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Dec 14, 2007 01:35 PM

Le Creuset vs. Staub


I will be honest - Le Creuset seems to be all the rage within the circle I hang out with. But....after reading some of the chow's posts it seems as Staub is really worth looking into.
Please tell me if both products are similar, maybe one is better than the other? I would love to hear some opinions. I only have a couple of le Creuset pots and absolutely love them.

  1. Thanks for bringing up this topic, as I've been wondering the same thing myself.......!

    1. (If I do say so myself...) I think I said it best when I said, "Le Creuset is for the masses, Staub is for those in the know." Go buy yourself a nice Staub and be the envy - not the same - of all your friends.

      1 Reply
      1. re: HaagenDazs

        But why? I am planning to buy a 5.5 qt. dutch oven. I can buy the Le Creuset doufeu or the Staub which are just about the same price - neither is cheap.
        I've been happy with my other LeCreuset, some of which I've had for decades. What's so special about Staub? I don't care what my friends think. This is for ME.

      2. I have both. While I really can't say anything negative about LC, I prefer my Staub. I think it browns better, seems to be heavier with a better fitting lid, and--when used for stovetop braising--the dimples really do make a difference.

        No one is going to be disappointed with a piece of LC, it's just that having used both over the last two years, the Staub seems to have a slight edge.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Sam Harmon

          I have both as well, and Sam said it nicely. I always go for my Staub over my LC. One very simply addition I'll make (but an important one) is the design of the lid handle. It simply works better. More space to hold on to, it's metal, it never has to be tightened (in my experience anyway).

        2. I have both and I use both often. I have an oval dutch LC oven, an LC soup pot, an LC wok and a round Staub dutch oven. I don't find significant differences in performance between the dutch ovens. I do like the handle on the lid of the Staub a bit better than on the LC because it sits up a little higher and is easier to get a hold of while holding a towel or pot holder. Of course, that's necessary because the handle knob is metal and gets hot whereas my LC lid handle doesn't get hot nearly as quickly and almost never when it's on the stove top.

          I don't think you can go wrong with either brand. If I buy another piece of either, I have to say that it'd come down simply to price.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ccbweb

            The new LC Signature line has re-invented the design of the handles and they not only sit up higher, they can handle heat up to 480 or 490 so they can be used for things such as bread. Additionally, the handles have been made a bit larger for easier hold with pot holders.

          2. The main difference is Le Creuset gets stained and dingy looking with use, and the Staub gets better with use. It's interior develops a seasoning and becomes more and more nonstick. Searing a piece of meat in LC will cause brown stains on the enamel. These can be removed at first with some bleach, but bleach is alkaline and it's use after a while causes the enamel to lose some of it's shine, which causes more staining. Staub also sears much better.

            I don't want to worry whether cooking something is going to stain my pot. I would prefer a lighter interior, but you get used to the darker one, and it's nice not to have to worry about staining. It's also nice to know the pot you spent so much money on will improve with age, and not get more and more stained and discolored, and look dirty inside.

            52 Replies
            1. re: blondelle

              What's the interior of Staub made of that allows it to become seasoned? Isn't it enamel, just like Le Creuset? What makes it sear better if it is the same material?

              1. re: MakingSense

                The interior of the Staub is matte black enamel. It's slightly rough which allows the pores of the enamel to fill and season from hot oils that become polymerized, and form a nonstick patina over time, just like raw cast iron. The smooth, glossy interior of the LC doesn't permit that.

                A dark slightly textured surface will sear better than a light, glossy one. Dark absorbs heat better and it gives a deeper, better sear more quickly.

                1. re: blondelle

                  This has puzzled me since I first read it.
                  Enamel is glass. Glass is non-porous, ergo, no pores to fill, polymerize, and season as in cast iron.
                  You can't see "stains" on the dark finish of Staub but the gunk might be building up anyway, just as it does around rivets on pans if you don't clean them well. Is that really a "nonstick patina"? That would build up in the same way on a LC once the shine was gone as long as you didn't care what it looked like.

                  I've never seen an appreciable difference in searing between light or dark enameled cast iron. I hate searing on either or them. I usually sear in a plain cast iron skillet and transfer to the dutch oven for further cooking. I get a much, much better sear than in the coated cast iron that makes it worth a quick washing of an extra skillet.

                  1. re: MakingSense

                    Glass actually IS porous. It's why you can get calcium deposits built up over time on your windows from rain or sprinklers; the molecules have pits and tiny surface variations in which to settle.

                    1. re: nicemonster

                      Nope...not that it really matters, but neither glass nor enamel are porous.
                      Webster's says:

                      po·rous [pawr-uh s, pohr-]
                      1. full of pores.
                      2. permeable by water, air, etc.

                      True, substances can adhere to the surface of glass or enamel, but they are not porous or permeable, and nothing will be absorbed into them. Adherence occurs more with glass or enamel which is frosted or has a matte finish because unlike glossy surfaces, there are more interstices to hang onto.

                  2. re: blondelle

                    I saw Staub today at Dillards. The interior appears to be pre-seasoned cast iron as opposed to enamel. The real question is whether pre-seasoned cast iron can be considered enamel.

                    Also, Staub was designed for restaurant use. Restaurants in the U.S. are not allowed to use enamel because if it chips then bacteria can be harbored there. That makes me even more suspicious about their enamel interior claim.

                    1. re: krbtv

                      Enamel is a glass coating, normally over cast iron. "Pre-seasoned" cast iron is cast iron with some oil burned onto it. I don't think anyone questions whether one can be considered to be the other -- they're entirely different in all respects.

                      That rough black surface is enamel. Really. LC makes a number of pans which also have the rough black enamel interior.

                      1. re: krbtv

                        Staub's interior is black satin enamel. It is definitely NOT preseasoned cast iron: the two surfaces are easily distinguishable when examined side by side.

                    2. re: MakingSense

                      ^^There is a HUGE difference between their interiors. While LC claims to have an interior that resists sticking, it's really just glazed enamel. So the more you use it the more it wears away (and stains). However the Staub is completely different:

                      "Why Staub Enameled Cast Iron?
                      Self-basting spikes underneath the lid ensure continuous, natural basting
                      The more you use your Staub product, the better it gets! Oils used when cooking will penetrate the pores of the matte enamel and create a natural, smooth, nonstick surface
                      Special, smooth ceramic bottom is usable on all heat sources
                      Lids feature stylish solid brass and stainless steel knobs
                      Staub enameled cast iron products are highly durable, do not discolor or rust, resist chipping, do not require seasoning, and are ready to use immediately"

                      ^^As you can see the difference is the: "Oils used when cooking will penetrate the pores of the matte enamel and create a natural, smooth, nonstick surface" - the surface of the Staub gets better and better while the surface of the Le Creuset just wears more and gets worse and worse.

                      1. re: beauxgoris

                        Folks, Chowhound is not a debating contest, where one poster "wins" and another "loses". We're here to share great chow tips. We all feel passionately about our favorites, but please share your opinions with respect for the fact that others won't feel the same.

                        We don't see any new information being shared here, and we've removed some increasingly hot-tempered posts. If we see the discussion continuing in this direction, we'll be locking it.

                        1. re: beauxgoris

                          I don't think we're disagreeing with you about what Amazon may say, but I think we disagree that LC itself, the manufacturer, makes the claim that their product is non stick or prevents the food from sticking. I'm sure Staub is a wonderful product, just haven't yet seen a reason to replace my LC, which so far, fortunately, has worked well for me. I don't buy LC because of its "stick or non-stick" qualities - in cooking where sticking is an issue for me, I buy Swiss Diamond - so I'm not sure why the sticking or non sticking is such a big deal in a product that I at least use for braising, risottos, etc.

                          1. re: MMRuth

                            I'm not saying you should replace your LC with anything. I'm only giving my personal review having owned both products. The interior of my LC became more and more worn: i.e. stained and no longer as non-stick as it was (which I was happy about) when it was new. However my experience with my Staub has been the opposite: mearly that the interior gets better with use like a well seasoned cast iron pan. That's all. As for whether or not the interior of LC should resist sticking: I wrote to LC (about the description posted on to see what they say. I find it rather pathetic that some are taking this to the wall based on what is posted on one vendors site: but there you go. I'll let everyone know what the response I receive is. Just as you are free to love your LC (as I used to). I am free to feel as if Staub is a much superior product. As far as I know i'm the only one in the discussion (of the three of us) that has actually owned and used BOTH products for a long period of time. So I feel on that basis alone my testimony is relevent. I don't know why I keep getting attacked for my opinion - but as much as you might not like it = that's what it is.

                            1. re: beauxgoris

                              I'm sorry if you feel attacked - that certainly wasn't my intention - and thank you for your clarification.

                          2. re: beauxgoris

                            Staubs enamel is made of the same material as LC's but it's just a different color and finish. If LC's enamel wears away with use, so will Staub's with continued use. Staub stains too with brownish stains which is the seasoning of polymerized oils building up. If you scrub that away you lose the benefit of it becoming more nonstick.

                            The main difference is Staub has the dark interior, becomes more nonstick with use, and has the basting spikes on the inside lid. Le Creuset has for the most part a glossy, sand color enamel interior which makes it easier to monitor your cooking, is a bit lighter in weight, comes in many more sizes and colors, has a track record of pieces being in use for 60+ years and still performing well, and has an iron clad warranty with great customer service and they have been making this for 80+ years.

                            Which is prettier is subjective but I think that Staub is. With a many piece collection though, their ornate lids become a bit much. After weighing the benefits of both brands I sold my Staub and went with LC. While I will give the edge to Staub by a small margin, the bottom line was that I didn't really want to cook with it. I found the dark interiors drab and deary, and not inviting to make me want to use it, especially in the warmer months, and THAT after all is said and done, is THE most important factor!

                            1. re: blondelle

                              My 5 quart Staub Dutch oven has a glossy light sand color interior. But my LC Grill pan has a dark, rough interior that is extremely hard to clean after using. And I always spray my LC with Pam, before using.

                              Perhaps in different years, both LC and Staub have tried different colors/finishes.

                              1. re: mcel215

                                Staub makes several lines, at different price points. The Basix and Elite lines, carried by QVC (and very reasonably priced), both have glossy light interiors, but pieces in the highest-priced line always seem to have the rough dark one. I haven't seen the QVC stuff in person, but it looks very nice on the website and I would guess that the quality is more than acceptable. A few years ago HomeGoods was carrying random pieces from one of Staub's discontinued lower-priced lines, and I picked up a couple. So far, they've performed just like my Le Creuset, and the enamel has held up just as well.

                                1. re: Miss Priss

                                  I sent my MIL a 5qt Staub from QVC for this past Christmas. She's been thrilled iwth it. Quality is quite nice, especially given the price. I was a bit concerned when I ordered it without seeing and touching but it really is a great deal.

                                  1. re: ziggylu

                                    The Staub sold on QVC is of different quality than it's standard pans. Glad to hear that it is still good. I was wondering about the quality. I love my Staub coquette. I plan on aquiring more as soon as funds allow.

                                    I have never used LC, I really debated between the two brands. In the end, it came down to the discoloration and rubbing off of the enamel of the LC.

                                  2. re: Miss Priss

                                    My Staub was bought for me as a gift from QVC and I absolutely love it.

                                    I can't say the same about my LC grill pan and although it cooks well, it is such a pain to clean. It is almost not worth the clean up.

                                2. re: blondelle

                                  I own Le Creuset only at this point, have never used Staub. I definitely understand what you guys are saying about staining. Barkeeper's Friend works well, but I have stains that are extremely well set from before I had it (and there will be no bleaching--this is a bleach-free household).

                                  I'm wondering if the spikes cause any issues when you're not braising/using a method where they are useful. For example, I cook oatmeal in my Le Creuset ... I wouldn't want to have condensation pool on top while I'm trying to get everyone served. Does everything have the spikes?

                                  1. re: foiegras

                                    Just out of curiosity...what's wrong with using bleach to remove the stains on the LeC?

                                    1. re: josephnl

                                      Bleach is incredibly toxic ... and pans are for cooking food ... that will be ingested. Plus, I breathe the air in my kitchen ;)

                                      1. re: foiegras

                                        I don't know where you get your information, but you are misinformed. Sure, undiluted bleach is toxic, but if a pot or pan is washed off after soaking, the amount of residual diluted bleach remaining is totally safe. If you have ever gone swimming in a public pool, you have been exposed to bleach. Virtually all surfaces in hospitals from floors to countertops are cleansed with products containing bleach. Drinking water often contains chlorine bleach as a purifying agent.

                                        I don't know your background, but I have spent much of my career studying and ensuring safety of marketed drugs, so I do have at least some expertise in this area. I can assure you that treating stained cookware with bleach is completely safe, as long as the pot/pan is rinsed reasonably well prior to using.

                                        1. re: josephnl

                                          I'm sure we can agree to disagree on whether bleach is a plus in the kitchen.

                                          I am aware of how bleach is used in water supplies and swimming pools. I don't swim. My local water department uses ozone I believe it is instead of chlorine. I have used chlorine filters before, and can see that there is little chlorine in our tap water here. All of my drinking water is spring water.

                                          Additionally, if there is crud (or mineral deposits, as another poster so much more elegantly put it) on my cookware, I'd rather see it than hide it from myself. Bleach isn't removing the deposits, it is simply removing their color.

                                          1. re: foiegras

                                            But please...if you have reason to believe that the minute amounts of chlorine that may persist after bleaching a pot, or reside in swimming pools are toxic to most persons...please lead us to the reference or scientific evidence that this is true. Chlorine has been used for more than a century as a disinfectant, and is still widely used as a swimming pool and hospital surface disinfectant. I am unaware of any significant human toxicity when chlorine bleach is used properly, but am anxious to be better informed if you could please provide us with some reasonable scientific evidence to the contrary.

                                            I continue to use bleach to remove stains from ceramic/porcelain cookware such as that made by Le Creuset, and really do not believe that this is in any way unsafe.

                                            1. re: josephnl

                                              I have a feeling that any evidence I presented would be received with great disbelief; I am quite happy to agree to disagree with you. (One would think the smell of chlorine bleach alone would be enough to convince anyone it cannot be a good thing ... there's a reason we have a sense of smell.)

                                              I wonder if anyone has an answer to my original question about the spikes??

                                              1. re: foiegras

                                                I am by education and experience a scientist. I would truly welcome any evidence that contradicts my opinion. Rather than disbelief, if you were to present some credible scientific rationale for your opinion that careful use of bleach as a cleanser is dangerous, I promise you I would honor it. I truly respect scientific honesty, but fiercely reject any opinion which is not based on experience or science.

                                                Thus, I continue to think it totally reasonable to bleach stains in cookware with household bleach, and to clean sinks, countertops, etc. with bleach products. As long as the residual bleach is rinsed away, I think that the benefits of so doing far outweigh any possible risk.

                                                I would truly welcome any scientifically based contrary opinion.

                                                1. re: foiegras

                                                  If smell alone were a reasonable indicator of unsuitability or toxicity, then by your reasoning Morbier cheese would be toxic. It's not, and neither is lutefisk, natto, or any other smells-horrible-but-tastes-delicious food.

                                                  1. re: foiegras

                                                    Yes, there is a reason we have a sense of smell. There's also a reason we have science, and science was created because our senses can fool us pretty easily. To really know that something is dangerous, you have to be able to create replicable trials that are well designed to eliminate confounders (these are the variables that might correlate but which do not indicate causation) so that false positives are excluded. But at the end of the day, it isn't about "great disbelief"--that would imply that science works the same as a religion where evidence is excluded that does not fit the preconceived model. Instead, scientific evidence from one (and sometimes more) studies is treated skeptically until you can know how well the studies are designed to remove confounders, how well the evidence has been peer reviewed, and how successful other researchers have been at replicating the results. All these steps are in there because sometimes what our senses convince us can't be a good thing really doesn't cause any problems at all. To put this more on topic, Hungry Celeste nailed it: our senses would probably tell us stinky tofu ca't be good for us, but assuming a standard dose it is extremely unlikely that it would cause any harm (other than the smell/taste does tend to linger on the palate :D).

                                                    Oh, and I think the main complaint jospehnl had (he'll correct me if I"m wrong, I think), is that while it is true large amounts of chlorine bleach can be "incredibly toxic" (does that make people super dead?? ;), there is a dose-response curve in most things, and minute amounts of toxins are often part of the foods we eat and drinks we drink with no discernable negative response. For example, allyl isothiocyanate is quite toxic as well (LD50 of 151 mg/kg), in fact more toxic by mass than allyl isothiocyanate at 192mg/kg for the LD50. It is also the stuff that makes mustard and horseradish hot. So the idea that something is toxic and shouldn't be near food just because it has some toxicity level would mean that there are a lot of things we regularly eat that we couldn't eat anymore. The trick is that the normal doses we ingest of the stuff in question just aren't high enough to cause toxicity. With bleach, assuming most have the same concentration of the stuff I have in my laundry room (6%) and a 70kg person (roughly about 150lbs--I'm rounding from here on out), you'd have to drink nearly a can of soda worth of bleach straight out of the container before you'd kill off 50% of the population, and if you start talking about the levels of dilution you'd get from normal kitchen use, you'd have to start drinking buckets and buckets of the stuff. This is assuming, of course, that the toxicity response in lab rats is directly translatable to humans, but since we're rounding it is probably ok. I am sure joseph can be more exact here.

                                                    All this is a long way of demonstrating that bleach, while definitely toxic, has a dose/response curve that doesn't warrant any real concern in normal kitchen uses.

                                                    As for the spikes question, I have cooked thick stews and chilis in a Caphalon enamel/cast iron pan with similar spikes on the lid. It does cause a bit of pooling of water under the spikes, but for something like oatmeal I would think it would be a minimal thing that you could easily blend back in. You may want to adjust the moisture you start with using a pan like this with something like oatmeal because of this, but it shouldn't cause any real harm to the recipe.

                                                    1. re: mojomarc

                                                      Not to get overly technical here, my point was that bleach is not only very effective in removing stains, it is, if used with any degree of common sense, extremely safe. Indeed, amongst most commonly found household chemicals, it is probably the best and safest readily available disinfectant to clean surfaces contaminated with human blood, raw poultry, etc.

                                                  2. re: josephnl

                                                    I'm with foiegras. Regardless of your belief that chlorine is not unsafe, josephnl, I know as a matter of absolute fact that breathing in chlorine bleach gives me a migraine. So mine is a no-chlorine home, too.

                                                2. re: josephnl

                                                  I am not the OP who posted about bleach, but I have asthma and the fumes cause major problems for me, even if diluted. If I accidentally get it on my hands, I get huge whelps. I stay away from pools, and cannot be near an indoor pool b/c of the fumes.

                                                  Many of us are very sensitive to the toxicity of bleach, and it is toxic no matter how much you dilute it.

                                                  The USDA has devoted much time and effort to our safety too, but somehow we still get beef that has been gassed with ammonia and that is contaminated and must be recalled.

                                                  1. re: sisterfunkhaus

                                                    Thanks for your comments, I find them very interesting.

                                                    My sister is allergic to Splenda, and gets big welts in her mouth if she eats something containing it accidentally. I am leary of artificial sweeteners anyway, but it's always enlightening to hear from a 'canary' who has a bit more of an extreme reaction. After all, there would be no welts if it was just sugar, or in your case, if it was just water.

                                                    Something doesn't need to kill me or cause me a reaction instantaneously in order for me to believe it the better part of wisdom to avoid it, to the extent I can.

                                              2. re: josephnl

                                                Bleach is highly alkaline and will etch the enamel if used consistently. It will remove the stains but over time the enamel will lose it's shine and be more vulnerable to staining, starting a viscous cycle. I've had that happen, and Le Creuset which used to recommend a mild bleach solution on their website for removing stains, has stopped doing so.

                                                1. re: blondelle

                                                  I use it rarely, and it does work. Perhaps once a year if there is significant staining, I put a dilute solution of bleach in the pot and it seems to work well, and I have not (at least as yet) noticed no damage to the enamel. I was primarily addressing the issue of safety, which in my opinion is a non-issue.

                                                  1. re: blondelle

                                                    The new pieces of LC that Williams Sonoma carries has a finish that is anti-stain. I've three pieces of this and it works well. I've not yet encountered any staining on mine.

                                            2. re: beauxgoris

                                              How high a temp can Staub go to vs. the dark-coated LC? (Another bonus for Staub is better color selection, if it is not fiesta day every day in your kitchen.)

                                              1. re: Cinnamon

                                                If you want to use really high heat to sear things, I would not recommend a porcelain ironware (neither do the manufacturers). Get a regular cast iron pot/skillet like a Lodge. I actually use both as the non-porcelain will start to rust if you leave food in them for a short while.

                                                1. re: Mikecq

                                                  Thanks. Where would you say is the temp cutoff in the oven or over gas burner?

                                                  1. re: Cinnamon

                                                    The manufacturer recommends 375 degrees F in the oven (the knob is the weak point). You can brown on the stove but you should avoid very high output burners for searing. The reason people use cast iron is the heat retaining value and the weight of the lid which causes a slight buildup of pressure which helps make food more tender. I don't have a temperature for the stove top but I avoid the really high flames.

                                                      1. re: Mikecq

                                                        The newer pieces are available at Williams Sonoma and are good for 450 degrees...and the handles are bigger and easier to handle.

                                                        1. re: Mikecq

                                                          FYI, you can buy stainless steel knobs to replace the polymer ones that Le Creuset ships with - they're about $10-12. I got mine at a Le Creuset outlet (LOVE that place) but you can probably find them on and probably at William-Sonoma.

                                                          (oops, should have read further, point was made)

                                                    1. re: Cinnamon

                                                      The Staub website states you cand use it in the oven up to 500 degrees F, you can't do this with LC as the knob is plastic. You can brown a roast on the stove top at medium heat or slightly above with no issues. The way the web site states the temperature resistance reads 500 oven and stove top.

                                                      1. re: mikie

                                                        You can resolve the knob and temp restriction with a $10 stainless replacement knob sold by LC. It's a non issue!

                                                        1. re: blondelle

                                                          But you have the hassle of having to purchase an extra knob and do the replacement. I wish they would just ship with the stainless knob.

                                                          1. re: decolady

                                                            For over 2 years ,Sur La Table has sold LC with a metal knob
                                                            I bought one in white -6.75 that we used for the NK bread and other
                                                            things easily it now lives at my sister-in-laws home
                                                            since it proved way too big for my family

                                                            1. re: gulfcoastgal

                                                              I also have a Cuisinart cast iron porcelain dutch and must say the quality is similar to the LC but with a metal knob. It's also way cheaper.. Check it out and compare the quality.

                                                              1. re: gulfcoastgal

                                                                I haven't bought any in the last couple of years. Thanks for the info.

                                                                1. re: decolady

                                                                  LC seems to have a lot of "special deals" exclusive colors, exclusive new shapes or exclusive new sizes, etc. I'd guess the metal knob already on the DO could be a Sur la Table exclusive they made with LC. Obviously I don't have any insider information, but I haven't seen the metal knob on any other sellers LC, although, everyone does sell the metal knob.

                                                                  I'll make one other knob comment. The LC website states the knob is phenolic and is oven safe to 375°F, having spent 17 years in the phenolic industry, selling to companies molding phenolic knobs and pot and pan handles. I personally think 375°F is a bit of a streach. If your DO is going in the oven, just buy the metal knob and replace the plastic one. I'm also not sure what material the new knob on the post available at WS is made of that they claim something like 480°F as the safe oven temperature, but I'm extremely curious to know. If anyone hears what that new plastic is please post.


                                                              2. re: decolady

                                                                I think that was done with the intention of safety. People may just grab the hot metal knob....

                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                  Perhaps. But Staub comes with a metal knob.