You’ve decided to purchase enameled cast iron – congratulations! If you haven’t used this type of cookware before, you’re about to fall in love with it. Enameled cast iron is a great balance between traditional cookware which has fantastic thermal density and all the convenience of modern cookware. However, it can be quite the investment so it’s important to learn about your options and the best-enameled cast iron for your needs.
Here are some important factors to consider:
- The size, shape and weight of the cookware.
- Nice large handles to make it safer and easier to move around.
- Those fancy enameled pans can be really pricey are they worth it?
- Quality of enameling can vary greatly between manufacturers. Which manufacturers have the best enamel glazing?
Which is the best enameled cast iron cookware? Look for the best size, shape and consider the weight.
All these attributes matter. The shape and size of the cookware will influence the weight of the cookware. Some people love a nice heavy pan – just in case they need to use it to chase a burglar down the street. Others prefer to not have to lift weights before being able to cook with their enameled cast iron cookware.
Le Creuset cast iron has a nice weight to it without the heft.
Unfortunately much cheaper enameled cast iron tends to be cast extremely thick and too heavy for a lot of people. Le Creuset is lighter than other competing brands. This is very important if you are looking for a Dutch oven which can become weighty when you consider the added weight of food and liquid.
Choose the best size for your needs
I really don’t think you look past the Le Creuset 5 1/2 quart Dutch oven which is available on Amazon if you want to see the latest prices (affiliate link). You can also check out the Le Creuset color range. They sure do make some fine looking cookware. So why buy Le Creuset? I feel the 5 1/2 quart is the ideal size for most needs in the kitchen. Sure bigger sizes are available but they start to get really heavy when you take into account the food and liquid. Here’s an external link to a Le Creuset size chart.
Which is better Circular or Oval Ovens?
I’d go for a circular Dutch oven over an oval oven. Oval Dutch ovens are great for cooking a roast chicken or a joint of lamb. However, round Dutch ovens are ideally suited for gas hobs and electric elements if you want to make soups or casseroles. They also take up less space in your oven.
Choose enameled cast iron with big wide handles if you can.
Some of the best enameled cast iron pans have wide handles you can place your hands comfortably on to carry your delicious food. On cast iron skillets a nice wide handle helper is also useful to move your skillet around. Although a skillet with a large handle helper can take up a lot of space in the oven. Le Creuset makes some of the best enameled frying pans. However, I’m a real fan of Staub frying pans they really are some top-notch pans.
Staub and Le Creuset are the finest quality enamelware you can buy. However, they are pricey and there are other options available.
You’ll need to decide if you want to sell a kidney for your cast iron or use what’s in your piggy bank when it comes to purchasing the best-enameled cast iron cookware. Prices vary depending on size, shape, type, and of course, and brand.
If you’re just starting out and want to test this type of cookware out first, you may want to consider getting a lesser expensive pot and then upgrade to a more expensive one as you yearn for more from your cast iron. There’s plenty of choices out there too. One such brand is Lodge they make good enameled cast iron at a fraction of the price of the luxury brands.
How about those expensive pieces are they with the price? Here are two well-researched articles to learn more; Why buy Le Creuset? and Why buy Staub cookware?
Yes the French still make the best Enameled cast iron
What separates average enameled cast iron cookware from the best-enameled cast iron cookware? Well, it really comes down to the expertise of enameling. Le Creuset and Staub are heads and shoulders above competing brands. They really are the leading manufactures if you are looking for the best cast-iron cookware. Staub and Le Creuset use multiple layers of glaze on their cookware and the end results are quite spectacular they are the only companies that can make cast iron cookware beautiful. However multiple layers of enamel have added benefits as well. These include:
- Less prone to chipping
- Smoother end finish to the cookware
- The enamel is unlikely to flake in pieces
- Suitable for on higher temperatures
- Unlikely to craze
What is my favorite enameled cast iron cookware?
The moment you’ve been waiting for is here. These are my picks for the best enameled cast iron cookware on the market today. I’ve tried to keep in in mind both quality and budgets.
However, I must acknowledge the mixed reviews of some of the cheaper options. Also, you may want to consider regular cast over enameled cookware. If you’re not interested in seasoning your cookware then I really believe that Staub and Le Creuset are by far best enameled cast iron if your budget allows.
Lodge enameled cast iron Dutch Oven
The Lodge brand is an entry level cast iron cookware option, which means it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Click the link if you want to see the latest prices on Amazon (affiliate link). However, Lodge has a reputation to uphold and they make very fine quality cookware. They also make world-class skillets and traditional Dutch Ovens. I’m sure you’ll be happy with one of their Dutch ovens.
Lodge enameled pots come in different colors, and the interior is a beautiful cream color. It’s oven safe up to 500 degrees. Which makes it great for baking and broiling. It’s a nice size holding 6-quarts which is a great size for most people. Unfortunately, Lodge doesn’t manufacture their enamel range locally. Instead, they have opted to make their enameled cookware in China to ensure costs are kept low.
As with most Dutch ovens, it comes with a tight-fitting lid that keeps the contents from becoming dry. It’s truly great for cooking all types of dishes, marinating, and slow cooking.
Le Creuset Signature cast iron skillet.
This large heavy-set skillet is a versatile one that can be used every day. Yes, this is the one you want to chase people out of your home. Although I find it lighter than the Staub skillet which is why it’s on my recommended list.
The large loop handle makes it easy to carry the skillet around. Despite the size, it cooks food evenly and provides superior thermal density. These skillets even come in pink if you’re so inclined. I’m more of a traditional boy and prefer Le Creuset’s signature color “flame”. Here’s a link to Amazon to see their color range (affiliate link).
This one is the next level in enameled cast iron cookware. It’s more expensive than the Lodge one, but many people report it’s worth it. Staub also makes an amazing skillet and if you have read my other articles you know I’m a huge Staub fan. However, again I find the Le Creuset lighter than the Staub so it’s possibly more suitable for a wider range of users.
Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Enameled Cast Iron 7-Quart Round Covered Casserole
Who doesn’t love a good casserole? Well, some people don’t, but they may like it better if it was cooked in this Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Enameled Cast Iron Casserole Pot. While the 7 quart is the most desired, it’s also available in 3 and 5 quarts as well.
Currently, Cuisinart has three colors available which include: red, blue and black. While the reviews are not as favorable as Landhaus, Cuisinart is priced lower and is one of the most popular choices available. Here’s the link for the 7 quart Casserole Pot on Amazon (affiliate link). However there is a 5.5 Quart pot available which I recommend for most households.
The benefits include; porcelain enamel, dishwasher safe, and they have large wide ears or handles which makes it easy to carry.
This is the best enameled cast iron cookware for cooking, serving for a family and entertaining for a group. This size is on the upper limit I would recommend for a first time user of cast iron.
Landhaus Professional Enameled Cast Iron Covered Braiser
This is the elite enameled cast iron pot. The 6.2-quart braiser is not the cheapest but nor is it the most expensive. But you get a lot for the price. There is also a 5.4-quart option available. The Amazon reviews on this pan are amazing. Click if you’re interested in reading the reviews (affiliate link).
This a self-basting braiser. It comes with solid brass and chrome stainless steel knobs. It is a professional grade cast iron that distributes heat evenly for perfect cooking. You can do just about anything you would like with this pot:
Although I usually recommend 5.5-quart Dutch oven the Landhaus 6.2-quart is priced at a very similar price point as the smaller 5.4-quart pot. Great marketing by Landhaus it certainly caught my eye.
Crock Pot Artisan 5 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Braiser Pot
Want a braiser without the cost? Crock Pot has one for you.
The great slow cooker brand has designed enameled cast iron for people who want all the benefits of it without having to pay for professional grade cookware.
Although I have not used this braiser from all accounts, it cooks evenly and is of great value. It does have a self-basting lid and Crockpot are a specialist in slow cooked cookware. Cleaning is a breeze, and just like other enameled cast iron cookware, you never have to worry about seasoning your pot.
Crock Pot sure knows a thing about slow cooking and they have some very good reviews. Here’s a link to Amazon if you want to see their prices (affiliate link). If you’re looking for a cheaper Dutch oven this could be a good choice.
Tramontina Enameled Cast Iron Covered Sauce Pan
This cute, but mighty Dutch oven comes in blue, red and silver. It’s 6.5 quarts and it’s great for heating, cooking, or even frying. however, its only oven safe up to 450 degrees. So I would be inclined to use it for slow cooking or stovetop cooking. Click to see how they rate on Amazon (affiliate link).
Many people add this Dutch oven to their Tramontina cookware collection. The company has a huge range of cookware which includes stainless steel and knives. Although I’m not sure of the name Tramontina they sure have plenty of heritage. The history of the company dates back to 1911.
Staub double handle Frypan
I have to finish with Staub. I really think Staub make some of the best enameled cast iron cookware. Although they are famous for their Dutch ovens they call the cocotte. They also make some great frying pans. Staub makes a large pan with a huge 13” inch cooking surface. Which makes it larger than most frying pans on the market. However, this is a very useful size if you’re cooking for a family. Instead of a handle, this pan comes which two handles so it’s easy to move around and well balanced.
If your budget allows then it’s well worth consideration. Just click the link to see the latest prices on Amazon (affiliate link).
Making the Best Choice for Enameled Cast Iron Cookware
Don’t fret over it too much which is the best enameled cast iron cookware. As long as you purchase good quality enameled cast iron cookware, you’ll receive all the benefits of it the way you should experience. As I mentioned earlier, start with what you love the most, and then you can move on to other sizes, weights, and brands. You will see some differences between them all and in time, you’ll start to prefer ones over others. It’s just like any other collection, except this one, continues to deliver delicious foods in a beautiful way.
Our 4.5 quart enameled dutch oven began rusting around the edge and in the part of the lid that touches the edge.
The company’s response was to suggest seasoning the exposed cast iron after removing the rust. So the enamel apparently is not warranted and does not hold up as advertised.
They lost a formerly loyal customer.
Thanks for sharing your experience with Le Creuset. I can understand your frustration.
You’ll find nearly all Dutch Ovens have an exposed rim. It may seem like a fault, but it protects the enamel lining chipping from the heavy lid. I haven’t experienced the same issue, but I’m careful to fully dry the rim of the Dutch oven before storing it. I’d try to use a Scotch Brite to lift the surface rust.
I hope you keep using your pot. It sounds like it’s still good to go.