Staub and Le Creuset are your top two picks when it comes to enameled cast-iron Dutch ovens. Both are excellent French brands that put a lot of thought into their craftsmanship and have considered all the tiny details that make up good-quality cookware.
In this Staub vs Le Creuset comparison, you’ll find out which one is the better Dutch oven brand, at least for your needs.
Staub vs Le Creuset Dutch Oven Comparison
For the Le Creuset and Staub comparison, we’ll look at some of their best and not-so-good qualities after getting to know the two excellent Dutch oven brands.
Le Creuset is a premium French cookware brand that started in 1925. Le Creuset specializes in the manufacture of colorful cookware—specifically enameled cast-iron cookware.
Their artisans do an amazing job of offering a wide range of vibrant, rich, iconic shades and finishes on Le Creuset Dutch ovens. Their distinct and unique color palette made them one of the most successful cookware brands on the market. Many people were instantly drawn to Le Creuset enameled cast-iron since they can upgrade their cooking equipment and have an outlet for self-expression.
Le Creuset is the ideal brand if you are crazy about colors and you wish to own a larger capacity Dutch oven that’s relatively still lightweight.
- Attractive range of colors
- Wide size selection
- Light-colored interior makes visual checking of food easy
- The handles are comfortable to hold due to their size.
- Lightweight, easy to carry
- Lifetime warranty is unbeatable
- The lid is not as effective in moisture retention as that of Staub’s
- Plastic knobs on the lids are sensitive to heat
- The white interior doesn’t hide scratches and tough stains well
Staub cookware is of excellent quality, being handmade in France and being a member of the Zwilling Group. The company makes enamel-covered cast-iron with notably the heaviest, most tight-fitting lids we’ve ever seen on a Dutch oven, lined with a dark matte enamel interior. Staub’s lid design has drawn many people in due to the effective way it returns condensation and all the good stuff (juices) inside of the Dutch oven instead of letting them escape.
Staub is the brand you can count on if you’re looking for smaller to medium sizes of Dutch ovens. Staub’s cocottes can come in delightful, interesting shapes, too, as you can see with their Tomato, Artichoke, Cherry, and Pumpkin cocottes. You can also choose to get their animal knobs if you want to get something even more playful!
- Priced cheaper than Le Creuset (although it’s still an expensive price point)
- Deep, rich colors
- Lots of whimsical and fun shapes
- Commendable quality control
- Self-basting, tight-fitting lid design
- Nonstick, textured interior that gets better at browning with time
- Metal knobs can withstand high temperatures
- Outstanding lifetime warranty
- Smaller handles
- Limited color choices
- Slightly more difficult to clean
Enamel is the tough coating put into Dutch ovens’ cooking surface to protect from scratches and other wear and tear. Enameled Dutch ovens should last a lifetime.
Le Creuset Dutch ovens are carefully enameled after smoothed by hand. Le Creuset has got one of the best enamels you can find on a Dutch oven. The brand uses a smooth, white enamel on their Dutch ovens’ interiors, which lets you effortlessly monitor your food’s browning progress. The top enamel is super smooth, making it easy to keep clean.
In contrast, Staub Dutch ovens have dark matte interior concealing signs of wear and tear extremely well. Unlike Le Creuset’s smooth enamel, it’s textured, so you can expect a natural nonstick, well-seasoned surface to develop over time that almost resembles bare cast-iron. This happens because the longer you use your Staub Dutch oven, the more fat permeates the matte enamel surface. This surface is ideal for tastier dishes!
Le Creuset offers a distinctive, fun color selection that’s constantly updating. That’s the reason why their product lines are a huge hit! You will find lots of cute and bold colors such as Cerise, Marseille, Sea Salt, Coastal Blue, Cassis, and Flame. You can even see that Le Creuset put up a color-matching guide on their website to help you mix and match colors if you decide to get other cookware. Because of that, it’s more colorful than Staub. It’s even been referred to as the “Louis Vuitton” of cookware.
As mentioned earlier, the Le Creuset Dutch ovens’ white enameled interior makes it easier to eyeball your cooking progress.
As for Staub’s color choices, it’s leaning more towards rich, deep, earthy tones—the complete opposite of Le Creuset’s. You can see that you get more limited choices, which is disappointing since it’s fairly easy to paint Dutch ovens in different colors. It’s also harder to check your food cooking progress with Staub’s black matte interior.
First, let’s see their pros: Le Creuset’s got wide, round, roomy handles, meaning it’s quite easy to carry, especially when wearing oven mitts.
Le Creuset handles on the lid are plastic, which is an obvious con, but it seems like Staub’s handles have a downside too: they feel too small and cramped, certainly not as roomy as Le Creuset’s. But Staub’s handles are metal, meaning you can expose them to high heat.
Both brands produce pretty heavy Dutch ovens, as you’d expect from cast-iron material. Le Creuset Dutch ovens, however, are slightly lighter than similarly-sized Staub Dutch ovens. In fact, on the market, you’ll find that Le Creuset cast-iron has the lightest weight per quart.
A heavier Dutch oven has an advantage, and that lies in the heat regulation. Staub beats Le Creuset in this regard.
Shape and size options
Like its vast color options, Le Creuset Dutch ovens come in plenty of shapes and sizes. You won’t be disappointed with the incredible array of sizes; you’ll be sure to pick the perfect size for your everyday cooking needs!
Le Creuset uses letters to assign sizes to their Dutch ovens, with A having a smaller size than B, and so on.
Le Creuset’s smallest-sized Dutch oven, the Cast Iron Mini Cocotte, has a 1/3 quart capacity. Their biggest model is the Oval Dutch Oven, which holds 15 1/2 quarts. And their bestselling size is the 5 1/2 quart Round Dutch Oven and 6 3/4 quart Oval Dutch Oven, both of which many users find to be the sweet spot for their everyday cooking needs. They will also be quite easy to carry around because of their weight.
Staub cocottes come in many shapes and sizes. You will not only enjoy the taste of your delicious meal served from their premium quality cast-iron cocottes, you’ll also be enamored by the sight of one of these quirky objects on your table:
Staub’s sizing system for their cocottes is completely different from Le Creuset (or other Dutch oven brands). Instead of measuring in quarts, Staub measures the Dutch oven’s diameter and uses that to compare sizes.
Staub’s smaller round cocotte’s diameters can be 16 cm, 20 cm, up to 28 cm. With these sizes, you get about 1 to 6 quarts capacity (with their 16 cm model having a 1-quart capacity). Their oval cocotte sizes range from 15 cm to 41 cm, and these can hold anywhere from 0.5 quarts to 10.5 quarts.
Staub Braiser sizes are 24 cm and 28 cm, and these larger Dutch ovens can hold 2.1 and 3.25 quarts, respectively.
Staub does offer a mini size (their smallest), which weighs 2.9 lbs. Its capacity is 0.42 quarts.
Lids and moisture retention
When it comes to moisture retention, a dutch oven’s lid is a very crucial factor. It should have a proper fit and be fairly heavy to avoid wasting heat and moisture while cooking.
Staub has a very tight-fitting lid. The lid’s interior has nubs, which forces condensation to collect and go back down. At first glance, this seems like an advantage since you know it has excellent moisture retention.
But Staub’s excessively tight-fitting lid is a kind of bad news if you’re aiming for concentrated flavors. Because of the cover, we found that we needed to decrease the amount of cooking liquids or else the taste will be bland and the texture watery.
If you don’t want to do that, you could simply leave a tiny gap between the lid and the body to let out some steam. Regardless of your decision, you can’t deny that Staub perfected the lid’s design since it has the tightest-fitting lid we’ve ever encountered on a Dutch oven.
On the other hand, Le Creuset has a well-fitting lid, too, but it’s not as extremely tight as Staub’s. We can see that it still releases some steam. If you find your recipe with significantly reduced moisture content, you will have to baste your food again.
Meanwhile, the black phenolic knob on Le Creuset’s lid is oven safe for up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. These knobs aren’t metal; these are made partially of plastic material. However, you can spend extra to buy a separate metal knob if you need to cook at higher temperatures. Overall, the Le Creuset lid’s classic design not bad, but it’s unremarkable.
Storage, ease of use, and maintenance
One of Le Creuset’s winning qualities is its ease of maintenance, and part of that is due to its outstanding design. Le Creuset products come in various bright colors (such as Volcano Orange). Because of that, it will be very easy to see if you missed a spot when cleaning one of their Dutch ovens. Furthermore, the interior is white, meaning you can easily see leftover food marks that you should clean immediately. As a result, you’re guaranteed to preserve your Le Creuset Dutch oven’s pristine look after every cook.
In contrast, Staub models come in more muted colors, and these have a dark, matte black interior. Staub Dutch ovens are advertised as stain-resistant, too. However, that means you will have a hard time keeping track of the browning process. It will also make cleanup a little more challenging since against a black background; you have to look carefully for leftover food bits while washing it.
Staub’s tight-fitting lid is also more difficult to clean thoroughly due to the spikes under the lid that keep it locked securely. Most importantly, it would be best if you didn’t put Staub Dutch ovens in the dishwasher since the harsh chemicals might destroy its fragile interior.
Final Verdict: Which Should You Buy?
In the end, which brand should you get your enameled cast-iron cookware from?
Staub is the way to go if you want their special, tight-fitting lids for moisture retention. When you get a Staub, you’ll love the dark interior that develops nonstick abilities (seasoning) over time. This brand is also great if you wish to stay away from Le Creuset’s plastic knobs (Staub only makes metal ones) that are oven-safe for only up to a certain temperature.
On the other hand, you’d get a Le Creuset Dutch oven because of the amazing color selection, the light interior (and weight), and the roomier, more comfortable handles.
These defining features might not seem like a big deal; but added up, you will either get an amazing cooking experience or a very disappointing one.
Overall, both premium French brands are quite similarly priced (still expensive) and have excellent cooking performance that makes a big difference to your everyday cooking!