Getting to Know Your Le Creuset Cast Iron Cookware

Ready to taking your cast iron cooking pans up a notch? Regular cast iron cookware is great for cooking, but there is a lot of upkeep involved in comparison to the cast iron Le Creuset is producing.

With regular cast iron you need to season it, hand wash with hot water, and dry it immediately due to easy rusting. Le Creuset cast iron cookware helps do away with the need for for most of these by adding and enamel coating.

enameled cast iron cookware

All the worries about rusting, all of the extra care put into seasoning, all gone. With the cast iron encased in an enamel coating, those worries are put behind. Not only that, but with the enamel you can now clean your cast iron in the dishwasher…but you may not want to for some of the cookware. More on that coming up.

A great thing about this cookware is that it can be used on all cooking surfaces, even induction. Nothing worse than bringing a brand new pot home to have it not work with your fancy induction oven.

Even though Le Creuset cast iron cookware can handle heat, you should cook on low or medium. As you preheat your cast iron cookware, it will retain the temperature quite well. If you try to speed preheat by cranking the stove up to “high,” the cookware will retain a higher temperature and, SURPRISE!…burnt food.

Regular cast iron can handle the high temperatures well. On the stove, in the oven, it is durable. Enameled cast iron is limited slightly by the enamel, but more so by the knob or handle choices on some of the pieces. The Le Creuset cast iron cookware handle or knob on some pieces is made from phenolic (your classic plastic handle) or stainless steel. Phenolic is resistant to 375 degrees F. If that is a concern, Staub cast iron cookware uses brass and nickel…resistant to heat up to 500 degrees F.

If you have non-enameled cast iron cookware in your kitchen you get one color, black. With enameling, the Le Creuset cookware can come in many colors with a more glossy sheen. Does the color help your cooking? Not really, but part of making a house a home is giving it your distinct “feel.” One reason people buy copper cookware is to add a different aesthetic to their kitchen.

Keeping aesthetic in mind, the interior cooking surface of almost all of the Le Creuset cast iron cookware and Le Creuset ceramic cookware is either a sand colored enamel for “an optimal palette for food presentation,” as stated on their website, or a satin black enamel interior.

You’ll find the satin black finish on cookware pieces that are more likely to be used for cooking at higher temperatures. It can resist heat a little more than the sand colored enamel coating.

le creuset cast iron skillet

You can definitely find that satin black coating on le creuset frying pans and skillets. It is a different animal than when dealing with regular cast iron cookware. Just because it is black doesn’t mean it is exposed and in need of seasoning. BUT…there is a similar effect that will happen to help your cooking.

Earlier, while mentioning dishwasher cleaning, I said there might be some cookware that you DON’T want to wash in the dishwasher, even though the cookware is dishwasher safe. The Le Creuset cookware with the satin black finish is what I was referring to.

As you use your Le Creuset skillet more an more, the fats and oils from cooking absorb into the cookware creating a patina that will continue to grow and improve cooking performance and flavor as you cook. Just like seasoning on regular cast iron, if you clean this cookware in the dishwasher it can break down the patina.

le creuset cast iron dutch oven

This is a trick title. By the name “Le Creuset” you may have noticed this is a French product. So, you can’t get a dutch oven…but you CAN get a Le Creuset cast iron French oven.

Essentially using the same cooking practices as the Dutch oven, the French oven is ideal for slow cooking recipes. And don’t forget the interior sand colored enamel for that clean presentation.

le creuset cast iron cookware sets

If you’re really gung ho about getting your hands on these items you can always find Le Creuset cookware sets for purchase.

The smaller 5-piece essential set and 6-piece classic set are more easily available than the others. The larger classic 11-piece set, and any of the signature collection sets are available exclusively at Williams-Sonoma.

There was even a short window on the Oprah Winfrey 10-piece set. This was a mixture of Le Creuset stainless steel cookware and cast iron cookware. Given to her audience as one of her favorite things, this set was also available on sale for a limited time afterwards.

I only mention it because it was a nice combination that you might want to think about recreating piece by piece. It contains:

– 10.5″ cast iron skillet
– 11″ stainless steel frying pan
– 2 QT. stainless steel sauce pan
– 5.5 QT. cast iron french oven
– 6 QT. stock pot
– lids and two utensils

le creuset cast iron cookware prices

Get ready for some “yikes” in your life. Just like any high-end cookware, you’re paying for quality, durability, and in this case, a life-time warranty. That means you’ll be paying higher prices. The 6-piece signature set at Williams-Sonoma is just under $500. A small 6.5″ skillet will run about $75.

So, in comparison to other high end non-cast iron cookware, it is a good deal. But if you’re remembering the low price of standard cast iron, like I am…yikes. If you look around you’ll probably be able to find a Le Creuset cast iron cookware sale. I know I’ve seen Le Creuset available at discount stores like Home Goods and Marshall’s.

le creuset ceramic

Although the focus is cast iron, Le Creuset ceramic cookware is also a great option if you’re looking to do some baking. The same enamel coating process, but ceramic on the inside instead of cast iron. More on ceramics at another time.

If you want to bump up your cast iron cooking, get out and get serious with some Le Creuset cast iron cookware!