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Le Creuset vs. Cuisinart Dutch Ovens: What’s the Difference?

Are you shopping for a Dutch oven but can’t decide between Le Creuset and Cuisinart?

Le Creuset makes premium Dutch ovens that are significantly more expensive than most brands, including Cuisinart.

But are they better? Is the extra cost worth it?

In this comparison of Le Creuset vs. Cuisinart, you’ll learn the key differences between the two brands’ Dutch ovens. You’ll get the facts about materials, construction, design, sizes, performance, price, and more.

By the end, you’ll be able to decide whether a Le Creuset Dutch oven is worth the higher price.

Use the links below to navigate the comparison:

Le Creuset vs Cuisinart: Comparison Chart

If you’re in a hurry, here’s a quick comparison of Le Creuset vs. Cuisinart Dutch ovens.

Le CreusetCuisinart
ConstructionMulti-coated enameled cast ironEnameled cast iron
Exterior colors20+ colors2 colors
Interior colorsSandOff-white
HandlesSquare and wideSquare and narrow
Lid KnobStainless, gold plated, or black phenolic knobsEnameled knobs
ShapesRound, oval, specialtyRound and oval
Sizes1.5-13 quarts3-7 quarts
Weight11.5 pounds (5.5-quart)12.5 pounds (5-quart)
Where It’s MadeFranceChina
Most Common ComplaintPriceChipped enamel
Price$$$$ (view on Amazon)$$ (view on Amazon)

Difference 1: Construction Quality

Le Creuset Dutch ovens have a cast iron base and lid coated in a multi-layer enamel finish.

Le Creuset Dutch Oven
Le Creuset Dutch Oven

The cast iron is a proprietary mix of pure and recycled iron that is heated until molten. Cookware artisans pour the liquid iron into sand molds to give each Dutch oven its shape.

Before enamel application, Le Creuset blasts the cookware with a gritty substance. The blasting process improves the longevity of the enamel because it makes the Dutch ovens porous. Le Creuset applies a primer and two coats of enamel to each piece.

At least 30 skilled workers touch each Le Creuset Dutch oven during manufacturing. If a Dutch oven fails a quality check, workers send it to the melting cauldron, and the process begins again. Watch this video to see how a Le Creuset Dutch oven is made.

Cuisinart Dutch ovens are also made with a cast iron base and an enamel coating inside and out.

Cuisinart Dutch oven
Cuisinart Dutch oven

However, Cuisinart doesn’t offer insights into its manufacturing process, and independent tests reveal that Cuisinart enamel is more likely to chip.

Chipped enamel on a Cuisinart Dutch oven
Chipped enamel on a Cuisinart Dutch oven

I also noticed that while Le Creuset’s enamel is completely smooth, Cuisinart’s enamel is smooth in some areas and rough and bumpy in others.

Cuisinart Dutch oven bumpy interior texture
Cuisinart Dutch oven bumpy interior texture

There is a noticeable bubble on the interior enamel of the Cuisinart Dutch oven I tested.

Cuisinart Dutch oven inconsistent interior texture
Cuisinart Dutch oven inconsistent interior texture

Although these imperfections don’t impact performance, they’re a sign that Cuisinart’s quality control isn’t as strict as Le Creuset’s.

Le Creuset has a long history of perfecting its Dutch oven construction (since 1925).

Conversely, Dutch ovens are not Cuisinart’s primary offering. The brand was founded in 1971 with the launch of its innovative food processor. Dutch ovens came along much later and today remain one of the brand’s secondary products.

Difference 2: Exterior Colors

With Le Creuset, you get at least 20 different color options. Some have one solid color, but most have a two-tone gradient appearance where the colors gradually blend, showcasing light and dark tones.

Le Creuset versus Cuisinart Dutch oven exterior colors
Le Creuset (left), Cuisinart (right)

You can choose from colors like Olive, Nectar, Fig, and Flame. Flame features the iconic orange-red hue — Le Creuset’s first color and most popular.

Cuisinart offers two colors for its enameled cast iron Dutch ovens: red and blue. They feature a high-gloss appearance like Le Creuset but do not have a gradient. Instead, the entire cookware exterior is one solid color.

If you’re looking for a specific color, Le Creuset provides more variety. You can use both as serving dishes, but Le Creuset has more options if you want something to match your kitchen decor.

Difference 3: Interior Color

Both options have a smooth interior. However, Le Creuset features a sand-colored hue, while Cuisinart’s interior is off-white.

Le Creuset versus Cuisinart Dutch oven interiors
Le Creuset (left), Cuisinart (right)

Because of its lighter color, Cuisinart’s interior stains and discoloration are more noticeable. That said, the difference is minimal, and you can remove stains by following the tips in this guide.

Difference 4: Handles

Both feature loop-style handles, but Le Creuset handles have a wider opening than Cuisinart.

Le Creuset versus Cuisinart Dutch oven handles
Le Creuset (left), Cuisinart (right)

Cuisinart handles are more squared and narrow. They’re much harder to grip, especially if you use oven mitts or bulky pot holders.

Cuisinart Dutch oven handles
Cuisinart Dutch oven handles
Le Creuset large Dutch oven handles
Le Creuset Dutch oven handles

When Choosing a Dutch oven, handles make a difference because these pots are heavy (especially when you add food). Plus, the pots and handles get extremely hot. 

Loop-style handles are ideal because you can get a secure grip. The larger the loops, the better.

Difference 5: Lid Knobs

Le Creuset lid knobs are round, but the brand also offers uniquely shaped knobs on special edition offerings. For example, the Harry Potter Signature Round Dutch Oven knob is shaped like a lightning bolt.

Most Le Creuset knobs are oven-safe up to 500°F, including the stainless steel, light gold-, gold-, copper-, and brass-colored knobs. The black phenolic knob is oven-safe up to 390°F (Note: William Sonoma claims it’s safe up to 500°F).

All Le Creuset knobs are slightly textured, so you can get an excellent grip and pick them up securely, even with an oven mitt. The round Le Creuset knobs have the brand name etched across the top.

Le Creuset Dutch oven lid knob
Le Creuset Dutch oven lid knob

Style-wise, Cuisinart knobs are the same color as the Dutch oven. The knobs have the same oven-safe temperature as the base (500°F).

The stem of Cuisinart lid knobs is slimmer than Le Creuset’s.

Cuisinart Dutch oven lid knob
Cuisinart Dutch oven lid knob

While both allow you to get a firm grip, the thicker Le Creuset stem gives you more control since there’s more to hold.

Le Creuset and Cuisinart Dutch oven lid knobs
Le Creuset (left), Cuisinart (right)

Difference 6: Shapes

Round Dutch ovens are perfect for casseroles, small cuts of meat, and other one-pot meals. Oval Dutch ovens offer the added versatility of cooking longer cuts of meat or vegetables that will not fit in a round pot.

Both Le Creuset and Cuisinart offer round and oval-shaped Dutch ovens. But Le Creuset also makes specialty-shaped Dutch ovens like pumpkins or hearts.

Check out this comparison of oval vs. round Dutch ovens if you’re unsure which shape is right for you.

Difference 7: Sizes

Le Creuset offers multiple sizes in round and oval Dutch ovens, from 1.5 quarts to 15.5 quarts. Plus, you can choose from shallow or deep Dutch ovens.

With Cuisinart, you can choose from three round Dutch ovens in 3-, 5-, and 7-quart sizes. The oval-shaped Dutch oven has a 5.5-quart capacity.

Difference 8: Weight and Thickness

All Dutch ovens are heavy due to their thick cast iron walls, but Cuisinart Dutch ovens are significantly heavier than Le Creuset.

For example, the 5.5-quart round Le Creuset Dutch oven weighs 11.5 pounds, and the 5-quart round Cuisinart Dutch oven weighs 12.5 pounds.

Le Creuset Dutch Oven Weight
Cuisinart Dutch Oven Weight

Cuisinart Dutch ovens weigh more because the cast iron construction is noticeably thicker.

Le Creuset versus Cuisinart Dutch oven thickness
Le Creuset (left), Cuisinart (right)

Keep this in mind if you’re looking for a Dutch oven that’s easier to pick up, store, and transfer from stove to oven.

Difference 9: Moisture Retention

One of the advantages of Dutch ovens is that the heavy cast iron lids lock moisture inside the pot, resulting in juicy, tender meals.

You don’t want a Dutch oven that allows too much steam to escape. When that happens, soups and stews will reduce too fast, and achieving the desired consistency will be difficult.

That said, some meals benefit from evaporation. In those cases, you can tilt the lid.

So which Dutch oven retains moisture the best?

To find out, I conducted a simple test.

  • I poured precisely 32 ounces of cold water into a Le Creuset and Cuisinart Dutch oven, placed the lids on securely, and put both Dutch ovens on the stove on high.
  • Once the water came to a boil, I turned the heat to medium and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes, I turned the heat off and let both Dutch ovens sit for an additional 30 minutes with the lids on.
  • After 30 minutes, I poured the water into a measuring cup to see which Dutch oven retained more liquid.

The Le Creuset Dutch oven retained almost all the water. Only one ounce escaped the lid; it retained 31 ounces.

Le Creuset Dutch Oven Moisture Retention Results
Le Creuset Dutch Oven Moisture Retention Results

The Cuisinart Dutch oven also showed excellent moisture retention. However, it retained 29.5 ounces, about 5% less than Le Creuset.

Cuisinart Dutch Oven Moisture Retention Results
Cuisinart Dutch Oven Moisture Retention Results

Although a 5% difference seems minimal, it can significantly impact results when simmering sauce or braising meat for hours.

Difference 10: Heat Retention

In addition to moisture retention, heat retention is another critical factor to consider.

You want a Dutch oven that maintains its temperature when you add ingredients and stays warm for long periods after turning the heat off.

I conducted another test to learn which Dutch oven retains heat better.

I poured 32 ounces of cold water into a Cuisinart and Le Creuset Dutch oven, put them on the stove without their lids, and set the heat to high.

When the water began to boil, I removed both Dutch ovens from the stove and placed them on the counter to cool.

After 10 minutes, the water in the Le Creuset Dutch oven was 129°F.

Le Creuset heat retention results after 10 minutes
Le Creuset water temperature after 10 minutes

The water in the Cuisinart Dutch oven was 128°F.

Cuisinart Dutch Oven Heat Retention Test Results After 10 Minutes
Cuisinart Dutch Oven Heat Retention Test Results After 10 Minutes

After another 10 minutes (20 minutes total), the water in the Le Creuset Dutch oven was 103°F.

Le Creuset heat retention results after 20 minutes
Le Creuset after 20 minutes

The water in the Cuisinart Dutch oven was 107°F.

Cuisinart Dutch Oven Heat Retention Test Results After 20 Minutes
Cuisinart Dutch Oven Heat Retention Test Results After 20 Minutes

Although both Dutch ovens retain heat well, Cuisinart displayed better heat retention thanks to its thicker construction.

I conducted this test with several other Dutch ovens to see how Le Creuset and Cuisinart stack up more broadly. Here are the results:

Dutch OvenWater Temperature (10 minutes)Water Temperature (20 minutes)
Le Creuset129.4°F103.5°F
Great Jones128.6°F102.3°F

Difference 11: Where It Is Made

All Cuisinart Dutch ovens are made in China. Le Creuset Dutch ovens are made in Fresnoy-le-Grand, France, in the same foundry where the brand started in 1925.

Le Creuset Lid - made in France
Le Creuset – made in France

Cuisinart doesn’t share much about its factory or manufacturing process. Le Creuset has perfected its process for nearly 100 years and is completely transparent about its process.

Difference 12: Other Products

While enameled cast iron Dutch ovens are Le Creuset’s primary offering, the brand has expanded its offerings over the years.

You can shop Le Creuset for:

  • Enameled cast iron cookware
  • Stainless steel cookware
  • Clad stainless steel cookware
  • Hard-anodized aluminum cookware with PTFE non-stick coating
  • Bare cast iron skillets
  • Braisers
  • Tea kettles
  • Cookware accessories
  • Bakeware
  • Kitchen tools
  • Tabletop (dinnerware, serveware)

Check out all Le Creuset products on Amazon or LeCreuset.com.

When Cuisinart debuted in the 1970s, its flagship product was a food processor. Today, the brand makes a variety of kitchen electrics, along with cookware and bakeware.

You can shop Cuisinart for:

  • Enameled cast iron cookware
  • Clad stainless steel cookware
  • Ceramic non-stick cookware
  • Hard-anodized aluminum PTFE-based non-stick cookware
  • Aluminum PTFE non-stick cookware
  • Copper cookware
  • Cutlery
  • Kitchen tools
  • Small appliances
  • Air purifiers

Cuisinart has a vast range of products in its lineup. Dutch ovens are not their primary offering, as they are with Le Creuset.

Check out all Cuisinart products on Amazon.

Difference 13: Common Complaints

In terms of quality, you’ll find few complaints about Le Creuset. The main sticking point is the price. Le Creuset offers some of the most expensive Dutch ovens in the world.

Other complaints, such as weight, slow heating, and stains on the cookware interior, are not unique to Le Creuset. These issues are common with all enameled cast iron cookware.

With Cuisinart, chipped enamel is the main complaint. Some home cooks report chipped enamel after a few months of use. Others complain that brand new Dutch ovens showed chips straight out of the box.

I noticed several imperfections in the enamel, including inconsistent texture and bubbling.

Several customers complain that Cuisinart’s light interior stains too easily. Also, some say that Cuisinart Dutch ovens don’t sit flat on a cooktop. And the lids don’t always fit snugly. Since these complaints aren’t the norm, it could point to sporadic quality issues.

I highly recommend reading the one- to three-star reviews on Amazon for Le Creuset and Cuisinart to get a complete picture of the potential downsides.

Difference 14: Price

One of the most significant differences between Le Creuset and Cuisinart Dutch ovens is the price.

For the price of one 2-quart round Le Creuset Dutch oven, you could buy two 5-quart round Cuisinart Dutch ovens.

Of course, many factors affect the price, such as the quality of materials, manufacturing processes, and where you purchase your cookware.

The high cost of Le Creuset might make you wonder if it is worth the price. I explore that question in my in-depth review of Le Creuset, but the short answer is it’s one of the best-performing and most durable Dutch ovens you can buy.

So, although it is expensive, you’ll enjoy cooking in it for years or potentially decades if you take good care of it. And that means no need to spend money year after year on cheaper replacement Dutch ovens.

The chart below shows the current prices of top-selling Le Creuset and Cuisinart Dutch ovens. Click the prices to learn more about each item on Amazon.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Bottom Line: Should You Buy a Le Creuset or Cuisinart Dutch Oven?

Now that you know the facts about Le Creuset and Cuisinart Dutch ovens, which one is best for you?

Before I share my recommendation, let’s first recap the key takeaways.

When comparing Le Creuset vs. Cuisinart, remember:

  • Both brands use a cast iron base and an enamel coating, but Le Creuset is more transparent about its manufacturing process.
  • Le Creuset offers at least 20 colors in solid and gradient-style hues. Cuisinart offers only two.
  • Cuisinart and Le Creuset have light-colored interiors, but Cuisinart’s is much lighter, and stains are more noticeable.
  • Le Creuset offers wider looped handles than Cuisinart, making it easier to lift the pot securely with bulky oven mitts or pot holders.
  • Cuisinart’s lid and knob are enamel cast iron. The entire Dutch oven is oven-safe up to 500°F. Le Creuset features detachable knobs in multiple styles, like gold-tone and stainless steel. Most knobs are oven-safe up to 500°F, but the black phenolic knob maxes out at 390°F.
  • Both offer round and oval-shaped Dutch ovens, but only Le Creuset offers specialty shapes like pumpkins or hearts.
  • Cuisinart makes three sizes of round Dutch ovens: 3-qt, 5-qt, and 7-qt. Le Creuset offers eight round Dutch oven sizes: 2-qt, 2.75-qt, 3.5-qt, 4.5-qt, 5.5-qt, 7.25-qt, 9-qt, and 13.25-qt.
  • Le Creuset offers six oval Dutch oven sizes: 2.75-qt, 5-qt, 6.75-qt, 8-qt, 9.5-qt, and 15.5-qt. Cuisinart features one: 5.5-qt.
  • My tests show Le Creuset Dutch ovens have superior moisture, but Cuisinart Dutch ovens have slightly better heat retention.
  • Cuisinart manufactures its Dutch ovens in China. Le Creuset Dutch ovens are made in France.
  • Le Creuset makes many types of enameled cast iron cookware as well as clad stainless cookware, non-stick cookware, bakeware, and other kitchen products. Cuisinart has limited enameled cast iron cookware options but a wide variety of kitchen products, including cookware, kitchen electrics, cutlery, and more.
  • The most affordable Le Creuset Dutch ovens are twice as expensive as Cuisinart’s options.
  • Most Le Creuset complaints revolve around price. Most Cuisinart complaints are linked to construction and longevity.

Bottom line — Le Creuset is the leading Dutch oven brand on the market. In fact, I recently named it the best enameled cast iron cookware brand. Yes, they are expensive, but the strict manufacturing standards, longevity, vast color choices, exceptional performance, and large handles make them worth the cost.

However, if you want to save money and buy from a trusted brand, Cuisinart is a good alternative. It performs similarly to Le Creuset, but you won’t get as many size or color choices. Plus, it’s less durable, and the construction quality does not equal Le Creuset.

You can buy a replacement Cuisinart Dutch oven if your first one fails. However, you’re better off paying more upfront with Le Creuset.

If you’re not ready to invest in Le Creuset and aren’t sure if Cuisinart is the right brand, check out my guide to the best Le Creuset Alternatives.

If you’re ready to buy or want to read more reviews, check out Le Creuset Dutch ovens on Amazon and LeCreuset.com and Cuisinart Dutch ovens on Amazon.

Andrew Palermo Founder of Prudent Reviews

Andrew Palermo - About the Author

Andrew is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Prudent Reviews. He began his career in marketing, managing campaigns for dozens of Fortune 500 brands. In 2018, Andrew founded Prudent Reviews and has since reviewed 600+ products. When he’s not testing the latest cookware, kitchen knives, and appliances, he’s spending time with his family, cooking, and doing house projects. Connect with Andrew via emailLinkedIn, or the Prudent Reviews YouTube channel.

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