HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
Mar 6, 2008 06:48 AM

Why Le Creuset?

I love my one dutch oven and am very interested in purchasing a complete set of additional pieces.

My husband, however, is not quite convinced it is worth the considerable expense. I could go out and just buy the pieces I want, but I prefer that he "buy in" to the idea that the investment makes sense. To that end, what would you consider the brand's top 3-4 selling points? Durability is obviously one....

Any help would be appreciated!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Good warranty with a generous replacement policy, even after abuse.

    4 Replies
    1. re: jayt90

      As for the warranty - it's not as good as it used to be. They'll cover a % of the cost to fix it, but you have to pay for shipping both ways which is not cheap given the weight of the product. At that rate it's almost worth it to purchase a new pot.

      1. re: beauxgoris

        I just had an old piece replaced and they admitted they are stricter than before. I thought for certain they would replace it at no charge but they offered to replace it for 75% of the actual very high list price. I just had to pay to ship it to them, not back to me.

        The pot is going on Ebay, as I don't want it. LC has the name, the exposure and the cache, but their enamel stains, discolors, chips, cracks, crazes, wears away, etches, and burns just like any other glossy light interior enameled cast iron out there from the least expensive on up.

        1. re: blondelle

          I've used my Le Creuset pots for years and never had any of those issues with them. The pots perform very well and I put them to heavy use.

        2. re: beauxgoris

          Actually, I just broke the lid to my 10 year old Dutch Oven - completely my fault - and they replaced it, no questions asked, no cost, and no shipping charges - I had it four days later. That's great customer service in my book.

      2. The conduct heat evenly.
        Retain heat well.
        Easy to clean.

        6 Replies
        1. re: cassoulady

          i particularly like the cassoulets and dutch ovens because you can brown on the stovetop and finish braising in the oven. I don't think I'd get a set, though, since I think I'd rather have either a stainless sitram or a copper pan for sauteeing and frying. I have had better luck seasoning cast iron frying pans from other manufacturers for some reason. Maybe it's just me. Has anyone else found lc pans difficult to season?

            1. re: chuckl

              I agree about not getting a set. I don't think my LC grill pan called for seasoning - I'm happy w/ mine, but I know a lot of others on this board have given up on theirs ;-).

            2. re: cassoulady

              The same attributes mentioned by cassoulady can be said for cast iron.

              LC has style, color, a good warranty, and a name to throw around.

              1. re: jayt90

                Many thanks for the guidance and the talking points. Rather than buy the whole lot, it's sounds like I'm better off just adding a few critical pieces...

                1. re: Jaxie Waxie Woo

                  Right - I wouldn't want an LC sauce pan. Actually, the only enameled cast iron ones I have are a largish round dutch oven, and a terrine. The other pieces are ceramic ones that I've picked up at the outlet b/c they looked pretty, were cheap and "might come in useful"!

            3. Why Le Creuset?

              LC has a good name... that's about it. Compare it to Staub. Seriously, do some good research and go look at them in the store. I think you'll buy Staub.

              10 Replies
              1. re: HaagenDazs

                I'm not able to edit my post any longer but Le Creuset is not indestructible. Add a little wine to that long braise to deglaze, and if it's a bit too cold that loud popping sound you hear is the enamel coming off the bottom of the pot. If it doesn't pop off it will craze which weakens it to pop off sometimes down the road. Accidentally drop it and if you're lucky a large piece of enamel will chip off. If you're not the casting will crack from top to bottom on the side wall of the pot. I had the handle of small Le Creuset fry pan break off after a two foot drop onto a vinyl floor.

                The name Le Creuset doesn't imbue the pot with magical qualities. It's still subject to all the negatives that are inherent in this type of cookware.

                1. re: blondelle

                  So whose drop proof/indestructible cookware do you recommend?

                  1. re: psb

                    Seasoned cast iron for me, after cracking a Staub, and overheating an LC.

                    1. re: jayt90

                      well ok, fair enough, but assumes you consider enameled and bare
                      to be substitututes, otherwise, it's kinda begging the question.

                      1. re: psb

                        There are heavy duty aluminum pots and casseroles in the restaurant supply stores and large Asian stores, but I would rather have seasoned cast iron to stand up to acidic or tomato sauces.
                        Since I have been burned by LC and Staub (too fragile, and I haven't tested their warranties on abuse) I'll settle for the low cost Lodge pre-seasoned cast iron, or look for ancient cast gems being discarded, or sold off.

                      2. re: jayt90

                        Jayt90, how did you crack the Staub? Was it dropped? Did the glaze crack, or the whole casting? What happened to the LC? It's fired at such high temps it should withstand some overheating. LC will replace it, if not for free, then at least 75% off. Just contact them for an RMA #.

                        1. re: blondelle

                          First the LC oval casserole: I tried to reduce a syrupy BBQ sauce over charcoal, on a Weber, and left it too long. It carbonized, and caused the surface to break up. I haven't taken it to LC mainly out of embarassment, but I know I should try. I think they are close by.

                          The Staub round (I really liked it!): Left it on a patio table with some stew residue on the bottom. Heard a bang at 2 in the morning, and realized a raccoon had visited. Haven't visited Staub, but I hear from Chowhound that they are not as generous as LC.

                          1. re: jayt90

                            sounds to me like you should keep your good cookware indoors

                            1. re: jayt90

                              You put your Lc on a charcoal grill?? *faints*

                      3. re: blondelle

                        I would go for a Lodge for less than 1/4 the price. It would cost you about as much to buy a Lodge Dutch oven as it would to ship the LC back for credit or repair.

                    2. I don't know that I'd buy a "set" of LC; considering the cost, there could be other brands for certain pieces (saucepans, for example) that would perform just as well at a far lower cost.

                      I would say that durability, ease of clean-up, and even heating are among the top reasons to consider LC. They're nice looking, too. And their customer service is second to none. When they say "Lifetime warranty," they really mean it!

                      Just this week, LC scored BIG points in my book. I have several pieces of LC cookware that I received as a wedding gift, 35+ years ago. Among these are two skillets with wooden handles that were varnished and nice looking when I first got them. But now the varnish is gone and the handles are somewhat unsightly. I also received, at the same time, a 6-quart oval French oven that has become one of my most beloved and frequently used pieces of cookware. The inside has discolored -- it doesn't at all affect the use of the pot, it just doesn't look as good as it once did. So I took a few photos of the pans with the grungy handles, and the inside of the French oven, and emailed them to LC, asking if there might be oven-proof replacement handles and a cleaning product that I could buy. The next day I received a reply from them saying they were sending, free of charge, oven-proof replacement handles. And, if I mail them back the French oven (no need to mail the cover), they'll send me a free replacement in the color of my choice.

                      If that doesn't sell you on the brand, I don't know what will.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: CindyJ

                        I'm there with Cindy. I've had my original LC set for 27 or so years. Two years ago when the dutch oven finally started showing some pits, LC replaced it for the cost of shipping. Last year my husband gifted me with an additional set of pieces I didn't have and I've been using them all just as hard. I love them! I've dropped them, I suppose I've overheated them (does a 550 degree oven count for that?), I've poured cold liquids into them while hot, I've taken them camping and shoved them into and buried them under wood fire coals for cooking. I've never had a problem with them like those listed by other posters.

                        My husband is a super comparative shopper as well. The set he just gave me has 5 pieces plus lids and he found it somewhere on the internet for around $300 (not eBay).

                      2. Advantages of ECI over bare CI:
                        -ability to cook acidic sauces or dishes with acidic ingredients (virtually every dish I cook in a dutch oven has one or more of these)
                        -no rusting
                        -can throw it in the dishwasher
                        -no frustrations with seasoning

                        Advantages of bare CI over ECI:
                        -it won't break as easily
                        -can be used on higher heat

                        Advantages of LC or Staub over other ECI:
                        -Made in France (workmanship, certainty of safety of enamel, no lead etc...)

                        Advantages of other ECI over LC and Staub:

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Sirrith

                          Wow, Sirrith, you really had to rev up the Wayback Machine to resurrect this thread--no posts for 6 years!