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Dutch Ovens

I was staring at a Le Creuset and a Cuisinart dutch oven this morning in Home Goods, debating whether only an idiot would pay $100+ more for the Le Creuset. Is there a significant difference?

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  1. I have LC, Staub, Lodge and other DOs. The one I choose to use is based 100% on the size, never on the brand. And the LC, which is enormous, was a gift from an elderly friend who couldn't lift it!

    1. <Is there a significant difference? >

      Don't know for sure. It is said that Le Creuset enameled layer is less likely chip than other brands.

      1. Where are your manners? It's not polite to stare.

        No significant difference twixt CI ovens.

        1. Opinions vary and I don't have first hand experience with the Cuisinart DO. The general consensus is that LC and Staub are more chip resistant than the ovens made in the Pacific Rim. Macy's had to pull the Martha Stewart stuff off the shelves because of the internal chipping issues.

          I had a store owner tell me one time she would not cary the other brands because of the chipping issues and irate customers.

          1. i have 1 cuisinart, several vintage LC, and a brand new staub (so new i haven't used it yet!!)

            my vintage LC's are the smallest and lightest of the bunch, so i like them for that. also, it's very old and it still has very little chipping. After 50+ years it's still the "grande dame" in my kitchen. I have a small oval and a small round, probably both around 3 qt.

            I have a 5.5 qt. cuisinart that i got for super cheap a couple of years ago online. it came with a chip on it, but i decided i didn't want the hassle of returning it because it was so heavy! the chip hasn't gotten any bigger, so, again, not a big deal. I use it quite regularly. it does have a couple of scratches on the inside now: not sure how that occured since we know how to care for enameled CI. a bit odd.. also, what i REALLY don't like about it is that the handle is loose and I can't figure out how to get it tight again. this, IMO, is cheap manufacturing. It was made in china. i paid around $50 for it. not feelin' the love but, hey... it did last a couple of years.

            I officially retired it 3 days ago when i got the staub. I haven't tried the staub yet but I got it because it was bigger (and, yes, heavier) but i got it on a great sale at W-S so couldn't pass it up. also, the cuisinart was oval and I always thought it would be great to use that shape, but finally realized that until they make an oval burner for my gas range, it's not the best way to heat the pot! so, the new staub is round. also, i'm interested in trying the interior finish to see if it's "all that." i suspect i'm not going to notice the difference, overall.

            also have an old lodge DO in plain cast iron. never use it. i don't know why... just not the pot i reach for (i think i like the pretty ones!)

            so to answer your question - yes, if you can afford it, or want a lasting piece of cookware, i think ECI is worth over $100. If you're just interested in trying ECI cookware you can try something from china for lesser price.

            1. I've owned two Kirkland dutch ovens from Costco, an LC and a Staub and a Chinese Martha Stewart that had to be carried back to the store on a recall. No more Chinese ovens!
              The first Kirkland had a light cream enameled interior and it discolored inside with very little use. No chips, outside was beautiful but didn't use it much because it was oval and didn't work well on my stove. My new Kirkland 6.5 qt I am using a lot and it's dark interior is getting a little cloudy, but I still think it's a really great oven and it is made in France.
              My Staub and LC look just like they did new, no discoloration at all, they are a pleasure to use. There are differences, the quality is there. The question is.....are you willing to pay for it?

              2 Replies
              1. re: Cam14

                thanks--i think the LC is worth the splurge.

                1. re: abu applesauce

                  In my experience, the Kirkland enameled cast iron (the ones made in France) perform equivalently to my many LC pieces. My most used LC dutch ovens have also discolored on the interior a bit, but my less used ones have not. I wonder, Cam, if you use your Kirkland more than the LC? Or perhaps more frequently at higher temperatures?

                  There is some cache to the LC brand to the lay public, and I will admit, it's nice to have nice stuff when company is over.

                  However, I don't think the ECI made for Kirkland is made by a new independent ECI cookware manufacturer. It's almost certainly made by Le Creuset, Staub, or another reputable company of which I am unaware, no?

              2. Target has a 6-Qt Lodge (red only) for under $40 today.

                1. In terms of performance, there will be little to no difference. In terms of longevity, there will be.

                  25 Replies
                  1. re: Sirrith

                    Tested how?

                    Over 1,600 of the 1,800+ reviews on Amazon have been glowingly positive. And Amazon reviewers are a-holes.


                    1. re: ferret

                      I too am interested in this. I have vintage Lodge and new. NO problems.

                      1. re: ferret

                        Lets take a look at percentages. The Le Creuset doesn't compete in terms of sheer number, simply because of the price. But:

                        That means 4% of reviews are 1 or 2 stars.

                        compared to the lodge you linked, which has almost 9%

                        Going to the 4.5Qt Lodge:
                        Again, 9%

                        compare to the Le Creuset 4.5Qt:

                        How about braisers then?

                        Lodge's 3Qt (EC3CC33):

                        Le Creuset 3.5Qt:
                        2.5%. But do you know what? That one single 2 star review is negative because of the *weight* of the item, not because it is poor quality. Therefore, effectively that is 0% again.
                        So let's look at the negatives for the Lodge braiser. 1 states lack of non-stick property as the reason. Not sure if that counts as I don't think enamel is really non-stick anyway. But 3 out of the total of 5 negative reviews state enamel chipping.

                        What about the Lodge L-series 6Qt?
                        a whopping 19% negative reviews.
                        But lets be fair. 2 of those are idiots who gave negs because it is made in China and for no other reason. So that brings the percentage down, but it is still 14% of negatives. And ALL of those negatives refer to the enamel chipping.

                        I can't find a 6 Qt LC, but they have a 6.75Qt, which again, has 0% negative reviews.

                        So how about other brands?:

                        Also, the Cuisinart 7 Qt DO, should compare favourably to the 6.75 Qt LC, yes?

                        Well it has 11.5% negative reviews on Amazon, the majority of which mention ease of chipping as a factor.

                        Granted, this is not the be-all end-all of "tests", but it does paint a rough picture of the situation.

                        1. re: Sirrith

                          As I stated above but want to emphasize the point. When the owner of a gorumet cooking store tells you she won't carry any brand of enameled cast iron except LC and Staub, because the others have so many chipping problems and she doesn't want to have to deal with customers that are ticked off because their DO chipped. That's a very strong statement about the quality of products.

                          A sales lady at WS was showing me some Satub cocottes and when she was putting them back in the display she banged the crap out of them. I asked if this was the chipping demonstration, she obviously had not done this on purpose. There were no chips, I was impressed, because she banged them really hard.

                          Now when it comes to the taste of the food, probably not any difference.

                          1. re: mikie

                            You're talking about chips on the outside, right? How would that affect the cooking that goes on on the inside? Confused.

                            1. re: c oliver

                              I don't think it does effect the cooking that's why I stated above that functionally there isn't much difference. Or at least that was the intended message. However the Martha Stewart stuff at Macy's was chipping on the inside while you were cooking, that's why they had to recall it and take it off the shelves. It's just when the enamel is chipped the DO doesn't look very good and really isn't suitable as a service piece as it can be.

                              1. re: mikie

                                Thanks for clarifying. I don't serve from any cookware so functionality is what counts for me.

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  We don't either very often, but tha's one of the great features of ECI is that it holds the heat so well that you can serve from it and the food will stay hot throughout the entire meal. But I'm definately not serving from anything with a chip. My opinion, as soon as it's chipped it's a second class citizen. Might be ok to cook in but I really don't want to see it.

                                  That's kind of how we got new dinnerware, the old ones were marked up so bad from the flatware that I found it repulsive to eat off of them. I could spend a couple of days cleaning them, but in a month or two they were marked up again.

                                  1. re: mikie

                                    I just can't imagine passing a heavy DO around the table :)

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      We have gifted ECI au gratins and dutch ovens to family. They use them and bring them to the table, hot and heavy. They are beautiful. We just pass our plates around to the head of the table for another serving. The cook always looks flattered when you ask her to dish up another serving. DIL made some of the best potatoes in an LC Au Gratin at New Years. And I was flattered she used her Christmas gift.

                                      1. re: Cam14

                                        But OP is specifically asking about DOs. And I don't really want someone to serve me as I generally get more than I want. But I hear what you're saying.

                                        1. re: c oliver

                                          When holiday time comes, we have a relatively large family. Even the Apilco platters are too heavy to pass around when they're loaded with turkey and dressing. Or the sweet potatoes are too hot to pass. We often end up doing what Cam 14 does. Again, this is for family, not a formal dinner with true guests.

                                          1. re: mikie

                                            I set up buffet style but still remove things from the cookware. Well, not a gratin pan but definitely a DO.

                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              But without passing you miss all the jokes about short stopping, everyone knows who took the last roll and won't let them forget it and the stray peas rolling into enemy territory and being kidnapped.
                                              We've put a large cast iron camp oven of lasagna cooked outdoors with charcoal on the table for serving. Rustic, to be sure, but fun. Baked ziti or chili begs to be served in colorful (non chipped) ECI dutch ovens for informal get togethers. We do buffet type serving too when the crowd is large.

                                        2. re: Cam14

                                          Generally speaking, I agree with c oliver about serving from my cookware. But to be fair, LC gratins are beautiful pans. I love the seashell handles. If I still had mine, I'd definitely bring them to the table.

                                          Well, more correctly, I'd place them on trivets on my island, because that's where guests serve themselves. :)

                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                            Except for the occasional fancy/dancy dinner, we almost always serve like that also. It's easier than passing, I can have a 'pretty' table but probably most of all, people can take just what and how much they want.

                                            1. re: DuffyH

                                              I went with LC because I find them so beautiful. I so enjoy the food cooked in them delicious and I never tire of looking at them. It took me a very long time to make myself spend that much on a pot. But it has been well worth it. I just tuck away a little money until I have enough for another pot. But if I could not afford an LC, I would not hesitate to get one of the ones at Walmart. I really, really like enameled CI dutch ovens.

                                          2. re: c oliver

                                            One of those dollies on casters can work, but wear steel-toed shoes...

                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              We have a lot of informal dinners with people coming and going and serve off of the stove. There are other times where there are too many to serve at the table.

                                          3. re: c oliver

                                            I serve from my cookware all the time, especially my enameled cast iron.

                                            1. re: rasputina

                                              I have a lot of cookware and I have even more serving pieces :)

                                    2. re: Sirrith

                                      Nice work! That's because LCs are so awesome there's nothing to complain abt :) and if you have an issue, LC warranty is unparalleled!!! There are a million reviews and comments on how outstanding LC customer service is

                                      1. re: giverny

                                        Some of them have fun shapes also that beg for use as a server after cooking. The cassoulet or the heart shaped oven, for example.

                                        1. re: law_doc89

                                          If I were to get a special pot for casoulet, I'd choose a more traditional earthenware


                                          1. re: paulj

                                            I am a big fan of pottery cookware. Gets really ugly when used a lot, so I wouldn't want to serve with it.

                                2. LC are fine but way overpriced. I have two that I paid a small fortune for many years ago (pre-internet) when I was unaware that there were cheaper alternatives. I wouldn't buy this brand again. I probably would buy a Tramontina @ Walmart. The LC propaganda is that the paint chips less frequently but I don't know if I'm buying that. Hasn't been my experience and the Tramontinas come with a lifetime guarantee and there is zero difference functionally.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: zackly

                                    I have a big Tramontina that was $40 or $50 some years back. It's fine. If it ever chipped badly or failed in another way, I could replace it several times and still spend less than one of the ENC (emperor's new clothes) brands would cost me.

                                    I wash the DO in the sink, which has a vinyl-coated rack in the bottom. If I didn't have the rack, I'd lay a towel in the bottom of the sink before filling it. If you use a little extra caution in handling an enameled DO, it won't chip.

                                    1. re: greygarious

                                      I use something like this:


                                      But I use it every time I wash dishes. To protect what I'm washing and to protect the sink. Love it.

                                    2. re: zackly

                                      All of mine are from the secondary market, yard sales etc, so cheap and I am picky so no chips. People get rid of them because they are heavy I think and tend to scorch. I got a huge Dutch oven in cobalt at TJMaxx for $50 on clearance.

                                    3. Clearly, I watch too many John Waters movies.

                                      1. I just had a 10 year old 7.25 quart Le Creuset replaced under warranty (no questions asked). The oven has been heavily used and served us well, however the enamel was understandably worn in a few spots. Looking at my brand new replacement piece feel like the opposite of an idiot for investing in Le Creuset in the first place.

                                        1. I registered for LC when I got married 20 some years ago. My frugal relatives bought me a knock-off (don't remember the brand). It lasted a pretty good long time, probably 10 years. I replaced it with LC. That's going on 13 or so years. So take what you like from that. The other stuff is not bad. Perhaps it's not as good as LC.