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Le Creuset

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I've got my eye on a 15.5 quart oval French oven by Le Creuset. I know it would get plenty of use in my household and I know it will last forever. I've just got a bit of sticker shock over the $500 price tag. I've looked on Ebay for a deal on a used one but no luck.

Does anybody have this model? Is it worth the price tag? Is it all that it is cracked up to be and more?

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  1. I have a friend with the size just smaller than that one. Other than the fact that it is very heavy, expecially when filled, she loves it.

    I guess the answer about whether it is worth it depends upon what you are planning to do with it. You say "plenty of use" -- so I imagine that you are using one or more pots now for these tasks. Are you making stock, braising in the oven or stove top, or other? If your primary function is stock making, I would suggest a decent stockpot made of stainless steel. rather than this expensive and large pot. That would cost a fraction of this cost even if you chose a very high end ss stockpot. If you are using other pots less suited to the task of braising, then I would say that it is worth it. Just my 2 cents.

    1. 15.5 quart? That's huge. The biggest they have listed on their website is 13 quart.

      I have 3 of them and the one I use the most is the 7 quart.

      They are very well worth the price. You'll be turning them over to your grandkids one day. My mother has one she got as a wedding present 50+ years ago.

      Never pay full price, though. LC has outlet stores that sell for cheap. Plus they are always on sale at Bloomies and on the internet. TJ Maxx and Marshals often sell them for cheap too.

      3 Replies
      1. re: C. Hamster

        I just got hold of an outlet store near my house that has the 15.5 quart oven for $415. It's a little easier to swallow than the $500 I saw earlier. Still tough to pull the trigger on it though.

        1. re: jpc8015

          if you don't care about the color- ask to be put on their mailing list- they often send 35% off coupons - or just ask on the phone when the next sale will be.. would be well worth it in this case

          1. re: jpc8015

            As querty78 advises, you absolutely should get on their mailing list. You will get a heads-up post card on all upcoming sales and, in my experience, it's worth an extra 10% off the regular sale prices.

        2. Le Crueset is expensive, no way around that. Perhaps a story is illustrative.

          I have a terrine by Le Crueset that was my grandmother's, then my mother's and now mine. It would have prepared thousands of baked dishes, including terrines, meatloaves, roasted vegetables and gratins.

          It's a really pretty yellow and is a joy to use and serve from. It was purchased in the 40s by my grandmother who was very glamarous and quite the hostess.

          So it works beautifully and it has a richness and elegance and a history that makes it an iconic part of the family lore. This would not be possible with a lesser quality item and makes the original cost of it a total irrelevance.

          After nearly 70 years of continuous use, i think the yellow may have been slightly brighter when she purchased it, but other than that, no imperfections.

          They really are the best, if you can afford one, buy one and if you can't, wait until you can.

          1. That's a monster. You could buy a cast iron enameled bathtub for less than that...LOL! That must weigh 50-55 pounds when full with each qt. weighing 2 lbs., and then the weight of the pot itself.

            1. I am not sure where you are located but I purchased mine for less than $300 US (not much different CDN with the exchange at the Le Creuset outlet store in Port Huron. I absolutely love it and use it often. Definitely worth the money but as you can see I purchased it for less. They called it a second but the only flaw is a little blemish under the lid. The service is fantastic and the girls that work there are friendly and will go out of their way to assist.

              2 Replies
              1. re: vitadolce

                So just out of curiosity what do you cook in that size LC?

                1. re: Jitterbug

                  I have a huge Italian family and when we sit down to dinner there is about 50-60 of us sometimes more with boyfriends and girlfriends. I do my tomato sauce in it, I do stock, I do roasts, I use it for many things when I get the group together. I couldn't live without it!

              2. I can't imagine using such a behemouth pot except in very rare circumstances.

                I have a 5.5, a 7 and a 9 and the 9 is large enough to make party-size amounts of most anything.

                Plus, like blondelle says, that must weigh a ton!

                That said, IMO, LC is a good buy, but shop around.

                4 Replies
                1. re: C. Hamster

                  I have a 5.5 quart and for me *that* is a big (and heavy) pot. I use my smaller LC pots even more. Pretty much the only thing I need a bigger pot for is making stock, and that I do in an inexpensive steel pot.

                  1. re: C. Hamster

                    I agree - make sure you see a 15.5 qt pot in person and handle it before you decide for sure. It may be that you don't really need a pot that big or that there are better pots for whatever it is that you are cooking in that size. For example, if you are roasting a stuffed turkey, other types of pans are often recommended.

                    That being said, I love LC, it lasts forever, has a great warranty, is beautiful.

                    1. re: C. Hamster

                      Amazon lists the weight of this monster at 25.6 pounds. Add 15 quarts of water and the total weight would be 55.6 pounds. Doh!

                      1. re: C. Hamster

                        I will weigh in here on the topic of a 15.5-quart pot (purchased at a fair-market price), agreeing with others. Unless you cook regularly for an army, you may regret your purchase (especially considering the investment). Last December I received a 9-quart Le Creuset for my birthday. The one I asked for. (It was my first.) Immediately, I knew the pot was too large... There are just two of us to cook for, and I hoped that my Le Creuset would be well-used. After all, pots are for cooking, not for sitting. I fretted. I wanted to exchange it, and my spouse didn't want me to. To dispel my fretting, spouse surprised me with two smaller LC's (7- and 5-quart) very soon after. Here we are, 7 mos later: The big pot is unused mostly. We rarely throw a shindig for, say, twelve people (perhaps 4 times per year). We use our 7-quart frequently, as well as the 5.5-quart pot. Here is the original Chowhound post, when I first asked for suggestions:
                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/586581
                        There's much good advice offered. Hope it helps. And, good luck.

                      2. Unless you plan on stewing a whole suckling pig, 15.5 qts. seems a bit excessive. I have a 6 qt. Mario Batali french oven (Hangs head in abject shame...) and it's plenty damn big. If I needed something bigger, it would mean I'm having too many people over to eat!! Don't like crowds of more than 8 or 10 for entertaining-otherwise you're catering... adam

                        1. Not really sure why you would need such a large LC. Unless your household has a LOT of people living there!

                          I have several pieces, and on a regular basis, my 5 qt. round is the workhorse. And that's for a family of 4 plus there are always leftovers. When I have company, I often will use the 6.75 oval. When it's filled with braised brisket, it is unbelievably heavy so a full 15.5 qt. filled must take 2 people to lift in and out of the oven.

                          I love my LC's dearly, and they are worth every penny, but you should really reconsider the size. 15.5 qts. sounds like more than anyone would need. And why pay $400+ for something that won't get used often?

                          1. Restaurants braise in large rectangular pans covered with heavy foil. Molly Stevens who wrote "All About Braising" said the benefit of cast iron over steel comes in when something is cooked for more than 2 hours. A soup generally isn't, and a stew can be made in less time too. I don't think there's that much difference in food made in a good quality clad stainless or anodized pan to make up for the difficulty of using and washing a pan of this size and weight. Are you sure your oven racks can even support 50+ lbs without bowing?

                            Each quart of food should feed at least two. Are you feeding an army?

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: blondelle

                              An army of three...my wife, the child, and me!

                              1. re: jpc8015

                                That's almost 5 litres each, why do you want such a big pan? Casseroles only really cook properly in a pan when it is filled up.

                                1. re: pass

                                  I have an enormous extended family. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, neices, nephews, brothers, sisters...

                            2. jpc,

                              Many on here have already given great advice- find an outlet store and get on the preferred customer list. They send you special sales coupons, etc. My recent experience with the one in Leesburg, Va. was great. I had received a 35% off coupon. I wanted the 3.5 buffet casserole. I called the store to be sure they had the color I wanted before driving over an hour to get there. The salesperson was very helpful. They had the one I wanted. She offered to pick the best one they had and ship it to me for free because it was over $100. It was a second, but the only "problem" was a tiny heart shaped extra bit of cast iron on the lid that was completely covered. It came three days after I ordered. I was very happy with the experience.

                              I was also on vacation in SC this past week and stopped at the original store. While I was there, the salesperson offered me 40% off any one item. I don't know if that is typical or not, but it might be worth a try. Although tempted I did not buy anything. :)

                              Good luck with your purchase.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: mdfifi

                                There is a Le Creuset store about 20 minutes from my house in Oregon. Last summer I purchased a 11 1/4 inch skillet from them. My wife said that we get coupons from them in the mail from time to time.

                                I called the store and they have the exact model I am looking for; a 15.5 quart oval cherry red French oven. They have three of them. I can't imagine that those are a hot seller so I think I will wait about a month or six weeks to see if I get a coupon and if not, then I'll pay full price.

                                1. re: jpc8015

                                  I had the same experience as mdfifi did, I was at the outlet store recently and after talking to the sales person for a while, she took a 40% off coupon out of her pocket and gave it to me. Almost like she was waiting to see if I looked like I was close to buying but undecided before showing it to me. You could not use it on stuff that was already on sale though. And in the outlet by me, they were clearing out all the "new" cherry colored LC, so the cherry was a great deal. I guess they are only going to sell seconds now, so were clearing out the firsts.

                              2. I just bought the 15.5qt oval at the le creuset outlet in Camarillo, CA and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. I have big plans for this big pot. It also looks the perfect size for a "ice bucket" for a party -- assuming you're not cooking in it for the party. The people in the store are friendly and the 40% off is until August 31, I think, on any cast iron pot. Great deal, great pot. Camarillo had it in the cherry red color in second quality. Originally priced at $416.

                                1. I just got my first Le Creuset about ten days ago. I had a 71/4 quart round in cobal in mind but left with the 9 quart in hand.... now I'm feeling nervous.... is it too much for the four of us with leftovers? I got the 40% off coupon handed to me at the outlet in Wisconsin and, for me, it was the incentive that pushed me over the buying precipice.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: debbypo

                                    "with leftovers" is definitely key. My 5.5qt for 4 filled to the brim sometimes has leftovers. Depending on how much your family eats, and how much you guys like leftovers, a 7 or 9 quart is a good size. Just remember, you don't have to cook with the pot completely full. The recommendation is to for the contents of the pot to fill half to three quarters of the pot. The bigger size will accommodate bigger cuts of meat... and probably a small turkey...(?) And if you freeze your extra left overs, you can just re-serve them to your family much later when you don't feel like cooking.

                                  2. Are you talking about their 15-1/2 quart oval goose pot? I found one for $409.99 plus free shipping at this site:
                                    http://www.missionrs.com/L2502-40.html

                                    1. Assuming you are in the Tri State area, closest Le Creuset outlet may be in Kittery Maine. Google Kittery Outlets, and you will probably find them. Agree with earlier posters, get on the mailing list, use the coupons, and watch the sales. Outlet stuff may have minor blemishes, which is really irrelevant if you are using the stuff constantly. I also think that the 15.5 qt may be a bit overkill on size, but that's your call. I've bought a number of pieces from Kittery (pate terrines, dutch ovens), and certainly they will get passed along to the kids and grandkids. Le Creuset is basically the tank of kitchenware.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: trakman

                                        There are outlets a lot closer to the tri-state area than Maine. Woodbury Common Outlets and Tanger Outlets in Riverhead, for example.