It’s no secret that I love cooking with cast-iron (see here). It heats so evenly, it’s oven safe even at high temperatures, it’s versatile. A well-seasoned cast iron pan is as slippery as non-stick, without having to worry about chemicals leaching into your food if you heat the pan too hot or scratch the surface with the wrong kitchen utensil. They last forever and they don’t warp over time or with high heat.
I’ve really gotten into the swing of using my cast iron pans as the dominant frying pans I use for cooking (even though I do keep a PTFE- and PFOA-free non-stick skillet around for the occasional omelet, and do have a stainless steel skillet for poaching or any recipe that involves a deglazing step). I have a good sense for what kind of cooking protects versus destroys the seasoning (and a quadruple batch of pancakes almost every weekend in coconut oil is awesome for maintaining the seasoning), so it’s been months and months since I last had to season a pan (if you have one that does need seasoning, see this post). But, protecting my pans’ surfaces does take some thought. I mostly use them for pancakes, braising veggies, and frying meat. Certain things are a whole lot of work to clean, especially if I don’t get a chance to clean the pan while it’s still warm (and also because I never use dish soap on my cast iron pans). And, regular cast-iron pans aren’t supposed to be used on glass/flat stovetops because it can scratch the surface, which mine definitely have (I’ve never been too worried about this because my stove is very old and on its last legs, but it is something to think about as I start shopping for a replacement). They’re definitely a high-maintenance pan… which brings me to Le Creuset.
Le Creuset makes enamel-coated cast iron cookware, from skillets to French ovens. This enamel coating makes the cookware both non-stick and safe to use on glass stovetops. It’s safe even at very high heat and very durable. They’re also dishwasher-safe and require no maintenance like regular cast-iron. The interior enamel surface can still develop a seasoning over the top, but if you cook something that would normally remove the seasoning on a regular cast-iron pan, you go back to the enamel, which is still non-stick and durable and everything else I just mentioned.
People who love to cook love Le Creuset. My mom owns a Le Creuset cast-iron skillet and loves it. I get the love of cast iron, but have long been curious if the enamel coating and high-quality French manufacturing make Le Creuset cookware worth the extra investment?
Well, who am I to say no to a chance to testdrive a Le Creuset cast-iron 10″ skillet and pit it against my very well seasoned 10″ and 12″ cast-iron frying pans?
Right out of the package, the Le Creuset cast-iron 10″ skillet was just as slippery as my well-seasoned regular cast iron pans. Check.
It heats just as evenly and cooks food just as beautifully as my well-seasoned regular cast iron pans. Check.
It washes very easily and I can use dish soap. Big improvement over my regular cast iron pans. Double check!
I don’t have to worry about cooking foods with lots of liquid or salt, which would normally hurt the seasoning on my regular cast iron pans. I can even use it to poach and use it with recipes that call for a deglazing step, so this even replaces my stainless steel skillet! Triple check!
It doesn’t scratch my glass stovetop. It can go in the oven. Even though I’ve never run it through the dishwasher, I could.
Any downsides? Just the same ones as you have with regular cast-iron. It is heavy (but totally manageable, especially compared to my beast of a 12″ cast-iron pan). The handle does get very hot, just like my regular cast-iron pan handles.
If you’ve been intimidated about using cast-iron pans because of the work associated with maintaining the seasoning, this is definitely the option for you! If you’re well-versed with cast-iron and especially if you aren’t worried about scratching a stovetop, then I don’t think you need to run out and replace your tried and true cast-iron skillets with Le Creuset (unless maybe the ease of cleaning is that alluring).
I have to admit that I do love my Le Creuset skillet (but I also love my regular cast-iron pans). My experience cooking with it makes me really, really want a Le Creuset French oven! Oh, and some of their casserole dishes. And their sauepans! I fully admit that I think the coolest products that Le Creuset have to offer are their other enamel cast-iron cookware–because these pots and pans bring the joy of cast-iron cooking to other applications, like stews, braised meats, and sauces.
So, would you like one?
As I do a little jig for reaching the 70K Facebook likes milestone, I am once again celebrating with a giveaway! And a huge thank you to Le Creuset for sponsoring a giveaway of a Le Creuset cast-iron 10″ skillet.
Entering is easy!
Prize can only be shipped to residents of the USA.