Review: Le Creuset Round French Oven


Is it wrong to get emotional about a pot? ‘Cause if it’s wrong, I don’t want to be right.

I’ve seen people rave about their Le Creuset pots for years. I know cast iron is good. I know enameled cast iron is better. (For some things.)

But this? This thing will make you understand why people used to eat pot roast every Sunday. It’s just that good.

If you’ve seen my other reviews, you know I don’t rave about things just because the manufacturer sent me one. So when I tell you how much I love this pot, believe me … I mean it. (By the way, the one you see below is the 5½ quart in Caribbean Blue. Just the right size for a 5 or 6 pound bird.)

I’ve done pot roast plenty of times. You can just throw it in the slow cooker and wait 6 hours, and it will be fine. But it really helps to brown the roast first. For that, I use big a frying pan. So now I’ve got an extra pan to clean. Bogus.

With the enameled cast iron, though, you can start out on the stovetop for the browning …


… then add everything else and go straight into the oven.


All that browning around the sides is extra flavor you’ll never get in a slow cooker.

Then there are the dishes I wouldn’t have even tried without this pot. Namely the potted chicken.

This is another recipe that required browning a big hunk of meat before slow cooking.


This time, though, the bird is big and awkward. I nearly dropped it twice while turning it over. This would really make me nervous trying to do it in a shallow frying pan.

Where the French oven really makes a difference, though, is how it keeps browning on the bottom while it’s in the oven.


When I saw that, I think, is when I fell a little bit in love with this pot.

Sure, it’s a little expensive. But with even the slightest bit of care you’ll be able to pass it down to your grandkids. Actually, I’ve heard from people who abuse the daylights out of their Le Creuset and it still gets passed down.

It’s not always true that you get what you pay for. But in this case, you do.

You can order it in my store.


  1. I’m sure this is grand, but for $50 you can find the Tramontina 6.5-Qt. Cast Iron Dutch Oven on This was highly rated by Cook’s Illustrated and I love mine.

  2. James, I’m cheap. I shortchange myself on kitchen gear all the time, figuring I’ll just replace the cheap stuff with more cheap stuff when it wears out. I’ve been using a severely warped frying pan for three years, so apparently I won’t replace stuff when it’s worn out. (Told you I was cheap.)

    These two threads on talk about Le Creuset vs. other, cheaper brands, including the Tramontina. Several people report the cheaper brands chipping.

    Le Creuset will eventually chip, but they have a lifetime warranty. And do they honor it? Here’s a story where Le Creuset replaced a 30-year-old pot that started to chip. These are an investment in longevity.

    I haven’t had any Le Creuset because I’m cheap. I haven’t had any other enameled iron because I don’t trust the ones manufactured in China. See here for what’s wrong with cheap enameled cast iron:

    Most low cost enameled cast iron cookware is made in China, land of lead, melamine and every possible form of cheating on quality. You need to purchase from a major US brand that backs the quality and provides a warranty. About 10 years ago I bought an oval Dutch oven of Chinese brand, and iron was showing through the enamel after only a few uses.

  3. What size of pot are you using? I want to get one but have no idea what size 4 quarts would be. I’d like to be able to fit a normal sized chicken in one like you have done here. Thanks!

  4. Thanks for reminding me, I need to go add that. Mine is a 5.5 quart. It fits a 5-pound chicken just right.

  5. Can’t argue with the quality, but it’s hard for a lot of people to justify spending that kind of money, especially if you’ve never had one and don’t know how much you’ll uise it. Since Cook’s Illustrated gave it the thumbs up I thought it was a safe investment and took the plunge. I’ve been very happy with it. It’s nice that you got yours for free. Maybe will one day have an affiliate program.

  6. I have a Lodge enameled dutch oven (yes, it’s 2 coats of enamel instead of 4). Yes, it’s made in China (by a reputable US company, though, with a warranty). If I had to drop the money for a Le Creuset, I wouldn’t have any enameled dutch oven. I probably wouldn’t ever use a non-enameled one (it’s hard enough to clean with the enamel surface), even though I love my non-enameled skillets. Over a year in, with at least weekly use and occsasional running through the dishwasher, I’ve had no chipping, although a little staining that they recommend bleach to fix. I’m not using bleach on a pot, so it stays slightly stained. I anticipate getting at least 5 more years out of the pot. For less than $10 per year, I can make potted chicken, stews, soups, roasts, etc. Yay!

  7. I have to say your review certainly gives me a bit of ‘pot envy’, but for that price, I’m afraid I’m going to have to stick with my cast iron dutch oven. I don’t understand what the big deal is though, how is an enameled cast iron pot that much better than a well-seasoned regular cast iron pot?

  8. It seems I’m not the only one put off by price. In a local semi-expensive department store, I bought a wonderful stainless steel skillet for ~AU$50. An enamelled Le Creuset pot was > AU$300. I almost dropped it when I found the price label…


  9. Stephanie, I don’t have a well-seasoned cast iron pot to compare it to. But based on the skillets I’ve got, it’s much easier to mess up the season on raw cast iron than it is to ruin the finish on a good enameled pot.

  10. Have 4 in different sizes – don’t know how people cook without them. These are the kinds of pots you can pass down to your children. Wonderful wedding gifts!

  11. check out your local outlet malls … ours has a Le Creuset store and I got my dutch oven there for 40% off the retail price (it’s a discontinued color) … I don’t really care about the color but I do love it! The outlet mall store doesn’t have everything from the line (and you have to check back from time to time) but they always seem to have the frying pans & dutch ovens.

  12. I’m wondering about versatility. Could I make and then bake Mac’N’Cheese in this? Thanks for any thoughts…

  13. That is a fabulous idea. I’m going to give that a try myself next time I make it.

    Hmm, I could even put a metal bowl over it while the water is heating to boil the pasta. Use that as my double boiler for the cheese.

    • thanks for the response. i’ve never owned a dutch/french oven but just ordered the next size smaller (i don’t need one the size of yours, at least i think!). i’ll give the mac’n’cheese idea a try too! i use jamie oliver’s “killer” mac’n’cheese but have been having problems with what to bake it in. great article! thanks again!

  14. It took me 15 years of wanting a Le Creuset French oven to finally shell out $250 and buy one. I looked at the imitations regularly, but in my heart I wanted Le Creuset so I waited. (I’ve had friends buy the imitations and it seems they only last a couple of years or so.) When an unexpected $200 Williams-Sonoma gift card entered my life (from a generous boss when I got married), you can bet exactly what I spent it on. A few years later, I know have 4 Le Creuset pieces. Asked for them for Christmas, birthday, anniversary, a combination of the three. I wear a simple titanium band as my wedding ring- I’d rather own good cookware than jewelry any day. My red set from Le Creuset is beautiful and useful.

  15. Reminds me of my wedding ring. I was being picky, and my wife (engaged at the time) couldn’t understand. I asked her, “How many rings do you have?” Lots. “And if you were only going to wear one for the rest of your life, which would it be?” …

    Sometimes it’s better to have one thing you really like than a lot of things you sort-of like.

  16. Quite expensive but then again not. You’d never have to buy another one!

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  18. I have coveted that pot for a loooooong time. I can’t justify spending that much on a pot… but if I ever win the lottery, the first thing I’m doing is buying this.

  19. I like it, but I really love my Lodge enameled cast iron pans. We use them all the time. I just can’t bring myself to spend that kind of money on just one pan. But love what ours does!

  20. Lodge, and even most of the cheaper pots, will probably perform just like the Le Creuset. The big difference with Le Creuset is the lifetime warranty. You can buy it knowing it will be the last time you have to buy it.

  21. I love love love my Le Creuset dutch oven. It was expensive, but less so, since I have access to one of their outlet stores. I love the fact that it comes with a lifetime warranty, but can understand why some people wouldn’t want to spend so much for a pot. (My 94-year-old grandmother lived through the Depression and would keel over at the thought of spending hundreds for a pot!) There really is no right way. I think the key is that we find the tools that work. The important thing is that we real food at home as much as possible.

  22. I just got myself one of these for my Christmas/birthday present (they fall within a week of each other). Now I’m trying to decide if I make the potted chicken, or the pot roast, to ‘christen’ it. I have to say that my husband kind of took a sharp breath when he saw the price, but it does have the lifetime warranty (though I’d like to point out that in the states, it is only for the person who purchased it new or got it new as a gift – so your grandkids may not be able to get it replaced for free.)

    Anyhow, I should use it a lot to justify it. I’m hoping you’ll post lots of recipes using it. So far, potted chicken and pot roast. Hoping for more suggestions! Stew, I guess? What else?

    • I have been lusting after a Le Creuset French Oven but can’t make the price so I bought a Lodge Caribbean Blue 6 qt. oven. My maiden voyage with the pot will be Bistro Style Short Ribs of Beef, cooked in red wine. I will serve it with pureed potatoes and rutebegas. I can’t wait! I plan to make the potted chicken next, looks and sounds wonderful! Home cooked food, is the best.

  23. Chili. Definitely chili.

  24. Years ago when I got married, my aunt insisted that Le Creuset were the only pots one needed. So, we passed on the Farberware and scraped up the dollars an got an 8 piece set; except for the frying pad, we have never looked back on our decision. In fact, I wish I bought more as this was before it became must have cookware and the prices took off.

    Recently, I was looking for an inexpensive dutch oven to bake “no knead” bread in and checked out a bunch of the lower priced ovens. Almost without exception, I found them to be noticably heavier than my Le Creuset (of a comparable size, of course) and with tops that did not fit as nicely. Useable? Probably, but would leak more steam than I could tolerate for bread. I also noticed that the enamel was not as high a quality and, if uncoated, the surfaces were not as smoothly finished as some older cast iron cookware that I have.

    In a sentence: you still get what you pay for. Le Creuset seconds can be had on sale from their outlet stores for a good savings (and last I knew they would ship if you asked). I have a some which are virtually indistinguishable for first quality items. If the prices seem intimidating, remember that you will only buy them once, use them for more than you can imagine and your heirs will be fighting over them.

  25. The smoother finish in the older pieces is what I’m looking for in a non-enameled skillet. Still searching the garage sales and thrift stores …

  26. James Messick says:

    According to a Google search William Sonoma is currently selling these for $120. I’m not sure I believe this, however.

  27. I absolutely love using my mothers enamelled cast iron casserole pot [from an unknown brand] for stews, and roasts. The casserole pot has quite a few stains in the bottom, but it works like a charm. My grandmother who has passed received that pot as a wedding gift.

    Having read endless review on the Le Creuset products and having visited their site a million times, also saving their free recipes; waiting for the day I would own my own Le Creuset Enamelled Cast Iron Casserole. I have taken the plunge and ordered the 30cm Buffet Casserole in Dune Colour, as well as the Whistling Kettle also in Dune Colour, since I do love a freshly brewed cup of tea or coffee.

    Hoping to replace the stained enamelled casserole pot with a Le Creuset Oval Casserole one day, and maybe spoil myself with a Saute Pan too :)

  28. James Messick says:

    ” it works like a charm”

    “Having read endless reviews…”

    “Hoping to replace the stained enamelled casserole pot with a Le Creuset…”

    The power of marketing. Why Coke and Heinz outsell Pepse and Hunts, even though in blind taste tests the #1 sellers take second place.

  29. Tried this the other night along with the glazed carrots and it was great!

  30. J.D. Metzler says:

    The Le Creuset outlet stores have sales every month; I just (today) got a first quality5.5 Qt. cast iron French oven in a beautiful black onyx enamel finish for $165 (preferred customer discount — on my first order) . It was delivered to my door in one day. I also got a 12 Qt. enameled steel stock pot for $79, (again, tax, delivery — total) and I can’t see why it’s a “second”. I can’t say that everyone will get as lucky, but the outlet stores are the place to call first. J.D., San Diego.

  31. Samantha says:

    I cannot afford this kind of cookware. I make 12/hour and have student loans up the wazoo. I would normally speak out against people that insist on a brand name…

    but I received this as a gift this past Christmas. And I’m sorry, but nothing … NOTHING beats the 5.5 Le Creuset round oven. EVERY SINGLE THING I’ve made in this has been amazing. It’s just… it’s so wonderful. It cleans beautifully. It cooks so damned evenly. It’s NOTHING like former dutch ovens I’ve wasted money on.

    If you think any other cheaper brand would do the same job, you have never cooked with good cookware.

    I would rather eat rice and tap water for 3 months to save up to replace this– but since I’m not an idiot I take excellent care of my one wonderful pot.

    Don’t fool yourself. This is a kitchen essential if you have any aspirations to cook in the styles it accommodates.

  32. I saw the picture of this pot, and immediately had “pot envy”. I cook three meals per day, 7 days a week, with a rare 4 times a year dinner out, if that. We just prefer to know what’s in our food and eat in peace! Lol. Cheaper too! I’m wondering, as my hands don’t always have strength to lift heavier things, is this a heavy pot empty? And too heavy adding the foods? Can you also use it to deep fry, such as chicken or fish or onion rings, chips, tortillas? Is it a tight fitting lid? How’s the clean-up? And when you say its “lifetime warranty, is that MY life or as long as someone has it, my adult children get it passed down, the grandchildren, etc, lol will it be replaced then? Theis picture of the blue one looks a lot like what I see on Rachel Ray, except hers is orange. Wondering if this is what she uses but has her own branded. Say I buy it, and at 51yo, use it until I’m 81yo, pass it to my dtr as I turn to TV dinners at that point, do I need to save my original receipt in case there’s something wrong with it? And lastly,if I were to drop it, will it bend? The handle fall off? It get a dent/flat spot, where it hit the floor and then the lid not fit? (Can you read between the lines here I have experience with this? Lol

    • Karen, it’s not terribly heavy, but not something you’re going to toss around one-handed. For instance pouring out soup you’ll really want to use both hands, because the handles don’t provide a lot of leverage.

      Yes, you can deep fry in it. Just make sure you clean up really well after. Frying oil can turn to lacquer after a while.

      The lid fits close, but not air tight, so if you’ve got something boiling the steam will come out without lifting the lid.

      Cleanup is pretty easy. Mine’s a little discolored, and I’m about ready to hit it with an S.O.S. pad.

      I’ve got a friend who had a 30-year-old Le Creuset pot that the enamel had worn through to bare iron in the bottom. She took it to the factory — she had received the pot in the U.S. for her wedding, and had since moved to France. They didn’t still make that same model, so gave her a new model of comparable size.

      Rachel Ray’s are not re-branded Le Creuset. Everyone on Food Network seems to have their own line of cookware. You’re paying for the name, not the quality. That doesn’t mean they’re bad, just that they have no track record, so the price doesn’t necessarily represent the quality.

      If you drop it, I’d be more worried about the floor than the pot.

  33. I have my grandmas seasoned cast iron dutch oven. ( an extra high skillet, with a domed lid. I’ve considered getting the enameled dutch oven by Le Crueset, simply for the extra pan that would come in useful. I’ve never ruined the seasoning on my cast iron skillet, because, I think I’ve found the trick to re-seasoning them.. use them as a cooking fryer. Leave the oil in for a week or two. This is why I want the extra skillet/oven. If I’m planning on frying something, I can’t use the same cook pot, if I want a nicely browned roast.. and fried potatoes! ( I did read your rant on techniques/cheating.. personally, I think that person was a snob. Our own path in cooking/art/whatever, is ours alone to make and choose.) So that is my two cents for both products!


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