Which is better Staub or Le Creuset? It’s a case of one country’s design versus the other.
While they both do the same thing, one may make it easier for you depending on what you’re used to.
In this article we will cover the difference between French oven vs Dutch oven and review top rated contenders for each brand.
Dutch Oven Vs French Oven - Are They The Same?
Before we get in to reviewing each brand, we need to first define the differences between Dutch and French ovens.
What is a Dutch oven? Dutch ovens are thick pots, usually made from cast iron, with a tight fitting lid. They're used for braising, deep frying, and baking. While some Dutch ovens rely on a traditional seasoned coating to keep food from sticking, others are coated in a layer of enamel (often colorful!).
These enamel-coated dishes are sometimes called French ovens. It’s not always the case as cookware manufacturers think the distinction might confuse consumers. In other words, French ovens are a type of Dutch oven (those coated in enamel to prevent sticking).
In this guide we will interchange the two terms, French Oven and Dutch Oven.
Reviews - Le Creuset vs Staub
Le Creuset French Oven
This kitchen workhorse is perfect for both slow cooking and high temperature searing.
It's attractive and simple design will bring centuries of tradition to your kitchen with modern convenience.
- Colorful exterior enamel
- Glossy, off-white interior coating helps with visibility
- Excellent lid fit to seal in heat
- Very lightweight, with ergonomic handles for easy carrying
One of the primary draws of this very French oven is the bright color. Le Creuset's variety of bold color offerings allows you to find a piece that will complement your kitchen and help keep your table bright.
Their ovens come in black, too, if that's your thing -- but unlike other brands, the choice is in your hands.
We don’t recommend dish-washing any cookware because of its abrasive nature.
One thing to watch out for is the warranty. While Le Creuest has a warranty and repair program, it doesn't cover any damages if you've "overheated" your pot. This effectively gives Le Creuest a safe out: they can claim that any damage or defects were caused by your misuse.
Le Creuset offers a traditional French oven, with no frills attached. However, these ovens are a bit on the pricey side compared to similar brands like Lodge.
Staub 4 Quart Round Dutch Oven
This pot offers a feature we haven't seen anywhere else: the inside of the lid has little bumps on it. This is an incredible feature for when steam naturally condenses on the lid, rather than running off to the sides, it'll drip down evenly over the entire dish.
We can't say that we've ever had a problem where the middle of our slow cooked dish turned out too dry or the sides too wet, but the physics checks out in an elegant way.
You can certainly use it out of the box, but it'll get substantially more non-stick if you use a bit of oil before you start cooking. It'll develop a natural seasoning over time if you let it, just like a raw cast iron finish.
Staub offers this pot in a handful of subdued, tasteful colors. There's still some room for customization, but you won't get to go crazy.
If you're willing to use a bit of oil when you cook, the 4 Quart Staub Cocotte Dutch oven may be ideal for your kitchen.
Enamel Types, Seasoning And Cleaning
Seasoning a cast iron pot isn't tricky, but the process is not without its downsides. Depending on the oil you use, the process can be fairly smelly and it can take a half-hour or more depending on the exact method you use.
Cooking acidic foods like tomatoes or vinegar will quickly remove your coating, and you'll have to avoid using detergent when washing your pot if you don't want to re-season your pot after each time you wash it.
Enamel dodges all of these issues. An enamel coated French oven is non-stick right out of the box and you can wash it with soap. They come in two primary varieties:
- Satin Enamel - Glossy and very nonstick
- Matte Enamel - which is duller (usually black) and requires you to use a bit of oil to keep food from sticking.
Cooking fatty foods in a matte finished oven or brushing it with oil before cooking will result in the creation of a polymerized layer of fat on the bottom, similar to a seasoned cast iron pot.
You don't need to worry about maintaining this layer, you can just wash it off if you want without damaging the enamel in any way.
Matte finishes tend to be able to go a bit higher up in temperature than satin enameled pots, but since you'll probably use your Dutch oven primarily for low-temperature slow cooking it's usually not a big deal either way.
Dutch Oven Safety & Care
It's worth noting that cast iron retains heat VERY well. You do NOT want to preheat your Dutch oven on high and then turn the heat down later because there is the change of burning or overcooking your food or making it stick.
In general, you should avoid high heat unless you're sure you know what you're doing. Cast iron retains heat so well that you can actually damage it by leaving it on a gas range on high heat.
Dutch ovens are *usually* safe in the oven to about 500 degrees, but the exact enamel used and the type of handles can change this. Be sure to read the packaging on your oven and stick to an appropriate range of temperatures.
Final Thoughts - Which Is Best?
Whether you're baking bread, slow cooking, or searing a steak, cast iron offers superior heat retention and is a wonderful addition to your kitchen.
We think it ultimately comes to price and how much you are willing to spend on your cookware.
Now that you know about the different coatings (seasoned cast iron, matte and satin enamel), you'll be able to choose the right Dutch or French oven for your kitchen whether it be Staub or Le Creuset.
Did you enjoy this guide? Let us know in the comments with your experiences and if you prefer Staub or Le Creuset.
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