It’s the sort of debate that will never be definitively resolved: Le Creuset vs. Staub. A trip down the cooking forum rabbit hole will show some fierce advocates for both of these high-end cookware manufacturers. I love my Le Creuset soup pot, but have often admired the look and features of Staub’s products as well.
So is one really better than the other? Ultimately, I think probably not—both are of exceptional quality. But both also come with a high price tag, so it is worth noting their differences if you’re in the market for a Dutch oven or other cast iron cookware.
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Who are Le Creuset and Staub
Both Le Creuset and Staub manufacture their cookware in France, which sets them apart from many of their competitors in the field. Both have stood the test of time: Le Creuset was founded in 1925, and Staub in 1974. In North America,
Le Creuset is the better known of the two companies, and the potential to find their items on sale or in discount stores like TJ Maxx is slightly higher. Le Creuset also has outlet stores that sell discontinued products and seconds.
Both Le Creuset and Staub manufacture pots, pans, teapots, and other kitchenwares. Le Creuset has a wider product array, including stainless steel pans. But both are best known for their enamel cast iron Dutch ovens—Le Creuset calls them “French ovens, while Staub calls them “cocottes”—and that’s what the rest of this comparison will focus on.
What is a Dutch Oven (or French oven, or Cocotte)?
Most serious cooks will have a Dutch oven and use it frequently. It is a true work horse product. Mine stays permanently on the stovetop and I use it at least once a week, for everything from roast chicken to soups and even stir-fries and curries!
The magic of the Dutch oven is in the cast iron’s ability to distribute heat evenly, and go from stovetop to oven to table. It’s perfect for one-pot meals like stews—you can braise your meat, then add your vegetables and liquids into the same pot. It makes a smaller mess in your kitchen, and the food benefits from the fond that forms in the bottom of the pot.
The enamelling on these Dutch ovens makes for a fairly non-stick surface that’s easy to clean, and free of questionable chemicals like Teflon. You can even bake bread in a Dutch oven!
What’s the Difference between Le Creuset and Staub?
So now that I’ve convinced you to get a Dutch oven, which should you buy? Both of these companies make what are considered to be the best Dutch ovens available. They each come with lifetime warranties and have high manufacturing standards in their French factories.
But there are slight variations in how they look and how they cook.
– Look and Feel
At first glance, Le Creuset and Staub’s Dutch ovens are quite similar. Both come in an array of colors, though Le Creuset offers a wider variety and introduces new colors regularly.
On closer inspection, you notice slight differences. Staub’s lids are made with an inset for the top lip of the pot, which gives it a tighter fit. Staub’s knobs are metal, while Le Creuset ships with heat-resistant phenolic (plastic) knobs (you can replace these with stainless knobs). Le Creuset’s handles are bigger and ergonomic.
When you lift the lids, you’ll see the biggest difference between Le Creuset and Staub Dutch ovens. Le Creuset ovens have a cream-colored satin finish enamel interior, while Staub’s have a matte black enamel interior. In addition, Le Creuset’s lids are smooth on the inside, while Staub’s have little bumps.
A final consideration is the weight. All cast iron will be heavy, but Staub is slightly heavier than Le Creuset.
This video gives a nice, quick overview:
– How they Cook:
These details create some difference in how they function. Le Creuset’s light interior will show stains more easily, but some cooks appreciate how the light color makes it easier to see the progress of the food cooking.
The bumps on Staub’s lids aid in cooking because the bumps redistribute condensation that gathers on the lid, in a sort of self-basting effect. Some cooks say this is a great feature that keeps food moist.
If you’re buying your first Dutch oven, size is important. I recommend something in the 4-5.5 quart range. This will be large enough to roast an average 3-4 pound chicken, and make enough stew or soup for a family meal. It’s the size you’ll reach for most often.
You’re probably curious about the price! Le Creuset and Staub are fairly comparable.
Despite the high sticker price of both of these options, you can usually find deals online, such as this 5.5 qt red Staub cocotte, and this 5.5 qt. red Le Creuset French oven, both on Amazon. Buy carefully—there are many knockoffs of these popular items, so you’ll want to be sure you’re getting the genuine item, along with its warranty.
The Final Word
As to whether Le Creuset or Staub is better, it’s really a matter of personal preference. Both are companies with long histories and excellent reputations that make top-notch cookware.
Le Creuset and Staub are fairly similar in price, quality, and appearance. If trying to decide between the two, consider the ways in which they differ:
features such as the knobs, handles, and lids
interior design (color, type of enamel, lid design)
But the truth is that you can’t go wrong with Le Creuset or Staub! Break your Dutch oven in with the classic French beef stew, Boeuf Bourguignon:
Any questions? Let us know in the comments!