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Le Creuset -- is it worth it?


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From what I can tell, it depends on (a) how much of a perfectionist you are, (b) how long you intend to keep the cookware, as opposed to having to replace it due to wear, and (c) whether you have someone else who will eventually appreciate the ancient-and-still-performing cookware. I I bought some Le Creuset (and Descoware) as a result of the topics linked below - at sale prices - and have never looked back. Nowadays I might go for the less expensive stuff although I've sometimes regretted doing that with other types of cookware. I like my Le Creuset. Do I like it 5 times as much as an equivalent Lodge pan, now that Lodge is in the hunt? I don't know.

 

Maybe others who have tried side-by-side comparisons will have more specific opinions.

 

You may find these more-than-a-decade-old discussions valuable:

Le Creuset Look-alikes at Target

Le Creuset

Braising: Le Creuset v All-Clad v Staub v Others

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I happen to like Staub, which is probably just as expensive, or more so, than Le C.

 

I've also bought a few pieces on eBay at very nice prices. They were used, of course, but came practically brand new.

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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When I lived in Portland there was a Le Creuset outlet store in nearby Woodburn.

If was fun to go there and find lovely pieces at discounted prices.  As a result, I have quite a collection now...almost all are shiny black or white.  I absolutely love cooking in them.

One of my oldest, scuffed up pieces is strictly relegated to making No Knead Bread.

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I've had a Tramontina enameled cast iron dutch oven for more than 15 years, and it's holding up just as well as Le Creuset. I believe it was the "knock off from Target" mentioned in the above threads... it was rated highly by Cook's Illustrated as the "best buy" for dutch ovens back in the day. The French stuff (and Staub) is very nice, but I'd never pay full retail prices for it. And luckily, there's so much of it out there that you can frequently run across deeply discounted versions at outlet stores / TJ Maxx / Marshalls / Home Goods / wherever. I'm more than a bit of an equipment snob when there are appreciable differences in quality and performance. But there's a lot of good enameled cast iron out there, and all or it seems to perform about the same.

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I'm using an enameled dutch oven bought from IKEA (5l Senior casserole), and am very happy with it (not that I've used it for long though- bought it this spring). I couldn't bring myself to shell out the amount of money Le Creuset and Staub cost (even if I had it xD). Those new IKEA pots are made in China (I think older ones were made in Sweden), but I have no complaints about it (I wouldn't think IKEA would stany behind inferior product).

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A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want?  - Oscar Wilde

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I have a Le Creuset covered baker I won in some contest. I like it, but I don't like it well enough I'd have paid LC's price for it. It's this one: clickety. Does make a fine pot roast.

 

I have the Tramontina enameled Dutch oven. Like it just fine.

 

 

Don't ask. Eat it.

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My mom and her cooking friend invested in the 70's. OMG as a youngster those things were HEAVY.They were also that nauseating mustard color though the ability to unscrew the wooden handle on the huge fry pan kinda cool.  Pretty sure they are somewhere in this mess. Whn they turn up I'll test drive the dutch oven for a no-knead loaf.

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I have a set of red/orange that my mother bought me about 40 years ago.  I added a big braiser 20 years ago when it was on sale.  Some chips on the enamel of the older stuff but it’s held up well.  Bought some bakers at Tuesday Morning about 20 years ago.  My son did drop a pot and damaged it.  Le C will replace it for 50 or 75% off, so I did.

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I am actually planning on selling mine after the holidays.  I have no room in my kitchen for them, so they live in the attic.  And even when I kept them in the living room closet, I hardly ever used them.  They are too heavy for me to use comfortably and I tended to burn stuff up in them.  I actually posted about it here.  So, for me, NO they are just not worth it.  But I know that some folks swear by them.

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I bought mine decades ago and mostly at the outlet store (back when there were true outlet stores). I still use & love my Le Creuset.  My favorite colors are the reds/oranges and the blues.

 

If I were buying now I'm not sure what I would get but I'd definitely consider the less expensive options.

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10 hours ago, Kim Shook said:

I am actually planning on selling mine after the holidays.  I have no room in my kitchen for them, so they live in the attic.  And even when I kept them in the living room closet, I hardly ever used them.  They are too heavy for me to use comfortably and I tended to burn stuff up in them.  I actually posted about it here.  So, for me, NO they are just not worth it.  But I know that some folks swear by them.

 

Heh, I am also selling my one and only piece of Le Creu.  I just didn't use it.  It's beautiful though.

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This topic is right on time for me since I just haven't yet spent myself into the poor house on kitchen gear lately! Seriously though, I have long been tempted to purchase an LC vessel; actually three: one each of a three, four and, five quart Dutch oven, however.......

 

Whenever I see a good "deal" on one at, for instance, QVC, during the presentation the vendor always steers potential customers away from using metal utensils and towards silicone ones and also states that LC is manufactured exactly same way it was from the beginning. I have watched chefs use metal utensils for years without scratching the interior which always leaves me wondering if there are substantial differences between the recent manufacturing/quality control of Le Creuset and what had been produced decades ago.

 

Do any of you have both very old pieces as well as later iterations? If so, do you notice any differences in quality/durability between them, especially when using metal utensils?

 

As several of you have stayed upthread, there are cheaper enameled cast iron pieces to be had which you believe work just as well at a cheaper cost. While I still might purchase a piece or two of LC, I am suspicious as to whether the latest products may have taken a few shortcuts in production for the sake of the almighty dollar.

 

Thanks.

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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I actually have an LC Dutch Oven from the 80s as well as quite a few newer LC cast iron pieces.

IMO the newer pieces are actually better than the older ones as far as scratch resistance and scuffing.

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I don't think it's about difference or drop in quality- personally, I cringe every time I see metal utensils used on enamelled pots and pans... They're just stating the proper way to use those pots.

 

I can't speak of longevity, but IKEA casserole I bought seems of good quality at reasonable price.

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A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want?  - Oscar Wilde

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57 minutes ago, divalasvegas said:

 

Whenever I see a good "deal" on one at, for instance, QVC, during the presentation the vendor always steers potential customers away from using metal utensils and towards silicone ones and also states that LC is manufactured exactly same way it was from the beginning. I have watched chefs use metal utensils for years without scratching the interior which always leaves me wondering if there are substantial differences between the recent manufacturing/quality control of Le Creuset and what had been produced decades ago.

 

 

I can't say anything about differences in quality, but I can tell you that Le Creuset was saying not to use metal utensils, at least as early as 2004.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Except for the tagine I had to import from amazon.fr none of my Le Creuset pots are recent.  At the time Le Creuset started manufacture I doubt it would have occurred to anyone to use other than a wooden utensil.

 

Why they don't offer all their products in the US market is what I don't understand.

 

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As an aside to this discussion- my understanding is that Le Creuset pots are smooth enamel, whereas my dutch oven (and as I gather, some newer Staub pots) are enamelled, but interior is not smooth- they call it matte finish... Is there any substantial difference in those two kinds of enamelled surfeces?

 

From what I gather, people say that smooth enamel is better for sauteeing &c, whereas enamelled surface with small dimples, as is the case with 'matte finish', should be better for browning. In my expirience, matte finish sautees and cooks just fine, as I presume would also be the case with browning with smooth LC finish (people have been doing it that way for ages). Is it the case of just marketing their choice, and presenting it in best light possible, or is there a real merit to those claims?

A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want?  - Oscar Wilde

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Thanks @lindag, @Smithy, @Wolf, @SusieQ and @JoNorvelleWalker for your feedback. Yes @JoNorvelleWalker I think you're absolutely right. It had occurred to me that, some one hundred years ago, it would be the norm to use a wooden spoon. I was so swayed/confused by constantly seeing metal utensils used by chefs, especially whisks, which I much prefer over silicone ones; personally never found a silicone whisk worth a damn.

 

Ahem, speaking of deals on QVC--yes, I'm one of those people--I kinda "accidentally" checked their website for Le Creuset and found this:

 

https://www.qvc.com/Le-Creuset-275-qt-Cast-Iron-Dutch-Oven.product.K47064.html?sc=SRCH

 

I am by no means as expert on good deals on LC as you all are. However, it seems to me that $99.00 ain't bad. The prices at other vendors online ranged from $129.00 to a whopping $249.00 at Macy's for the exact same piece.

 

It occurred to me that this would be a great starting piece, although I really wanted to have at least a three quart to start with BUT 2.75 quarts is pretty close AND it's free shipping AND it's only six "easy" payments of $16.66 AND if I don't like it or change my mind, I have until the end of January 2019 to return it for a full refund, no questions asked AND the only color left is cerise/cherry red which I love and, and .............. Knees buckling, feeling weak, please stop me before I shop again! 😁

 

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Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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