Any comparison that involves Staub vs Le Creuset vs Lodge Dutch ovens is one that involves no losers. They are all fine products worthy of the winner’s title in their own right. We already know this…but let me continue offering a very specific comparison.
Today I will make a dish in each of the Dutch ovens. To make this comparable and accurate as possible, I will make a beef stew.
Each dish will use the meat from the same cut of meat, the same vegetables from the same batch and exactly the same quantity of spices. This process should mean that all things are equal…therefore differences in result are because of the Dutch oven.
Within this test, I will give a percentage score for each aspect I consider. There is little point in giving a winner as people want and appreciate different things. I will rate the criteria they score and leave it up to you what you value.
We already know they are great Dutch ovens with hard won reputations…but how will they fare in this test. I will compare them based on the following criteria;
- Cooking performance
- Build quality
Staub 5.5 Quart Round Oven
Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 5½-Quart
Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven 6 Quart
Cooking Performance – Staub vs Le Creuset vs Lodge
The dish of choice was a beef stew, I chose this because it tested various aspects of the Dutch ovens. The beef cubes need to seared first before they are transferred to the oven with the rest of the ingredients. The oven performance was judged on the quality of the stew at the end.
Prior to beginning, I fully expected the browning performance to be roughly similar. After all, they are all enameled Dutch ovens made from cast iron. You wouldn’t necessarily expect much difference in results. I was wrong…the Staub was amazing.
The quality of the browning was amazing. The sheer consistency was a sight to behold. Unlike the others that seared onside well, this did all sides equally well. Compared to the others, this was unusual, rather than the norm. Staub use quartz in their cast iron which they say increases the heat temperature…maybe I saw this is action. The consistency in the browning was amazing.
The oven performance was as expected from a premium product. It was excellent. The end result was a wonderful tender beef stew that was loaded with flavor and texture. A joy to eat and proud to serve.
Given the reputation of the most famous Dutch oven brand in the world, you would expect great things. In my view, it was good…very good in fact but stopped short of excellent. It came down to the searing. It was a little too inconsistent in my view…especially for a premium product. It browned the first side really well but was slow to do the others and even then, it wasn’t as consistently done, especially when compared to the Staub Dutch oven.
The oven performance was beyond question. It was great. Again, the final stew was a delight…really special. It was tender, moist, juicy and full of great texture as well as real depth in flavor.
It’s a shame the Staub delivered better browning as the end result was pretty much identical.
The Lodge Dutch oven was the biggest surprise, especially when you consider the price. At almost six times cheaper than the French Dutch ovens, you are not getting six times less cooking performance…in fact, you’re barely getting any loss in performance.
Yes, the searing performance was a little away from the Staub but it wasn’t a million miles away from the Le Creuset. The Lodge seared the first side of the beef cubes well but the rest took a little longer than expected and the browning was a little patchy. It did do the job though and more than acceptable at the end.
Out of the three, this was probably the least efficient but that is holding it to a very high standard. If I was to compare it to its market peers, it would probably come out at the top. The stew at the end was the thickest pointing to the moisture loss from the lid. However, the meat was tender and all in all, an excellent beef stew.
Based on the price, the Lodge Dutch oven performed admirably and you can see why they are so popular
Build quality – Staub vs Le Creuset vs Lodge
Before I started, I fully expected the French brands to score very highly with Lodge coming out much lower…was this the case?
It came as no surprise that the build quality on the Staub was excellent. It was to be expected given the price and the market they compete in. What surprised me was the comparison with Le Creuset. If I had to choose, I would say that the Staub had more quality. The enamel looked thicker and the weight was good. This is just my opinion of course and Le Creuset fans would argue differently.
The Staub cocotte is well made. You can see the quality and premium finish bursting out of it. The paintwork is flat and glossy, the enamel inside is consistent all the way through. It was slightly rougher than the Le Creuset but this is designed this way and not a lack of quality.
It is clear a lot of care has gone into the production of the Staub French oven and they are well worthy of their growing reputation. Slightly cheaper than the Le Creuset, you can easily see the attraction.
When it comes down a showdown between Staub vs Le Creuset vs Lodge Dutch ovens, the odds would naturally be heavily in favor of Le Creuset. It’s understandable, they have the history and they have the reputation.
As you would expect, the Le Creuset Dutch oven was a work of art. The finish was as you would expect, exceptionally done. Everything was perfect. The enamel was like glass, so flat and smooth. You can really see the difference between the Lodge and Le Creuset Dutch ovens.
Is it worthy of being the most expensive Dutch oven on the market…Staub may have something to say about this. In terms of build quality though, The Le Creuset was flawless and their market leading warranty is something to really consider.
Let me be clear before I review the build quality on the Lodge Dutch oven. A comparison comprising of Staub vs Le Creuset vs Lodge is not necessarily a fair one. The Lodge is up to six times cheaper than the Le Creuset and at least five cheaper than the Staub.
It is therefore inevitable that the quality will not be the same, nor should you expect it to be the same. The reality is that it is not, it is clearly inferior but that is not a deal breaker. The quality is more than good enough when you consider the price and performance. Lodge’s market is the lower end and they are proud to serve it. For first time Dutch oven users, they are a great entry point.
The reality, the finish was glossy and the colors nice. The enamel was slightly inconsistent and there are reviews stating that it can chip and crack. This is more likely to be user error but nonetheless, should be borne in mind.
Overall, for the price it is more than acceptable and you won’t see anything other than the value you are getting.
Design – Staub vs Le Creuset vs Lodge
Here, I was looking at the aesthetics generally but paying specific attention to the handles, lid and body. The aesthetics are important because of they effect the usability of the product from movement to safety.
Out of the three, I found the Staub Dutch ovens design the most interesting. It looked very different to the others, almost like it had its own personality.
The body maximized the surface area of the base which is a good quality. At no point did any food get caught in the crease of the oven, again a positive. There was plenty of room to view the food being cooked although it was more difficult to see than the others on account of the dark interior. You may like or dislike this…I like the dark interior as it does not stain and looks new for longer.
The lid was the tightest of all three which is testament to the quality. It has been noted that allowing some evaporation means a thicker sauce but you can work around that. I personally prefer the evidence of great production.
The handles were great, perfectly sized to carry with oven mitts yet the finger holes were large enough to grip, important as this was the heaviest Dutch oven. The knob is oven safe to 475F which is very good.
Over the years, it is Le Creuset that have set the design standards. It was their initial designs that have stood the test of time with small changes over that period. Le Creuset have set the standard and nobody except Staub can lay claim to the crown.
The body is perfectly made and the quality control is evident. Everything is perfect. The rim is covered with a black enamel to prevent rusting. The straight edges leave plenty of base surface area and the food was easily accessible. Mixing the food and watching it cook on the sand colored enamel was great. Potentially there is room for the interior staining but it can be cleaned with relative ease.
The lid was great and again testament to the skills at Le Creuset. It was not as tight as the Staub but that may be by design rather than fault. You need to have a level of evaporation to thicken the contents.
The handle was great too. The perfect size and shape. Its no wonder little changes with Le Creuset…they know what works. The knob was only safe to 350F, which is not ideal but can be replaced with a metal one.
The Lodge Dutch oven looked different to the rest. It just appeared more curved from every angle. It was however attractive and well designed. The color scheme looked like some thought had gone into it.
The biggest difference was the body. While the others opted for straight bodies, the Lodge went for a body the bowed out. This made mixing food easier but the downside was that the surface area of the base was smaller than the rest. Not necessarily a problem for the beef stew but for larger cuts of meat, it may be difficult searing it. Obviously, you can work around it but still worth thinking about.
The lid was the loosest of the three but that was to be expected. It was pretty tight though so no cause for alarm. It evaporated marginally more than the Le Creuset…a very small difference so it can still be classed as good.
The handles were great too, plenty of room for fingers and easy to carry with oven gloves. The knob on the lid is also oven proof to 500F which makes it perfect for baking bread too.
Facts at a glance
|Dimensions||15 x 11.1 x 5.9 inches||13.6 x 10.8 x 6.8 inches||14 x 7 x 12 inches|
|Weight||12.5 pounds||14.7 pounds||16 pounds|
|Material||Enamel cast iron||Enamel cast iron||Enamel cast iron|
|Country of Manufacture||France||France||China|
The Staub vs Le Creuset vs Lodge Dutch ovens comparison is complete and time for a verdict. As I mentioned earlier, it is difficult to give a winner as effectively I am comparing products operating in very different markets. Obviously if I was asked which Dutch oven I would want, I would opt for the Staub. The construction was fantastic and the cooking performance nothing short of sensational. The Le Creuset was very close behind though, I would be delighted with either.
The Lodge Dutch oven, as you know by the price is a budget option so comparing directly with Staub and Le Creuset does not do it justice. The fact is that it competed very well without really threatening to win. Within its own market though, it is a winner with a great reputation.
So that completes the Staub vs Le Creuset vs Lodge Dutch ovens comparison…the verdict, they are all great.
Since you are here…can I ask you a favor?
It would be really nice if you could share this image on social media…it’s just a couple of clicks for you but it means the world to me.
Thank you so much!
What is the difference between a cocotte and a Dutch oven?
There is no difference. Dutch ovens are centuries old and over time have been known by different names depending on where you are. Obviously, the French refer to them as Dutch ovens. The name that has stuck is Dutch oven and it is known universally as such.
Where are Staub cookware made?
All Staub cast iron products are made in France.
Where are Le Creuset products made?
All cast iron Le Creuset Dutch ovens, braisers and skillets are made on France. They have expanded their range over the years. Their bakeware collection is made in Thailand, the accessories in China and the stainless steel collection in Portugal.
What is the best Dutch oven?
This is difficult to answer without knowing your budget or what’s important to you. Have a look at my Best Dutch oven page…it may give you a clearer idea.
Can you put Le Creuset in the oven?
Yes, but it is always worth checking with the manufacturer as to what is maximum temperature. For example, if the maximum temperature on some Le Creuset is 350F, you cannot bake bread in it as you need to go as high as 475F. The traditional Phenolic knob stays cool during stovetop use and is oven safe to 375F and the 18/10 stainless steel knob is very durable and can withstand any oven temperature. You can always replace the knob at relatively low cost.
Can you use Le Creuset on glass stove top?
Yes, you can and they are perfectly safe to do so. I would however suggest that you do not slide them on the glass to prevent any scratching. Given the weight of the cast iron, I would also place them down carefully.
Is enameled cast iron safe to use?
They are perfectly safe to use especially as they protect against iron leaching into your food. They are one of the safest cookware to use.
Where are Lodge enameled Dutch ovens made?
They are made in China. Quality control is overseen by Lodge who set the standards. There are no facilities in America to enamel cast iron hence why they had to consider this option.
Are there any videos online that may help?
What is the difference Between Enameled Cast Iron and Cast Iron?
If it is a Dutch oven, it is made from cast iron. The versatility makes them wonderful to own. The main difference is the enameling and the benefit of enamel is that you do not have to season your cast iron. Enameling also it makes it easier to clean.