I’ve rounded up eight of the top French cookware brands for you to explore. My favorite? Le Creuset.
French cooking is known for being some of the best in the world. Classic French cooking techniques have left a timeless impression on the culinary industry.
In the 20th century, Julia Child introduced French cuisine to American households with her book, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” French dishes were no longer relegated to fancy restaurants.
If you’d like to bring French sophistication and elegance to your table, you’ll need the right cookware to do the job.
I like Le Creuset’s timeless design and wide-ranging appeal. Enameled cast iron is lower maintenance and durable, with the potential to last a lifetime.
But really, any of these brands can take your French cooking to the next level. You just have to choose the features that mean the most to you, within your budget, of course.
Ready to get a taste of the best French cookware brands? Bon appétit!
At a Glance
All About French Cookware
The French take cooking seriously. They also take their cookware seriously. French cookware is made from the highest quality materials. From copper and stainless steel to carbon steel and enameled cast iron. French cookware is made to last.
Many of the top French cookware brands have been in business since the nineteenth century.
Ironically, two of the most widely recognized names, Staub and Le Creuset, are two of the youngest brands at almost 50 and 100 years, respectively!
French cookware will last for a lifetime if properly cared for, but it can be pricey. Build your collection carefully, paying special attention to which pieces you’ll use the most frequently.
My most commonly used pieces include two skillets, my Dutch oven, two saucepans (one large and one small), and a sauté pan. Your top pieces might vary, depending on what you cook.
You might prefer to get a cookware set instead of building with individual pieces. Whether you build your collection slowly or in one fell swoop, you’ll enjoy the craftsmanship and quality that are characteristic of French cookware.
French Cookware Reviews
Le Creuset: Best Overall
My favorite product: Round Dutch Oven
Le Creuset is probably the most famous French cookware brand in America. Le Creuset cookware can be seen in many shops around the country and boasts a large presence online.
Le Creuset (in English, the cauldron) was founded in 1925 in Fresnoy-le-Grand, France. The brand took traditional cast iron cookware, and using innovation, applied a porcelain enamel finish to it.
This enamel finish added beauty, ease of cleaning, and a non-reactive surface to the pan. The first was a fiery orange color called flame, the signature color that is still available today.
All of Le Creuset’s pots and pans are still manufactured in France. Although the brand has expanded its product line to include stainless steel and hard-anodized aluminum, Le Creuset is still best known for its enameled cast iron cookware. In fact, I found Le Creuset to be the best brand for enameled cast iron cookware.
Le Creuset’s iconic piece is the Le Creuset Signature Dutch Oven. This Dutch oven makes cooking food a joy. It comes in a host of gorgeous colors, and it offers unsurpassed cooking performance.
If you like the thought of an entire cookware set, there’s also this Le Creuset 5-Piece Set, which includes a Dutch oven, skillet with double pouring spouts, and saucepan.
Can you find other, less expensive brands of enameled cast iron cookware? Yes. Do they have the same durability and quality? Not even close. A Le Creuset Dutch oven really can last for generations.
So how to make the most of your Le Creuset pots and pans? First, avoid using the highest heat setting on the stove.
If you want a hotter pan for searing meat, for instance, set the pan to medium heat and let it warm up gradually.
This cookware is metal utensil-safe, but I recommend plastic or silicone cooking tools.
I also recommend hand washing, even though Le Creuset’s enamel holds up better than other brands in the dishwasher. The good news is that the food release makes it easy to clean your Le Creuset pieces.
Check out my complete review of Le Creuset to find more information on individual products.
- Wide range of color choices
- Durable porcelain enamel
- Excellent heat retention
- Wide, looped handles for easy lifting
- Great for stovetop-to-oven cooking
- Easy to clean
- Slower to heat
Staub: Best for Slow Cooking
My favorite product: 5.5-Quart Round Cocotte
Staub is another famous French cookware brand. Staub was founded in 1974 in Alsace, France. Even though Staub is now owned by Zwilling J.A. Henckels, this quality cookware is still manufactured in France.
Staub’s timeless design and excellent performance make the brand popular among home cooks.
Staub cookware is cast iron with a porcelain enamel coating. Like Le Creuset, Staub uses a mold to make each piece of cookware. These pots and pans are available in several beautiful colors, as well.
Even though their offerings are similar, there are a few key differences between Le Creuset and Staub. First, Staub features a dark interior enamel, as opposed to Le Creuset’s sand-colored interior.
Avoid using metal utensils on your Staub cookware. It could chip or damage the interior.
Secondly, Staub cocottes (Dutch ovens) come with a self-basting lid. The spikes on the lid help collect and recirculate moisture, making these pots and pans excellent for slow cooking. Le Creuset does not have this feature.
Lastly, Staub is generally more affordable than Le Creuset (albeit still pricey).
I give Le Creuset a very slight edge in the quality of the enamel, but Staub is an excellent choice for your home kitchen. It really boils down to personal preference.
Read more about Staub vs. Le Creuset in this comparison review.
- Self-basting lid
- Several beautiful color choices
- Retains heat and moisture beautifully
- Oven-safe to 900°F (480°C)
- Enamel might chip
Mauviel Copper Cookware: Best Splurge
My favorite product: Copper Saucier
If you want copper cookware, look no further. Mauviel was founded in 1830 in a village named Villedieu-les-Poêles, known as “the city of copper” in the Normandy region of France. Mauviel is popular among professional chefs for its performance.
The Mauviel Saucier, also called a splayed sauté pan, is one of the best kitchen tools for delicate sauces and caramel. If you can splurge on an entire set, the Mauviel M’200B Cookware Set includes 12 pieces.
Traditionally, copper cookware featured a tin lining. Tin has a smooth surface that releases food and heats rapidly.
However, a tin lining would wear out quickly, which required owners to get their cookware re-tinned.
Re-tinning is inconvenient, and it’s difficult to find craftsmen who can do it. Mauviel is one of the few places left in Europe that does re-tinning.
To solve this problem, Mauviel started adding a stainless steel lining to its copper cookware.
While stainless steel is not as conductive as tin, the lining is only 10% of the pan’s thickness, so the copper still shines in the heating process.
The thicker the copper, the better the heating performance. Mauviel makes it easy for you to see the thickness of the copper since it’s in the name. For example, the M’Heritage M’250 line has 2.5 mm of copper.
Like with all copper cookware, the prices can be prohibitive. Mauviel is not a casual buy; it’s an investment in terms of time and money.
I only recommend Mauviel for those who are serious about copper cookware (or who have no budget).
- Gorgeous copper cookware
- Unmatched heat control
- Durable stainless steel lining
- Safe for oven use
- Good balance
- Quite expensive
Emile Henry: Best for Baking
My favorite product: Large Rectangular Baker
Emile Henry bakeware has been manufactured in the Burgundy region of France since 1850. This area is known for its wine, which is made from grapes grown in the rich limestone soil.
The region’s clay is used to create Emile Henry’s signature ceramic cookware and bakeware. The brand also makes tableware and pizza stones.
Some of the more popular items include the large rectangular baker, the classic stewpot, the ruffled pie dish, and the bread cloche. I like the large rectangular baker for casseroles, lasagna, and desserts.
Ceramic is an excellent choice for cookware and bakeware for several reasons. First, it’s non-toxic. It’s safe to use even at the highest temperatures.
Ceramic is also versatile. It can go in the microwave, oven, dishwasher, microwave, or freezer.
Finally, it’s lighter than cast iron, making it great for those who have trouble lifting a heavy pot.
The only drawback? Ceramic is notorious for chipping and cracking. So while you can find plenty of ceramic pans on the market, they might not last very long if they aren’t good quality. And many of them aren’t.
Emile Henry products are different. The company uses high-quality Burgundy clay to make its pans, and it vigorously tests all products for thermal shock capabilities, heat retention, and resistance to chips and cracks.
And a nice bonus? Emile Henry pans come in a selection of beautiful colors, including the signature burgundy color. Of course!
- Several color choices
- High-quality bakeware
- Dishwasher-safe, freezer-safe
- Can handle high temperatures
- Will crack if dropped
Cristel Cookware: Best for Easy Storage
My favorite product: Covered Sauté Pan
Cristel cookware was established in 1826 in Burgundy, France. This brand is known for its high-end tri-ply and 5-ply cookware with stainless steel and aluminum layers.
Some Cristel cookware is fully-clad, meaning the layers extend through the walls of the cookware. But other pieces only have bonded layers in the base of the cookware.
You’re probably familiar with All-Clad or Demeyere, but Cristel’s calling card is that most pieces include removable handles. This makes it easy to nest the cookware and load it in the dishwasher, as well.
The manufacturer designed a simple snap-on system that locks the handles in place while you use each pot or pan. When you’re done cooking, you can pop them off to make it easier to nest your cookware. Add the handle back on to carry the pan to the table as a serving dish.
Another benefit is versatility. The handles are interchangeable, so you can use a long handle to maneuver a pot on the stove or a shorter handle to lift and control a frying pan.
The Cristel Strate 13-Piece Set includes two covered saucepans, a sauté pan with lid, a covered stockpot, and an open frying pan. The flat lids make it easy to store these in the cabinet.
If I had to choose a single piece, I’d go with the covered sauté pan. I cook with my sauté pan every day, so it’s a piece that will get a lot of use over the course of its lifetime.
Speaking of which, Cristel is built to last. That’s a good thing, too, because they’re on the expensive side.
- Tri-ply base for even, fast heating
- Removable handles
- Flat lids for easy storage
- Oven-safe to 450°F (230°C)
- Some pieces aren’t fully-clad
De Buyer: Best for Stovetop Cooking
My favorite product: Carbon Steel Fry Pan
De Buyer is a family-owned business that’s been making premium cookware in Val-d’Ajol, France since 1830. Its carbon steel pans are among the most popular items, along with kitchen gadgets.
My top piece for De Buyer is this carbon steel pan. It landed at the top of my review of the best carbon steel pans. It’s perfect for searing meat, sautéing vegetables, reheating leftovers, or cooking eggs.
Carbon steel is lighter than cast iron and more conductive than stainless steel, making it highly effective on the stovetop. Carbon steel is super durable and can withstand high heat.
You will need to season your De Buyer pan and wash it by hand. De Buyer is not for the low-maintenance home cook.
If you like to use your cookware in the oven, De Buyer might not be your best bet. This pan is designed for only flash cooking (10 minutes or lesss) in the oven up to 400°F (205°C).
But if you’re willing to put in the time and effort for a long-lasting pan, you’ll be pleased with De Buyer’s offerings.
- Responsive heating
- Super durable
- Great for the stovetop
- Releases food easily (after seasoning)
- Lighter than cast iron
- Higher maintenance
Gobel: Best for Baking
My favorite product: Non-Stick Tart Pan
Gobel baking molds have been a staple in professional and home kitchens for well over a century. This baking brand was established by Etienne Gobel in Paris in 1887, and it’s been making molds for over five generations.
Each of Gobel’s tart pans features a removable bottom for easy serving. It also helps protect the sides from cuts or scratches from knives or cake servers.
These pans are oven-safe and lightweight for easy use. The tinned steel pieces have good food release, but if you’re making a frittata, I would recommend using the non-stick version.
Unlike many French cookware and bakeware brands, Gobel products are firmly in the affordable price range.
- Ideal for baking
- Removable bottoms
- Hand wash only
- Not as durable
Matfer Bourgeat: Best for the Professional Kitchen
My favorite product: Carbon Steel Fry Pan
Last but not least is Matfer Bourgeat. This family-owned company got its start in the culinary industry 200 years ago. Matfer Bourgeat still manufactures its products in France, but it has had a presence in the U.S. for 30 years.
This company specializes in cookware and kitchen gadgets for restaurants, bakeries, and professional chefs. It’s not as widely known among home cooks.
Matfer Bourgeat makes tons of cookware in all sorts of materials, from stainless steel, non-stick, and copper, to carbon steel and cast iron. They also make baking and pastry tools.
This particular black carbon steel pan has even heating and excellent temperature control. The steel handle is welded to the body, so you don’t have to clean food residue off rivets. Yay!
It can withstand high heat and allows you to cook a variety of foods, from eggs to sautéed vegetables to meat. You should season it with oil to get the best results, however.
The price of Matfer Bourgeat products ranges according to the materials used. The copper pans are significantly more expensive than the non-stick pans, for example.
- Wide range of cookware
- Made in France
- Also makes pastry tools & gadgets
- High-quality, durable
- Geared toward professionals
The Best French Cookware Brands: Conclusion
You can’t go wrong with any of these French cookware brands. They’re some of the best in the industry.
But my top recommendation is Le Creuset. It’s a luxury brand that’s practical enough for home cooks. It’s also highly versatile, suited for cooking everything from scrambled eggs to coq au vin.