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Le Creuset for pots?

I have a set of Analon cookware that has served me well this last 10 years or so. Half the set has been replaced due to the teflon coming off. And all of the pieces are due for replacement as we speak.

In a previous thread I was working through replacing my omelette pan with something other than teflon coated stuff. I purchased 2 enameled cast iron Le Creuset pans. And through some trials and tribulations I have managed to figure out how to cook non stick eggs with them and could not be happier with them.

I would like to start investigating a replacement for my 2 and 3 qt sauce pans (I think that is what size they are). We have 2 small kids, and I must say the things that get made most in these pots is pasta and macaroni and cheese. There are many other things, just that these are the most common.

What do you think? Should I go Le Creuset? Would a good stainless set be OK, or better?

I must say, I have been truly happy and how well the Le Creuset stuff cleans up. Just not sure if I would be doing it justice for something as simple as these needs.

Any opinions would be greatly appreciated. Especially from anyone who owns Le Creuset sauce pans.

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  1. just my opinion, from having a couple 2 quart LC enameled pots, but they seem to be a little bit of overkill given how much they cost and their relative merits vs. say stainless. For me, the main draw of LC cast iron is being able to put them in the oven for low and slow braising, and I think the smaller ones don't hold enough to make that worthwhile, so you're looking at using them primarily on the stovetop.
    If you can get them at a very good price, go for it, otherwise i'd opt for a 3-qt and a 2 qt stainless, maybe Sitram if you can get a good deal. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with them, they're just a little pricey for what I would be doing with them on the stovetop,

    1. Buy what you would enjoy using the most. You'll be happier for it. I've got a 2qt. LC oven that I use for rice and oatmeal. I braised a couple of fresh hocks in it the other day just for fun. I like it much better than any of my stainless.

      1. Le Creuset pans look great. However, you can get pans that
        will do as well for one-half to one-third the price.
        With larger LC pans, they
        are so awkward to clean I wouldn't buy 'em.

        1. Like Cpt Wafer, I have a 2-quart Le Creuset oven that gets a lot of use on the stovetop, mostly for making 1-2 cups of rice, heating leftovers and prepared foods, and other small jobs, especially ones where I want the pot to retain heat after the burner is turned off. But I don't think I'd choose Le Creuset if I were replacing my saucepans. Since they don't respond rapidly to changes in the burner temperature, they aren't great for things that require careful control; and they're heavy, so lifting a full saucepan by its single long handle would require some effort. Of course, it all depends on the uses you plan to make of them. Personally, I prefer stainless steel (NOT non-stick) for my saucepans. They're versatile, relatively light (even if clad or disc-bottomed), and I never have any problem cleaning them.

          1. And the LC pans are so much heavier than stainless steel in the same sizes. I've got some chantal enamel-on-steel saucepans I picked up some time ago at a TJMaxx/Marshalls/Tuesday Morning type place, plus a kitchen aid stainless saucepan. I love both, and if I were made to choose between one or the other for all my pots it'd be a difficult decision. But for saucepans, I'd agree that LC is overkill. Plus you can get a similar look with the enameled Chantal cookware.

            1. I picked up a vintage set recently and am generally very impressed with them. Because of the weight they seem to heat very evenly and the enamelled surface seems better to cook on than my S/S, not as sticky as S/S and not as slippy as Non-Stick; plus they are a cinch to clean as well.

              There are a couple of issues that I have come across that you don't have with S/S, the first is that they are slow to react to temperature change, so if you want to rapidly boil something and then let cool off, the LC will just hold the heat and continue to boil, I think you also have to be aware of temperature shock - so you can't put a hot pan straight in the sink or fill it with cold water. Secondly, on the vintage pans because of the spout, the lids do not provide a tight fit so steam can escape easily. I used to cook rice perfectly every time in my S/S set but so far I'm still adjusting to them, the two problems listed above really seem to effect good rice. Every thing else I have cooked seems to have come out better FWIW, but they do force you to cook in a certain way, prepared, and with low and moderate heat only.

              If I had the money to invest in new pans (and I have thought about this), I would probably go for S/S from Sitram, Demeyere or Mauviel. Of course LC also make S/S as well now, perhaps this is what you meant?

              1. For what you describe, Pyrex or Corning White would be quite serviceable. LC is great if you can afford the investment and it is an investment that will last you a long time. That said, the other option will work quite well.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Candy

                  Sorry i misread your question. Go for some decent stainless with nice heavy bottoms. I have several Cuisinart stainless sauce pans that i am quite happy with. Picked them up for very little at TJMaxx

                2. Mac and cheese is a good item to cook in the Le Creueset, because the thick bottoms of the sauce pans will keep the heat evenly distributed and you are less likely to burn the food.

                  For cooking pasta, however, go stainless steel. You don't want to be lifting a heavy Dutch oven or large sauce pan, filled with hot water, over a colander. You may chip the enamel if you bang it inadvertently on the sink, and you will find that a two handled stainless steel Dutch oven/Rondeaux is virtually indestructible. It will also be much lighter and the extra quart of liquid is better to cook the pasta with. Let's face it -- you can't really fill these things to the brim. I like several brands of ss -- from Cuisinart at the lower end, to Paderno Grand Gourmet, All Clad and Demeyere. Look for sturdy lids -- don't buy anything with glass. You will be sorry if you do, especially with small kids.

                  BTW -- I have more LC than I can count -- I think the last inventory was something like 14 pieces, and love it truly, but I believe that stainless steel is definitely the pan of choice for some applications.

                  1. With kids and such ask yourself this: Do you like washing pots and pans by hand or would you rather toss them in the dishwasher?

                    Le Creuset, anodized, non-stick = no dishwasher.

                    Stainless steel = dishwasher.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: HaagenDazs

                      This is perhaps the wisest advice of all :)

                      1. re: RGC1982

                        The Le Creuset that I have, and that I look at are the enameled cast iron. And here is an excerpt from their site.
                        Our Interior enamel is a smooth gloss finish in a sand colour - except on skillets and grills where we have a matt black enamel. Both will clean easily by hand or by dishwasher if used in accordance with our care and use.

                        So I could put that in the dishwasher, but, if their other stuff is anything like what I have so far, the stuff is so easy to clean I don't think it would much matter.

                        Now, how about the stainless. I was leaning towards getting some stainless pots to replace the ones I was talking about anyway. I think the biggest thing is the quick heat up and the ability to change the heat quickly. I don't mind spending more money if it's worth it. What about some recommendations. I hear on these boards that many people only shop at chef supply stores and such. What would be a good choice to get?

                        1. re: clark21482

                          You can place them in the dishwasher, but be aware that repeated use can dull the enamel. If that doesn't bother you then put them in the dishwasher. An expensive pan like this though deserves a little extra care in hand washing them. You can also scratch them up badly in the dishwasher if something else rubs against or hits them while it's washing. I remember one post where the prongs of the dishwasher totally trashed the enamel.

                          1. re: blondelle

                            I believe Williams Sonoma carries an anodized exterior All Cald set called LTD2 that you can wash in the dishwasher. Does anyone have any that can give feedback?

                            1. re: citizenconn

                              The regular LTD is NOT dishwasher safe, so I'm just clarifying that. There are some other anodized pots and pans that claim to be dishwasher safe but I attribute that to wishful thinking. Kind of like the claim that some nonstick cookware producers say you can use metal utensils on them. Eventually it's going to wear off.

                              I think a anodized exterior is pointless. The only reason it is there is to make it look different, why not buy the regular stainless?

                          2. re: clark21482

                            For stainless I really like my All Clad MC2. They are generally cheaper than stainless All Clad. The aluminum core on them is thicker than on regular stainless, but I've read that professional chefs actually prefer the regular stainless with the thinner aluminum core because it is more responsive to temperature changes. I get tired of polishing my stainless though, so that's a plus of the MC2.

                            I also have a few Viking saucepans and really like them - the exterior is brushed stainless and the shape of the handle and all is very classy. I don't know if they are functionally better than All Cald, but they are very cool. Sometimes that counts, right?

                            I just bought a piece of Mauviel M'Cook stainless and am looking forward to receiving it to see how it handles. Anyone have feedback on these?

                            1. re: citizenconn

                              I found the Calphalon Kitchen Essential line at Target and was going to give that a shot. I picked up a 2 qt pan and brought it home. The store was pretty sparse on what they had. After checking when I got home I found that the only way you can get the 3 qt pan is to buy the complete set. So, another trip back to Target to take the 2 qt back.

                              And on the way home I stopped at the Le Creuset store at the outlet by my house. I picked up a 3 qt pan to try first. I remember reading on a post here that someone mentioned to make sure that you did not get pans with a glass lid. The Le Creuset has stainless lids, but I just could not remember why the person had made that comment. My glass lid for my Analon pot fits perfect, so I can have glass and stainless.

                              I made some Barilla 3 cheese tortellini in it last night for the kids. Everything went well. Just a little bit of pasta stuck to the bottom, but the Dobie pad wiped that away.