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Le Creuset vs Emile Henry

So Le Creuset is enameled cast iron while emile henry is porclain - right? What's the difference in how they are used? Which do hounds prefer and why?

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  1. I'd have real reservations about putting the EH porcelain directly on my cook top to brown something it before braising. The LC can of course be in contact with a direct flame.

    1. Emile Henry has a new line out that says that you can put it directly on the stove, but I haven't tried one yet. I LOVE my Le Creust dutch oven...I'd have 5 if they weren't so expensive. I also love me EH covered casserole dishes, but it's not a pot that I would use on the stove, I use it for baking. (I've broken more than one by accidently putting it on a hot burner. )

      1. My EH busted apart when I (stupidly) but it directly on the stove. However for some reason I do seem to prefer it for oven cooking.

        1 Reply
        1. re: brokergal

          Was it a flame top type? Most regular ovenware will 'bust' if you put it directly on the stove.

        2. You're right that the traditional Emile Henry bakeware is not stovetop safe. I, however, do love it for a variety of roasting and baking tasks. I also own ramekins and soup bowls from EH and consider them to be of very high quality.

          Recently, EH introduced a line of flametop cookware (made out of fired Burgundian clay) that's can be used in the same manner that one would use enameled cast iron. I've seen the stuff in the store, but don't own any. Two advantages that seem readily apparent are much ligther weight and the fact that it's freezer and microwave safe for leftovers. These factors, of course, would be meaningless if it didn't handle the basic French Oven tasks as well as LC or Staub. Also, it appears to be priced at a level similar to Staub and LC, so it better perfrom like they do.

          1. Produce Addict, Mario Batali has come out with a line of enameled cast iron that is priced well below LC. At first glance it looks to be very well made. (He also has a cast iron, coated pizza pan that's on my short list to acquire. A gorgeous piece.)

            4 Replies
            1. re: Walters

              Le Creuset (and Staub noted below) will do the best job of retaining heat on your cooktop. It's available in lots of colors and sizes and willl last for many lots years. But it's very heavy and will set you back some $$. You may also get some minor staining on the white enamel.

              Emile Henry's flametop wear usually comes only in a rusty red or a black color (unlike their bakeware). It's 30% lighter, and does a respectable job on the stovetop. If you boil milk or rice in water in it the 1st time it won't craze.

              The Mario Batali pots look good, but they tend to chip and stain.

              Finally, if you like the look of Le Creuset, consider Staub. It's another brand of french enameled cookware. Made, I think, in the same town as Le Creuset and for about as long. It's beautiful, has a black matte inside finish (no staining). But then again, it's heavy and expensive also.

              If you really want good solid heat retention, and don't plan on using tomatoes or other acids, and want to get the best for your money, consider plain old cast iron like our grandmothers had.

              1. re: ducky

                I have a new Emile Henry Dutch Oven and it is in a color called Figue - a beautiful brownish purple! This pot is AWESOME! I had a Lodge Enamel Dutch Oven which went back to the manufacturer because the enamel did all kinds of weird stuff. I haven't had a LC yet, and am debating, which is how I found this thread:) The Emile Henry, by the way, recently boiled over on the stove and the uncooked grains CAUGHT ON FIRE engulfing the pot over a foot high! When the flames went out, I thought for sure the pot would be ruined - but it was perfectly fine! I continued to cook what was in the pot - it didn't burn at all - and then washed the carbon off of the pot from the fire. The pot looks absolutely new after all of that, if you can believe it. This pot is lighter than cast iron, beautifully made, naturally non-stick - everything slides right out of it - and it cooks beautifully. Since I purchased it about a month ago I use it nearly every day. This is why I am debating about a LC or another Emile Henry for a 7 quart dutch oven.

                1. re: dsarah3

                  I also have 2 Emile Henry Flame (stovetop safe) pieces, the chinese pot and the tarte tatin set. They are AMAZING!!! I also have not had LC, but I don't even want to. I bought a Lodge dutch oven at the same time as my EH, and did some direct comparisons in braising and making roux-based pan sauces (real time, both pans side by side, same recipe/ingredients). The EH prime rib was slightly more browned, and the EH sauce did not break, while the Lodge's did. Maybe this could have been fixed with some tweaking, but now, a year later, the Lodge's bottom is scratched (despite attempts to take care of it, although some household members may have been forgetful not to take metal utensils to it), stained, and lusterless, whereas the EH looks like the day it was bought. Plus, EH is lighter, goes in the microwave, fridge, and freezer, and can take temperature shocks and metal utensils/green pads just fine without changing appearance or performance. So as far as I am concerned, the verdict is clear, SO clear I am not even bothering with LC. As soon as I can, the Lodge will be replaced with a 6.3qt oval EH dutch oven (which, by the way, supposedly has basting spikes under the lid like some new LC/Staub. I hope this helps!

                  1. re: sunwaker

                    It does have the basting spikes, I have it. It works as well as if not better than my Staub.

            2. My Le Creuset pots are 30 years old, and if I have a problem with them they are going straight back to the manufacturer.

              A full large pot is seriously heavy. They hold a lot of heat so you need a good pair of oven gloves. Prepare your set-down place before you take it out of the oven. They will crack/break if dropped unless you drop it on your foot.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Paulustrious

                Oh yeah, that's a good thing about the cast iron LC; Lifetime guarantee.

              2. Emile Henry is ceramic, not porcelain.
                Some EH pieces can be used on your cooktop but there are others that can't be.
                Le Creuset makes enamel coated cast iron but they also make oven-safe ceramic ware.

                What do I personally prefer? Pillivuyt for oven-safe pieces. They are top of the line French porcelain from a company that's been in business for almost 200 years. They are durable enough that you can use them for everyday but elegant enough to put on the most formal table. Yeah, they're expensive but you'll have them for a lifetime. Worth every penny. Or get the inexpensive Chinese knockoffs. Either is more versatile than EH.

                1 Reply
                1. re: MakingSense

                  I don't know how you can say "more versatile than EH". EH flame top pieces are quite extraordinary. Fridge, freezer, microwave, oven, BARBEQUE!, Gas top, Range top, A nice rustic appearance suitable for all but the most formal hoytee toytee table setting.

                2. Here's a video from EH

                  Start watching at 1:40, they heat the pot to red hot and pour ice water in.........
                  And provided a chart showing EH's clay has better heat retention than cast iron.........
                  AND EH is 30% lighter than their CI competitors

                  But of course these are all claims from one side.

                  I would love to try one of their pots. I saw a whole bunch of them at the outlets for around $50 - $100 depending on size. However, I use induction for cooking hence me and EH will never meet on my cooktop.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: cutipie721

                    Heat retention is not necessarily a good thing - especially on a stove top. Fast and uniform transmission of heat is normally preferred. That's why copper is so good.

                    1. re: cutipie721

                      Its ability to handle thermal shock is definitely good. Nevertheless, many fragile cookware can handle thermal shock once or twice. The question is really how well a cookware can handle this in the long term.

                      The high heat retention can be a good and bad thing depending on your need. High heat retention usually means high heat capacity. It also means slow heat response. Afterall, a cookware which takes longer to cool down, also takes longer to heat up.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        EH heats up quite fast and quite uniformly on a gas range. Not as fast as Iron but definitely fast enough. We don't have an electric so I can't comment - but electrics are slow for everything.

                        When talking about the thermal property of materials ensure you distinguish between thermal conductivity and thermal capacacity. EH has a very good blend of both, the good conductivity means your pot gets hot quickly, the very good thermal capacitance means as you cook, the heat gets stored in the ceramic to be released later.

                        I have a couple LC pots, they are nice but extremely heavy when full of food, and they dent up my sink quite nicely. They are no where near as versatile as the EH, but they were not designed to be.

                      2. re: cutipie721

                        EH makes a disk to be used on induction cook tops. Here's the link to buy it from Amazon France (I live in Canada and it's cheaper to buy EH from them than to buy it here!).


                      3. Consider the warranty. My EH flame cracked on the stovetop and spilled my dinner just before the 3 yr warranty expired. They were good about replacing it but I've been afraid to use it since. I've since gone with Staub enameled cast iron. Both Staub and LeCrue are lifetime warranty.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: redbeanbun

                          Yes, me too! I have had several EH pots crack - now the lid for the replacement they send me has cracked! I emailed to them a few days ago and have not heard back yet....I will go with Staub or LeCreuset from now on!!!!!

                          1. re: redbeanbun

                            The warranty is 10 years so I'm not sure what you are talking about.
                            As for crack can you post a picture?

                            1. re: ThymeSage

                              ok not home now - crack is a hairline from edge to knob in middle. i'll plan to take a few photos when i get a chance.

                              1. re: ThymeSage

                                this happened a few years back and the warranty was 3 years then. if the warranty is now 10 years, all the better. i hope it applies retroactively to older EH flame pieces.

                                1. re: redbeanbun

                                  It's good that they changed the warranty, however, I don't think these pieces will last the same way that Staub and Le Creuset will....but if they keep replacing them for ten years, I think that is all you can count on them lasting. I've had several EH pieces spontaneously crack and I am very careful with them - don't put a flame on them empty, don't go from fridge to flame or oven to fridge, let them cool down, don't put anything hot in them - start on low flame and heat up slowly until I put medium flame on and they still crack! Either I got a few duds or these pots are not meant to last. Anyone have one for five years with a lot of use without cracking?

                              2. re: redbeanbun

                                Our EH lasagna pan developed a hairline crack all the way across. I'm wondering what the heat threshold is on this pan.

                              3. No need to choose, I have both.

                                1. I love mine. I've fried, broiled and baked bread in each dish. The Flame top series is fantastic. Also, it's lighter to carry around the kitchen.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: babblinfish

                                    I am on my second one. The first cracked and as it was just over a year old, EH replaced it. Love the light weight. Easy clean up. But the lid is a poor fit. If I had it to do over, would have bought a Staub.

                                    1. re: brooktroutchaser

                                      All EH I have is from their FLAME series. The only time I've cracked a lid was when it was too hot to handle and I dropped it.
                                      But I have used from the freezer to the direct flame of the BBQ with awesome results. After seeing the video I wanted to test the freezer to flame claim myself. ;-)
                                      Now, with Ceramic you just need to be more careful than the enameled cast iron of the Staub or LC. Except when it comes to clean up. Soak it, scrub it, and throw the EH in the dishwasher.
                                      I have (2) 5 qt. crock pots, (1) Braiser, (1) fondue pot, (1) wok and (1) Lasagna dish. I'm hoping to get the new plancha soon as well.
                                      If you think you're more likely to drop the ware... go for the cast iron. If not... EH is a great alternative.
                                      Note: my sister has all LC. It's a great product, but I got hooked on EH.

                                  2. Put the broccoli down man. It's not worth throwing your life away for...

                                    I cannot speak to the usefulness of Emile Henry stuff but if it isn't stovetop save I don't think I would ever choose it over the LC. I have a few LC pieces (A skillet and two dutch/french ovens whatever they call them in 3.5 and 5.5 qts). I use both of them constantly. Being able to use them on the stovetop is a huge advantage. If you are doing a classic braise you can sear your meat, remove it; saute your mirepoix and deglaze --> proceed to braise in the oven all in one piece of cookware. They are fantastic on the stove for soups as well. I use the smaller one to make tomato sauces and risotto etc regularly as well.

                                    The thing I love about my Le Creuset is they are beautiful and display well of course but they are actually rugged workhorse pieces of equipment. The one thing I will say if you go with LC is this. My 5.5 qt oven is from what they call their 'Signature' series. It was a gift purchased at Williams Sonoma. My 3.5 is a factory second from the outlet store and is part of the classic line. According to LC the interior enamel on the Signature line is stronger/more stain resistant and easier to clean etc. This is definitely true. The 3.5 qt oven is a great piece of cookware don't get me wrong, but the 5.5 cleans so easily and even after 4-5 years of pretty regular use still looks brand new.

                                    1. Unlike their regular cast iron, the Lodge enameled pieces are made in China. No surprise that they don't hold up.