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Cast Iron Pots by Le Creuset

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PicklingJessica Aug 1, 2006 01:59 PM

I'm trying to decide if I want to pay to get a Le Creuset enameled cast iron pot or if a cheaper enameled pot will do. They are a quite bit more in price than non Le Creusets. Any experiences? Is Le Creuset outstanding? If yes, how?

TIA

  1. l
    lexi976 Nov 3, 2008 09:31 AM

    i have a Staub pot that i love so when i saw the cast iron pots in IKEA that looked very similar to my Staub, i had to buy one. i have not been disappointed. just make sure you get the ones that say Made in France on the bottom. i don't trust the materials of anything made in China right now.

    But my green Ikea cast iron pot is incredible. the dark enamel on the interior resists sticking (unlike my Lodge cast iron enameled pot with white interior) The Ikea is an incredible pot that rivals my Staub.

    1. r
      reahrendt May 13, 2007 12:34 PM

      check out lodge cast iron first. that is all I use

      1. bigmackdaddy Aug 5, 2006 01:39 AM

        Doesn't LC cast iron have a non stick surface? I'm asking out of curiousity.

        1 Reply
        1. re: bigmackdaddy
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          Nancy Berry Aug 6, 2006 04:32 AM

          No, it doesn't. Some of the surfaces are matte black, but they are not nonstick.

        2. r
          rainey Aug 4, 2006 12:16 AM

          I have a 25yo LC oval dutch oven, a 6yo no name French covered casserole and a 2yo Target skillet. I use them all all the time and am very happy with all of them. Of them, the no name thing (which has Staub-like interior spikes on the lid for self-basting and an exterior trench on the lid for ice cubes to speed the condensation) has a black interior and I guess I prefer that because it will age the best. But the LC has a shallow flat top and I'm able to use it for galettes of potatoes and I certainly like that.

          Mostly, I think the key is a generous, solid iron core and a thick enamel layer. My $25 Target skillet fits that bill as well as the LC. Don't know if they're making any casseroles or dutch ovens yet. I think their color scheme was limited to red and blue.

          I like the design of the Lodge stuff but not their colors. I also love the colored Staub with the whimsical knobs. But I'm not sure when or if I'll pop for those expensive items.

          1. m
            Miss Priss Aug 4, 2006 12:00 AM

            Most of the replies to the original post extol the virtues of the Le Creuset brand, and I have no quarrel with that--I love my LC also. But the specific question was whether a cheaper enameled cast-iron pot will do, and personally I think the answer is yes, as long as you choose carefully. I've had good experiences with Staub Basix (made in France) and Innova (made in China) and with any number of vintage no-name items handed down from relatives or purchased at flea markets. That being said, just buy what makes you happy!

            3 Replies
            1. re: Miss Priss
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              PicklingJessica Aug 4, 2006 03:26 PM

              Right, that was my initial question. I'm going to wait until there's a sale regardless and if I run across something cheaper I might get one of those. There was a huge outlet sale of Le Creuset where I live a few months ago. At the time I was battling poor health and didn't buy one, something I am still kicking myself for. We'll see what I decide on in the end but in the ones I've looked at so far, le creuset does seem the best. I've owned enough IKEA kitchen supplies (although people tell me they've improved since I got a frying pan that basically died in a years time) to know that buying cheap sometimes cost more than getting the real thing at once.

              1. re: PicklingJessica
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                Miss Priss Aug 5, 2006 01:32 AM

                Very true. Maybe the take-home message here is that while you can do all right with another brand, you can't go wrong with Le Creuset.

              2. re: Miss Priss
                rudeboy May 14, 2007 12:31 PM

                I agree - weren't LC pretty cheap back in the day. I remember the brown ones as being not that fancy at the time, but I'd bet that they were made as well (or better) back then as today. There's just more colors and marketing now. It comes down to the quality and thickness of the enamel and iron...to me, LC is too expensive in comparison. I have two, though, and I love them (wedding gift). Maybe I'd have 4-5 if I'd registered for the MBs!

              3. b
                Black Rolf Aug 3, 2006 06:05 PM

                Mario Batali has teamed with Copco to create "The Italian Kitchen" and they make a few wonderful pieces that are enameled cast iron. I recently bought the 6qt Italian Essentials pot and have been very pleased with it so far. The pieces are of a similar quality to Le Creuset but are a little less strain on the pocket book. I was lucky enough to stumble across mine in Home Sense for $49.99 but I believe the current price for the same piece at retailers is around $160-$170 Canadian. I saw some pieces available on ebay as well.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Black Rolf
                  Dommy Aug 3, 2006 06:31 PM

                  I think it's also the same stuff as Crate and Barrel:

                  http://www.crateandbarrel.com/search....

                  -Dommy!

                  1. re: Black Rolf
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                    faijay Aug 4, 2006 03:36 PM

                    I got one too. Great buy. Copco used to make great pots of this type under their name, so I am glad to see they are back int the pot business. Did you see the Wolfgang Puck pots?

                    They are heavy and gorgeous.

                  2. p
                    PicklingJessica Aug 3, 2006 03:44 PM

                    Looks like I'll be investing in the "real" thing, a medium sized le creuset pot. This decision was made after reading all your comments - thanks a lot :), and after a few hours at various kitchen stores today where I asked what they recommended. Le Creuset led, closely followed by another french brand. Also went to IKEA where I looked at their version before deciding that you are most likely to get what you pay for. I will go back for an LC soon enough. I did come home with a stoneware LC pumpkin pot that was too cute to leave at the store :).

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: PicklingJessica
                      yayadave Aug 3, 2006 05:36 PM

                      Before you buy, do check Caplan Duval's prices. If nothing else, you'll have a price baseline.

                      http://www.caplanduval.com/

                      1. re: yayadave
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                        valerie Aug 3, 2006 05:47 PM

                        After searching around a lot, last year I bought my first Le Creuset 6 3/4 qt. oval oven from Caplan Duval. They had the best prices.

                        Just one word of warning -- Le Creuset becomes an addiction very easily! (I just got 2 more pieces as a birthday gift--hooray!)

                        1. re: valerie
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                          PicklingJessica Aug 3, 2006 08:23 PM

                          Right, just what I need -- another kitchen related addiction, as if all the other kitchen stuff wasn't enough RLOL.

                          Thanks a bunch :).

                    2. Dommy Aug 2, 2006 11:36 PM

                      Our collection is in the Blue... :)

                      Yes, they are big... yes they are heavy. But they are my absolute FAVORITE pots ever... PERIOD. We use at least one EVERYDAY, several times a day...

                      We use them for the typical things, braises, stews. But we also use them for browning and sauteing. (Nothing caramelizes like a Le Creuset) and boiling pasta (The pot get SO hot, SO fast that it boils up water in no time!) As for storage, no worries about that for us, we wash them and place them right back where they belong... ON the stove to be used shortly for another meal! :)

                      --Dommy!

                      1. TexasToast Aug 2, 2006 11:30 PM

                        I've seen the IKEA pots in the catalog and wondered the same thing. I've not actually picked one up to do a comparison though.

                        I would like to start a LC collection, but they're so heavy and space is at such a premium; it just seems a waste of money unless you really get a lot of use out of them.

                        I think they'd be good for casseroles, stews and curries.

                        TT

                        1. m
                          madisoneats Aug 2, 2006 03:37 PM

                          I'm curious as to where you live-- I am in CT and we have an outlet here. Still not cheap-- but much more palatable!

                          1. h
                            Helen Aug 2, 2006 03:34 PM

                            But they are so, so heavy.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Helen
                              coll Aug 3, 2006 08:36 PM

                              When I first got my inital set of LC ( a really great deal from Chefs Catalogue, 4 pieces for $100 shipping included!!) I bought it for myself as a Christmas gift. As my SIL lifted each piece, she complained more intensely how heavy the package was, until the last box she just said "Pick it up yourself!!". But she seems to like everything I cook for her in them.

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                              PicklingJessica Aug 1, 2006 07:57 PM

                              I love cooking stews that you should cook basically forever and was told a Le Creuset is perfect, both for countertop cooking and for cooking in the oven. I really need a good cooking pot that you can pop in the oven (with lid). LC is about twice what a cheaper enamelled pot goes for. Is the secret to success how thick the cast iron is?

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: PicklingJessica
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                                rtmonty Aug 1, 2006 08:04 PM

                                It will retain heat better if it's thicker plus it won't have "hot spots." I've always felt that in cookware, thicker is better, be it stainless or cast iron. Thin cookware just doesn't perform.

                              2. frankiii Aug 1, 2006 04:39 PM

                                I have only one Le Creuset pot, a large "lemon grass" color dutch over. The only problem is that i have a small kitchen so it always sits on my stove (happily, it looks great). I am cooking some canelini beans with tasso and sherry in it right now. For slow cooking bean or lentil dishes i would not use anything else. The same goes for making cassole. You can get by with a regular cast iron dutch oven but i like that i dont have to worry about rust. The regular dutch oven is great for pot roast and braised dishes in the oven but i would not pass up my Le Creuset for anything. It is just right for certain dishes.

                                1. Sarah Aug 1, 2006 04:37 PM

                                  Ikea has come out with an LC clone for cheap -- has anyone heard anything about it? It's in their 2007 catalog.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Sarah
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                                    sarvey Aug 3, 2006 06:55 PM

                                    I saw the IKEA versions too. Please, hasn't anyone tried them out? I have friends who say that hte stainless steel pots IKEA sells are great. I'm hoping that is a good sign for the LC knockoffs as well.

                                    1. re: sarvey
                                      coll Aug 3, 2006 08:42 PM

                                      I'm currently shopping for a big roast pan for 30 lb Thanksgiving turkeys etc. I was looking at professional items, until someone told me that their (ex) wife had bought them a rounded cast iron casserole that was covered in metal. He loves it so much and is so happy that it is one of the few things she left behind. He was wishing he knew what brand it was, does anyone know, I need something before November!

                                  2. a
                                    amoncada Aug 1, 2006 04:26 PM

                                    I inherited one large 40+ year old LC pot from my mom about 15 years ago. The bottom has worn clear down to the metal surface so I ordered a large cream colored Mario Batali enameled pot for $75. Love it! The salesman at Marshall Fields (unfortately it's soon to be called Macy's) claimed that Mario's pot was slightly thicker than the LC. Marshall Field's price was $25 higher than the online price.
                                    I'm a big fan of Mario's cast iron cookware.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: amoncada
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                                      faijay Aug 1, 2006 04:35 PM

                                      I have an old LC--I think close to 30 years. It is a large oval casserole. Yesterday, at a discounter in Toronto, I purchased a round casserole made by Mario. I paid $50 Canadian (very good deal). I have been considering whether to keep it or not, since I was unsure if it would equal my much used and beloved LC. After your post, I am keeping it for sure, although it will not get any use until the temperature goes down considerably (still in the 100 degree neighbourhood.) As a matter of fact maybe I'll go back to the store. They had other sizes and shapes.

                                    2. p
                                      Pupster Aug 1, 2006 02:59 PM

                                      Enameled cast iron tends toward expensive. Still, I don't think there are very many people who complain that a Le Creuset pot is not worth it, as it really does a fantastic job and lasts forever. And they are pretty.

                                      One lower cost option though are the basic Staub pots sold on QVC. Staub is a very reputable company and their regular pots are on par with Le Creuset (some prefer them for their basting stubs in the lid). Worth checking out. Unfortunately, I can't vouch for the Basix line myself, as I don't own any.
                                      http://www.qvc.com/asp/frameset.asp?n...

                                      There are several new entries into the enameled cast iron market, including Lodge's new line, the Mario Batali brand, Chasseur and several others. They are as expensive as LC, so if you are willing to spend that much stick to LC and Staub.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Pupster
                                        Marge Aug 1, 2006 08:12 PM

                                        I own 2 of the Staub Basix pots--they are excellent quality, good looking, and far less expensive than Le Creuset.

                                      2. t
                                        Tugboat Aug 1, 2006 02:42 PM

                                        If want to invest money in your cooking equipment (other than a new fridge or dishwasher), you really can't go wrong here.

                                        They make what they make. Do what they do. And it happens to be very, very good.

                                        I waste a ton of money on gadgets and kitchen stuff (just ask my wife) but you can't go wrong with their products.

                                        I would not buy an entire set of anything (including LC), but one or two pots will make your kitchen sing.

                                        Their products are the things you cherish, fight about, tell people not to touch or worse demand during divorce proceedings.

                                        I have 2 pots that I love to cook with. My 5 year old son helps as well.

                                        And when he is going off to college or when he gets married, he will be able to take ONE of the pots with him. It will still work well in 20 years.

                                        And he will cherish it as well.

                                        1. c
                                          cheryl_h Aug 1, 2006 02:39 PM

                                          I have two Copco enamelled cast iron pots that are at least 20 years old and in perfect condition. I also have a French made enamelled cast iron casserole - I think it's about 8-9 quarts - that's as good as anything by LC. I don't remember who the manufacturer is. It was on sale probably because it's a weird shade of pink on the outside. Inside it's black. I use it a lot for all my curries, big stews and braises. It is my favorite pot of all.

                                          So my response is you can find equally good quality enamelled cast iron by other manufacturers, it doesn't have to be LC or nothing.

                                          1. r
                                            rtmonty Aug 1, 2006 02:33 PM

                                            I have two of their dutch ovens, both any number of years old. If you think of the cost spread out over almost a lifetime (they will last that long with proper care) they are really pretty inexpensive.

                                            There use to be a brand, Copco, that made the same type of cookware, enameled cast iron. If you can find any of it, it's very good, just as heavy as LC. I have a number of pieces of it, casseroles, pots and my prize piece, a paella pan that is at least 30+ years old. It still makes fantastic paella.

                                            1. wyf4lyf Aug 1, 2006 02:32 PM

                                              I have been slowly getting an assortment of Le Creuset on ebay. I have yet to pay more than $99 for a pot, and that was for a large 9-quart one. Smaller ones have been much less. It takes time to wait, but it's worth it. I now have 4 of them in different sizes and colors and absolutely love them. Why? Let me count the ways -- They heat up quickly and retain the heat. Fabulous browning and caramelization of meats and veggies. They clean up really easily. Even a pot of polenta that had been sitting around awhile. Just soak in some warm water for a bit and most of the stuff came right off. Very little elbow grease involved. Plus, they can go in the dishwasher...though the larger ones won't fit. Pasta doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan when I dump it in the colander to drain. The colors are wonderful and are decorative. I have mine stacked on top of my refrigerator for all the world to see. :) Oh...and you can go from stove to oven to table...they are wonderful on the table to serve from. Plus (and this may sound silly), I feel very professional using them!! :)

                                              Hope this helps.

                                              1. f
                                                fauchon Aug 1, 2006 02:07 PM

                                                I have LC that my mother purchased in the 60's. It is still perfect...no chips, no dings, no dents. Truly, nothing else I've tried does its job as well. Much as I love certain All-Clad & Calphalon pieces, I always revert to LC. LC is often on sale and the company has outlets that offer excellent deals.

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