Ultimate guide to Le Creuset Dutch oven

There are Dutch ovens…and then there’s the Le Creuset Dutch oven. 

Full disclosure…I am in love with Le Creuset. Head over heels in love. A love affair that has spanned three decades…outlasting many relationships.

The Le Creuset Dutch oven needs little introduction in the market. Earning a special place in the mind of cooks all over the world for over ninety years, Le Creuset have a formidable reputation when it comes to delivering quality and innovation.

At the forefront of innovation with many firsts within their history with the brand always embracing trends, the range and success of their product ranges over a long period of time are a testament to their strong reputation and loyal following.

Fact: Le Creuset’s logo is a representation of the crucible – the creuset – in which all its cast-iron pots are conceived.

Innovation is what Le Creuset is built on, since Aubecq and Desaegher delivered the first coated cast iron with enamel. It was considered impossible as metal expands when it’s heated, but enamel cannot as it is glass…it shatters. Yet Le Creuset perfected this technology and that is why they stand head and shoulders above the rest of the market.

Each pot is inspected by 15 different people prior to being placed on sale. Approximately 30 percent of the company’s goods are rejected because of imperfections in the production, melted down and recast to perfection.

With humble beginnings, the founders aim was simple…and yet they are still just as relevant. They wanted to be at the front of culinary technology, great timeless design all delivered with highly specialized casting and enameling. They wanted their products to be desired.

As one of the most coveted brands, they achieved their aims. Survey after survey has placed Le Creuset at the top of the culinary tree.

Numerous customer surveys confirm the reasons for choosing a Le Creuset including: great design; versatility; reliability; history and heritage with huge levels of sentimental value…but most of all, a great product warranty and reassuringly heavy weight. See…we like quality.

Le Creuset much more then a manufacturer, they have transitioned into a lifestyle brand that speaks volumes about their core values…great timeless design, heritage and innovation.

What is clear, our love for this brand is not going away anytime soon.


Why you choose a Le Creuset Dutch oven over other brands

  • Heritage
  • Build quality
  • Performance
  • Lifestyle brand
  • Product range
  • Range of colors
  • Warranty

where to buy the cheapest Le Creuset


Why you may consider other brands

  • Price…they are expensive
  • Similar designs available
  • Other more modern designs

What are Dutch ovens used for?

You will not find a more versatile piece of cookware than a Dutch oven. Whether it’s on a stove or in the oven, the range and types of output is astounding. The construction and the ability to operate at wildly differing temperatures make it a must in any kitchen.

Put simply…you can pretty much cook anything in a Le Creuset Dutch oven.

Roasting Meats and Vegetables

Dutch ovens retain heat fabulously well which means that slow cooking produces amazing results. The tight-fitting lids stop foods drying out by retaining the moisture within the cookware.

Soups and stews

They are perfect for cooking soups and stews. The ability to retain heat consistently and evenly means that long simmering dishes deliver great results. The construction of the ovens also means that food can be kept warm for a long time.

Breads

If you’re an aspiring artisan bread maker, you’ll be pleased to read that you can get some great results with Dutch ovens. The base of a Dutch oven acts in a similar way to a stone hearth of a bread oven. Add in the steam and moisture that is retained within the oven, you get a delicious crispy crust with a bread that is moist on the inside.

Casseroles

The simplicity and convenience of a Dutch oven makes them perfect for casseroles. Meats can be sauteed on a stovetop and then transferred into an oven to be slow cooked…all in the same cookware. This is as versatile as it gets. Convenient, efficient…and less washing up.

Frying

Although most people prefer electric fryers as they allow you to accurately control the heat, Dutch ovens do actually do a surprisingly good job. The ability of the oven to heat the oil evenly gives good frying results. You do however need to be careful and also ensure that the Dutch oven you have is suitable for this purpose…not all are.


What to consider when buying a good Dutch Oven

If the budget is not your primary consideration, there are a number of things you should consider if you want to get great results in the kitchen;

  • Hold the capacity to make enough food for your needs
  • Its needs to be small enough to fit in your oven
  • The size of the wall thickness and its uniformity
  • The ability to retain heat consistently
  • A close fitting secure lid
  • How you will use it and how versatile it is
  • Maximum heat temperature

The traditional material used to construct Dutch ovens is cast iron. However, all cast iron is not the same and the quality of the cast iron can make a big difference to your end results. It should be noted that some cast iron is incredibly poor quality so its worth buying the best you can afford.

Enameled cast iron will give you the best results…its easy to clean and gives consistent results. Its great for acidic foods too. However, good cast iron can be expensive and is not as rugged as what you would prefer.

There are stainless steel options also available…so its worth considering. Generally, they are an inferior option but the super expensive ones tend to give great results. These are a heavy sandwich construction which means they have different layers of stainless steel, copper or aluminium.

Aluminium is also an option. The cooking results can be good but the items are prone to damage. The better ones tend to be quite bulky as they need thicker walls.



Does Le Creuset offer any benefits over regular steel or non-stick pans from other brands?

The quality of the cast iron is amazing. The Le Creuset Dutch oven appear to be lighter than other cast iron items…but are just as sturdy.

The clear benefit of enameled over non-enameled dutch ovens are that they are much easier to clean and maintain. They are also considered much safer compared to non-stick surfaces.

This is because enameled surfaces can reach high temperatures safely.

Non-stick surfaces can become toxic at temperatures that are easily attainable on a normal stove.


What makes Le Creuset Dutch ovens better than the enamel Casserole dishes which are much cheaper?

I may be biased as I am passionate about this brand…but you definitely get what you pay for. Le Creuset ovens are exceptionally well made, retain heat evenly and are easy to clean.

Cheaper versions do not retain heat anywhere near as well, they chip more easily, damage more easily, aren’t as functional in terms of heat sources and generally don’t last anywhere near Le Creuset.

Of course, they are more expensive but I take the view that this is a long-term investment for my kitchen.


Le Creuset Product ranges

Le Creuset have been delivering us the finest quality cast iron since 1925. Made in France at their foundry in the north of the country, each piece within their collection is made individually in a sand mold…making each piece unique. Durable and long lasting, each piece is handcrafted using the finest materials.

The use of cast iron delivers outstanding performance time after time. Their Dutch ovens retain heat consistently and evenly which makes for fantastic results. With their lifetime guarantee…obviously terms and conditions apply…they remain a popular buy.

The range of products include the following;

  • Dutch Ovens
  • Braisers
  • Skillets & Sauté Pans
  • Saucepans and Sauciers
  • Stock, Soup & Multi-Pots
  • Grill Pans & Griddles
  • Roasters
  • Stainless Steel Cookware
  • Kettles
  • Non-stick Cookware

In recent years in line with the strategy delivering a lifestyle brand, Le Creuset have expanded their offering. They now offer of host of items ranging from bakeware to kitchen utensils, tableware to glassware. All delivered with the care and philosophy we associate with Le Creuset.


Related article

What is a Braiser…find out more here


Where are Le Creuset products made?

If your Le Creuset product is cast iron, It will have been made in their factory in northern France. Items that are not cast iron are made all over the world. Many of the accessories and silicone products and manufactured in China. The stoneware/ceramics and kettles are a product of Thailand. The stainless-steel ranges are produced in Portugal.

All the products have ‘France’ written on them…obviously because Le Creuset is a French company.


Le Creuset Dutch ovens range

Round Dutch Oven

Le Creseut Round Dutch Oven

  • Capacity (qt): 1, 2, 3 ½, 4 ½, 5 ½, 7 ¼,
  • Cleaning: Dishwasher-Safe
  • Country of Origin: France
  • Heat Source: Ceramic, Electric, Gas, Halogen, Induction, Outdoor Grill, Oven
  • Material: Cast Iron
  • Piece Count: 2

3 1/2 qt. Oval Dutch Oven

3 half qt Oval Dutch Oven

  • Capacity: 3 1/2 qt.
  • Length: 13″
  • Height: 6″
  • Width: 8″
  • Cleaning: Dishwasher-Safe
  • Country of Origin: France
  • Heat Source: Ceramic, Electric, Gas, Halogen, Induction, Outdoor Grill, Oven
  • Material: Cast Iron
  • Piece Count: 2

Oval Dutch Oven

Oval Dutch Oven

  • Capacity (qt): 1, 2 ¾, 3 ½, 5, 6 ¾
  • Cleaning: Dishwasher-Safe
  • Country of Origin: France
  • Heat Source: Ceramic, Electric, Gas, Halogen, Induction, Outdoor Grill, Oven
  • Material: Cast Iron
  • Piece Count: 2

Provence Lavender Round Dutch Oven

Provence Lavender Round Dutch Oven

  • Capacity (qt): 4 1/2 qt.
  • Diameter: 9 1/2″
  • Height: 6 1/2″
  • Width: 12 3/4″
  • Cleaning: Hand Wash
  • Country of Origin: France
  • Heat Source: Ceramic, Electric, Gas, Halogen, Induction, Outdoor Grill, Oven
  • Material: Cast Iron
  • Piece Count: 2

Fleur Cocotte

Fleur Cocotte

  • Capacity: 4 qt.
  • Diameter: 11 1/2″
  • Cleaning: Dishwasher-Safe
  • Country of Origin: France
  • Heat Source: Ceramic, Electric, Gas, Halogen, Induction, Outdoor Grill, Oven
  • Material: Cast Iron
  • Piece Count: 2

Fleur Oval Cocotte

Fleur Oval Cocotte

  • Capacity: 3 3/4 qt.
  • Cleaning: Dishwasher-Safe
  • Country of Origin: France
  • Heat Source: Ceramic, Electric, Gas, Halogen, Induction, Outdoor Grill, Oven
  • Material: Cast Iron
  • Piece Count: 2

Sakura Round Dutch Oven

Sakura Round Dutch Oven

  • Capacity: 2 3/4 qt.
  • Diameter: 7 3/4″
  • Cleaning: Hand Wash
  • Country of Origin: France
  • Heat Source: Gas, Electric, Ceramic, Halogen, Induction, Oven
  • Material: Cast Iron
  • Piece Count: 2

Mickey Mouse Round Dutch Oven

Le Creseut Mickey Mouse Round Dutch Oven

  • Capacity: 4 1/2 qt.
  • Diameter: 9 1/2″
  • Height: 6 1/2″
  • Cleaning: Hand Wash
  • Country of Origin: France
  • Heat Source: Ceramic, Electric, Gas, Halogen, Induction, Outdoor Grill, Oven
  • Material: Cast Iron
  • Piece Count: 2

Round Wide Dutch Oven

Le Creseut Round Wide Dutch Oven

  • Capacity: 6 3/4 qt.
  • Diameter: 12 1/4″
  • Cleaning: Dishwasher-Safe
  • Country of Origin: France
  • Heat Source: Ceramic, Electric, Gas, Halogen, Induction, Outdoor Grill, Oven
  • Material: Cast Iron
  • Piece Count: 2

Cassadou

Le Creseut Cassadou

  • Capacity: 3 ¾ qt.
  • Diameter: 10 3/5″
  • Height: 6″
  • Cleaning: Dishwasher-Safe
  • Country of Origin: France
  • Heat Source: Ceramic, Electric, Gas, Halogen, Induction, Outdoor Grill, Oven
  • Material: Cast Iron
  • Piece Count: 2

Oval Dutch Oven with Grill Pan Lid

Le Creuset Oval Dutch Oven with Grill Pan Lid

  • Capacity (qt): 4 ¾, 7 ¼
  • Cleaning: Dishwasher-Safe
  • Country of Origin: France
  • Heat Source: Ceramic, Electric, Gas, Halogen, Induction, Outdoor Grill, Oven
  • Material: Cast Iron
  • Piece Count: 2

Heritage Round Doufeu

Le Creuset Heritage Round Doufeu

  • Diameter: 9 1/2″
  • Height: 6″
  • Width: 12 1/4″
  • Cleaning: Dishwasher-Safe
  • Country of Origin: France
  • Heat Source: Ceramic, Electric, Gas, Halogen, Induction, Outdoor Grill, Oven
  • Material: Cast Iron
  • Piece Count: 2

Pumpkin Cocotte

Le Creuset Pumpkin Cocotte

  • Capacity: 2 1/4 qt.
  • Cleaning: Dishwasher-Safe
  • Country of Origin: France
  • Heat Source: Gas, Electric, Ceramic, Halogen, Induction, Oven, Outdoor Grill
  • Material: Cast Iron
  • Piece Count: 1

Shallow Dutch Oven with Stainless Steel Knob

Le Creuset Shallow Dutch Oven with Stainless Steel Knob

  • Capacity: 2 3/4 qt.
  • Diameter: 8 1/2″
  • Height: 5″
  • Cleaning: Dishwasher-Safe
  • Country of Origin: France
  • Heat Source: Ceramic, Electric, Gas, Halogen, Induction, Outdoor Grill, Oven
  • Material: Cast Iron
  • Piece Count: 2



Le Creuset markings on the base

There are numbers molded onto the bottom of the base and lid. They are often mistakenly identified as production codes but they are in fact, referring to the size of the cookware. The two-digit numbers are the products diameter or the long dimension. This is in centimeters and does not include the handle.

Round Oven
16 or A = 1.3L = 1.5 qt
18 or B = 1.8L = 2 qt
20 or C = 2.4L = 2.5 qt
22 or D = 3.3L = 3.5 qt
24 or E = 4.2L = 4.5 qt
26 or F = 5.3L = 5.5 qt
28 or G = 6.7L = 7.25 qt
30 or H = 8.4L = 9 qt
34 or I = 12.4L = 13.25 qt

Oval Oven
23 = 2.6L = 2.75 qt
25 or C = 3.2L = 3.5 qt
27 = 4.1L = 4.25 qt
29 or E = 4.7L = 5 qt
31 or G = 6.3L = 6.75 qt
35 or H = 9L = 9.5 qt
40 = 14.1L = 15 qt


Related articles

Want to know more about the numbers, letters and markings on your Le Creuset Dutch Oven?

Le Creuset Sizes by Letter

Vintage Le Creuset Markings


What size Le Creuset Dutch oven should I buy?

Various things need to be considered. Some of the items can be quite sizable so consider your needs carefully. Things to consider include, the dimensions of your oven, storage space, capacity required to produce what you need…without paying too much for the Le Creuset Dutch oven. The following are the size guidelines and servings provide by Le Creuset.

0-2 QT – Serves up to 2

3-4 QT – Serves up to 4

5-6 QT – Serves up to 6

7-8 QT – Serves up to 10

8-9 QT – Serves up to 12

10+  – Serves 12+


Range of Le Creuset colors

With their amazing the range of colors delivered since 1925, the iconic color remains the volcanic orange, inspired by the bright glow of molten cast-iron. Many colors have been discontinued over the years…indeed many becoming collector’s items. Le Creuset’s signature color was the only color in production for the company’s first 30 years of production.


Related article

Le Creuset Color Guide


The current range of colors include the following;

  • Provence
  • Cerise
  • Volcanic
  • Marseille
  • Flame
  • Soliel
  • Palm
  • Caribbean
  • Dune
  • Hibiscus
  • Marine
  • Oyster
  • Matte black
  • White
  • Cashmere
  • Truffle
  • Sugar pink
  • Mineral blue
  • Cotton
  • Amethyst
  • Sisal
  • Rose
  • Emerald green

What color will you choose? We know its not necessarily the color you like…but in many cases, does it match your kitchen worktop?

What does your color selection say about you?

Choose Volcanic…safe, homely, predictable and risk averse. Possibly you inherited an orange dish and you expanded your collection.

Choose Soliel…extravagant, larger than life, happy…. it’s certainly a bold choice.

Want to make your Instagram pictures look great? choose Cotton…lets be honest, the food pictures always look great, the main source of inspiration for most people.

A standard format applies, main dish resting on a wooden board that has undoubtedly been fished out of skip at some point. Throw in some fruit, some antique kitchen utensils and of course some linen, carefully strewn across the side of the board.

The result…standard food glamour. Let’s not forget the main dish, looking stunning resting in the cotton Le Creuset cookware.


Materials used in Le Creuset cookware

  • Cast Iron
  • Stainless Steel
  • Toughened non-stick
  • Enamel on steel
  • Stoneware

 Cast iron

Setting the quality and color benchmark, Le Creuset enameled cast iron cookware has been leading the way for over ninety years. With each piece inspected by no less than fifteen French artisans, the products are rich in heritage. Perfect for the stove, in the oven or sat beautifully at the table, Le Creuset products are loved the world over for their robust chip resistant enamel exterior. With their leading heat retention, the result is moist and tender food with the flavor locked in.

  • In summary, Le Creuset’s cast iron delivers;
  • Fantastic heat distribution and heat retention.
  • Durable and solid interiors for long lasting performance.
  • Solid exterior enamel which is chip and crack resistant.
  • A recessed edge lid that locks in heat and moisture.

Stainless steel

Le Creuset cookware features a full aluminium core which delivers even heat distribution. Its stainless steel retains its luster over time and the titanium infused exterior prevents discoloration and scorching. This is high end craftsmanship at work. The steel is optimized for induction but is safe to use on all heat sources. Additionally, it is dishwasher safe and can be used in ovens to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Internally, capacity markers are etched using lasers for more convenient measuring.

Toughened non-stick

Le Creuset non-stick toughened pans deliver world class performance. Its proprietary coating is PFOA free, reinforced with a triple layer and guaranteed not to peel or flake. The manufacturing process also prevents warping and delivers consistent heat distribution. Again, the ranges are dishwasher safe and can withstand temperatures up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Safe to use with metal utensils, the ranges are durable with stainless steel rivets and have stainless steel magnetic base usable on all heat sources. Backed up by a lifetime warranty.

Enamel on steel

They said it could not be done…yet Le Creuset have perfected the art of enamel on steel. The result…a range of iconic colors that distinguish this truly unique brand. All the benefits of steel with a color range to match your personality. The ranges have premium carbon steel with chip-resistant porcelain enamel

Stoneware

The Le Creuset Heritage collection embodies the history of classic French styling. Delivering a fresh modern take on classic lines. The stoneware ranges are perfect for roasting, baking and serving with style. With consistent performance and quality throughout the range, the only choice you need to make is the style and color. Furthermore, the range is safe for freezer, microwave, oven, broiler and dishwasher.


Advantages of using cast iron

  1. Seasoned cast iron cookware is naturally a non-stick surface without the use of synthetic substances. Some of these synthetic materials can be toxic at higher temperatures. The result of this is less need for oils to cook in.
  2. Cast iron is fantastic for retaining heat…consistently and evenly. You often find food in restaurants served on cast iron cookware. This is done to keep the food warm for the duration of the meal.
  3. Another benefit of cooking in cast iron is the actual iron you consume goes up. If you are one of those with an iron deficiency…you need cast iron in your life.
  4. Cast iron is robust…like hundred years plus robust. If looked after well, it will outlast your lifetime. No wonder people hand them down from generation to generation…and they get better with age if cared for properly.
  5. Cast iron is available at different price points. Obviously, Le Creuset cast iron is the premium end, however it is relatively easy to find lower priced cast iron.
  6. The sheer variety of cooking tasks that you can accomplish is mind blowing. From frying eggs to baking bread…amazing.

Disadvantages of using cast iron

  1. You need to handle with care as it is easy to burn yourself using cast iron. The retain heat as we stated earlier and are very efficient at it. They hold heat for a long time. Make sure you take precautions when handling like oven mitts or a thick tea towel.
  2. For some people, cast iron to too heavy. This makes it a problem to cook with and clean.
  3. Cast iron does rust especially when you try and boil water in it. You therefore need to use something else to boil water…its rubbish at it anyway.
  4. You need to invest time in seasoning it…to prevent it rusting and keeping its non stick properties. It takes time and you need to follow the process. Obviously its not as easy as stainless steel to maintain…but the benefits outweigh this.
  5. If your cooking requires fast movement such as you would do making a stir fry, unless you have forearms like Popeye, its not going to happen.

Using your new Le Creuset Cast iron Dutch ovens

Put simply, a Dutch oven is a lifetime investment. Quite frankly, if cared for properly, a Le Creuset Dutch oven should outlast your lifetime making great food. However, there are things you can do to ensure you keep your dutch oven in great shape.

Prior to first use

It is important that you wash your new Le Creuset Dutch ovens in hot soapy water. You then need to rinse it and dry it thoroughly. Occasionally, water may sit within the rim…this is normal and nothing to worry about. It can however cause some rusting.

To prevent this happening, you can wash and dry the oven as normal, then place it in a heated oven to allow the trapped moisture to evaporate.

Now, it important to understand the following information so that you can maximize the performance and life of the product.

Heating

The Dutch ovens can be used on all heat surfaces…induction, electric solid plate, ceramic glass, radiant ring…and also ovens fired by gas, wood or coal. Please take extra care when using the oven on a glass stove top. Sliding it is a big no! Lift it at all times to prevent it scratching the glass or indeed the base.

As I mentioned earlier, the consistency and evenness of the heat is great. It also retains heat wonderfully well which means you can cook at a lower heat. The best results are from slow to medium heat sources and it is recommended that you allow the item to heat up gradually.

As cast iron retains heat so well, fast heat up for low to medium heat cooking can result in burning…so be patient!

If you are planning to use it on a stove top, especially gas, It is important that the base of the pan covers the heat source, there is a danger if the heat area is larger than the pan base, causing overheating of the sides and damage to handles.

A word of warning, enamel surfaces are not designed for dry cooking. Whether you are using liquid, butter, fat or oil, you need to ensure that the base is completely covered before you even turn on the heat source.

Using your Le Creuset in the oven

Designed for the oven, there are a couple of considerations. The black phenolic knobs on the signature ranges are heat resistant to 480°F / 250°C. On the classic range, the maximum temperature falls to 375°F / 190°C.

Ones with wooden handles must never be used in an oven, however, metal handles can be used at any temperature.

It is recommended that any pans are placed on a shelf or upon a rack.

Using Oils and fats

Deep frying is also an option with Le Creuset pans. It is recommended that you do not exceed one third of the pan height. This gives you enough room for the oil to rise when you add your food.

Marinating and storage

The impermeable surface of the vitreous enamel surface makes it perfect for marinating with acidic ingredients such as wine.  It is also perfect for storing both raw and cooked foods.

What tools can I use?

Since you invested is such a beautiful piece of cookware, it is important that any tools you use do not damage the internal surface or the rims.

It is highly recommended that you use silicone tools primarily, wooden tools as a secondary choice. It is not recommended that you use metal tools as scraping the base will result in scratches. It goes without saying, knives are out of the question, as are and kitchen power tools!


Cleaning your Le Creuset

General care

In order to maintain your Dutch oven and pans, its important that you follow the general care guides provided to you in the box.

There are a few important points that you must follow.

Never wash a hot pan, allow it to cool. There is a danger of damaging the enamel, a process known as thermal shock. The result of which is cracking to the enamel…which will render your Dutch oven dangerous to use.

Occasionally you will find some food stuck to the bottom of your pan. It is recommended that you soak it for 20 mins or so to release the food. This process can be aided with a brush. It is not recommended that you use any scourers, abrasive cleaners or metal pads. These WILL damage the internal surface.

There is also a secondary solution for removing food that is not in the manufacturers recommendations…but is well known among users.

Simply boil some water and reduce it to a simmer. Once it starts to simmer, add some baking soda…a little at a time. It will start to bubble up, but you should not need more than a couple of tablespoons.

You can then use a wooden or silicone flat edged turner preferably to scrape the stuck-on food. Once you have removed it, simply wash as normal.

Aside from the washing aspect to care, you may want to regularly maintain your product. Tighten the handles and lids…and regularly check them.


Can I use my Le Creuset Dutch oven in the dishwasher?

As I mentioned earlier in this piece, the items are dishwasher safe. However, please be aware that constant washing in a dishwasher will dull the enamel finish over time. This will not hurt the performance of the product and it is not harmful.

Pans with wooden handles are NOT dishwasher safe.

As with anything, always refer to the manufacturers guidelines supplied in the box.

You can remove any water caught in the rim by heating it in an oven.

More Dutch oven FAQ’s – Click here


Le Creuset Dutch oven warranty

If there are any issues with the quality of the product, Le Creuset urge you to contact them.

Any defective items are replaced free of charge with a similar item…or the equivalent if the item is no longer produced.

Obviously, their warranty relates to defective items not normal wear and tear. Therefore, prevention is better than reaction so follow the care guidelines and you won’t go to far wrong.

So, there you have it, important information you should consider before buying your Le Creuset Dutch ovens.

Before you go, its worth learning some interesting facts about Le Creuset, a little about its history and manufacturing. Remember its more than a manufacturer…it’s a lifestyle brand.

Impress your friends at your next dinner party with your newly found in depth knowledge!


A little about the history of Le Creuset…

It was 1925, France had been devastated by war. Economically struggling and emotionally hurt. Offering jobs in a struggling area, two Belgians opened a factory in ‎Fresnoy-le-Grand and the rest is history. Armand Desaegher and Octave Aubecq had met the year before at a fair in Brussels and within a year a factory had been opened…Le Creuset as we know it today.

Desaegher and Aubecq were clear about their future plans. It was its simplicity that ensures that the founders plans remain today. They wanted to be the leaders in kitchen technology and design of pots and pans, delivering their ability in casting and enameling to the mass public…all over the world.

It all began with the cocotte which translates to “small oven”, delivered in the legendary orange color inspired by the molten iron used to produce the items.

The company grew quickly and by the mid 1950’s, Le Creuset had a strong presence in Europe. The biggest customers were the Americans, with fifty percent of the production being exported there.

By the mid-1950s, Le Creuset was exporting across Europe, but the most significant success was the 50 per cent of production was being shipped straight to the US. At this time several new designs were introduced by the legendary industrial designer Raymond Loewy, who incidentally also designed the famous Coca-Cola bottle.


Who owns Le Creuset?

The company is currently owned by a South African, Paul Van Zuydam who bought the company in 1987. Over the years, significant sums have been invested to improve quality, automate some processes and double the production capabilities. It is reputed that over $100 has been invested over the years.


The manufacturing process

The process is clinical…it is this that leads to some of the finest iron cast. The formula is the same, 35% steel mixed with 15% pure pig iron, add in 50% iron and mix at 1500c for 40 minutes. This precision process is vital for the enameling process.

The impurities within the cast iron are removed with a wooden spatula, a human interjection in an increasing automated industry. The molten iron is poured into sand molds, each one being used once, hence why each item is considered to be unique.

Although there is an increasing use of robots, much of the process is still done by hand. After the pieces have been removed from the molds, they are sand blasted to smooth the piece.

In total, there are fifteen people involved in the manufacture of a dutch oven. Every piece produced is inspected at least six times through the process by specialists highly trained in spotting any inconsistencies.

If any are found, the cast iron is melted back down and the process starts again. It is this high-quality manufacturing standard that sets Le Creuset Dutch ovens from its competitors.


Things you didn’t know about Le Creuset

Technically NOT a Dutch Oven

It’s a French oven you say…you know…because Le Creuset are a French company. However, it is called a Dutch oven because they were invented by the Pennsylvania Dutch in the 1700’s. The French thing didn’t stick…the Dutch oven thing did.

Iconic coloring

The first color produced in 1925 was the iconic volcanic flame color…a nod to the molten iron used to cast the ovens. It’s important to Le Creuset…. even the factory is painted that color.

Lots of color

The Le Creuset range is available in over 100 colors …but not all available in each country…for example, the UK gets access to 26. The colors available depend on where you live. Americans prefer primary colors, the Japanese prefer pastel color…and for some reason, Germans prefer Mediterranean blues.

They are all different

No two pieces are the same due to the manufacturing process. Each piece is made using a sand mold which is broken down again. Each piece of cast iron is then hand smoothed and enameled. The process involves 12 steps, 10 steps and involves at least 15 people.

They make a lot

Over 20,000 products a day in fact. That’s a lot of cookware made in their foundry at Fresnoy-Le-Grand in Northern France.

Marilyn Monroe was a fan

She owned a twelve-piece set of Le Creuset cookware which was auctioned off in 1999…for over $25,000. What color was it I hear you ask? …Elysees Yellow.

Marilyn Monroe’s collection auctioned off in 1999…for over $25,000

A lot of products sold

Le Creuset have sold over 300 million products worldwide over the course of their history.

They use a lot of electricity

Everyday, the factory uses twice the electricity than the whole town.


So, in summary…

where to buy the cheapest Le Creuset

Le Creuset is a brand I adore…I love it and I’m passionate about it. I tell everybody I meet about it, I show them pictures, I talk about their history, I tell them about what I do and the results I get with my Dutch oven. I talk about them…a lot.

I’m a fan of slow cooking…especially Lamb. I get great results using this cookware…tasty, succulent lamb that is brimming with flavor and character. I’m also an aspiring artisan baker, following recipes but adding my own twist on things. The simplicity and fool proof results make this an enjoyable experience…moist tasty bread with a crispy crust…lovely!

Now, you may feel there is a bias in article, you should not worry. The Le Creuset Dutch oven is simply the best Dutch oven on the market…bar none. The construction is flawless, the quality cannot be beaten. Each piece delivers astounding performance in the kitchen…and if cared for as it should be…will last a lifetime and longer.

One thing is clear, Le Creuset are here to stay for the long term…so raise a glass to the next 100 years.


Where can I buy Dutch ovens?

The most desirable Dutch ovens are produced by Le Creuset…the premium end of the market. They are available online and in higher end stores. It is worth looking around as prices do vary considerably for the same item.

You may also wish to seek out Le Creuset Outlet stores. They retail the main product lines but interestingly, they also retail graded items…products that are not 100% perfect but still good enough for most people.

You have to remember that Le Creuset have the highest standards so most the graded items are more than good enough for most people. The discounts can be significant so definitely worth some time to consider this option.

In terms of quality competition, Staub are the closest that comes to Le Creuset. Their history and strong product line up make them a serious option.

Within the mid-range market, there are some excellent manufacturers of Dutch ovens. It is worth considering the following brands especially if you do not want to invest in the premium product at first.

  • Lodge
  • Staub
  • Petromax
  • Cuisineart
  • Tramontina
  • Kenmore
  • Threshold
  • Artisanal
  • Wagner
  • Club
  • Calphalon
  • Utopia Kitchen
  • Dansk
  • Mario Batali
  • Kohls
  • All Clad
  • Chefmate
  • Emile Henry
  • Kitchenaid

There we have it, my round up of the ultimate guide to Le Creuset Dutch ovens. I hope that it has been of some use to you…but feel free to contact me if you feel I should add more important content to this article…remember this page aims to be the ultimate page on the Internet.


Key details

Customer service: US: 877-273-8738 EST, UK: 0800 373792

Headquarters: Fresnoy-le-Grand, France

Founded: 1925, Fresnoy-le-Grand, France

Founders: Octave Aubecq, Armand Desaegher

Website: www.lecreuset.com


Ultimate Guide to Le Creuset Dutch ovens #lecreuset #lecreusetdutchoven

Since you are here…can i ask a favor?

It would be really nice if you could share this image on Pinterest…it is just a couple of clicks for you…but it means the world to me.

Thank you so much,


Citations

Wikipedia – Le Creuset

Wikipedia – Dutch ovens

The Guardian


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