HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >


Another Le Creuset thread - big damage after 6 months

The enamel coating on the bottom of my 7.5 qt dutch oven is damaged. It's the first piece of LC anything that I own, and to be honest, I'm pretty disappointed by this. I'm hoping that it's an odd issue. I bought it online at Macys, and I spoke with someone last week who said that I could bring it in and they'd order me a new one. Lucky me to have bought it locally, instead of spending my own money to send it back to LC and HOPE they'll replace it for me.

I've included a photo that has the saturation turned way down to show the cracks. You can't feel them with your fingernail, but they're there, under the surface.

Has anyone else's finish done this in so little time?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Are you sure this is a Le Creuset enameled cookware? We know Le Creuset last forever and ever. (-->being sarcastic)

    Honestly, these things happen. It is not your fault.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      I'm kind of relieved. I tend to be very hard on things in the kitchen, but expected to have this for the rest of my life. At least I can get a new one without too much hullabaloo. Not that this needs to be perfect, it's something that gets used, but I'm concerned that the cracks may develop into something a little more drastic down the line.

      1. re: LaureltQ

        I am glad that Macy's will replace it for you instead of having you to directly mail the thing back to Le Creuset. Yes, the cracks/fractures will likely get deeper over time, so it is good that you have contacted Macy's. Like all cookware, not all Le Creuset are equally made. The good ones will probably last you for the rest of your life and the bad ones, well, you know. Looking at the fracture pattern, the fractures are radial, which possibly means it is temperature related, so I don't think they developed because you were being rough on it. Best wishes.

        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          Thanks! I needed a little assurance. I never thought that LC was the god of cookware, but I expected more out of a $275 pot.

          1. re: LaureltQ

            I'd return it and buy from an outlet. At least then you won't have so much invested in it!

    2. Are you sure those are cracks? They look like light scratching and scuffing from moving the pot around on the stovetop. Any cookware will scratch on the bottom from the grates, from the cheapest to the most expensive. LC isn't impervious to that either. That's why they tell you to lift it off the cooktop and not drag it. If you had those cracks on the outside you should also have them on the inside too as it would be crazing from thermal shock. I think they are just scratches and not cracks.

      5 Replies
      1. re: blondelle

        If you look closely, they emanate from the center of the pot, like lines emanating from the sun in a child's illustration. I dont' think that I could have scratched it that way if I had tried.

        1. re: LaureltQ

          Yeah, I was thinking of that too. On the above response, I also wrote "Looking at the fracture pattern, the fractures are radial, which possibly means it is temperature related,"

          If you simply drop the pot or hit it very hard, you will get a chip, but not a radial pattern. If it is scratches, I expect the pattern to be more parallel and not radial, and you should able to feel them with your fingers. Anyway, you are getting a new one. :) Maybe they will even let you pick a new color. :P

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            I'd prefer to keep the flame color, but Macy's website says they're discontinuing it! Unless I can find one in Jadite, I'd REALLY like to keep the flame. :(

            edit - turns out the 7.5 qt one is being discontinued. I specifically picked it because it was much wider than the 7.25qt one. I suppose I could just get a bigger one, but this feels like the perfect size to me. Grrrr.

            1. re: LaureltQ

              I saw one of these 7.5s in Flame today at TJMax for $69.

      2. If they were scratched from outside, you would feel on your fingers, which is not the case. So I don't think the damages are done from outside either.

        I bought one at bloomies sale last month for my sister. Those retailers are behind what they sell and return is easy. My sister is also first-time enameld cast iron and the difference from outlet price was only $20 or so because the kiwi color was discontinued at B.

        Hope you get replacment soon and enjoy cooking again.

        Kaleo, it is competitve price with knock-offs, I guess :)

        1. When did LC start enameling the bottoms of its cookware? My old 7.25 qt. is black on the bottom. I've seen various opinions on whether it's bare cast iron or some kind of enamel, though I always thought it was bare. It does seem more sensible than making the bottom enameled to match the rest, since bottoms are subject to so much more abuse.

          8 Replies
          1. re: luvsummer

            I was wondering the same thing. Non of my LC cookware has enameled bottoms.

            1. re: luvsummer

              >>>>When did LC start enameling the bottoms of its cookware?<<<<

              At least 12 years ago.

              1. re: luvsummer

                I've got several pieces of LC that are 40+ years old, and they're all enameled on the bottom. I've got several pieces of LC that are less than 5 years old; they're all enameled on the bottom, too. Maybe the black bottoms were a "passing phase."

                1. re: CindyJ

                  When I bought my first set in 1979, they had bare cast iron bottoms. The set LC replaced them with in 1999 had enameled bottoms. I really wasn't paying attention until 1999, though.

                  1. re: Jay F

                    Maybe they offer both versions (enameled and non-enameled) at one time. As for now which is the real question, I am very sure all the Le Creuset in the stores are enameled all around.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      At one time--back in the 1950's or 1960's--some LC pieces had ridged enameled bottoms. Not sure whether this was true of all styles; I think some did have flat enameled bottoms. Later, continuing into the late 1990's, they were made with exposed cast iron bottoms. The (re-?)introduction of flat enameled bottoms coincided, as pothead says, with the rising popularity of glass-topped stoves.

                      1. re: Miss Priss

                        I have a 2-qt. saucepan, a 10-inch saute pan and an 8-inch saute pan that I received as gifts in 1970 that all have flat enameled bottoms. I also have an au gratin pan that I received at the same time that has a very thin oval "ridge" on the bottom that appears to be cast iron; except for that ridge, the rest of the bottom is enamel.

                2. re: luvsummer

                  For a long time. Regardless, what we know is that today's Le Creuset has enameled bottom and the original poster has what it appears to the radial crack pattern.

                3. "I tend to be very hard on things in the kitchen."

                  I'd not go into confessional mode with Macy's. Not sure what you did but I'm guessing hellish thermal shock might be behind that crack pattern. No cookware is immortal.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Kagemusha

                    I believe they started enameling the bottoms when glass-top stoves became popular. Bare cast iron can scratch such stovetops if you're not careful.

                    1. re: Kagemusha

                      I definitely wouldn't go into that with the store I'm returning it to. The strange thing to me is that the most shocking temperature swings it has undergone have been searing beef pieces and then dumping a bottle of room temperature wine inside. I have a chantal brand knockoff that I've done this with at least 10 times without the cracks in the finish.

                      1. re: LaureltQ

                        "The strange thing to me is that the most shocking temperature swings it has undergone have been searing beef pieces and then dumping a bottle of room temperature wine inside"

                        If anything, that would have cracked the interior surface but not the exterior surface. Have you taken your very hot Le Creuset Dutch Oven and place it on a cold surface, like a granite countertop? It is not a bad idea to get a trivet if you don't already have one:


                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          I have granite countertops, but NEVER put anything hot on them. With my luck, i would somehow heat damage the counter. I always use trivets.

                    2. Could this happen from heating a cold pot (like straight from the fridge) without letting it sit for a few minutes to allow the temperature to even out? I'm curious because I've used LC for at least 25+ years, and have had my own for the past 14 years - I've never seen this happen before. I honestly don't have any of the problems I've hear on this board about LC - cracking, breaking, chipping, etc YIKES!!

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: DAVESGIRL

                        Include me in the camp that didn't know LC enameled the bottoms of their pans these days. My two French ovens are from the early 80's and they have "bare" bottoms (ooh la la!)

                        1. re: DAVESGIRL

                          I also have never seen this before with any. I avoid any quick changes of temp for DOs. I have never put them in fridge but I know many do and The pan should sit for allowing them adjusting to temp.

                          If a pot is stored ice cold in fridge and goes to straight onto the strongest heat....

                          Well, I have no courage and $ to sacrifice mine to this experiment :)

                          Hope ATK will do it on behalf.

                          1. re: hobbybaker

                            I haven't ever refrigerated it and then put it on the stove. I have done this with my off brand DO, with not negative effects, but not the LC. I haven't had it that long and generally only use it for larger projects due to the size.

                            1. re: LaureltQ

                              Considered what you have written thus far, don't you think it is time to just go ahead and buy another "off brand".

                              1. re: LaureltQ

                                you've must got defected one by chance... sigh. I hope you will get the replacement soon and enjoy cooking :)

                            2. re: DAVESGIRL

                              I've often taken LC French ovens filled with food from the fridge and heated them up immediately, and there's never been any ill effect. And it's been 30 years.

                            3. I'm sorry that you got a lemon. Keep us updated with your warranty experience!

                              Counting Amazon reviews for both Lodge and LC, there are 43 out of 202 people (21%) gave the Lodge 3 stars or below, and 7 out of 89 people (8%) gave LC 3 stars or below as of today. You're not alone!

                              14 Replies
                              1. re: cutipie721

                                Without reading all the reviews, Amazon reviews are not necessiarly a good way to make comparisons. Some people leave a one star review for poor shiping or a product damaged in shipping and that has nothing to do with the actual product itself. My guess is there are some LC reviews that simply state it's too expensive and give it 3 stars. That aside, 3 star or less is 21% for Lodge and 7.8% for LC. To really make that a meaningful comparison you would have to read all the reviews and classify the ones where there were actually product deficiencies and not someone complaining about shipping.

                                1. re: mikie

                                  What makes of the 4/5 stars? I'm sure there're those who say "it's 1/5 the cost of LC and hence I like it".

                                  No way I'm going to read through all 300 reviews. I think the population is large enough to assume / hope that the ratio of less-than-helpful reviews are the same on both sides.

                                  1. re: cutipie721

                                    >>>>I'm sure there're those who say "it's 1/5 the cost of LC and hence I like it".>>>>

                                    I have a friend like that. Nothing, and I mean *nothing*, tastes better to him than cheap.

                                    1. re: Jay F

                                      I will argue it the other way. Sure, we like to save money, but if you read through how people generally have responded. I will argue the bias is the other way around.

                                      When a Lodge Color or Tramontina chips, the customers usually blame the cookware for being poor quality. When a Le Creuset chips, the customers question if they did something wrong (LaureItQ, the original poster, is a good example). Many of the posters also instinctively responded in similar manner. Asking if LaureItQ mistreated the cookware by scratching it, or by providing sudden temperature change, or ... etc.

                                      Had Laure said this is Lodge Color Dutch Oven or Tramontina, people would have probably responded differently. They won't ask if she abused the cookware. They will just say "Cheap low-quality cookware".

                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                        There is a lot to be said for a good reputation!

                                        1. re: mikie

                                          Agree. Neverthless, the bias is the other way around. It bias against the customers from complaining against a reputable product.

                                          Poster: My Dutch Oven has cracked!

                                          Reader: Tell me what brand is it? If it is Lodge or Tramontina, then the product is defected. If it is Le Creuset, then you didn't take care of it.

                                        2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                          But there is another possibility. The person himself/herself makes a conclusion - it is because of the quality issue of knock-offs - and never ask others. And we don't find any problem of knock-offs.

                                          If they don't expect much from the beginning, they just walk away.

                                          1. re: hobbybaker

                                            Good point. Hobbybaker. I think if someone spent $200-300 on a pot and it breaks, they will be more angry than if he/she only spent $50. Therefore, that will icrease the chance of that person writing a review. Let's face it, most people write a review when they are very happy or very unhappy with a product. So the bias is for the extremes and against the average. So the reviews are bias in that sense as well. (assuming we are talking about Amazon.com reviews)

                                          2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                            Yes. I know. You're a hater, too.

                                            I have no argument to make here, really. For all I know, Tramontina and Lodge make the best enameled cast iron, Sino is better than Franco, the whole nine yards.

                                            Truth is, Le Creuset is the only enameled cast iron I've ever used. I have never said it was the cheapest, though I do believe in my case, it has been quite a bargain: two sets of cookware for $179 over the course of 40 years, courtesy of their lifetime guarantee.

                                            I didn't add any new pieces until 2010, when I discovered the LC Factory Stores. I'm one of those "matchy" people Mikie was talking about earlier. I had these chairs re-covered over the summer in a fabric that's navy blue, powder blue, and olive green. The chairs themselves are anodized aluminum in a brushed silver look. So I bought stuff that goes with them. This is a crime?

                                            I bought some new dishes and stainless, too. So shoot me.

                                            1. re: Jay F

                                              "Yes. I know. You're a hater, too. "

                                              "So I bought stuff that goes with them. This is a crime? "

                                              "I bought some new dishes and stainless, too. So shoot me."

                                              Why am I a hater? I don't think I said Tramontina is better than Le Creuset. Personally, I am a bare cast iron user, so I mostly use Lodge cast iron cookware, but that is probably irrelevant I think. If you read my earlier response to you, I made no statement about you should not buy more Le Creuset or buy more stainless steel cookware. I never made any statement about purchasing power. I don't make fun of people for buying expensive cookware and I don't make fun of them for buying cheap cookware.

                                              I just think (from reading other posts) that people don't have to instinctively blame the user when the broken cookware is a Le Creuset. These pots can break, so there is no need to assume the original poster mistreated the cookware as if she threw it out of a window.

                                              I think it is great that you got good deals on these cookware and that there is nothing wrong with buying more Le Creuset or whatever brand you want -- as long as you can afford them and have space for them. I don't think I've ever said it is a bad thing.

                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                What? There's as good a chance that the OP's LC is a lemon. Hopefully, they can negotiate a replacement.

                                                1. re: Kagemusha

                                                  I know. She was unlucky and it wasn't her fault.

                                                  1. re: Kagemusha

                                                    Macy's or Bloomies, they just process it when customers are unhappy. Return or Excahge is easy.

                                      2. re: cutipie721

                                        When reading reviews on Amazon and other places, you also have to consider that some people will only write a review if they have had a negative experience; if their purchase has been pretty much what was expected, they see no reason to write. So there MAY be (I'm not saying there is, just mentioning the possibility) an inherent bias toward less-than-favorable reviews.

                                      3. Some long while back I had ONE LC pot that developed cracks in the enamel very similar to yours (though I had/have several pieces and have treated them all pretty much the same in terms of heating, handling, etc.). LC was very accommodating about the return, and replaced my damaged pot, only asking that I send the original back to them so they could "learn" from the damage. They also followed up with a letter making sure I was happy with the replacement.

                                        Maybe management has changed since then (and if so, I'm very sad and sorry), but try to make direct contact with customer service at LC. If they give you crap, you might want to mention that you are "AN INFLUENTIAL MEMBER OF A FAR-REACHING ONLINE COOKING COMMUNITY" and your opinion carries a lot of weight. They will ignore you at their own peril.

                                        (I'm just sayin'...)

                                        1. As disappointing as it must be to have something new show signs of damage, if it was limited to the outside I'd probably ignore it. Really, I wouldn't even care if the entire bottom enamel fell off, as long as the interior enamel remained sound.

                                          "I tend to be very hard on things in the kitchen."

                                          Keep in mind that enameled metal required more care than bare iron or steel; don't go overboard preheating an empty pan, and use wood or plastic utensils, and don't use metal or abrasive cleaners.