Cheaper Alternatives to a Le Creuset Dutch Oven
We all want to be able to afford the best of the best, but sometimes it’s not realistic.
With many products, it’s possible to get the same quality for a lower price, but only if you know what you are looking for.
A Dutch oven is one of those essential pieces of cookware, but a certain French brand can be pricey.
Cheaper Le Creuset Dutch Ovens substitutes do exist, but it requires a lot of research to make sure that you are getting a good product.
We have investigated the alternatives to a Le Creuset Dutch Oven and wanted to share Dutch oven brands that give a similar result that you’ll be happy with.
Please note that this article contains affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure at the bottom of the page.
Best Le Creuset Dutch Oven Substitutes
1. Lodge 6 Dutch Oven
If you are looking for a beautiful and bright Le Creuset Dutch oven alternative, you don’t have to look further than this porcelain enamel Lodge 6 Dutch oven.
Although the brand name may not be super familiar to you, it’s a great US based company with a loyal following.
Porcelain enamel cast iron is well-known for being impervious to water and other consumables, as well as incredibly heat tolerant. This Dutch oven is rated highly for heat retention and even heating throughout.
It is a good contender to the Le Creuset, as the temperature can go up to 500 degrees without issue, and it has very similar features. Lodge has been around for over a century, and this is because they create a good product.
Keep in mind; some people experience a loss in enamel after a few months. These customers are the exception, and overall most people have a great experience with this product, as you can see from the reviews – over 2,500 of them!
It is currently the best-selling Dutch oven on Amazon, with many of those customers saying there is no difference between this Dutch oven and the Le Creuset.
- Can heat up to 500 degrees
- Durable design
- Big handles
- Dishwasher safe
- Tons of color options
- Slightly curved shape (easier to clean)
- Shorter sides and width for searing
- More evaporation, not ideal for deep-frying
- Heavier than Le Creuset
2. Cuisinart Cl670-30CR Chef’s Classic Enameled
Although the Cuisinart CI670-30CR is a little more pricey than the Lodge 6, it is still a great Le Creuset alternative at a fraction of the cost.
It’s dishwasher safe, retains heat well, safe up to 500 degrees, and does not absorb flavors or odors. Be aware that as a seven-quart pan, it is heavier than some of its counterparts–but it’s also bigger.
The bottom of this pan is perfectly flat, making it ideal for even cooking of things like omelets.
This Le Creuset substitute was named a best buy by America’s Test Kitchen, and plenty of customers have found this to be true. Those who have bought this pan after owning a Le Creuset are surprised by its superb quality.
There have been reports of the enamel falling off after a couple of months, but most people find that it holds up for years to come.
- Larger pot (7 quarts)
- Dishwasher safe
- Larger cooking surface area (allows for more evaporation)
- Perfectly flat for more even cooking
- Smaller handles
- Heavier than a Le Creuset
3. AmazonBasic Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Amazon is a well-trusted brand among consumers, and naturally, their AmazonBasic Enameled Dutch oven is a qualifier as a Le Creuset alternative.
If you want to cook foods at 500 degrees, you will want to look into one of the other Le Creuset alternatives listed above. Amazon’s Dutch oven is only safe up to 400 degrees, which could be a downside for some people.
This Dutch oven is also not safe in the dishwasher, where its main competitors are.
It’s important to note that although most enameled cast iron Dutch ovens are considered dishwasher safe, it’s still preferable to hand wash, as this will preserve the cookware’s original appearance.
Because of this, you should not dismiss this product off hand because it is not dishwasher safe. It is thick, retains heat, and cooks evenly, so it certainly has its benefits.
Overall, the brand name speaks for itself, and you can be sure you are receiving a high-quality product at a lower cost.
- Reviewers find it very comparable to a Le Creuset
- Not recommended for use above 400 degrees
- Not dishwasher safe
The original Le Creuset Dutch Oven and why people love it so much
It’s easy to understand why people love their Le Creuset Dutch oven. It’s gorgeous, has a large handle, and has superior heat distribution.
These Dutch ovens are resistant to wear, and the knob withstands temperatures of up to 500 degrees. It’s resistant to chipping (a problem with many enamel cast iron Dutch ovens), and is incredibly sturdy.
A few people state that food sticks to the bottom of the pan, but the majority of people do not have this experience.
- Colorful exterior enamel that resists chipping and cracking
- Sand-colored interior helps prevent food from burning and sticking
- Large handles
- Knobs are heat resistant up to 500 degrees.
- Built-in lid stabilizers help provide a secure, no-slide fit.
What Makes a Good Dutch Oven?
The best material for a Dutch oven will always be cast iron, as it retains heat and releases it evenly into your food. Your Dutch oven should be thick throughout and feel heavy in your hands.
It’s a good idea to look at Dutch ovens that are at least 6-quarts, as this is a good size for cooking most things.
When it comes to functionality, check out the handles and the knob on the lid. Does it look like it’ll be easy to handle when you are wearing bulky oven mitts?
An excellent Dutch oven will hold heat well, creating an even temperature within the pot. This is what helps make your meat and tough vegetables tender.
You can incubate yogurt, bake bread, make a quick sauce, and simmer a pot of beans without trouble.
A Le Creuset fits the bill for all of these things, but most of the alternatives listed above do too.
We have found that Le Creuset Dutch oven substitutes can still deliver excellent results in the kitchen – without the hefty price tag.
What Types of Cast Iron Dutch Ovens Are Available?
There are two main types of cast iron Dutch ovens that you’ll find on the market. Plain, and enameled. Overall, enameled tends to be more popular, but not without a higher price tag.
Plain Cast Iron Dutch Oven
- Cheaper (usually)
- Can rust & requires seasoning
- Food may stick (with time it will gain a non-stick quality)
- Does not do as well with acidic foods, as it strips the seasoning
- Very durable
- Does better than enameled over an open flame
- Iron can get into the food you are eating until it is well-seasoned
Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
- Expensive (usually)
- Better looking
- Smooth surface
- Does not rust
- Can be washed with soap
- Food may stick
- Great for acidic foods like spaghetti sauce
- Less durable (usually), as paint can chip
- Enamel keeps iron out of foods
Should I purchase an enameled or plain cast iron for my Dutch oven?
Both enameled and plain cast iron Dutch ovens have their benefits and drawbacks, so one is not necessarily better than the other.
If you plan to cook a lot of acidic foods, such as red sauces or chili, you are probably better off purchasing an enameled cast iron Dutch oven.
It’s also worth considering how much you vary in your cooking.
If you plan on making a steak one night, but some peach cobbler tomorrow—your enamel coated Dutch oven won’t hold the flavor of the steak, where a plain cast iron Dutch oven will.
Plain cast iron is the best type of cookware for blackening and searing of food. It can help add extra iron in your diet (not necessarily a bad thing), and it evenly delivers heat more efficiently than it’s competitor.
Plain cast iron will not do as well with acidic foods, as the acid wears away the seasoning. When that happens, your food can come into contact with bare iron, which could result in a reaction.
Regular cast iron is more prone to rust, which can ruin a pan. Food tends to stay hotter longer in a plain cast iron, which can be a plus as long as you have your oven mitts handy.
Final Thoughts on Le Creuset Alternatives
Although the three Le Creuset alternatives above may not as fancy as the real thing, they are still great options for those that want a quality piece of cookware for a fraction of the cost.
The best advice I can give you is to do your research when you are looking at lower-cost alternatives.
You don’t need the most expensive option on the market, and sometimes the budget-friendly alternative delivers better results.
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