Le Creuset Dutch Oven Review: Yes, This Heirloom Piece Is Worth the Splurge

Not only is the Le Creuset Dutch oven one our Test Kitchen's official preferred pot, but it's also a personal favorite of our prep kitchen manager, Catherine Ward. Here's why.

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Le Creuset Dutch OvenTMB Studio

My idea of a shiny, new toy as a 20-something was the Le Creuset Dutch oven. I wanted one as a birthday present so badly, so you can only imagine my delight and surprise when I unwrapped a red 8-quart one all those years ago. (Mind you, this is back when they cost under $100!)

Forty years later and the pot’s novelty has yet to wear off in my eyes. In professional kitchens, as well as in my personal kitchen, I’ve used Dutch ovens of all different brands, materials and sizes. But my Le Creuset remains victorious. I couldn’t begin to guess how many sourdough loaves, short ribs and roast chickens I’ve cooked within its walls, so believe me when I say: This heirloom-in-the-making is worth the investment.

What is the Le Creuset Dutch Oven?

The Le Creuset Dutch oven is a piece of cast-iron cookware with a reputation that precedes it. The French company crafts these kitchen workhorses in more than a dozen hues, a few of which are rotating or limited edition, and round, oval and squat shapes. The round one comes in seven sizes. The most common size is the 5.5-quart option, which fits a whole roast chicken and holds 5-6 servings of food.

As with other Dutch ovens, like the HexClad, Le Creuset’s multipurpose magnum opus is best for cooking stews and soups, breads, fried chicken, roasts and big-batch sauces. What sets it apart, then, is the enameled coating, which I’ll explain further in the next section.

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Le Creuset Dutch Oven Features

Le Creuset Dutch OvenTMB Studio

Like all Le Creuset products, the Dutch oven is sleek but streamlined. Aside from its eye-catching colors, it’s a standard Dutch oven, albeit a very high-quality one.

Each pot, no matter the size, features an enameled coating, which has superior heat retention, minimizes sticking and doesn’t require seasoning. It’s also easier to clean.

Then, there’s the lid, which fits snugly on the pot and is made of the same enameled cast iron. It’s designed to lock in moisture and circulate steam. As with the pot itself, the lids are oven-safe up to 500 degrees.

And though the Le Creuset Dutch oven is comparatively light, the handles still come in, well, handy. The two handgrips allow you to easily transfer the pot from stovetop to oven, upturn it when straining ingredients, or maneuver it when washing.

Speaking of cleaning, the Dutch oven is technically dishwasher-safe, but I (and the Le Creuset website) strongly recommend hand-washing. However, if something does go awry during any part of the cooking or cleaning process, each purchase of a Le Creuset Dutch oven comes with a lifetime warranty.

How I Tested It

Le Creuset Dutch OvenTMB Studio

I’ve been “testing” the Le Creuset Dutch oven for 40 years, more or less. So I could never cover all my experiences in this article, but the short of it is that there’s not much to the Le Creuset Dutch oven aside from cooking with and cleaning it.

Because of the enamel coating, the Le Creuset Dutch oven needn’t be seasoned. It can go straight from box to stovetop. Over time, though, I’ve noticed that the interior will become discolored and stained, and the bottom of the pot will darken from exposure to flames and high heat. Neither of these eventual imperfections affects the flavor, and the former can, in fact, boost the nonstick capabilities.

Over the decades, I’ve made just about everything in this cast-iron staple, but my favorites are pot roast, short ribs, roasted chicken with vegetables and sourdough. I’ve come to find that sizable dishes and ingredients, such as a loaf of sourdough, can be hard to place into and remove from the deep pot, so I like to use a silicone liner (or parchment paper in a pinch) to move them.

Test Kitchen

During the official Test Kitchen test that the team and I performed, we cooked fried chicken and macaroni and cheese in the pot. The fried chicken, a notoriously fickle dish, went off without a hitch, and the heat retention was so intense that we cooked multiple batches of chicken without having to wait for the frying oil to reheat.

The macaroni and cheese was equally successful and another win for heat retention! Even hours after we turned off the burners, the one-pot recipe stayed warm and ready to eat.


Cleaning comes just as easily. Although you can’t expect to get every little stain and blemish off the bottom of the pot after years and years of use, a quick soak and wash with soapy water and a bristled brush will remove all the stuck-on food bits and grease. As I said above, I definitely suggest hand-washing this piece to ensure it lasts a lifetime, rather than tossing it in the dishwasher.


  • Gorgeous colors with other cookware pieces to coordinate
  • Brand recognition
  • Unparalleled versatility
  • Oven-safe up to 500 degrees
  • Impressive heat retention and distribution
  • Last a lifetime—and come with a lifetime warranty if not!


  • Expensive (unless you buy as part of a Le Creuset sale!)
  • Enamel does eventually discolor and the bottom darkens
  • Some lid knobs can only withstand 400 degrees

What Other Reviewers Had to Say

Le Creuset amassed a loyal fanbase in the last 100 years, and I’m just one of many. Here are what some other faithful fans of the French company say.

One five-star reviewer purchased two Dutch ovens and was proud to report they’re doubling as cookware and decor for the giftees, her son and daughter-in-law. “The two white Dutch ovens are stored on an open shelf in the kitchen because they look so good in their black and white kitchen,” she writes. “Form and function.”

Tons of fans confirm the pot’s versatility, claiming to use it every day. “I only use three pots in my kitchen, and this is one of them,” Leslie comments. “This cooks everything I’ve tossed at it so far.”

Another longtime owner was disappointed when their Dutch oven kicked the bucket after 19 years of considerable use. That’s when they decided to put the lifetime warranty to the test. “I used the link on the website, submitted the photos, and two days later, I received an email. A new Dutch oven is headed our way,” they explain. “I already raved about my Le Creuset, but I’ll be shouting from the mountaintops from here on out.”

Product Comparison

I’ll give it to you straight: The Le Creuset Dutch oven is the most expensive on the market, followed closely by Staub. Any other brands’ Dutch ovens, such as Lodge or Cuisinart, will be a fraction of the cost. That being said, you’re paying for quality—and aesthetic appeal.

During our testing of various Dutch ovens, we determined the Le Creuset Dutch oven to be worth the splurge. The Lodge Dutch oven, for example, costs only $70, but it’s heavier, comes in fewer color and size options, and likely doesn’t have the longevity of a Le Creuset. The Cuisinart one ($100), though slightly easier to clean, is also heavier than the Le Creuset Dutch oven and comes in one size only.

And that’s just discussing a couple of the models that made our list of best cast-iron Dutch ovens. There are tons out there that aren’t even worth comparing to Le Creuset. There are also Dutch ovens made of other materials, but those are in a category of their own. And, for what it’s worth, I personally prefer the cast-iron variety for its stove-to-oven capabilities and heat retention.

Final Verdict

The proof is in the use! I’ve cooked and baked with my red 8-quart Le Creuset Dutch oven for the past 40 years and never looked back. If this investment isn’t in your budget, then Lodge cast iron is a great alternative.

However, if you can afford one, the Le Creuset Dutch oven is the way to go, given its guaranteed longevity, versatility, heat retention and nonstick capabilities. The only decision that isn’t a no-brainer is choosing which gorgeous color you want for your kitchen.

Where to Buy a Le Creuset Dutch Oven

Le Creuset Dutch OvenTMB Studio

Score a round Le Creuset Dutch oven from a number of vendors, including Le Creuset itself, Williams Sonoma and Amazon, for between $260 and $625, depending on the size.  Whether you’re gifting it to others or yourself, nothin’ says lovin’ like a Le Creuset Dutch oven!

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Catherine Ward
A lifelong foodie, Catherine heads up the Taste of Home Prep Kitchen, bringing recipes to life and contributing her expertise for articles about cooking and baking techniques and kitchen tools. Catherine has worked in the hospitality industry for most of her career, catering and teaching cooking classes. She is happiest when she's cooking for a table full of friends and family.