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Battle Of The Brands: Staub vs. Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron

Posted by on January 10 2011 in Uncategorized

staub

Kitchen stores make me giddy. I was lucky enough this Christmas to be the recipient of a Sur La Table gift card from some special people. Like a kid in a candy store a chef in a kitchen store, I was excited to find one new ridiculous cooking tool.

With utter certitude that I had found the best deal in the tri-state area, and self-assurance that I had all the chef’s knives a girl could want, I settled on a Staub cocotte enameled cast iron pot that required a supportive hand underneath the paper shopping bag to prevent it from ripping. The sheer weight of the thing is impressive.

What a beaut it is, and I couldn’t wait to use it. Having studied in the Alsace region of France, known for their hearty, one-pot meals like baeckeoffe, I had an instant emotional connection to this pot, which was a product of Alsace. Having been a Le Creuset owner and a huge fan of soup and meals made in pots, I knew the benefits of enameled cast iron. Is there anyone who doesn’t love a little cast iron?

But the real question is: Would this beautiful red gem hold up to my faithful Le Creuset?

In a word: abso-freakin-lutely.

I made the most delicious braised buffalo chili I have ever tasted. I don’t know if it was me, the Staub, nostalgic visions of Alsace, or if I was just extremely hungry, but this thing was a culinary tool workhorse. A Clydesdale of cookware. The creme de la creme of enameled cast iron.

In contrast to the Le Creuset, the inside of the Staub is cast iron gritty instead of smooth enamel; and other than the dimples in the lid to aide in the basting process during braising (which honestly could be achieved by placing foil under the lid of a Le Creuset), the two pots are very similar. Please tell me I am crazy when I say I LOVE THIS THING.

And the ES debate begins here: what is your favorite enameled cast iron? Go.

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27 Responses leave one →
  1. James Messick permalink
    January 10, 2011

    Tramontina is my favorite. Just as much iron and enamel. 1/5 the price.

  2. scott reitz permalink
    January 10, 2011

    This article must be revisited in 3 years, or 300 dishes, whichever comes first. I’m sure the quality is there, and seeing Staub’s wares in restuarants like Poste lead me to believe thier iron’s the real deal, but the most relevent test is time.

    A few months ago I first noticed a small ivory chip in an otherwise pritine enamal finish of my Le Creuset. Until then, the cooking surface was only marred by the discoloration of hundreds of braises, chili’s and currys. I wept in my kitchen.

    I know the company has a great replacement program but it’s hard to care. Boxing, and shipping, and waiting is a chore. What I need is cookware that holds up in the first place. Or a store front that’s willing to accept exchanges indefinilty.

  3. January 10, 2011

    i actually dont have a big enameled cast iron pot. this has been on my want list for years. is there a big price difference between the brands?

  4. January 10, 2011

    Le Creuset and Staub are pretty comparable in price (i.e. both pretty astronomical). But you can find some good sales online. I happened to catch an after Christmas sale that I was pretty excited about. You can also go with a Lodge cast iron for a little cheaper. But one nice enameled cast iron is a must have though if you’re doing any braising, stews, or one-pot meals. Plus, it just looks damn sexy when you’re cooking in it.

  5. January 10, 2011

    Who says it has to be enameled? Black is sexy

  6. belmontmedina permalink
    January 10, 2011

    Just got a Staub a few months ago (BRAND NEW at a goodwill!), and I like it far more- it seems to have a tighter seal on the lid, and the little dots on the top for braising + metal knob on the top. My one qualm is the lighter enamel in Le Crueset is good for things where being able to see the color is important- like marmalade. Also, Le Crueset does come in a wider range of colors…

  7. January 10, 2011

    is this a dutch oven? if not, what is the difference? enamel?

  8. January 10, 2011

    I’m the proud owner of a Le Creuset grill pan and press, 7.25qt dutch oven, 2.25qt saucier and a 3.5qt casserole all in black with stainless steal knobs and I couldn’t be happier (I didn’t need to list them all but I thought I’d make you weep).

    The dutch oven had to be replaced due to a chip but I think I was to blame as I used an immersion blender when making a bisque, Le Creuset replaced it at no cost other than one way shipping- it took three weeks. Life time guarantee. Other than that incident the only other noticeable wear and tear, like Scott is staining due to braising etc.

    Cast iron is is worth the investment. I just hope LC don’t discontinue the black series otherwise I’m screwed.

  9. January 11, 2011

    Yes, these would be considered Dutch ovens. There are many types of Dutch ovens, but a Dutch oven usually involves cast iron or very heavy metal that can go from stove to oven. Le Creuset would be an enameled “French” oven.

    Britannia – I wept.
    And I am super jealous of the Staub steal at Goodwill!

    Most restaurants don’t use enameled cookware because of how easily it can chip (and then become a sanitation issue) and because we are so hard on things in a professional kitchen. But for home use, they are awesome. And sexy too.

  10. January 11, 2011

    Last year, I made the leap into owning my first (expensive) enameled cast iron pot. I chose Staub because the hype surrounding Le Creuset annoyed me. I’d previously owned a Martha Steward enameled cast iron and a Lodge enameled one as well. They both rusted around the rim within a week of first use. I returned both. You get what you pay for in this case I guess (or luck into at Goodwill; faint!). I’ve enjoyed using my Staub very much and love that there’s a metal rooster on top of it as the handle cuz I got the fancy-pants coq au vin pot ;)

  11. January 11, 2011

    Well I am glad I’m not the only one obsessed with my Staub. Although mine isn’t as fancy pants as yours with the rooster! Jealous!!

  12. BS Mom permalink
    January 12, 2011

    I got two Le Creuset pots for my wedding (do children still give their parents a round-the-world trip on their 35th anniversary?)and, except for discoloring in the inside, are still working very well – though would prefer them to be a little lighter.

  13. January 12, 2011

    35 years??? sounds like it’s time to treat yourself to a new Staub and hand those le crues down to some needy heirs.

  14. January 14, 2011

    I don’t have either one unfortunately. But I’ve got a few other things from Staub and I love them, so I don’t doubt that this would be the winner in my heart!

  15. January 14, 2011

    Peggy, high five! I want a whole kitchen of Staub tools. And bed sheets and towels too. And maybe Staub floor mats for my car.

  16. Ciss permalink
    January 19, 2011

    BS you know where you can get some hand-me-down Le Creuset – just make a trip upstate.

  17. Ines permalink
    July 17, 2012

    As to the discoloration of the inside white enamel of LC, just use bleach! Soak the pot in bleach (and water) for however long necessary, then rinse. You’ll be surprised how beautifully new your dear LC looks… But I prefer Staub! I somehow feel the black enamel inside a Staub performs better? and the weight, its distribution, the design, and the craftsmanship of Staub better? (I’m not rich, just owning one of each, but a conceptual big whore for Staub.)

  18. Laure permalink
    October 27, 2012

    Little late for comment, but I was nostalgically looking for Staub though I don’t really need anything right now.

    I really love my little black matte Staub cocotte (got it because the black color will probably always work in any kitchen I have!). It has been a workhorse for me. I haven’t used the black matte grill pan very often, though. (Thought it would satisfy my dh who was craving a big expensive gas grill….but that stategy didn’t work, lol). And I have – overall – been more attracted to the rich, gorgeous Staub colors than to the more pastel and true colors in the Le Creuset lines. The burgundy, the aubergine, the basil, yum. But mostly I keep my kitchen neutral…..

    ….. But I have a thing for fresh, lime green (the current trend in lime and celery greens has been a lifelong wish come true), and when LC’s outlets were carrying a fresh lime green, it called my name – so during a sale I got a braiser. It makes me smile when I see it on my stove, truly. And as LC fans have said, I can see food a little more easily on the light surface.

    But I still have a thing for the natural cast-iron-look of Staub’s matte black interiors. And I totally get Yvo’s attraction to the rooster handle.

  19. Denise permalink
    November 4, 2012

    I have all Le Creuset and absolutely love it! The colors and it’s much lighter than other cast iron cookware. To answer your questions on cleaning. You can get rid of the stains by using a magic eraser or Le Creuset sales a cleaner which works very well too. Years of use and they still look brand new.

  20. Sharon permalink
    December 30, 2012

    I am so sad that the Williams and Sonoma near my house is closing due to the the high cost in rental space (they were there 15 years) but I was lucky enough to be able to purchase my first Staub dutch oven, 9″ frying pan and an oval cocette all at half price I openly wept for the closing and the deal I received. I know I was blessed by having one in my life for so long and look forward to having the Staub even longer. My daughter is already wrangling her place in line to have it passed on to her. Well she will have a long wait, me and my Staub have a lot more meals to cook.

  21. Susan permalink
    January 29, 2013

    I have both LCD and Staub. I love the light creamy interior of the LC and I need a brassier but can’t decide if the Staub is so much superior to out weigh looking at the black interior while cooking ? Also, what about bringing to the table for serving? Not sure shrimp and scallops will look as appetizing with the black interior.

  22. jamie permalink
    September 13, 2013

    Just buy a cheap one.
    I have bought my wife many Le Creuset cast iron enamel cooking dishes over the last 15 years, 1 large pot, 1 small frypan, 1 large frypan, 1 grill plate ect… It’s expensive but it makes a nice gift, UNTIL NOW. While heating some olive oil in the large cast iron pot (about 5 years old) a piece of enamel (5mm x 5mm) literally popped of the interior base of the large pot, EXPOSING THE CAST IRON. We took the pan to the Minimax store in Camberwell where it was purchased, they had a Le Crueset ‘rep’ examine it and they decided the fault was not covered by warranty. They said that the pot had been ‘over heated’ and been ‘cleaned abrasively’. I confess that the pot has been used for cooking and been cleaned quite a few times so I can only conclude that the pot is not warrantied if you use it for cooking. Lifetime Warranty, WHAT A LOAD OF ROT. I bought a cheap cast iron enamel pan from Aldi today, I think I’ll just by cheap stuff from now on if the expensive Le Creasust items aren’t really warrantied at all. I can just buy cheap and replace them if need be. I am very disappointed that the investment I thought I was making in a reputable product was just throwing money away. If though we had overheated it, or cleaned it in a damaging way I would not have bothered taking it back to the shop, I wish I could show you a picture of this will kept pot, I am very fair, but I don’t like being ripped off.

  23. Silke permalink
    January 5, 2014

    Great post, thanks. I own several LC and several Staub. Both get about the same use and abuse. Half the LC had to go back to LC because the enamel cracked or chipped, not just in one spot, but severely. No problem whatsoever with the Staubs. Plus I like the heavier lids, and the basting spikes. Staub wins, hands down.

    I owned one Mario Batali. Terrible. Sticky, impossible to clean, chipping. Went into the trash after a year. (In retrospect I should have turned it into a planter, but I couldn’t be bothered at the time).

    I also have number of calphalon pots which are all but retired.

    And a carbon steel omelette pan, as well as -total splurge- a copper clad stainless steel sauté pan. Love both of those.

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