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Jan 3, 2010 09:54 AM

le creuset dutch oven lid question

Hi guys - new here and new to the Le Creuset enameled dutch ovens (or for that matter, cast iron dutch ovens in general). I bought a second from the Le Creuset outlet. I have a stupid question - how tight is the lid supposed to be? I mean, it's not a pressure cooker, so I should still see steam coming out when cooking on range top, right? But when the lid is sitting on the pot, I am still able to shift it slightly horizontally - is that normal?

One more thing, after washing it, I for the first time noticed a small pinhole in the interior enamel. I saw another post on this, and it seems people are not too concerned about it.

Thanks in advance for helping this newbie out.

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  1. Not a stupid question at all. Mine can all be moved a little, maybe 1/8 of an inch? If you need a better seal (not often, I find), then put a double layer of foil over the pot first, and seat the lid snugly on top.

    Maybe the pinhole is why it was a second? I shouldn't worry too much about it.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Robin Joy

      Thanks much for your reply, Robin. Your reply makes me feel better about my purchase. My lid moves about 3/16 of an inch.

      I suspect you're right about the reason that it's a second - there is no other cosmetic flaw as far as I can tell. I didn't even see the pinhole til I got home and was washing it.

      Thanks again!

      1. re: xeryuslee

        I've seen plenty of first quality Le Creuset from the best stores with pinholes too. It's part of the enameling process and not considered really a defect, unless it's really large or there are lots on a piece.

        1. re: xeryuslee

          I have at least 8 pieces of LeC all bought at the factory outlets as seconds. I've had some of them for over a decade. No trouble with any of them.


        2. re: Robin Joy

          Traditionally a perfect seal was created by adding a ring of dough around the edge of the lid - as you can see here which would be another option. Usually they are good enough as standard though.

          1. re: pass

            I use it for certain biryani dishes. Here is an example of what pass said. Go to 6 mins in the video.


        3. I've seen some posters get some amazing deals on Le Creuset around here. I came across a #28 Dutchy at Tuesday Morning the other day - Provence Blue, definitely a discontinued color - for $180. I got into an argument with the lady as she claimed it was a first, which I still think is BS - I've heard that seconds have special markings like the "S" on the handles of second quality All-Clads, but I have not found any markings on my pots from the LC outlet. Whatever the case, I examined the thing very carefully: made sure it was relatively true, noticed the loose fitting lid, and passed on it. Of course it developed into a bit of obsession over the next few hours, so I decided to pop into Macy's and examine a brand new first quality piece. The Macy's LC's did not sit any truer than my seconds and the lids slide around a bit as per your inquiry. I ran back to Tuesday Morning and bought the pot. The real kicker here though is that when I finally got it home I realized that the lid wobbles on the pot, i.e., it's warped! I can get a refund from Tuesday Morn, but jeez, I want the freaking pot! So, long story short, too late, eh, don't worry about the sliding lid, worry about a warped one...

          8 Replies
          1. re: aldgate west

            All the seconds I've bought at the outlets have an orange sticker on the box or bottom of the pot.

            1. re: aldgate west

              Speaking of second quality of LC, usually, there is a scratch mark looking like "B" on the inner side of lid, close to the screw for a knob if the pot is second quality. In addtion, They put an orange sticker on a second pot while a white sticker is on a first quality pot. That is what I hear ed from sales people of LC outlet.

              1. re: hobbybaker

                I hear ya, but I can't imagine it would be difficult to remove the orange sticker and replace it with the white, especially at a place like Tuesday Morning...
                Also, the LC second quality markings appear to be mythic. All LC pots are stamped with a two digit code under the lid and under one of the handles, but they are most obviously stamped before the enamel is applied which would indicate that they contain no bearing on the finished quality of the pot....

                1. re: aldgate west

                  I've bought at least 10 pieces at LC outlets - all seconds, with the orange sticker, and only one of all those pieces has a marking scratched onto it to denote that it's a second. It's a DO, and has a S scratched on the underside of one of the handles and also on the underside of the lid. None of the other pieces have any sort of markings like that, and in fact, I can't really tell why they are seconds!

                  1. re: rovergal

                    This is jus my assumption but they might technically be not second quality but can be surplus or overstock. They were sold at a price for a second to reduce their inventory. You have gotton first quality items only for a price for second!

                2. re: hobbybaker

                  My second DO has exactly that: a B etched into the bottom of the lid. It's not a stamp like the number size, just a small single letter that was clearly etched by hand with a dremel tool or something like that.

                3. re: aldgate west

                  Aldgate, will the warped lid that wobbles effect the performance of a nine quart dutch oven? I just purchased one and the lid wobbles on top of the pot.

                  1. re: aldgate west

                    Maybe you can get a replacement lid from Le C directly?

                  2. Usually a second is either actually an overstock, as mentioned, or a piece that has a slight imperfection in the final finish. They are not flawed functionally in any way.
                    Any flaw is merely cosmetic.

                    1. I just bought a first quality Le Creuset dutch oven from Amazon (a round 7 1/4 qt size) and I was very surprised that the lid shifts horizontally and also wobbles up and down a little. I tried rotating the lid an inch or two and retesting it all the way around and it still wobbled the same way in all positions. It also has a few pinholes in the enamel. I went to my local Sur La Table store and checked their first quality Le Creuset dutch ovens on display. Every one of their round 5 1/2 and 7 1/4 dutch ovens which I tested had a lid that wobbles just like mine. They did have a round 9 qt dutch oven whose lid did not wobble however (not sure if the size and/or weight matters). I spoke to the manager who said she thought the lids no longer fit as solidly as they did in years past. If I had bought it as a 'second' (at a much reduced price), I would have no problem with either the wobbling or the pinholes. But if I'm going to pay full price for one of those babies, by golly, I want the lid to sit flat on that sucker and I want the enamel pretty darn perfect. I saw numerous comments around the internet from people complaining their LC lids wobbled also, and other people responded theirs sit perfectly flat. Mine is going back to Amazon as a defected item, but since so many are that way, I'm hesitating what to do next. I wonder if Staub's tend to have better fitting lids...? I think they're not as pretty as LC, but I may be forced to choose function over form rather than having both. I'm so disappointed!

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: dishyone

                        Many of the Staubs wobble too - very sad. I say many, bc maybe 1 out of 5 at WS did not wobble. The ones which wobbled least were round (as opposed to oval), and smaller unlike your experience. Although all the mini Staubs there (the ~1-cup sized ones) wobbled.

                        The Staub lids have two small 'nubs' on one side of the lid though, which I read somewhere was intentional to help even out the lid, but could lead to the wobbling??

                        Yep, they don't make 'em like they used to. Never expected to spend time checking for 'wobbling lids' at WS, but after hearing how tight fitting etc they were, it was annoying to find that the ones I got (from WS and Bakedeco) weren't.

                        1. re: dishyone

                          LC's lids have always shifted horizontally. There shouldn't be any vertical wobble, though,

                          1. re: dishyone

                            Dishy, That is why i don't usually like to buy LC (or Staub) online. If I buy, I will do so with the parties I can send it back for free, just like Amazon.

                            If you are ready to pay Amazon price, why don't you check your local Bloomies? Their normal prices are pretty much MSRP, so even higher than Amazon; however, their prices during their one day home sale are usually quite good for 1st quality. That way, you can make sure you will get the one with the tightest fitting lid by yourself, too. If I am correct, one of the biggest one day home sale is coming at the end of this month at Bloomies. (Customer Service of Bloomies are quite good. If you find any problem afterwards, they will make sure that you will get a replacement for free.) I got some of my smaller LC that way during one of the one day home sale for very competitive price. I also got one at LC outlet and made sure I and the sales person checked how the lid fits and chose the best one there.

                            1. re: hobbybaker

                              Re: Bloomingdales or any other store, I realized after placing the Amazon order that I could have gotten it for less at Bed Bath & Beyond for 20% off. But regardless of where I buy one, isn't it going to come in a box that is sealed? The one I got from Amazon could not be taken out of the box without damaging the box itself, so you wouldn't be able to open it in a store before buying to check that the lid fits correctly. (At least I couldn't see how to open the box without tearing it.) Wouldn't that be true when buying one in any store?

                              1. re: dishyone

                                I bought several pieces recently at different Le Creuset Factory Stores, and all of the boxes are openable, closeable, and reopenable, with no destruction to the boxes.

                                In Maryland, there's a Le Creuset Signature Store (brand new, current merchandise) in Bethesda MD. 301-718-1885.

                                There's a Le Creuset Factory Store (outlet) in Leesburg, VA. 703-777-1747.

                                You can play around with different pieces to make sure they fit together properly at the Factory Stores, and I imagine the same is true at the Signature Stores.

                                1. re: Jay F

                                  I'm really glad I sent my Amazon oven back. I recently made a special trip to a Le Creuset outlet store and bought a first quality 7 1/4 round Le Creuset in a discontinued color (azure blue) and saved myself $100. There's not a flaw on that baby and the lid sits perfectly flat. The box containing the one I had gotten from Amazon was apparently designed so that Amazon could tell whether or not the box had been opened - you definitely had to tear the box to open it. The boxes at the outlet store were fully reclosable, so I could have tested a million ovens in order to find one where the lid fit properly, but as it turns out the very first one I looked at was perfect. I wonder if my bad luck at the local Sur La Table store was because all their display models were the defective ones people had returned...? Anyway, I'm ecstatic with my new one from the outlet. I've decided if I buy several more pieces in the future, each one will be a different color. I really wouldn't want a matching color set anyway, so who cares if one is a discontinued color? I suppose if I have a problem with the one I have and Le Creuset has to send me a new lid someday or something, maybe it would have to be of a different color since they wouldn't have the discontinued color any more, but I'm fine with that! I figure a mismatched lid would be even more cheerful looking! Anyhow the trip to the outlet store was definitely worth it. I was tempted to buy several pieces since the prices and quality were so good but I decided to just buy the 7 1/4 and wait to see if I ever have an actual need for another size. Trying to be reasonable about how much stuff I own....

                                  1. re: dishyone

                                    I'm glad you got to go to an outlet store. What a lot of fun I had there with all that LC. I don't think of myself as a collector, per se, but it's what I've used to cook with my entire adult life, so I've got a fair amount.

                                    I started out with a matched set in Flame in 1979 because it was so much cheaper to buy it that way vs. single pieces. My only other choices were yellow and brown.

                                    Functionally, separates would have been better. I like stainless steel saucepans and skillets, though, because they're lighter, and I'm more "handsy" with them than I am with the French ovens. After I wore out that set -- and I really, truly wore it out -- LC replaced the entire set with a set in Jade. That really got me cooking again. I hadn't cooked much in awhile. That was around 10 years ago.

                                    Right now I have a bunch of different things in blues and greens. Those are my colors. I'm not a brown-yellow-orange-red kind of guy.

                                2. re: dishyone

                                  I'm a crotchity old geezer and I really don't give a rats ___ how much trouble it is for the store cleark to open the box to make sure what I buy isn't broken or damaged prior to my bringing it home. Got a big (well heavy actually) TV home once only to find out the case was cracked, had to load it up and drag it back to the retailer, not doing that more than once. I bought a door bell at Lowe's and ended up opening every one the store had to try to find one where the packaging hadn't tarnished the metal paint. Didn't find a single one. Now why should I have to bring this home to find this out? It's all about atitude.

                                  1. re: dishyone

                                    dishy, congratulation on your new DO! At stores of the bloomies, you can see the DO and make sure how the lid fits by yourself because the boxes are not sealed.

                              2. In a practical sense, say for braising, ive found the weight of the lid is sufficient to keep in most of the moisture even though it seems to shift. As for the pinhole, i wouldnt worry about it. Ive got like 4 lc pots of various sizes and theyre just about indestructable.