This article reviews the Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast Iron Skillet.
I use my skillet practically every day, sometimes multiple times a day. So when it comes to skillets, I refuse to compromise in quality or functionality.
That’s what makes the Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast Iron Skillet so special. It’s unsurpassed in its long-lasting durability or beautiful cooking performance.
But Le Creuset is a premium brand, and their products come at a premium price. When making that type of investment, you want to make sure it’s worth it for the long run.
Is a Le Creuset skillet the right choice for your kitchen? Keep reading to learn more.
Le Creuset Skillet Review: Product Overview
Le Creuset is a top name in cast iron cookware. Established in 1925 by French artisans, this company has been perfecting cast iron pots and pans for almost a century. Le Creuset products are handcrafted in France with the best materials and high-quality pigments. I talk more about Le Creuset in my “Is Le Creuset Worth It?” guide.
This brand’s iconic enamel cookware has been a favorite among chefs and home cooks for decades.
The 11.75-inch (29.85 cm) large skillet is part of Le Creuset’s Signature series and comes in several eye-popping color options. There is also a slightly smaller but highly popular 10.25-inch (26.04 cm) version available.
Overall, this cast iron skillet’s incredible durability, even heating, and versatility make it an excellent addition to any kitchen.
Features of Le Creuset’s Enameled Cast Iron Skillet
Enameled Cast Iron Construction
The Le Creuset skillet features a durable cast iron construction. Cast iron skillets can last for a lifetime, but they require more maintenance than your average pan.
Le Creuset combines the best of cast iron skillets with all the advantages of an enamel coating. The cast iron interior means this pan holds and distributes heat effectively. Plus, it’s oven-safe up to 500°F (260°C).
The enamel exterior and cooking surface also offer several advantages.
For starters; The black enamel interior won’t react with acidic foods. Unlike raw cast iron pans, you can cook a tomato sauce in the Le Creuset Signature skillet without worrying about iron leaching into your food.
Another benefit is the wide range of beautiful colors available with an enameled coating. From their signature flame color and Cherise red to Caribbean blue and soft meringue, Le Creuset skillets are a work of art.
This Le Creuset skillet can easily go from stovetop cookware to table serving dish.
Finally, a layer of enamel means you can put this skillet in the dishwasher. I would still recommend hand washing this skillet. But it’s nice to know the dishwasher won’t automatically ruin it, like with bare cast iron.
Superior Heat Retention
A cast iron construction means unparalleled heat retention. This Le Creuset Enameled cast iron pan is no different.
Customers raved about how well this pan retains heat, making it ideal for serving and keeping food warm. So when the family is over for Thanksgiving, and you have to cook several dishes, the one in the Le Creuset will stay warm while the others finish cooking.
The only drawback to that? It is slower to heat. You can’t be in a rush when using these pans, not unless you want less than optimal results.
Excellent Heat Distribution
There are few things more frustrating than a pan with hot spots. The last thing you want is a piece of chicken that’s burned on one end and undercooked on the other.
That’s why a pan’s heat distribution is so important. This Le Creuset Signature Skillet has superior heat distribution, making it ideal for pan searing.
Customers loved the even heating of the Le Creuset skillet. They had success with a variety of dishes, including steaks and bolognese sauce, and more.
The Le Creuset skillets can handle a wide range of cooking tasks in the kitchen. In addition to being oven-safe up to 500° (260°C), Le Creuset cookware can be used on all cooktops, including induction.
And with the large size of the Le Creuset skillet, it will completely cover the burner on gas or induction stovetops. This is important to avoid damaging the exterior of the pan.
This Le Creuset skillet can seamlessly go from stovetop to oven to table, making it one of the most versatile pieces of cast iron cookware.
Watch Chef Ludo bake a skillet banana bread with Le Creuset:
Large Loop Helper Handle & Pour Spouts
The Le Creuset Signature Skillet clocks in at a whopping 7 pounds (3.18 kg), making it a hefty piece of cast iron cookware.
That kind of weight requires superb balance. The long handle on the Le Creuset cast iron skillet provides good balance, while the large loop helper handle makes it easier to lift the skillet, even while wearing oven mitts.
This helper handle is also helpful for pouring or draining dishes, which is even easier with the pouring spouts on either side—a particularly nice touch, especially for left-handers.
Of course, these handles are not heat resistant–so they won’t stay cool. Make sure to use oven mitts when handling the Signature Skillet.
One advantage of enameled cookware over raw cast iron cookware is that you can put it in the dishwasher.
The Le Creuset Signature skillet is also dishwasher-safe, although it can dull the black enamel interior. This won’t affect the pan’s performance.
Le Creuset recommends letting the cookware’s patina build to enhance flavor and browning. The enamel coating means you can soak this pan with or without soap. Just be sure to use a mild soap and non-abrasive sponge for cleaning.
Low Fat Cooking Optimized
Le Creuset’s skillet is not like non-stick pans, so you will need to use cooking fat. The good news? This frying pan requires very little oil, making it ideal for low-fat cooking.
And with the ability to go in the oven, you can also use this Le Creuset skillet to bake foods.
What to Look for in Enameled Cast Iron Skillets
Not sure about Le Creuset? Let’s take a step back and look at what things you need to be considering when buying enamel pans.
Raw cast iron is heavy. Having a good balance on the pan is essential for easy lifting. It also prevents the pan from rocking on the burner, which can scratch up your glass cooktop. Having a helper handle is also a big plus.
If that’s not enough, balance is necessary to ensure even heating. A pan that rocks to one side will get hotter in those areas.
Durable Enamel Coating
Regular cast iron skillets require seasoning, but enameled cast iron cookware does not. Yet that’s only an advantage if the enamel coating lasts. That’s why you want nothing but the best and highest-quality enamel coating.
The enamel is usually the first part of the skillet to be damaged, so you have to be careful when cleaning or using an enameled skillet.
The quality of enamel varies widely among brands, so look for a brand that has a good reputation for its manufacturing.
Also, check your pan immediately upon receiving it to make sure there was no damage during the shipping process. That type of damage should be covered by the warranty if there is one.
Superior Heat Retention
Cast iron is slower to heat than other materials, but it holds in the heat well. Any enameled cast iron pan worth its salt will have superior heat retention.
Cast iron can cook at higher temperatures, but don’t confuse that with cranking up the heat on high on the stovetop. Cast iron reaches those cooking temps by preheating and then retaining that heat.
Heat retention is one advantage cast iron has over other cookware materials like stainless steel or aluminum. This ability to retain heat makes cast iron pans ideal for serving food you want to keep warm.
Non-stick cookware makes for easy cleaning, but many nonstick pans can’t go in the oven. Even among the ones that can, they tend to have a low maximum temperature. Not so with cast iron.
Enameled cast iron cookware can handle higher oven temperatures, making it ideal for preparing stovetop-to-oven recipes.
I will never recommend putting an enameled cast iron pan in the dishwasher. There are just too many ways it can damage the pan.
However, if you absolutely need to put your pan in the dishwasher, it’s good to have a skillet that can handle it.
Again, having a tough enamel coating helps prevent any damage during the dishwashing cycle. Also, avoid letting the skillet touch metal pans or utensils during the wash cycle to avoid scratches.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a Le Creuset skillet worth the price?
The Le Creuset brand is high-end, so expect to pay significantly more for Le Creuset cookware than most other cookware brands.
Yet if you’re tired of having to replace cheaper non-stick cookware every year or two? Le Creuset is an appealing alternative.
This cast-iron skillet is worth it if you plan to use it frequently, care for it properly, and want something that can last a lifetime.
Why does everything stick to my Le Creuset skillet?
Sticking is usually the result of not letting the pan preheat sufficiently or not using enough oil.
Enameled cast iron is not non-stick, so you’ll need a little oil or butter. You can’t develop the same layer of non-stick seasoning as you would with raw cast iron pans.
It’s also important to cook at low to medium heat instead of high heat. Be sure to let your Le Creuset pan preheat gradually for a few minutes before cooking.
Are Le Creuset skillets non-stick?
These pans are not true non-stick. There was more than one Le Creuset skillet review complaining that food stuck to the pan. If you’re looking for food to slide right off like with a non-stick coating, you’ll be disappointed.
However, there are some ways to help reduce sticking and maximize food release.
As mentioned above, let your Le Creuset skillet preheat for several minutes. A cold pan is one of the best ways to make food stick to your pan.
Secondly, make sure to use a little oil or butter. You don’t need much, but a thin layer on the cooking surface will go a long way to help release food.
Finally, don’t overheat the pan. The Le Creuset Signature skillet has exceptional browning, so you don’t need high heat. An overheated pan can burn food, making it difficult to get out.
If you follow this advice, you will see a natural non-stick performance that will probably be sufficient for most dishes.
How do I season my Le Creuset skillet?
Are you ready to do a happy dance? You don’t have to season the Le Creuset Signature skillet. Because the raw cast iron surface is completely coated with enamel, it doesn’t require any additional seasoning.
How hot can the Le Creuset skillet get?
The Le Creuset skillet has incredible heat retention, so you don’t need high heat. Le Creuset recommends against preheating the pan on high to avoid overheating the pan.
You can put the Le Creuset skillet in the oven for temperatures up to 500°F (260°C). This is great for making stovetop-to-oven dishes.
What’s the difference between raw cast iron and enameled cast iron?
Bare cast iron pans can last a lifetime and can go in the oven and on all stovetops. When seasoned properly, they develop a resistance to sticking. They’re also much more affordable than enameled skillets.
Cast iron does require a little more maintenance, however. Plus, these pans are not dishwasher-safe. The dishwasher can cause the iron to rust.
Enameled cast iron is different. Unlike other cast iron skillets, enameled ones do not require seasoning. They also can go in the dishwasher, although hand washing is recommended. They are more expensive than bare cast iron, and chipped enamel is a risk.
What size skillet should I buy?
If you’re cooking for one? You can get away with the small 6.33-inch (16.09 cm) skillet. You can fit a single pork chop or a grilled sandwich in the pan without much trouble.
The 9-inch (22.86 cm) and 10.25-inch (26.04 cm) skillets are good for 1-3 people. You can easily cook a pound of hamburger or a small amount of pasta. The 10.25-inch is a popular size skillet because it’s versatile.
In my opinion? I would go for the 11.75-inch (29.85 cm). It’s large enough to feed a family, but it still fits on most stovetop burners. It’s also large enough to completely cover the burner on a gas or induction cooktop, which is necessary to avoid damaging the pan.
What Are the Alternatives?
Still not sure about Le Creuset? Let’s check on a couple of alternatives to Le Creuset. One is quite similar in quality and price, whereas the other is better for those who need a more affordable option.
STAUB is another French brand that specializes in high-quality cookware. This 12-inch (30.48 cm) STAUB skillet comes in a beautiful cherry enamel finish. There is also a 10-inch (25.4 cm) size available.
As far as quality? This one is very similar to Le Creuset. It has a black enamel cooking surface, cast iron construction, excellent heat distribution and retention, and double pouring spouts on either side.
It’s also dishwasher-safe and oven-safe up to 900°F (482°C), although I’m not sure why you’d ever need it to reach that high a temperature!
This skillet also comes in a range of beautiful colors. The biggest difference, in my opinion, is in the handles.
The STAUB skillet’s helper handle is small and solid, making it more of a challenge to manage. Le Creuset’s large, looped handle is easier to hold for lifting. For this reason, I give a slight edge in quality to Le Creuset.
Zwilling group, the manufacturers behind Staub also offer this 11 inch skillet directly:
It performs similarly to the 12 inch skillet above, thought slightly smaller. Hopefully it will be more affordable, but prices can vary so check to be sure.
Preeminent in the world of cast iron cookware is Lodge, a U.S.-based company out of Tennessee. This 11-inch (27.94 cm) enamel cast iron skillet comes in an attractive red or blue option.
This Lodge skillet has a black enamel interior and colorful enamel exterior. It has a helper handle, although it does not have pour spouts. It’s oven-safe up to 500°F (260°C) and is compatible with all cooktops, including induction.
The Lodge skillet is a more affordable option, but it does come with a difference in quality. Even though most cookware made by Lodge is manufactured in the U.S., the enameled products are made in China. Several customers had issues with the enamel chipping or flaking, and others reported an uneven cooking surface.
My recommendation? Lodge is one of the best brands for regular cast iron cookware. But if you want enameled cast iron, go with the Le Creuset Signature Skillet.
Le Creuset Skillet Review: My Recommendation
If you can handle the sticker shock, the Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Skillet is one of the best cast-iron pans on the market. Le Creuset offers unparalleled performance, durability, and beauty.
If you take proper care of it, this Le Creuset skillet should last you a lifetime.