HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >

Discussion

Alternatives to LeCreuset?

My husband just burned up my third (yes, my third!) Le Creuset Dutch Oven. Can anyone recommend a good alternative, but maybe not enamled so that if he lets its go dry again, the only thing ruined is the food, not the pot? I love my Le Creuset, but I'm going broke replacing it.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Get him his own stainless steel dutch oven. And you a new le Creuset. And some strongly worded advice about how much it will cost HIM if he ruins yours again. (This is presuming you each have your own individual "fun" money. Replacing cookware instead of getting the new whatever he wants might help reinforce your point, and yes I have done this)

    1 Reply
    1. re: autumm

      Be explicit: touch my LC again, and no num nums for you ever again.

    2. My naked cast iron DO and pans came from yard sales, the best source since they were already seasoned from years of use, and because the newly-made Lodge pieces seem to have somewhat rough surfaces that take years to smooth out, even with proper seasoning.

      Cooks Illustrated recommends the Tramontina enameled DO, sold primarily at Walmart for around $40. As long as you hand-wash it and don't bang it around, it will serve you well. Costco has a pretty nice enameled DO too, for a good price though I can't remember the number.

      You're bound to get a lot of posts insisting that LC, Staub, and other elite brand pieces are worth the money. Not to me. The emperor is as naked as my old yard sale frying pan!

      11 Replies
      1. re: greygarious

        I'm with you. I have a Staub and an LC (that one was a gift). I also have one of the Costco ones and a couple of Lodge. I use them interchangeably based on the size of the dish. No diff in my opinion.

        1. re: greygarious

          I have a Tramontina and a few Le Creuset pieces. Functionally, they're equal.

          The quality of the enameling on the Tramontina is inferior though; you can easily observe crazing, and mine has a small chip in it. (I've stopped using it because of the chip...)

          OTOH, the LC interiors have neither problem. In both cases, same cook, always hand-washed, not abused.

          I agree that a bare cast iron or stainless steel DO is what you're looking for. I don't have cast iron but have a few clad stainless ones that I use regularly and love.

          1. re: zhawna

            I'm curious why you've stopped using it because of a chip.

            1. re: c oliver

              There's no way to re-enamel it. Rust will always be an issue, whether I can see it or not.

              I guess I could try to season that spot, but it at a cost of $35 it's not worth it!

              1. re: zhawna

                Why will a small bit of rust be a problem? And if you don't ever use it, why not donate it?

            2. re: zhawna

              In Canada, we get a Lagotina dutch oven at Canadian Tire - these are made in China, look less clunky than the other made in china enamelled cast iron. Has anyone bought these? I asked this question here some time ago and not many responses.

              I thought naked cast iron couldn't be used with acids, and there is a lot of tomato, wine and citrus fruit in my braises.

              1. re: lagatta

                good point, if this is for lots of high acid foods, ci isn't the best option.

                1. re: qianning

                  I cook everything in all my DOs and have never tasted a difference.

                  1. re: c oliver

                    I thought I was the only one! When a cast iron skillet was just about the only pan I owned I regularly simmered tomato sauces in them and never noticed any ill effect to pan or food. The tomatoe sauces probably were a little darker, but that didn't bother me any...

                    1. re: CaliforniaJoseph

                      A well seasoned CI pan or DO can handle acid - I have no problem using tomatoes, deglazing with wine and making pan sauces etc - 2 caveats

                      A newly seasoned pan will not fare as well as a well seasoned one for say, a tomato ragu - once the seasoning is well established you will not need be concerned

                      Cooking with acid does not build the seasoning, therefore if you only ever used the CI to braise in acid you will eventually wear down the seasoning - you need to cook in hot fat sometimes too - so in-between the sausage and peppers and the pork ragu - try to fry some chicken :)

                      1. re: JTPhilly

                        Again, when that was my only cookware, I simmered Monday night, then made bacon for breakfast, grilled cheese for lunch, roast chicken quarters for dinner. I almost think every man should log one year with one cast iron pan when he starts cooking! It gave me an appreciation of so many cooking distinctions!

          2. I just got a 6qt Lodge Dutch Oven (Amazon Prime, $49.99 + tax, shipped free) after discovering my 4 year old LC had peeling enamel on the interior.

            So far it behaves exactly the same as the LC and I actually like the side handles better. Twice the size, makes it easier to lift. Never understood why the LC's had such tiny handles for such a stout pot!!

            And for $50, if it fails in a year I'll still be ahead $$$ wise on the fancy pants brand.

            I used to keep the LC out on the stovetop cause it was so pretty, but the Lodge looks just as snazzy. For now it will maintain the Place of Cooking Honor.

            1 Reply
            1. re: VelociWedge42

              Return the LC and get a replacement, if you bought it new.

            2. Hi, Birdbody:

              You might try Cabela's house brand. Undoubtedly made in China, they're thick, heavy, crude and well-nigh indestructible. They will only sell to you if you're wearing your Sunday-go-to-meeting camo (just kidding).

              Aloha,
              kaleo

                1. If your DH is destroying your LC then he will do the same to SS! What cooking process is destroying 3 DOs? I am hard on things but my LC has survived even me so far at least.

                  Sounds like the man needs some real raw Cast Iron - virtually indestructible, manly, American cookware - go find a vintage DO at a thrift or ebay of buy a new Lodge (no MIC CI)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: JTPhilly

                    Hi, JT: "What cooking process is destroying 3 DOs?"

                    Well, boiling them dry will do it.

                    Aloha,
                    Kaleo

                    1. re: kaleokahu

                      go with cast iron then. if he tries to destroy it, and if you have a self cleaning oven, put the cast iron pot in the oven when you are running the self clean, after which you'll have a "new" pot, then re-season the pot, and you'll be good to go.

                  2. Maybe what he needs is a timer, so he doesn't forget the pot on the stove.

                    1. The enamel on my LC stockpot has been peeling off and i contacted them about it. They had me mail in my pot and they will either repair it, replace it, or if it's my fault -which it is, i'm not nice to things- she said they would offer me a replacement at a discounted price.
                      The info is under customer service on their website.

                      1 Reply
                        1. Staub. It is beautiful too and I love the colors.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Candy

                            We got a staub as a wedding gift in Oct and I can confidently say that it is THE most used piece of cookware in our household. I use it for EVERYTHING. I'm sure that a cheaper version of the same thing would probably suffice, but I'm shocked at that fact that it took me till the age of 30 to obtain this amazing pot. Its just...perfect *single tear rolls down cheek* for everything. If they didn't weigh a thousand lbs, I would get a whole set.

                          2. I'd have banned him from using the LC after the first pot. But three? I'd buy him a cheap nonstick pan. I had to do that with my chefs knife after my husband broke the tip off using it to hack bones. He's basically ruined almost a whole knife block full of knives. He now has his own and is forbidden to use mine.

                            1. Staub is a beautiful line and the interior is an enameled matte black.

                              1. Time for "His & Hers" dutch ovens - stainless or cast iron for him, something he is not allowed to touch for her.

                                1. Huh, I didn't know it was possible to ruin Le Creuset. But shouldn't the three-time loser just be banned from the kitchen? I hate to be harsh, but the guy is a fire hazard.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: foiegras

                                    I read in a pop-psych book decades ago that if you don't want to do something then do it so badly you won't be asked again.