Once and For All: Is Le Creuset’s Cookware Worth It?

There are some things in this world that most (smart) people simply agree are “the best,” like Smartwool socks, Neapolitan pizza, the New Balance 990, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Lululemon underwear, and Siamese Dream by the Smashing Pumpkins. Other cultural phenomena, like air fryers and Drake, continue to inspire debate about whether they’re actually good. When it comes to cookware, there are many fine options that we love, from Made In and Staub to Caraway, Our Place, and Anyday. But just as we’ve officially ruled that Vitamix is simply the GOAT, the one blender to rule them all, we also know that when it comes to cookware, it seems that no brand has inspired more passion in the last century than Le Creuset. Since 1925—aka before World War II, color television, electric guitars, Taco Bell, and Elden Ring—the France-based (Fresnoy-le-Grand, to be specific) company has crafted some of the most durable, colorful, high-quality cookware on the market. Like any popular product bearing a moderately hefty price tag, however, Le Creuset inspires questions. Is it worth the money? Is it actually the best? Why do people obsessively collect and hoard the brand’s Dutch ovens, bakeware, pots?

In my case, I have a number of pieces, with their origins ranging from “got it on sale at the department store,” to “inherited it from my grandmother,” to “I don’t even know where this came from, but it’s the only thing I’ll make macaroni or lasagna in.” I even have Le Creuset coasters on my desk (I know, LOL), and the most beautiful espresso mugs in my home are by the brand. But don’t take it from me—I’m no award-winning chef. But I did talk to a few of ‘em, to get the authoritative scoop on whether—and why—Le Creuset is, in fact, worth the money.

First, I caught up with chef Jason Vincent, a former Food & Wine Best New Chef and James Beard nominee whose New American restaurant, Giant, is considered by many to be one of the best in Chicago (it’s also got a Bib Gourmand distinction from the Michelin Guide). Vincent is a huge Le Creuset fan, using the brand’s cookware both at home and at Giant; his fave is the enameled cast iron braising pot. “[Le Creuset is] undeniably pretty visually stunning, and the literal weight just feels solid and well made,” he said. “Even when they get banged up a little, they just end up looking better. Like a leather jacket, the more stress you add, the cooler they look.” According to Vincent, Le Creuset is absolutely worth the cost: “They are definitely a splurge for my budget, but they last forever, and I can’t wait to pass them down to my kids.”

I also talked to chef Debbie Gold, a James Beard Award-winning chef and Top Chef competitor who both worked in Michelin starred-restaurants and attended cooking school in France. Now, she’s the executive chef of French-Moroccan restaurant LeTour and The Barn Steakhouse in Evanston, Illinois. Gold’s favorite Le Creuset pieces are the 7-quart Dutch oven and the 9-inch classic skillet, which she says are all she needs to cook at home. “The given about Creuset is that it is durable, it doesn’t rust, and it will pretty much last forever,” she said. “What I love is that it is a bit lighter than most cast iron pans and it holds heat really well, which makes it an amazing heat conductor.” She agrees with Vincent that this cookware is totally worth the moolah. “Le Creuset is absolutely worth the money! I will never need to replace it, and as both my children are in the profession as well, they will one day inherit my pans that I have used since they were babies,” Gold said.

Finally, I spoke with Zane Dearien, executive chef of St. Louis’ Bowood by Niche, a new-ish neighborhood restaurant from James Beard Award-winner Gerard Craft; Dearien previously served as sous chef under Sean Brock at the celebrated Nashville restaurant Husk. Dearien has a special connection to his fave item from the brand. “My favorite piece is a Dutch oven that my grandmother gave me,” he explained. “It is blue enamel and by far my favorite thing to cook in, especially in the winter months, for braises, stews, chili, or just cooking pasta. It holds the heat evenly, and the enamel makes it great for easy cleanup.” He went on to say that at his restaurant, chefs use the brand’s pans, and all of the sauces are made in Le Creuset sauce pots. “This is so we have even heating and very little scorching, which is a must to have clean, smooth velvet sauces,” he explained. “We build every mushroom Bolognese with miso that goes with our strozzapreti pasta in the sauté pan. The sauté pan has even heat, so we can get a quick sear on the mushrooms at a high temperature.”

To paraphrase Carl Weathers, if there’s still plenty of meat on the bone, throw it in a pot with some broth and a potato, and, baby, you got a stew goin’. We can’t know for sure, but he probably had a Le Creuset Dutch oven.

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.


You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress | Designed by: Premium WordPress Themes | Thanks to Themes Gallery, Bromoney and Wordpress Themes