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le creuset or heavy stainless?

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  • dtud Jul 13, 2007 03:36 PM
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I grew up using heavy duty set of stainless steel cookware. The heat seemed even it cleaned up really easily. I now have a hodgepodge of pots/pans now and was thinking about investing in something heavy duty that all looked the same. I don't know if I should get a set of heavy stainless or a set of Le Creuset (or a few of each). Is there a big advantage of one or another. I don't do a lot of slow cooking - but feel like I could do that in a large stainless pot. Am I wrong?

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  1. Personally, most of my pans are All-Clad stainless with a few pieces of Le Crueset (a wok, a soup pot and a large oval dutch oven) thrown in. For long cooked or extreme heat applications (ie, very high or very low heat) I prefer the Le Crueset, but for every day cooking, I like my All-Clad much better. The performance to weight ratio is quite good in my mind and I like that I can toss the in the dishwasher.

    I expect you'll get several people saying the following, and I'll agree beforehand: skip the set. It sounds like you know the pots and pans you use most, so if they're not performing, just replace the ones you use most and go from there.

    1. I've got a nice collection of allclad stainless, would definitely recomend it for every day use. Outside of those, I keep two cast iron pieces, a lodge skillet and dutch oven for searing and long braising/stewing. All clad is easy upkeep, easy to use, definitely my choice for every day.

      1. I think it is harder to go wrong with LC or anything cast iron for that matter. What gets burned in stainless is nicely browned or crusted in LC.

        BUT I would never have only one...you need both! Stainless for boiling water and the like...LC for roasts and anything browned or braised.

        1. I personally love All Clad. It's my go-to for most things. I do however lust after a Le Crueset large dutch oven. Le Crueset is extremly heavy, and for everyday cooking, its just oo much.

          1. Please note that LC has just come out with stainless steel cookware. Don't know if this will solve your dilemma...or just compound it!

            In any case, here's the Amazon link...

            http://tinyurl.com/ypzbfk

            1. Buy only what you need and enjoy mixing and matching. No serious cooks have complete sets of anything! I have 11 pieces of LC and tons of different professional stainless. I use the LC for braising, soups, and dishes that can be finished in the oven that have a lot of liquid. I use heavy duty stainless for most other things. I have found that tomato sauce will tend to burn a little circle in the center of my LC dutch oven if I am not careful (due to the cast iron hot spot) but that NOTHING ever burns in the center of my Paderno professional from Bridge Kitchenware. I has 1/4 inch aluminum disk at the bottom and it disperses heat in a way that is comparable to most copper pans. I also love my All Clad and Demeyere, but for long simmering on the stove or quick sauce making, I often reach for the heavy bottomed Paderno because it performs better over the burners.

              1. I have had my set of Le Creuset pots for over 10 yrs. and use it for everyday cooking. They still look great and perform well. Its the only "set" of pots I have, along with a few other cast iron and hand me down pots from my mom and aunts.

                1. I can't imagine not having (at least) my 3 qt All-Clad saucepan and 12" skillet.

                  I used to feel the same way about Le Creuset's ovens, which I've used now for decades. They're the thing when I braise or make larger quantities of sauce.

                  I bought a set of LC in the late 70s, and found I really only used the ovens. Especially given relative prices, there is no reason to fuss with heavy LC skillets and saucepans. Try doing a cheffy little flip move with a 12" cast iron skillet.

                  I've been cooking a long time, and I've got arthritis now, and/or some kind of repetitive motion dysfunction in both hands and arms, so I'm going to buy an All-Clad stockpot (what they call their equivalent of LC's oven). The weight will work a lot better for me the way I am now, plus I like the way All-Clad looks. (My favorite Food Network cook is Ina, which may have something to do with my liking All-Clad. I really love her nearly all white kitchen. But even with all that All-Clad, Ina uses the Le Creuset ovens.)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Jay F

                    I love my LC Dutch oven, and I also have a few stainless steel Revere pieces and several Calphalon commercial-grade pieces (received them as a gift while they were still made in the U.S. years ago). I also have a cast-iron griddle and frying pan. I find I use the Calphalon and the LC most often. If you live nearby an LC outlet store, you can find good deals. I got one that was marked as a factory second, but the only defect I could find was a teeny bubble in the enamel on the inside of the lid. It cost @ 100 with a coupon from the outlet center. Amazon also has some deals on pots and pans.