8 reasons why we choose Emile Henry cookware.

Emile Henry ceramic cookware. (In the picture is a blue Emile Henry baking dish with potato bake ready to go into the oven).

Emile Henry cookware is it any good? We look at 8 reasons why it is.

This excellent, versatile, and durable cookware comes from a family-owned, family-operated company in France. Emile Henry cookware combines modern technology with traditional methods to make a variety of ceramic cookware. Emile Henry cookware is quite beautiful, even the underside has something of a wow factor. However is the Emile Henry ceramic cookware range any good?

Ceramics dishes and cookware are nothing novel. They’re all sold in most department stores and discount retailers. So why would you choose Emile Henry cookware? Okay, we are first to admit we love the romance of French cookware. With that being said we think Emile Henry ceramic cookware should be on your next birthday wish list. Here’s why:

  • It’s non-toxic
  • Versatile
  • Durable
  • Lighter than cast iron
  • For great heat retention
  • They’re easy to clean
  • Shock resistant
  • Great value for money

Edo Mame in Emile Henry ceramic cookware

 

Non-toxic.

Emile Henry ceramics do not contain lead, cadmium, or other harmful materials. It is safe at any temperature, from burning hot to freezing. Okay burning hot isn’t exactly safe. But if you don’t like cooking with metal, foil, grease proof paper then natural clay is the way to go and there’s few choices better than Emile Henry products.

Incredibly versatile.

Oven, fridge, freezer, microwave, dishwasher… your Emile Henry bakeware will navigate all these appliances with ease. You can even use your Emile Henry Flame Top cookware on your gas top range, or the grill!  The Flame Top cookware range can go straight from the stovetop to the oven, including the Emile Henry ceramic Dutch oven.

Tested for durability.

Ceramic cookware is made of clay, which can be easily chipped especially for lower quality pieces. Emile Henry cookware is designed to be resistant to chips and cracks. You don’t have to worry about it cracking if you accidentally bump it against the sink or counter, (within reason of course) and you can use metal utensils with Emile Henry cookware without scratching the cookware. According to the company, you can even cut directly on the surface without damaging the glaze.

A blue Emile Henry ceramic dish. The dish is turned to show the logo on the base.

Lighter weight than cast iron. Yes Emile Henry make dutch ovens too.

Emily Henry states that its cookware is 30% lighter than the competing enameled cast iron options. That makes a big difference, especially when you are trying to carry a dish full of food from the stove to the table! The light weight also makes it ideal for storing leftovers, because it’s not too heavy to place in the fridge or freezer.

Great heat retention.

The heat retentive nature of clay is great for cooking because clay heats up without burning quickly like stainless steel, and it stays hot. Heat retention also allows the dish to keep your food warm for longer, even after you take the dish out of the oven and set it on the dining table or kitchen bench ready for when you are.

Easy to clean.

The smooth surface of the glaze makes Emile Henry cookware quite easy to clean, even if the food is burned on. The glaze will not discolour or fade over time. Best of all, all Emile Henry products can be washed in the dishwasher!

Great thermal shock resistance.

With the extraordinary thermal shock properties of clay bakeware, you don’t have to worry about the product cracking due to change in temperature (unlike glass bakeware). Emile Henry cookware and bakeware can go from the freezer or fridge straight to the oven to reheat your leftovers, and remain intact! That means fewer dishes for you to wash.

Emile Henry ceramics, surly this French cookware costs a pretty penny?

Okay, sure it’s a little more pricy than most of the “made in China” cookware. But its not out of reach like other comparable brands. Emile Henry products are really fine quality, look great and you’ll be able to use them for many years. This is why Emile Henry cookware is a perfect choice for a gift.

Emile Henry with Japanese food. This Emile Henry ramekin is perfect for small dishes

 

Earlier we mentioned the romance of French cookware. Here’s  some of Emile Henry’s history.

Emile Henry Ceramic Cookware dates all the way back to 1850! Since its inception more than 150 years ago, the cookware company has been located in the same place. The small village of Marcigny, in the province of Burgundy, France. Even more romantic, it is still owned and operated by the Henry family. Jacques Henry, the current owner, is the fifth generation to run the family business.

Emile Henry uses age-old techniques to shape, glaze, and fire ceramics. More recently, the company has developed a new technology, the Flame Top, which is made of the same basic materials as the classic bakeware, but can also be used on the stovetop in addition to the oven.

Emile Henry uses local Burgundy clay as the basis for all its products. Interestingly, the Burgundy clay is the same mineral-rich material that gives Burgundy wines their characteristic flavors.

Green Emile Henry ceramic cookware. This green ramekin has a delicious tofu salad.

The Manufacturing Process.

First, Emile Henry artisans mix Burgundy clay with a few secret ingredients, then mix these dry ingredients with water to create what’s called “slip.” Next, they cast the slip into plaster molds. They use different molds for different products, but all of them are based on traditional designs that have stood up through the centuries.

After waiting 2 hours, the worker takes the piece out of the mold. Each piece is inspected and hand-finished before glazing and firing. This ensures smoothness and a perfect shape. The next step is to hand-glaze the piece by spraying it with a natural glass powder. Finally, the piece goes into a kiln, set at 2000 degrees, for a few hours. When it emerges, it is hard and durable with a smooth, vibrantly colored coating of glaze.

When the piece is finished, quality control comes in; they test the thermal shock capabilities, the heat retention, and the durability of the product to stand up to chips and cracks.

Three Emile Henry dishes on a table.

How to Care for Emile Henry ceramic cookware.

  • Unless you have an Emile Henry Flame Top product or grilling cookware, do not use on the stovetop or grill! The regular bakeware will break when exposed to a flame or cooktop.
  • You can either hand wash with soap, or use the dishwasher to clean your Emile Henry products.
  • We recommend always having a little bit of liquid or oil in the dish when roasting meat to avoid dealing with burned on food. However Emile Henry cookware is generally very easy to clean.
  • You can grease the pan when baking if you want to, but due to the smooth glaze, this isn’t strictly necessary.
  • If food does become stuck to the pan, soak it for 20 minutes with soapy water before hand washing or running it through the dishwasher.
  • The glaze may develop very tiny cracks over time, but this is not a flaw. Rather, it displays the resistance to rapid temperature change that makes ceramic cookware so great and gives personality.

 

Large selection of Emile Henry cookware on display.

Pros and Cons of  High Quality Ceramic Bakeware.

Pros;

  • It can go in the microwave and dishwasher, unlike cast iron.
  • It is lighter weight than cast iron.
  • Its smooth surface is easy to clean.
  • You can safely store your food in it, saving you time and dishes
  • It comes in vibrant colours.
  • Ceramic cookware is non toxic.
  • Checked for flaws before leaving the factory.
  • Offers a warranty (see the manufacture for details).

Emile Henry ceramic cookware. Three ramekins containing Japanese food.

Cons;

  • It’s possible for ceramics to chip over time, and it will break if dropped on the floor.
  • It’s on the pricy side.

If you would like to learn more about the benefits of ceramic cookware “click here”.

Emile Henry ceramic cookware combines quality with affordability. Although it doesn’t come in a huge amount of colour options like Le Creuset or Staub. However Emile Henry still make their ceramics in France using that fine Burgundy clay and use traditional methods for their cookware without the high price. These are great reasons to choose Emile Henry ceramic cookware.