Le Creuset's Dutch oven is beloved, but the price tag might have you looking for another option. The best Le Creuset alternatives are more affordable and give you all the features and functionality that make the classic brand great. Below you’ll find several beautiful and heirloom-worthy Dutch ovens that are ready to be workhorses in your kitchen.
The key feature you're looking for in a Le Creuset alternative is enameled cast iron that withstands high heat in the oven and on any stovetop including induction. Le Creuset is also known for great heat retention and distribution. So, all of my picks have these key features. Next, thanks to that enamel coating, they're also dishwasher safe, if you can fit them. Just know the manufacturer advises hand washing to increase the unit's longevity. So, while being dishwasher safe may be a great perk, it's not crucial to a good alternative.
After those boxes are checked, your decision really revolves around size. A 5.5- to 6-quart size works great for braising meats, roasting chickens, and baking bread. To cook for one to two people or to cook smaller sides like grains and oats, between 3 and 4 quarts is perfect. For shape, I've stuck to the classic, round Dutch oven — it's the most versatile for cooking in both the oven and on the stovetop. Past these two sizes there are a range of sizes and shapes are best for special occasions or dishes.
Keep reading to find your new Le Creuset alternative that won't break the bank.
1. The Next Best Thing To Le Creuset
Given price and quality, the best Le Creuset alternative comes from Lodge — a family-owned company started in 1896 that's known for making heirloom quality cast iron. It even has superior heat-resistance to Le Creuset — Lodge's 6-quart pot and lid, including its stainless steel knob, are heat resistant up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. In comparison, Le Creuset's Signature line lid can withstand up to 480 degrees Fahrenheit, and its Classic line lid can only withstand up to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Another thing buyers love about the Lodge over Le Creuset is the brand's shape; Le Creuset has a more angular meeting between the side walls and the pot's base. In contrast, Lodge has slightly rounded edges that reportedly make it easier to clean and allow cooking spoons to reach every inch of the pot more easily. You'll also love the Lodge Dutch oven's wide handles, they're not quite as wide as Le Creuset's, but the width makes it easier to handle a hot and heavy pot.
This cast iron pot's interior is coated with three layers of hard, glossy porcelain enamel that resists chipping and cleans easily. And if aesthetics are important to you, the Lodge Dutch oven comes in a range of beautiful colors like sandalwood, oyster white, and storm blue. This pick has a 4.6-star rating with more than 9,000 reviews, and if you'd like to build an enameled cookware collection from Lodge, you can also buy 1.5-, 3-, 4.5-, and 7.5-quart Dutch ovens.
Promising review: “I was looking for a good Le Creuset alternative, and I'm very, very happy with this purchase. With Le Creuset, sure, it's nice, but you're spending hundreds of dollars more for a brand. The difference between the two? Marketing. This dutch oven does exactly the same thing. I've tried a bunch of different recipes in this pot and it all came out perfectly. Heavy, durable pot, gorgeous colors. Highly recommend.”
2. The Runner-Up Le Creuset Alternative
Since the Cuisinart Dutch oven has a slightly higher price tag, smaller handles than the Lodge, and only two color options cardinal red or Provençal blue, this is a runner-up to my first pick. But if you're looking to build a cookware collection beyond a Dutch oven, Cuisinart is your best bet. This collection also has a cast iron enameled lasagna pan, a square grill pan, a lidded chicken fryer, as well as other size dutch ovens.
This pick is made of enameled cast iron (including the knob) with a porcelain enamel interior that you can safely use in the oven up to 350 degrees. So, just note that it doesn't have quite as high a heat resistance as my first pick. Plus, the series boasts a 4.4-star rating after more than 1,800 reviews on Amazon.
Promising review: “I was a tried and true fan of Le Creuset products, but after reading a review about this line of Cuisinart enameled pots, I thought I'd try one out. I was astounded by the excellent quality for the price compared to the Le Creuset products I'm used to. Clean up after several uses is still easy and all the browned bits from cooking easily come off the porcelain and it still looks brand new. Glad I tried this out. I will be adding more sizes to my collection soon.”
3. The Best Le Creuset Alternative When Cooking For One To Two People
For a taste of French cookware without paying upwards of $300, the Staub Dutch oven is also made in France and has a few extra attractive features even Le Creuset can't claim. Its black enamel interior is better at hiding stains over time than Le Creuset's white interior, which reviewers love. Also, unique self-basting spikes in the Staub's heavy lid help this Dutch oven produce especially tender and moist food. It's a bit pricier than my first two picks, so to keep it comparable in price, I've gone for the smaller 4-quart size, which is perfect for cooking for one to two people or for small sides.
The nickel steel knob can withstand up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, and without the lid, this option can heat up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit, the highest heat resistance in this roundup! Choose from a range of gorgeous colors, including an elegant matte black, white, or turquoise.
Promising review: “I have three old Le Creuset pots. I love them, but the interior is cream. And you just can't keep it from showing stains. Some people may admire the 'age', it makes me sad. My new Staub has a charcoal black interior. I love, love, love it. It makes the food look so good, and is super easy to clean. It makes me happy. The cooking performance of both French brands is the same. The exterior enamel on both is smooth and gorgeous. I prefer the shape/design of Le Creuset lid, but find the handles/grip of the Staub much easier on my hands. Whichever brand you choose, you will enjoy many years of cooking.”
Also Nice To Have: A Dutch Oven Cookbook
A Dutch oven cookbook can help you make the most of your new favorite cooking tool, and this one from America's Test Kitchen is highly rated with 150 foolproof recipes. Even seasoned owners of Dutch ovens appreciated the "getting started" information inside this book, according to reviewers. You can expect recipes like chicken pot pie, weeknight Bolognese, green shakshuka, and bourbon-pecan bread pudding.
Promising review: "I recently received a 7.25 qt Le Creuset dutch oven in palm as an early Christmas gift. Beautiful dutch oven! So, I purchased this cookbook to get started on using this pot. I can't cook but I can follow a recipe. I've already tried three recipes -- simple pot roast (best-ever pot roast), creamy mashed potatoes (got lots of compliments), and the easy black bean soup (simple yet flavorful)! Today, I plan to make the weeknight pasta bolognese. I plan to try many more recipes -- directions are clear, no long lists of ingredients, and beautiful pictures! I love cooking with my new dutch oven!"
Also Great: A Pair Of Spoons Safe To Use In Your Le Creuset Alternative
One way to protect that enamel interior on your new Le Creuset alternative is by using a wooden cooking spoon that won't scratch the coating, and this pair of extra-long wooden cooking spoons is ideal for stirring in big Dutch ovens with tall sides. They're 22 inches long and made of solid bamboo, which resists bacteria as well as swelling and cracking, an issue with some wooden spoons. These highly rated spoons also have holes in the handles for easy hanging when not in use.
Promising review: “They are perfect. Strong, durable and long enough to keep you from burning your hands while stirring Dutch ovens.”
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