Le Creuset is one of the best known names in cookware. They're best known for their enameled cast iron Dutch ovens that come in a huge array of colors. Their Dutch ovens have been hand made in France since 1925 and are still made the old artisan way today.
Le Creuset Dutch ovens are beautiful, durable--and expensive. But we recently found an interesting option that sells for less. If you're willing to think just a little bit outside of the box, you can get one of the world's best deals on a Le Creuset Dutch oven.
Keep reading to learn about this fantastic piece--and find out if it's the right choice for you.
Let's Compare: 4.75, 5.5, 7.5, and 6.75 Quart Dutch Ovens
Before we get into Dutch oven details, let's compare prices so you can see for yourself the amazing savings you can reap by buying a "round, wide" Dutch oven instead of the standard shape. Below are the sizes and prices of the le Creuset's most popular Dutch ovens--and our new favorite (at the bottom).
9.5" diam.*, 4.5" tall**
10" diam.*, 4.5" tall**
11.5" diam.*, 5.5" tall**
12" diam.*, 4" tall**
* Cooking surface, not including handles. ** Without lid. ***Total weight, including lid.
As you can see, the 6.75 quart Dutch oven is larger than the 5.5 quart (the most popular size) and feeds more people--yet costs up to $75 less.
It's a back door into owning a le Creuset Dutch oven for a lot less than you would normally pay! But is it as good? We sure think so, but read on to find out all about the best le Creuset Dutch oven deal around--the 6.75 quart round, wide Dutch oven.
What Is a Dutch Oven (and What Is It Used For)?
A Dutch oven is simply a deep, short-handled pot with a tight-fitting lid.
A Dutch oven is an extremely useful and versatile piece of cookware. One of its primary functions is for braising--that is, stewing browned meat in a closed container with liquid: think short ribs, pot roast, or stew. The short handles make it easy to get in and out of the oven, while the snug, heavy lid holds in moisture (and therefore flavor). best le Creuset Dutch oven deal
You can use a Dutch oven for many other tasks, including sautéing (it can function as a frying pan, making it ideal for one-pot meals), stock making, soups, stews, chili, and cooking rice and pasta. It's also great for stove top deep frying (cast iron Dutch ovens especially, which will hold temperature better than clad stainless or aluminum).
One more popular use for your Dutch oven is baking bread. The lid holds in steam so your bread gets that wonderful crispy crust. Here's a recipe for one of the easiest and most delicious breads you'll ever taste.
A Dutch oven is incredibly versatile, and an enameled cast iron Dutch oven is the most versatile type of all. No cook should be without one. best le Creuset Dutch oven deal
If you want to learn more about Dutch ovens, read our article Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Ovens: A Detailed Review.
How Is a Dutch Oven Different From a French Oven?
These terms are used interchangeably, but there is a story behind how this came about.
The Dutch invented sand casting and were the first to make deep cast iron pots with tight-fitting lids. This goes back a few hundred years and we're talking about bare cast iron (no enamel). Thus, a Dutch oven is most accurately defined as "a deep cooking pot with a tight-fitting lid made of bare cast iron."
(Some people will even insist that to be a proper Dutch oven the pot has to have feet on it, which are used to place coals underneath it when cooking on open fires. The lid will usually have a groove around the top, also for holding hot coals. Today, few people believe a pot has to pass this test to be called a Dutch oven: instead, these pots are usually referred to as "camp Dutch ovens" to differentiate them from standard Dutch ovens.)
When the French added enamel to the Dutch oven, they called it a French oven in an effort to differentiate their improved product from the bare cast iron Dutch product. So technically, what we're calling a Dutch oven is more accurately called a French oven--because: enamel.
The name never really stuck, though, especially in the United States. Instead we use the term Dutch oven to describe any deep cooking vessel with a tight fitting lid, be it made of cast iron, enameled cast iron, stainless steel, ceramic, or anything else.
If you want to be a stickler, you can call the le Creuset enameled pots French ovens, but Dutch oven is the term in common usage today.
Why Are Le Creuset Dutch Ovens so Desirable?
There are several reasons why le Creuset Dutch ovens are so desirable. Here are the major points to remember.
Le Creuset is the most trusted name in enameled cast iron Dutch ovens. The company has been around since 1925, and all Le Creuset cast-iron cookware is still manufactured in the company's foundry in Fresnoy-le-Grand. Their glazes are the most durable in the business: even though enamel is brittle and can crack and chip if dropped or struck hard, this rarely happens to le Creuset products. They are incredibly tough.
le Creuset Dutch ovens are expensive because their exquisite craftsmanship is expensive. Most lower-priced competitors are made in China now, on assembly lines, and do not possess the same level of quality. (This doesn't necessarily mean they're not a good buy, but they are not going to last the way a le Creuset pot will last.)
Note that while all le Creuset cast iron products are still made in the original le Creuset foundry, other le Creuset products are not. Le Creuset has manufacturing plants in China, Thailand, Italy, and elsewhere for their non-cast iron products. All of their cookware is high quality, but only the cast iron is made with the old world craftsmanship le Creuset is known for. best le Creuset Dutch oven deal
Le Creuset has also put a lot of thought into design, and it shows in the final product.
Cast iron: Le Creuset uses the lightest cast iron in the industry, so their Dutch ovens are lighter than other brands. There's no getting around the fact that cast iron is heavy, but that's part of its appeal--and le Creuset is just a little bit easier to work with than other brands.
Cooking surface: The cream-colored interior is easier to cook than a dark surface and seems to provide more even browning, too. best le Creuset Dutch oven deal
Lids: The lids are the perfect weight for braising, keeping in just the right amount of moisture to keep meats juicy, but not so much that sauces don't reduce properly. In our testing, le Creuset outperformed all other brands in braising including Staub (which kept in too much moisture so sauces did not reduce well).
This also means le Creuset Dutch ovens are excellent for baking artisan bread.
The lids are also flat, which makes them easy to maneuver and easy to clean--no crevices for food to get lodged in, and no uneven surfaces that can be hard to scrub.
Handles: The handles are big, roomy, and easy to grab even with oven mitts on. The round, wide oven has slightly larger handles than those on the standard shape--so if you have large hands, the round, wide oven should have a little extra appeal.
Colors: And those colors! The colors are one of le Creuset's signature traits. They release a new color every year and retire some old ones. Their original color is Flame, a bright orange meant to look like fire or glowing coals. Today they have more than two dozen colors to choose from (though the round, wide oven is not available in all of them). Some retailers have proprietary colors, like Sur la Table's sea salt.
Le Creuset consistently outperforms other brands in testing--ours as well as most other kitchen product reviewers. Le Creuset Dutch ovens heat faster, brown more evenly, and hang onto heat better than other brands (yes--even though they're lighter). Le Creuset is a consistent winner on many review sites, including America's Test Kitchen, Epicurious, Wirecutter, and more.
In our testing (which you can read about in this article), le Creuset provided stellar browning and perfect braising with just the right amount of evaporation. It held a good, steady simmer on the stovetop and produced beautiful pot roasts, stews, and chilis. Cleanup was easy, too, and though we worried about the light cooking surface staining, it always cleaned up perfectly.
The le Creuset Dutch ovens also turn out perfect boules of artisan (no-knead) bread, with a crispy exterior and a delicate crumb--though this may have as much to do with the bread recipe we used, it is another indication that the amount of evaporation the heavy, tight-fitting lid allows is exactly what you want in a Dutch oven.
What Is the Best Size (and Shape) Dutch Oven?
The best size Dutch oven depends, of course, on what you're going to do with it and how many people you want to feed.
For main dishes that feed 4-6 people, the best size is 5-7 quarts. The most popular sized le Creuset by far is the 5.5 quart, which is great for most uses yet not so large that it's hard to handle. The 7.5 quart weighs more than 15 pounds empty, so while it's great for big batches and meal prepping, we don't recommend it unless you are feeding a small army.
As for shape, we prefer the round shape over oval for just about everything simply because it's better suited to a cooktop burner--the round shape will heat more evenly than the oval. Round is also going to be easier to store as it will nest better with the rest of your cookware.
Oval is a nice shape for smaller sizes, as even heating is less of an issue (the whole pan will fit on a burner). So they're great if you're cooking for just a few people, or for side dishes. But if you're looking for a Dutch oven to feed several and have the most versatility in your kitchen, we recommend a round one in a 5-7 quart size.
The 6.75 quart round, wide Dutch oven is an excellent size: larger than the 5.5 quart, but not as monstrous as the 7.5 quart. Its wide diameter also lends itself particularly well to large batches of soups, stews and stocks and is great for meal prepping.
Is Le Creuset Cookware Safe (and Healthy)?
Yes, le Creuset cookware is safe to use. In fact, it is one of the safest cookwares on the market.
There is some concern about toxic chemicals, such as lead and cadmium, in the enamel glaze. This is particularly true for reds, yellows, and oranges, which are more likely to contain toxins than other colors.
Le Creuset does not use any toxins in their glazes. Their products have been thoroughly tested and found to not contain any toxins--or if they do, they are only in the exterior glaze, in amounts so small as to be considered safe.
They also pass the California Proposition 65 test, one of the most stringent tests in the world for hazardous materials.
Also, bare cast iron can leach iron into your foods, which is not toxic or dangerous (unless you have a medical condition), but it can impart an off flavor to your food. The enameled cooking surface of le Creuset ovens prevent this from happening. The enameled surface is extremely stable and non-reactive, and safe for use with all types of foods.
Le Creuset Classic Vs. Le Creuset Signature: What's the Difference?
Le Crueset has two lines of Dutch ovens, the Classic and the Signature.
Classic is their original line; Signature is their newer, and more expensive, line. Here are the differences.
- Signature lid pull safe up to 500F (whether stainless or resin); Classic lid pull safe to 350F.
- Signature lid pull is also a bit thicker and wider, making it more comfortable to grasp.
- Signature inner enamel is more thermal resistant than Classic, i.e., it won't crack as easily.
- Signature handles are 45% larger than Classic handles.
- Signature lid fits more snugly (this according to le Creuset--we didn't notice much difference).
- Signature has more pronounced grooves in the lid (a purely aesthetic change).
Classic le Creuset pots are truly excellent quality and good enough for any use, with the exception of high heat oven use (above 350F). For example, you can use Classic le Creuset for decades without getting cracks in the enamel, or wishing the pot had larger handles.
Having said that, there's no arguing that the Signature line has some definite improvements. We think the most important one is the 500F lid pull. This is especially true if you're using your Dutch oven to bake artisan breads, which is usually done at temps above 400F.
The 6.75 Qt round, wide Dutch oven is part of the Signature line. Thus, it has all the upgrades of the Signature line--which makes the low price even more spectacular.
Okay. So What Is the Round, Wide Dutch Oven (And What Makes It So Great)?
The 6.75 quart round, wide Dutch oven has all the same great features that make le Creuset pots so sought after, but in a slightly shallower, wider shape. Where the 5.5 quart Dutch oven is 10 inches wide and 4.5 inches deep, the 6.75 quart is 12 inches wide and 4 inches deep.
It's very similar to the difference between a 10-inch skillet and a 12-inch skillet.
And just as with skillets, the larger pan comes with a number of advantages: it has a larger flat cooking surface, so you can brown more meat at once (meaning: fewer batches). The larger diameter along with the slightly shallower shape also makes it easier to keep an eye on your food while it's cooking.
In general, the shape of this pot makes it super easy to work with, no matter what you're cooking. We love the bigger cooking surface!
And we already said this, but we're repeating it because it's an important feature: the round, wide pot is actually not even that much shallower than the 5.5 quart pot: only half an inch. You can see from the side view that this pot is plenty deep for anything you'd want to cook in a Dutch oven:
Yes, it feels a lot shallower because it's 2 inches wider (in diameter). But at only a half inch shallower, you should have no worries about the pot not being deep enough to do everything you want to do with it.
So, the 6.75 quart round, wide Dutch oven offers all the same great features as the standard le Creuset Dutch ovens in a slightly different--and surprisingly less expensive--package.
Why Does the Round, Wide Dutch Oven Cost So Much Less than the Standard Shape?
This is a great question that we honestly don't know the answer to. Maybe because it's a new shape that people don't know about. Or maybe it hasn't caught on with the public yet--everyone wants that 5.5 quart!--so le Creuset offers it for less than its more popular pots. Or maybe it's an introductory price for an untested innovation that le Creuset isn't sure their market wants.
We can only guess.
What we can say with certainty is that this is a fabulous pot! It's every bit as good as le Creuset's other pots. We actually think this one is better (more cooking surface!).
If you're in the market for a Dutch oven, this one is an excellent choice! Remember that it's in the Signature line, which means it has all the upgrades that boost the price of the other pots--and it still costs less than they do.
Skeptical? We get it--it almost feels too good to be true. But you don't have to believe us. There's plenty of evidence out there in Internetland to convince you how great this pot is. Read the reviews on Amazon, on Sur la Table, and at Williams-Sonoma. Though there aren't as many reviews as you'll find for the more popular sizes of le Creuset, they are all overwhelmingly positive.
Other people love this pot as much as we do.
Does it Come in Any Other Sizes?
Nope. So far the round, wide Dutch oven is only available in the 6.75 quart size.
Pros and Cons of the 6.75 Quart Round, Wide Dutch Oven
If We've Convinced You...
The round, wide Dutch oven is the perfect size for most cooks. It's got more cooking surface--meaning fewer batches to brown--than the other shape, and it's only a half inch shallower than the 5.5 quart oven (the most popular size), so we're not really talking about a huge difference. Best of all, it costs up to $130 less than the 7.5 quart! If you're thinking of taking the le Creuset plunge, you won't be disappointed in the round, wide Dutch oven.
If you're worried about the size not working on your cooktop, remember: if your stove works with a 12 inch skillet or a 5-6 quart sauté pan, it will work with the round, wide le Creuset.
We don't know why this shape is so much less than the more popular shape. We just know it's a fantastic deal, and a great way to get a le Creuset Dutch oven for a great price.
Be sure to check all three sites for sales and deals, or if you're looking for a specific color.
buy the 6.75 quart round, wide le Creuset dutch oven now:
Le Creuset is the top name in enameled cast iron Dutch ovens, and they have the price tag to go along with that name. But the 6.75 Quart Round, Wide Signature Dutch Oven costs significantly less than other le Creuset Dutch ovens in similar sizes. If you're in the market for a le Creuset Dutch oven, it's well worth a deeper look.
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