Best enameled cast iron dutch oven?

ChrisV

TVWBB Fan
I want to get an enameled cast iron dutch oven but I'm not sure which one to get? Before you answer, keep the following criteria in mind...

1. Yes, I want an enameled pot. I am aware of the pro's and con's of enameled vs standard non-enameled seasoned cast iron and I know for sure I want enameled.

2. I believe in "buy once, cry once" but I don't believe in throwing money away or paying for a name.

3. I realize that poop happens so I do find warranty and customer service important and don't want an "off brand" with questionable long term support.

4. I don't have the time/patience for garage sales, etc. so I would like to keep this conversation focused on currently available options.

With all that in mind, I am debating between the Le Creuset and the Lodge products. I know Le Creuset is considered the "end all, be all" but I'm not sure I can justify the price? I know the Lodge enameled cookware is made in China which I'm not thrilled about but honestly, French made products don't thrill me either. AFAIK, there are no made in the USA options for enameled cast iron? I know the Le Creuset products are considered "lifetime" products (and for their price, they should be) but the Lodge stuff gets pretty good reviews as well. The only real concern I have with the lodge stuff is they do seem more prone to chipping but I can't get a feel for how common that issue is with that product?

There is a store by me that has the Le Creuset pot for $199 (have to check if its the 5.5 or 7.26q model?) but either way it seems like a decent price for that brand but that's still twice the price of the Lodge version. I just need to know if the LeC is worth it?
 

Jo Torez

TVWBB Super Fan
I have 2 Martha Stewart ones that I got on sale around Christmas time a few years ago they are ok. The problem I found was a few paint chips (not earth shattering) after a while. Also I don't like the inside of the lid design it makes it tougher to clean but all in all they make a terrific beef stew. I find the le cruset is just way too much money for
Something that they will not replace if the paint chips. (It chips on all of them)
 

Pete in PG

TVWBB Pro
For me, it is Le Creuset. I've got a 7 1/4 Qt. and use it a lot in the fall and winter. Just excellent.

That said, America's Test Kitchen also recommends the Lodge Color Enamel 6-Quart Dutch Oven at $50. Definitely worth it.
 

ChrisV

TVWBB Fan
On the way home I stopped at Home Goods as I heard they have a good price on Le Crueset. They did ($99) but the model they had is smaller then I want (looked like 4qt?). I went back to Tuesday Morning (which is the place I saw the one for $199). Turns out It was the 7.25qt model (which goes for ~$325 online) so it's a good deal from that perspective but still around $80 more then similarly sized pots from Lodge or Cuisinart. Minor point but I also liked the color (graphite) which apparently isn't a normal color for them (not on their website anyway)

I probably would have bought it but I wasn't sure that I wanted the 7.25qt size? I'm thinking the 5.5qt size would better suit my needs and it turns out they had that size too but sold out. There are some other TM locations in the area so I'm going to see if any of them have the 5.5qt size?
 

Rita Y

TVWBB Emerald Member
I've built up a nice collection of Le Creuset over the years by checking in at the Le Creuset factory outlet stores. All mine are "seconds" but you would be hard put to find anything wrong with any of them. All but one of them are perfect. You just have to check them carefully.

Rita
 

BrianBishop

TVWBB Member
The little lady and I picked up a "food network" enameled cast iron dutch oven at khols last year as a black friday deal (all day deal not a crazy early morning deal) I'm pretty sure its 5.5 quart that we got for some crazy price like $30. I've used it several times to make soup, and given the results, I can't imagine justifying the expense of a higher end model.
 

*Matt*

TVWBB Fan
2nd the lodge - it's cheap in cost only! We have a variety of sizes and have yet to have a single issue!
 

Regina S

TVWBB Pro
Le Creuset wins hands down. Buy a big one. You will use it. Great for chili, pot roasts with ALL the vegetables fit nicely. I have the same philosophy buy the best quality and cry once. I have some other sizes that I purchased from TJ Maxx, and like Rita stated you would be hard pressed to find anything wring with them.
 

J Reyes

TVWBB Pro
We had an 8 qt red enameled cast iron (Martha Stewart) that we returned when they had a recall on it. We did not like cooking with it.

Are you looking for something nice looking or utility? During my food service career, cast iron and enameled cast iron was rarely used. However, Rondeaus or Braisers are used a lot.

If you are open to other materials and just want utility, Rondeaus or Baisers can be had a bit cheaper and out perform cast iron in certain applications.

Some examples The Johnson Rose 8 qt

or The Vollrath Option 3810 10 qt.

I prefer the 10 qt Vollrath 3810 size. It's a nice size for a chicken and rice (arroz con pollo) recipe that's pretty common around our home and it's size 12 inches allows for more chicken pieces to be seared/browned at the same time.
 

Russell Y

TVWBB All-Star
"I just need to know if the LeC is worth it?", this seems the bottom line question for you.

It seems as if you have done your homework. As you'll never get 100% agreement on "...worth it?", my question is - What do you think you might read/discover here that will get you to go one way or another(lodge/LeC)?

Fill out the form below, add them up. That's the one to buy.


Plus or minus

Lodge | LeC
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Another vote for Le Creuset. I have used mine for about 25 years (white) and also still use the set I gave my mom (harvest orange) about 35 years ago, which she gave back to me when she lived by herself, didn't coook in quantity as much and I think they became rather heavy for her to use. One of hers is also used on the smoker to make smoked baked beans with, as it has a few chips on the inside and is the perfect size for about 4-1/2 lbs. of smoked baken beans. We usually spray the outside of the pot with Pam prior to using on the smoker which makes for easy clean up later on.
 
The first serious cooking pot I bought was a Le Creuset 5.5 quart dutch oven. I use it almost every weekend for everything from soup, frying, to baking bread.

We have also picked up two smaller LC D/Os at TJ Maxx and an LC outlet store, plus two stock pots and a skillet. I am happy with all of them.

Now I want a 7.25 quart D/O, which cost a fortune. I will eventually pay the price for one because I know it will be top notch and last forever.

It only stings a bit when you first buy one. After you use it a while, you won't regret paying the price. You'll probably be glad with your decision.

That said, I bet the less expensive models are effective tools as well. I just have not used them myself.
 

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