 7.25-Quart Round Dutch Oven||Amazon|
|Le Creuset 5-Quart Oval Dutch Oven||Amazon|
|Le Creuset 6.75-Quart Oval Dutch Oven||Amazon|
|Le Creuset 9.5-Quart Oval Dutch Oven||Amazon|
|Lodge 6-Quart Round Dutch Oven||Amazon|
|Tramontina 6.5-Quart Round Dutch Oven||Amazon|
|Cuisinart Chef's Classic 7-Quart Round Dutch Oven||Amazon|
|Staub 5.5-Quart Round Dutch Oven||Amazon|
|Staub 7-Quart Round Dutch Oven||Amazon|
As you can see, Le Creuset is a significant investment, and it’s much more expensive than several other brands that make similar products.
Why Le Creuset Cookware Is So Expensive
Now that you understand how much Le Creuset cookware costs, the next question is: why is it so expensive?
High-quality materials, expert craftspeople, and proprietary manufacturing processes contribute to the cost it takes to produce Le Creuset cookware.
But, ultimately, Le Creuset is so expensive because people are willing to pay a premium for the benefits it brings to the kitchen: exceptional performance, stunning design, proven durability, and reliability.
Exceptional Performance: Le Creuset Dutch ovens are incredibly versatile. They’re compatible with all cooktops and safe in the oven up to 500°F. They’re also known for superior heat and moisture retention, making it the ideal cookware for braising short ribs or making a hearty vegetable stew.
Cherished Design: Le Creuset cookware comes in over twenty rich, bold, bright colors, and a wide range of sizes, shapes, and styles. Its shiny two-tone exterior is highly-recognizable. Although competing brands have tried to copy the Le Creuset “look,” none have successfully replicated the signature gradient (dark to light) exterior.
Superior Durability: Like a quality stainless steel pan or cast iron skillet, Le Creuset Dutch ovens can last for generations with proper care.
Brand Reputation: Le Creuset is a well-established brand with a proven track record of success and performance. Its Dutch ovens are handmade in France, with some of the highest manufacturing standards in the world. When you buy Le Creuset, you know you’re getting a finely crafted piece of cookware, but its reliability, authenticity, and quality come at a price.
History of Le Creuset
Le Creuset, which means “the crucible” in French, was founded in 1925 by Armand Desaegher, a casting expert, and Octave Aubecq, an enameling expert.
Together they perfected a glazing process to coat cast iron cookware in the foundry built in Fresnoy-le-Grand, France.
The result? A Dutch oven with a brilliant ombre hue. This color, volcanique, is known as Flame in today’s offerings due to its tonal red and orange coloring.
Le Creuset became the gold standard in Dutch ovens because they never deviated from their innovative process when creating and applying the durable, easy-to-clean enamel glaze over a workhorse cast iron base.
Le Creuset is most known for Dutch ovens, but, over the years, they’ve expanded their offerings to include:
- Oven-ready bakeware (stoneware)
- Non-stick cookware and bakeware
- Stainless steel cookware (fully-clad, tri-ply)
- Enameled steel cookware
- Kitchen tools and accessories
You can find all the cookware and bakeware options on the Le Creuset official website. Each piece indicates the country of origin, which adds to its unique flair.
Where It’s Made
One of the most appealing aspects of Le Creuset cookware is the fact that its Dutch ovens and other cast iron pieces are made in the brand’s foundry in Fresnoy-le-Grand, France.
Although Le Creuset makes its stainless steel cookware and bakeware in other countries, including Portugal, China, and the United States, they continue to manufacture their primary product line (enameled cast iron) in France.
How It’s Made
Le Creuset Dutch ovens start as a molten mixture of pure and recycled iron. Some recycled iron comes from Le Creuset cookware that didn’t meet quality control standards during inspection.
The liquid metal is poured into sand molds. Once set, the pots are cooled and prepared to receive sprayed-on enamel in multiple layers.
Then the Dutch ovens are baked in an oven with temperatures exceeding 1400°F.
After baking, they receive an additional coat of colored enamel to create Le Creuset’s signature gradient-style color. Colors seem to melt into each other seamlessly.
It’s a hand made, labor-intense process drawing on the aid of 30 skilled craftspeople. The rigorous quality standards and use of high-quality raw materials produce cookware that performs exceptionally in the kitchen, looks stunning, and lasts a lifetime.
You can see the manufacturing process in action in this quick video.
One of the best features of the Le Creuset Dutch oven is its versatility.
It’s safe to use on the stovetop and, due to its magnetic cast iron core, is compatible with induction cooktops as well.
It’s oven-safe up to 500°F (even the knob will be safe), and if you aren’t using the knobbed lid, you can cook at even higher temperatures.
Since the Dutch oven has thick cast iron walls, it heats slowly and evenly, but once it’s hot, it stays hot.
Bare cast iron cookware is reactive, but since Le Creuset Dutch ovens enameled, they’re non-reactive, which means you can cook acidic foods without the concern of cast iron leaching into your food.
The Le Creuset Dutch oven is also a master at moisture retention. Its heavy, form-fitting lid locks in juices, dripping them back into the pot and maximizing flavor.
Most Dutch ovens do a decent job at locking in moisture; is Le Creuset really better?
I recently conducted a test to find out. For comparison, I tested Le Creuset versus Great Jones.
Here’s a quick summary of the test:
- First, I boiled 32 ounces of room temperature water in each Dutch oven.
- Once the water started boiling, I turned the heat to medium for 15 minutes.
- Then, I turned off the heat and let the pots sit for an hour with the lids on tight.
- The Great Jones Dutch oven retained 26 ounces of liquid, and the Le Creuset Dutch oven and its tight-fitting lid locked in 7.5% more moisture, retaining 28 ounces.
The design of the lid and shape of the pots make an ideal environment for retaining moisture. Why is this important? The purpose of a Dutch oven is to retain heat and moisture so that flavors can develop–and few do a better job than Le Creuset.
Le Creuset’s long-lasting durability is one of the main reasons I believe it’s worth the high price. Although it’s a sizable investment upfront, it’s a piece of cookware that you’ll enjoy for decades, and many families pass it down to the next generation.
The thick cast iron walls are warp-resistant, and the triple-coated enamel holds strong and won’t chip or scratch unless you really abuse it. A quick scan of the hundreds of reviews on Amazon validates my point; Le Creuset Dutch ovens will last.
The brand offers a limited lifetime warranty on its enameled cast iron cookware, and they are known for unmatched customer support.
Cleaning and Care
Le Creuset Dutch ovens are low maintenance, but there are a few simple rules to follow when cooking and cleaning.
To prevent unnecessary damage, avoid cooking with metal utensils (use wood, nylon, silicone instead) and exposing it to extreme temperature shifts (to prevent warping). Also, use a pan protector if you’re storing another pot inside of it.
The slick surface of enameled cast iron is relatively easy to clean. For the most part, warm water, mild dish soap, and a non-abrasive sponge or brush will get the job done.
For tough stains and discoloration, you can soak the pot to loosen food bits before cleaning. If you need an elbow-grease kind of clean, try these tips.
The pots are designed to resist stains and maintain their vibrant colors. Over time you may notice slight cosmetic changes. But don’t worry, these won’t affect cooking performance.
Le Creuset Dutch ovens are designed to provide excellent heat conduction and retention.
The thick cast iron core allows them to gradually reach the desired temperature and maintain it to produce even cooking results, just like an actual oven.
The tight-fitting lid helps to circulate steam inside of the pot to keep food moist. Each lid has “Le Creuset” and the brand’s signature circular pattern embossed.
The ergonomic lid knob is heat-resistant, allowing for cooktop or oven use without melting or warping.
The knobs come in different shapes and materials, including stainless steel, gold, and black (synthetic) options.
The interiors are stain-resistant and light-colored, perfect for monitoring your food when browning and searing. Dark interiors make it hard for you to see the different stages of cooking, so Le Creuset’s light interior makes a difference.
Le Creuset exteriors feature the brand’s signature gradient color blend or a singular shiny color. They’re designed to resist fading, chipping, and cracking, as long as you adhere to the proper care and maintenance.
Le Creuset Dutch ovens come in a range of sizes, including:
- 1 qt.
- 1.5 qt.
- 2 qt.
- 2.25 qt.
- 2.75 qt.
- 3.5 qt.
- 4.5 qt.
- 5 qt.
- 5.5 qt. (most popular)
- 6.75 qt.
- 7.25 qt.
- 8 qt.
- 9 qt.
- 13.25 qt
- 15.5 qt.
With Le Creuset, you also have a choice of shapes, such as:
- Round (most popular)
- Round Wide
- Pumpkin Cocotte
- Chef’s Oven
- Fleur Cocotte
- Fleur Oval Cocotte
- Heart Cocotte
One of the most appealing aspects of Le Creuset is the vast array of colors available. No matter what look you’re going for in your kitchen; there’s a color for you.
In total, Le Creuset offers 22 exterior colors. Most have a two-toned gradient, meaning the color fades from light to dark. Below is a list of the colors currently available.
- Deep Teal
- Emerald Green
- Flame (Le Creuset’s first and most iconic color offering)
- Matte Cotton
- Midnight Grey
- Sea Salt
Some sizes and shapes offer more color options than others. For detailed information, check out the Le Creuset website.
While there are so many great things about Le Creuset, no product is perfect, and this is no exception. Let’s look at the downsides.
There’s no denying it; Le Creuset Dutch ovens are expensive. Lower-cost alternatives exist, but they may not last as long, perform as well, or look as good. The point is, you’ll get what you pay for, but be prepared to make a substantial financial investment.
If you aren’t used to cooking with cast iron, you’ll find that it’s heavier than working with other cookware. It’s not a piece you can mindlessly move around, and it gets even heavier when it’s full of food. The popular 5.5-quart Dutch oven weighs 11 pounds and 4 ounces. Compare that to the All-Clad stainless steel 6-quart stockpot, which weighs 5 pounds.
Resource: Check out my in-depth comparison of Stock Pots vs. Dutch Ovens to learn the key differences.
Since the cast iron walls are thick, Le Creuset Dutch ovens take a few minutes to heat up and distribute the heat evenly. Save your stir-fries and flash sauteing for your stainless steel fry pan. Le Creuset Dutch ovens are a low-and-slow type of cookware that takes a while to reach the desired heat, but it maintains its temperature once it’s hot.
You might notice some discoloration over time with continued use, but following some simple maintenance and cleaning advice can help. Check out my tips for cleaning enameled cookware.
What Others Are Saying
Here is a snapshot of some recent accolades Le Creuset has earned:
The New York Times named Le Creuset the Upgrade Pick, saying it’s the “kind of piece people pass down to their kids.”
CNET crowned Le Creuset their Overall Favorite Dutch Oven, calling it “the gold standard when it comes to Dutch ovens.”
Consumer Reports tested several top Dutch ovens and gave Le Creuset an Excellent rating thanks to its ability to brown and easy cleanup.
Business Insider named Le Creuset the Best Overall Dutch Oven for its versatility, ability to handle high temperatures, and extensive color options.
Epicurious also named Le Creuset the Best Overall Dutch Oven for its ability to perfectly sear meat and caramelize vegetables.
Forbes awarded Le Creuset the Top Option to Last a Lifetime, praising its ability to offer “decades of reliable cooking performance.”
Alternatives to Le Creuset
Le Creuset may have invented the enameled cast iron Dutch oven, but they are certainly not the only brand making them today.
Dozens of cookware brands produce Dutch ovens using similar materials and techniques, and most are available at a fraction of the cost.
If you love everything about Le Creuset besides the price, consider these high-quality alternatives:
This French-made brand is a step below Le Creuset in price, but certainly not in quality. It’s the closest you can get to Le Creuset in terms of options, performance, durability, and reputation (check out my in-depth comparison of Staub vs. Le Creuset). Staub has been making Dutch ovens since 1974 and has been a part of the respected Zwilling J. A. Henckels brand since 2008. The main downside of Staub is that they don’t offer as many color options as Le Creuset. You can shop Staub’s full lineup of Dutch ovens on Amazon.
Lodge Dutch ovens look closest to Le Creuset in terms of color options, sizes, and shapes. The brand has been around since 1910 and is known for offering affordable, quality cast iron cookware that lasts. Check out Lodge Dutch ovens on Amazon.
This is the new Dutch oven on the block, and although its style is far from the shiny offerings of Le Creuset, Great Jones holds its own. They offer an oval Dutch oven with a matte finish in several colors. It also boasts a smooth, lighter-colored interior similar to Le Creuset. Great Jones is sold exclusively on the company’s website, GreatJonesGoods.com.
If price is your main concern, you can’t go wrong with the Tramontina Dutch oven. It’s attractive and surprisingly durable for the cost. It’s a top-seller on Amazon, too. Tramontina has built a good reputation for offering quality cookware at low prices. To learn more, check out my in-depth comparison of Le Creuset vs. Tramontina.
Are these alternatives a better value than Le Creuset? Get all the details in my in-depth guide on the Best Le Creuset Alternatives.
Final Verdict: Is Le Creuset Worth it?
Is Le Creuset really worth it? Before I answer that question, let’s recap the pros and cons:
- Excellent reputation in the cookware industry
- Manufactured in the same French foundry since 1925
- Lasts for generations with proper care
- Variety of shapes, sizes, and stunning two-tone exterior colors
- Limited lifetime warranty included
- Oven-safe and compatible with all cooktops, including induction
- Excellent heat and moisture retention
- Easy to clean
- One of the most expensive cookware brands.
- Heavy and cumbersome to handle.
- Prone to discoloration over time.
- Slow to heat, so not optimal for quick meals.
Bottom line—If you’re going to buy one Dutch oven, and it’s within your budget, Le Creuset is absolutely worth it. If you want several or are on a budget, consider high-quality alternatives like Staub and Tramontina.
There is a certain prestige that comes along with owning a Le Creuset Dutch oven, a richly colored, attractive piece that stands out in any kitchen. It’s the type of cookware that gets you excited to cook and host gatherings.
- 5 High-Quality Alternatives to Le Creuset Dutch Ovens
- All-Clad vs. Le Creuset: Which Stainless Steel Cookware Is Better?
- Great Jones vs. Le Creuset: Which Dutch Oven Is Better?
- Caraway vs. Le Creuset: Which Cookware Is Better?
- Lodge vs. Le Creuset Dutch Ovens: What’s the Difference?
- Best Cookware NOT Made in China: The Definitive Guide
- Staub vs. Le Creuset Dutch Ovens: How Do They Compare?
- Lodge Dutch Oven In-Depth Review (With Pictures)
- Cast Iron vs. Stainless Steel Cookware: What’s the Difference?
- How to Clean Enameled Cookware: A Step-by-Step Guide
- Le Creuset vs. Tramontina: Which Dutch Ovens Are Better?
- Oval vs. Round Dutch Ovens: Which Shape Is Better?