Purchasing a Dutch oven can be a big investment. While there are many less expensive options out there, two premium names stand out, Le Creuset and Staub.
For generations, both of these manufacturers have produced top-of-the-line, gourmet quality Dutch ovens. For professional chefs and serious home cooks, only the very finest cookware will do, so you may ultimately find yourself trying to decide between these two.
Clearly, both of these are very expensive options. There’s no question that they are both quality products. But which one is right for you?
- Both brands are made in France, considered by all to be the birthplace of fine cuisine and still a world leader when it comes to all things culinary
- Both products are made by hand to very exacting quality standards
- Both companies have long standing provenance and are considered leaders in the field of cookware manufacturing when it comes to quality
- Both companies offer lifetime warranties on their products
- Both brands come in a variety of sizes and both round and oval shapes
- Both are made with the finest quality, very heavy cast iron and thick enamel coatings
Next, Let’s Look at the Pros and Cons for Each Brand:
- Available in a very wide range of outer colors (a few more than Staub offers), and they are mostly bright hues, such as Volcanic, Teal, Soliel, Rosemary, Chiffon Pink, and Coastal Blue
- Has a light enamel interior which may make it easier to see your food inside and monitor your recipe better than a darker interior color
- The default knobs on these are plastic and will not get too hot to handle on the stovetop
- The handles on these are very large (larger than Staub), making for a sturdy grip and easier lifting
- Although not by much, this brand is more expensive than Staub
- The white interior tends to show stains, is harder to clean, and scratches more easily than a dark interior would
- The lid on a Le Creuset Dutch Oven is tight fitting and well made, but it is not self-basting, which can be a desirable feature, especially in an oven vs. on the stovetop
- You’ll have to upgrade (about $20) for a metal knob for the lid if you want one
- Available in a wide range of colors (but not quite as many choices as Le Creuset) which tend to be darker, earthy tones, like Cinnamon, Cherry, Dark Blue, and Graphite Grey
- Staub’s interior coating tends to be a dark, matte color which is better for browning and won’t show stains. It also seems to be a bit more non-stick in comparison to the lighter interior of the Le Creuset Dutch ovens
- Features nickel steel metal knobs on the lids (some of which even come shaped like animals), making the lids oven safe without having to upgrade
- The interior of the lid is textured with little bumps, designed to be self-basting (a desired feature, particularly when roasting in the oven)
- The lid is very tight fitting, a bit more so than Le Creuset, for better heat distribution and less moisture loss or evaporation
- Not quite so many exterior color choices
- The darker interior coating may make it a bit harder to see your food and monitor its progress in the oven
- The texture on the interior of the lid makes it harder to clean than the smoother lid of the Le Creuset models
- The handles on the Staub Dutch ovens are not quite as large and easy to grasp as the Le Creuset versions
- Staub Dutch ovens, in general, seem to be a bit heavier than the comparable Le Creuset models
To summarize our comparisons, it seems that if you strictly look at cooking ability, particularly browning and moisture retention, Staub has the edge. However, if you look at criteria such as color choices, easier handling, and the easier clean up of the Le Creuset, then that might be the better choice for you.
In the end, you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons of each brand to decide which one is the perfect choice for you. But either way, you really cannot go wrong with a Dutch oven from either of these great manufacturers.