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Le Creuset starter piece?

I'm considering getting my first (and possibly only–for while anyhow) Le Creuset french oven. I noticed that for $149 I could buy the 5.5 qt at Marshall's however the colors were limited. Lemon was my favorite of the limited color offerings on 'second choix' pieces, but I truly would prefer white as I think this could be something that would go in my kitchen even if I change the color scheme on my kitchen over the years. Also I already have a 6 qt Calphalon stainless pot, I'm thinking I should get the 7.25 qt oven perhaps to have something larger. The deal at Marshall's is so great though it is hard to pass up. But when I think about the fact this may be the only piece I'll own for a long time...Marshall's also carried what I believe to be 9 qts in a chili red color. Looked a little big to me, to store, but the price was only $179. Pay more for the exact color and size I want or go for one of the deals at Marshall's? Cooking requirements would be serve 4-6 with leftovers, ideally. I mostly cook vegetarian.

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  1. I would go for the Marshall 5.5 Quart.

    1. I personally find the 7 1/4 quart to be my most used piece of the ovens. But I don't own the 9 quart, for that deal I'd get the 9 quart one.

      1. I like the 5.5 qt. round best, but I would check and see what's available at Le Creuset's outlet stores. You're likely to find a better selection of colors at comparable prices. If there's not a store near you, they do the best single-brand mail order business I've experienced. Shipping is usually, or maybe always, free when you spend $100+.


        1. I would absolutely get your first choice. I'm very picky though. Any piece that I've compromised on due to price I usually regret for one reason or another. If it's something I'm using regularly I'd like it to make me happy rather than making me regretful that it wasn't my first choice. I've also learned to be patient - if you look long and hard enough almost everything is discounted at some point.

          I definitely agree that the outlet is the way to go. I'd probably get a 7.25 qt. I have that size as well as a 5 qt buffet casserole (which is probably my favorite of the two).

          1. Spend the money on a moderately-sized Le Creuset Dutch/French oven. I use mine all the time, for all sorts of things. It's a beautiful cobalt-blue, which I understand they are d/cing. How could they get rid of blue?

            2 Replies
            1. re: catdoc46

              Where did you hear this!?! That's my color! If this is true I have to finish getting my pieces stat! Somebody pretty please confirm.

              1. re: Maramixi

                Yes, the Cobalt is being discontinued. The LC rep in my Bloomies confirmed that yesterday, and I've read it a few places too. You have plenty of time to get your pieces as they will place that color on sale and it will be around in the stores for a while too before that. Someone mentioned the new blue was between their Azure blue and the Caribbean color, and called Marseilles (sp.), but that's unconfirmed. I think the Azure is prettier than the Cobalt, but that was discontinued too. About the only colors to hang around over the years are Red and Flame. LC tried to get rid of the Flame years ago but their were too many complaints, and they brought it back.

            2. How many people do you usually cook for? For pot roasts, double batches of soup or meatballs in tomato sauce, stews, corned beef -- the 5.5 round is the most versatile for my family. I never cook for more than three or four, if we have a guest. I have slightly smaller and slightly larger (3.5 qt. LC and 6 quart oval Staub), and I use those too -- but not as much as the 5.5.

              My mother used to use her 7 quart most often, but she cooked for more people, usually six to eight. When you start getting to the 9 quart, you are talking a lot of pot with a lot of weight. You really need to be cooking a lot of food to fill that pot, plus you need to take your vitamins to keep your strength up to lift it. When full, it is very, very heavy.

              Pick a color you love. Don't always worry about matching. I've had some of these flame pieces for 25 years, and they still look good. I don't know how white will hold up over time, and you will have to be meticulous about getting stains out of it if they occur, I have a number different colors and I am not alone in this. I just buy what I like.

              1. Hi everyone, I've got a question related to the 5.5/7.25 distinction. For the last few years, I've had a 5.5 round that I absolutely love. When contemplating giving LC ovens as gifts, I've thought about the 7.25, but have one hesitation. Is the 7.25 difficult to manoeuver when washing in the sink? Even with my 5.5, I don't have a ton of extra space to flip and turn, etc. when washing and rinsing. I wonder if the larger size on the 7.25 would make it a pain. Thanks in advance for your feedback!

                9 Replies
                1. re: wendylouwho

                  I don't have a 7.25 quart, but yes, one would imagine that is the case, and I suspect you knew that. Beside space, weight is another issue as well for flip and turn the pot during washing. Dropping an enameled cast iron cookware is quiet different than dropping a stainless steel cladded cookware. I am sure you know the risk there.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    Right, I suspected that the 7.25 would be tricky to fit in the sink, hence the question. The reason that I felt it worth asking is that I've not read that feedback anywhere in reviews or here on Chowhound, so I thought perhaps my concern was unfounded. Thanks for your feedback.

                    1. re: wendylouwho

                      I have what I think is a 7.75 quart round and I have no problem washing it in my sink which is a standard dual sink design. That being said, I go for my 3.5 quart braiser most often because it is lighter and easier to wash. I only cook for two, if I want left overs I go for the 7.75, if just a regular dinner then the 3.5 is my go to.

                  2. re: wendylouwho

                    I've never had any problems washing my 7.25 quart LC, and I've lived in 5 different houses since I bought it. My 5 quart brasier/buffet pan which is wider is sometimes a tight fit when laying it flat in some narrow sinks. In those cases I've just leaned it up on it's side when I wash it. Not a big deal.

                    1. re: rasputina

                      Thank you, Rasputina! That's what I was hoping to hear and it's really helpful to know that you've used it in multiple homes and not had trouble.

                    2. re: wendylouwho

                      I have a 7qt Staub round DO that I love. It's 11" in diameter. I never had issues cleaning it in my sink, however I do have a single sink (not one of these dual small sinks where you can't fit anything). and I do wash it very carefully not bang it around.

                      This one was my first piece, and a gift, but I do wish my dad gave me a smaller 5.5 instead. I cook 4-6 portions, and that size would be big enough, while weighing a few pounds less.

                      1. re: rewok

                        I had a 5.5 qt and a 7.25 qt Le Creuset French oven until a month ago or so. I sold the 7.25 because I never used it. Too big. I live alone, though.

                      2. re: wendylouwho

                        No problems washing my 7.25 Qt in the sink at all. I LOVE that piece - it is a work horse in my kitchen! Bought it as a 2nd from a LC outlet store in Clinton, CT. Highly recommend the size - perfect for so many things! Oh, and Cherry here. So bright and cheery!

                        1. re: wendylouwho

                          Thanks, everyone! It's so helpful to hear your thoughts. From now on, I'll consider both 5.5 and 7.25 as great options for gifting, and just base the decision on the recipient's most likely uses. I appreciate it!

                        2. I have only one, and I think it's 9 qt. I use it for everything, braises, sauces, chili, soup. I've never needed another one.

                          1. Charm - I have both the 5.5 and 7.25 LC. The 7.25 is great for when I make up a big pot of soup or sauce but it is pretty heavy when filled. FWIW, I think that the 9qt. might be too heavy to manage unless you're a weightlifter.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: EM23

                              I just checked mine and it's 8 3/4 qts round. As I've said, I've never needed another one, and it's big enough to make home made chicken stock using two whole chickens, or a medium sized pot of chili... It's heavy empty, much less filled, but I don't know how different the weight is from a 7.25.
                              I guess which size is best may depend on what you want to make and how many you're cooking for. I'd go for the 9 if you're hoping to need only one, but since I so rarely fill mine except for when making stock, I'm sure you'd do well with the 7.25, too.

                              1. re: mcf

                                MCF: "I just checked mine and it's 8 3/4 qts round."

                                What is the number on the bottom (or letter if it's an older model)?

                                    1. re: Jay F

                                      What I love about it is that it's not too big to make a modest pot of chili, but big enough for anything I want to use it for.

                                      1. re: mcf

                                        I've read that if the distance between the lid and the food is too great, your food can dry out. Fortunately, you can adjust that by sticking parchment under the lid at the proper height.

                                        1. re: Jay F

                                          That hasn't happened to me, perhaps because the lid is snug and tons of moisture collects onto it and drips down to baste the food. If I lift it before tipping it to run off into the pot, I end up with a big puddle from the lid.

                            2. Thanks for weighing in everyone! This was my first time here and I'm really thrilled to be a part of the community!

                              3 Replies
                                1. re: Jay F

                                  Although that 9 qt chili red one at Marshall's gave me a lot to think about based on the deal, I ultimately I decided to hold out and get the 7.25 qt, in the color I really want (white). I figured that in the long run having the exact combination I want is more important then saving some money. I think this size is a happy medium for me as that 9 qt is pretty heavy! I plan to call the Michigan City Le Creuset outlet.

                                  1. re: charmdesign

                                    I think you'll be thrilled with the 7.25 qt. As I said, it is a work horse in my kitchen. Use it several times a week - everything from roasting to braising, soups & chilis, cooking pasta. You name it, it does it. And good idea to get the color you want. I knew I wanted red, so finding the 7.25 in red in the seconds section of the LC outlet was fate. :) Oh, and if you do go to the outlet, look at the seconds first! The only reason they're "seconds" is because of blemishes. I still have yet to find the blemish on mine and I've had it a few years now! LOL

                              1. I went through this same decision about a year ago. I decided since this could be my only Le Creuset piece, I wanted it to be the most functional for me and a color that I thought I could always live with. For me something as nice as a Le Creuset french oven was an investment and way too much money not to be of the most use to me. So I took my money and invested in the size and color that I wanted. I have never regreted it. I have since baught another one in another size. My first piece was the 7.25 qt and my second one is the 4.25 or 4.5 (I can't remember how it is sized.) and I use them both. The smaller one is my weekly bean cooking pot and the large one is for when I want to make more. I tend to cook a lot of whatever and eat leftovers or freeze stuff. I still plan on getting the 5.5 qt in cobalt to go with my Carribean and Kiwi pots. I hate to here they are discontinuing that color.
                                Anyway, I do not regret forking up the extra money to get what I wanted. I love it. If I were a Le Creuset collector, I would go with the best deals. But for what is functional to me and the fact I have to look at it everyday, I am going with what is the most usefull and attractive to me. Even if I have to pay more.