/ are Le Creuset pans worth the price tag?

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lost1977 - on 15 Dec 2013

High probability of being given a load of John Lewis vouchers. Looking at their website I think something for the kitchen is the answer. So le creuset or something else?
Post edited at 12:11
robert-hutton on 15 Dec 2013
In reply to lost1977:
Yes thirty years of daily use and still going strong
Post edited at 12:17
lost1977 - on 15 Dec 2013
In reply to robert-hutton:

That's the knd of reply I was after
LJC - on 15 Dec 2013
In reply to lost1977:

Yes. My folks have two pots and a frying pan, still going after 30 years and a pleasure to use. The frying pan keeps on getting better with age.
sweenyt - on 15 Dec 2013
In reply to lost1977:

I was given a wok by them, its great, but i've not been using it much because everything sticks like sh*t to a blanket.
lost1977 - on 15 Dec 2013
In reply to sweenyt:

Some people seem to have that problem with them
nick ingram on 15 Dec 2013
In reply to lost1977:

We couldn't stand the look of the orange ones, but we were given some stainless steel Le Creuset for our wedding. Have to say, they are brilliant.
lost1977 - on 15 Dec 2013
In reply to nick ingram:

I love the orange ones
Skol on 15 Dec 2013
In reply to lost1977:

I've a milk pan and a blue casserole dish. They are excellent.
Dax H - on 15 Dec 2013
In reply to lost1977:
We got a set of cast iron ones (orange) as a wedding gift and they are like new after 15 years.
Alyson - on 15 Dec 2013
In reply to lost1977:

My parents have had their le creuset casserole dish since their wedding 38 years ago and it's as good as ever. The stoneware isn't bombproof but the cast iron stuff with the enamel finish will last you a lifetime.
Mountain Llama - on 15 Dec 2013
In reply to lost1977: Had the Orange ones b4 meeting the other half, gud but they do not bounce well and weigh a tonne. Now use Mags stainless pans which r fine too

seankenny - on 15 Dec 2013
In reply to lost1977:

We have rubbish old pots and pans but I eat like a king (or at least a restaurant critic) because my better half is obsessive about food.

Still, I'm sure Le Creuset make good stuff.
Rick Graham on 15 Dec 2013
In reply to seankenny:


> Still, I'm sure Le Creuset make good stuff.

On pain of being hit by one, I should say that the missus thinks more of her Le Creuset pans than the dog's bollox.

I like them if I have time to get them hot, otherwise use the cheap stainless pans from a pound shop.

Escher - on 15 Dec 2013
In reply to lost1977: if you get just one get a large one. One of the finest things you can do with a cast iron casserole is roast a chicken. Stuff it with a lemon sliced in half, a couple of bayleaves and a sprig of rosemary. Olive oil on the skin, salt and pepper and a teaspoon of tarragon over it. Lid on, hour and half in an oven at about 170 c, will result in the juiciest, moist and deliciously lemony roast chicken. With a cast iron casserole it's very hard to dry out poultry. Since getting one I roast chicken always with it, it is massively superior to any other method and so easy.
niallk on 15 Dec 2013
In reply to lost1977:

I'm presuming you enjoy cooking to some degree (else you wouldn't be considering them) in which case you wont regret it. We got a large cast iron enameled pan as a wedding present (but only a couple of years back) and like it that much will be forking out ourselves for another of a different size. It should be kind of obvious but decent pans etc does make a surprising difference.

Minor tip - when your mother-in-law who has never bothered with decent cookware comes round to 'help out' make sure and tell her not to use the metal utensils on it. Then tell her again.
MG - on 15 Dec 2013
In reply to lost1977:

Very good but you do pay for the name. Consider alao eg Le Chasseur which are essentially the same quality but cheaper.
wintertree - on 15 Dec 2013
In reply to lost1977:

Our cast iron casserole dish from LC is my favourite casserole dish although being young myself it's only into its fifth year.

Some of their ceramic stuff is perhaps undeservedly riding on the coattails of their metalware.
Bulls Crack - on 15 Dec 2013
In reply to lost1977:

Yes. I have 3 - 1 new this year, one 20 years old and one about 25 years old - they are my 3 best pans
Siward on 15 Dec 2013
In reply to lost1977:
Yep. I got a large (about 30cm diameter) deep casserole in 1991 when my daughter was born.
It's been used regularly ever since, still in excellent condition and the large size has been fabulous with a family. It will easily take, for example, a couple of average sized chickens. Great for all stews, risottos, pot roasting. Get one.

You can get cheaper cast iron, probably equally good, but if you have John lewis vouchers to spend I can't think of much better.
Pawthos - on 15 Dec 2013
In reply to sweenyt:

I have exactly the same problem with the griddle pan - rubbish. The casserole dishes are sensational though (10 years and counting).
Andrew Lodge - on 15 Dec 2013
In reply to lost1977:

We have two LC ones and they have outlasted several cheaper ones bought to fill in the size gaps. Expensive but as has been said they will last a lifetime
jon on 15 Dec 2013
In reply to MG:

> Consider alao eg Le Chasseur which are essentially the same quality but cheaper.

CHEAPER??? Jeez, I just googled it! You must be made of money, Martin!

MG - on 15 Dec 2013
In reply to jon:

This?
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B0000C8REN

Not cheap but you can't get up the midi for that!
jon on 15 Dec 2013
In reply to MG:

But I don't want to go up the Midi...
Unknown Climber - on 15 Dec 2013
In reply to lost1977:

The cast iron casserole dishes are excellent, even heat distribution, easy to clean and last for ever. Mine is in the oven right now (veg and barley stew with herb and cheese dumplings). I wouldn't buy their stainless steel pans as there better value alternatives. I also wouldn't buy their ceramics and prefer Emile Henry for that. I suggest you go for the biggest LC casserole dish you can afford.
Fultonius - on 15 Dec 2013
In reply to Pawthos:
> I have exactly the same problem with the griddle pan - rubbish. The casserole dishes are sensational though (10 years and counting).

I have a 30cm casserole, had it around 3 years and it's very nice to use. I got a hand-me-down saucepan from my parents had had 30+ years of hard abuse and finally died (the enamel wore off). It's important to be kind to them.

With regard to woks and griddles. I thing you really want a cast-iron griddle with no enamel, or just a cheapish thick non-stick. And the wok - I'd definitely not get a le creuset. Thin steel and build up an old-school patina of burnt-on oil!
mbh - on 15 Dec 2013
In reply to niallk:

This may account for why the enamel of our own 26 cm LC casserole is very pitted after only 6-7 years. We still use it all the time, mind.

There are other makes. Someone mentioned Le Chasseur, which looks just as good, but isn't any cheaper. The woman who runs the fancy kitchen shop in these parts says they are made in the same factory as the LC pots. Another one that isn't cheap is Staub, my favourite make, looks wise. But what do you get for the extra £££? We have a 21 cm Denby casserole, from Habitat, a few years back, which was £35 and still going strong. I would like someone to explain what the difference is between a £100++ cast iron dish of a well known make and a cast iron one from Sainsbury/Tesco etc, at under £50, apart from the look and the label. On the stove top, I don't notice the difference. Aren't they all just big lumps of cast iron?

For ten years or so, we have had a couple of Aga cast iron frying pans, a 30cm one and the other a smaller 24 ish one. Oh, and a tiny omelette pan. They have been great. They are really rugged, look good and are easily made non-stick by heating oil in them until it burns, then wiping it off. The Aga serving dishes in cast iron are great too. We bought one of theirs and a Chasseur one and use them frequently.

IF anyone wan ts to buy me a Christmas present, I'l have a Staub 24 cm and Staub 30 cm casserole. The 24 cm would get used all the time. The 30 cm less so, and at £200 or so (I guess) that's why we haven't got one.
alasdair19 on 16 Dec 2013
In reply to mbh:

my mothers been cookign in her le cruset for 20-40 years.

I was horrified in JL too. i understand mettalurgy and surface treatments to be a complex business....
FactorXXX - on 16 Dec 2013
In reply to alasdair19:

my mothers been cookign in her le cruset for 20-40 years.

That's quite a long time. Surely she should be ready by now?
ByEek - on 16 Dec 2013
In reply to lost1977:

According to Anthony Bourdain, the acclaimed New York chef, the way to tell if a pan is any good is to hit someone over the head with it. If they come of worse than the pan, the pan is suitable for the job. If you are going to spend money on pans ensure you have riveted metal handles that can be put straight in the oven for maximum cooking options.

I have some Le Cruiser stainless steel pans which I got at discount years ago and they are superb. However, I don't really rate the gaudy looking orange cast iron pans. They are too heavy to be useful and the enamel means you will always have stuff sticking to them creating a cleaning nightmare.
mbh - on 16 Dec 2013
In reply to alasdair19:

> my mothers been cooking in her le creuset for 20-40 years.

My mother has been using the same manky looking steel saucepans with plastic handles for 40 years at least. Even rubbish pans last for ages, unless they are non-stick ones. So you might as well save up for a while and get a decent looking pan that cooks well and have that for ages instead.
jonfun21 on 16 Dec 2013
In reply to ByEek:

Salesperson in John Lewis "you drop these ones (non Le Creuset) on the floor and the pan will break, drop these ones (Le Creuset) and the floor will break"

We got the non stick ones a couple of years ago....they are excellent and we haven't had to keep replacing them like cheaper ones we bought; which were turning into a false economy
Cú Chullain - on 16 Dec 2013
In reply to lost1977:

Yes.

It took me a few years to accumulate them but I know have a full set of Le Creuset pans and they are worth every penny if you are a regular cook. Superb bits of cooking equipment and not just a middle class statement symbol.
Gazlynn - on 16 Dec 2013
In reply to Cú Chullain:

I love mine apart from the griddle pan.

I don't use it very much but every time I use it everything just sticks to the ridges.

Am I doing anything wrong I have tried oiling the meat / vegetables and or the pan but doesn't make much difference on a med / high heat.

Any tips would be appreciated

cheers

Gaz

Cú Chullain - on 16 Dec 2013
In reply to Gazlynn:

I have the griddle pan too, only use it for cooking steak/fish. Generally I heat the pan up without any oil, just salt. Instead a rub a little oil directly onto the meat/fish, season well, then place it on the now hot griddle. It should not stick at all. Never put the pan in the dishwasher, hand wash it then dry it.
Gazlynn - on 16 Dec 2013
In reply to Cú Chullain:

Sorry to sound stupid but do you still use washing up liquid when hand washing it?

As I was told not to put it in the dishwasher and I think my problem might be that it hasn't been washed well enough lol

cheers

Gaz
ByEek - on 16 Dec 2013
In reply to jonfun21:

> We got the non stick ones a couple of years ago....they are excellent and we haven't had to keep replacing them like cheaper ones we bought; which were turning into a false economy

I will be interested to find out how the non-stickness fares. I have bought several (expensive) non-stick frying pans over the years and although they fare better than cheapo Teflon style pans, the non-stickness still rubs off eventually. I have found that well seasoned stainless steel pans that are never dish-washed develop a non-stickness that lasts forever.
Cú Chullain - on 16 Dec 2013
In reply to Gazlynn:

I rarely use washing up liquid, hot water is usually enough to get rid of the stubborn bits. You want to build up a 'seasoned' surface, that does not mean dripping in fat but regular use develops a thin film of hardened oil that both protects the pan and provides a non stick surface.
Just a bhoy - on 16 Dec 2013
In reply to lost1977:

I have a Le Crueset griddle, it will outlive my kids.
patrick_b - on 16 Dec 2013
In reply to Just a bhoy:
> (In reply to lost1977)
>
> I have a Le Crueset griddle, it will outlive my kids.

Sounds ominous..
Tall Clare - on 16 Dec 2013
In reply to lost1977:

I was given a Marmitout (little (non-stick) frying pan, normal pan, and the little frying pan also works as a lid to the normal pan so the whole lot can go in the oven as a casserole) as a student, and it's still going strong. The little pan is particularly good for pancakes :-)

That said, we have a LC casserole dish and a pretty much identical one that came from Morrisons - I haven't noticed any obvious difference in quality or performance.
LastBoyScout on 16 Dec 2013
In reply to lost1977:

We've got a Le Creuset wok and it's very good, but very heavy.

Our other pots and pans are stainless Anolon Raymond Blanc ones and also brilliant. One frying pan died after 3 years of use, but that's partly due to me killing it while getting used to an induction hob, having only ever used gas before.

My old set were Viners, also bombproof and I liked the glass lids, as you can see what's going on in them - unfortunately, they don't work on the induction hob.

Our ceramic bakeware is a bit of a mix of things and the metal ones are Mermaid hard anodised, which are fantastic.
mahowlett - on 16 Dec 2013
In reply to jonfun21:

Sadly not true, our Le Crueset definitely broke when it hit the floor :( we've now got a much cheaper ProCook one which seems just as good (and just as likely to break when the dog drags it off the work top)
tattoo2005 - on 16 Dec 2013
In reply to lost1977:

They wear really well and are excellent value but I just found them too heavy when cooking.
PGD - on 16 Dec 2013
We managed to find three pans for £8 at a car boot sale.All were as new. Certainly worth the money! They really ar e very good amd worth their full price
Jimbo W on 16 Dec 2013
In reply to Pawthos and sweenyt:

We were given a griddle and a skillet as wedding presents, and also used to use a le creuset wok we had borrowed. They were all cast iron, and we found the trick was never to wash them, and make sure they are really hot. I stopped using the wok because it was too heavy to toss stir fry veg and I didn't like the flat base, and so we use a £5 wok from the chinese supermarket instead, which incidentally also needed quite a bit of blackening in before non stick use. They don't get washed, they get rinsed with a little water (no detergent), dried off on the heat, and then any residue wiped. Its like a pizza stone, the surface seems to get better and better!
mockerkin on 16 Dec 2013
In reply to LastBoyScout:

> We've got a Le Creuset wok and it's very good, but very heavy.

That's what the women in my family said, having read this thread.
Here is their report.
You can't teach 10 year olds to cook with Le Creuset because LeC is too heavy for them, especially when full. So some mothers have bought lighter ovenware to teach their children, even though they have LeC already. Same applies to schools. Same applies to people who, getting older, find LeC too heavy so give the LeC to younger people. Some of their casserole dishes etc are huge.
bluebealach - on 16 Dec 2013
In reply to mockerkin:

Bought a LC casserole dish last week from a Free Port outlet at Castleford. Quite a bit off the list price as a slight second (I cant see where) but from the hob to the oven and 5 hours later a great meal.

I cant cook, so I was well impressed!!
thin bob on 16 Dec 2013
In reply to lost1977:

I'd love a 4-5 litre LC casserole dish.

Orange enamel pans I couldn't get on with (inexperienced cook at te time, but tricky to get a low heat. Also, they were about 30 years old & a bit chipped!). Hugely heavy.

Great stainless eteel body non stick 30cm fryingpan. If I had vouchers, I'd think about a griddle or deep sided saute pan
mockerkin on 16 Dec 2013
In reply to bluebealach:

> Bought a LC casserole dish last week from a Free Port outlet at Castleford. Quite a bit off the list price as a slight second (I cant see where) but from the hob to the oven and 5 hours later a great meal.

> I cant cook, so I was well impressed!!

Why do you think that your reply had anything to do with my post?

Philip on 16 Dec 2013
The cast iron is fantastic for casseroles but I don't like using enamelled pans.

The Le Creuset stainless steel is an amazing tri-ply material with aluminium core and stainless around it. They are very expensive ~£200 I think for the biggest. Stellar do an equivalent design with aluminium core at a more reasonable price (about £150ish for the set of three). It's sold as James Martin Lamina.
Siward on 18 Dec 2013
In reply to Philip:
To all of the above.

If you're buying le creuset pans it is definitely a large casserole that you need because the cast iron is the ideal material for long slow cooking of almost anything.

There is much less reason to buy a cast iron saucepan (unless, like me, you have one to cook rice in Ken Hom style). There's even less reason to buy any stainless steel efforts- there are millions of good stainless pans out there at better prices.

There's also little point in cast iron frying pans IMHO, apt to stick and burn. Non stick is also best avoided since the pan will outlive any coating many times over (I just buy a new cheap non stick frypan every year- hugely wasteful I know).

So there you are. It's a big casserole you need...
Toerag - on 19 Dec 2013
In reply to lost1977:
We have an oval casserole hand me down from my mother, so about 40 years old, works well. Our main set of pans are made by Silit in Germany - similar to LC, but simply heavy 'enamelled' steel rather than cast iron and more 'modern' with glass lids. The inside enamel is a super high-tech plasma sprayed concoction that you can use metal impelements in :-). Very good apart from the frying pan which suffers sticking and weighs a ton. We have the 'Silargan' ones. Rivetted loop handles are good for storage and chucking in the oven, but a ball-ache to tip pasta water out for example. The best bit is you can put them in the dishwasher with no obvious ill-effects - try that with anodised aluminium (eg. Meyer Circulon) and all the anodising comes off.
http://www.silit.com/en/products/products/
The good thing about LC is that they work well on induction hobs as well as in the oven, aluminium and stainless pots and pans don't work on induction very well.
Post edited at 11:28
Strachan on 19 Dec 2013
In reply to lost1977:

I've just been given a 28 year old le creuset casserole by my mum that has been used 2/3 times a week for that time- still the nicest thing I own to cook with.
thedatastream on 19 Dec 2013
In reply to lost1977:

I love my big orange Le Creuset casserole dish :)
emmathefish - on 19 Dec 2013
In reply to lost1977:

Le Creuset are worth the money, the cast iron lasts forever, and even the stoneware does too, and they conduct heat really well. They are also really versatile, can be used on the hob and in the oven, and can be used to cook anything and everything. I use a small stoneware dish that has lasted over 20 years, still looks nice too (if thats something thats matters to you) and Id love to buy more but one stoneware dish and one large cast iron casserole dish (maybe a skillet or griddle pan) are all you will ever need in the kitchen!! If not Le Creuset, then Lodge do really nice cast iron ware.

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