A rondeau pan is the ideal home kitchen tool. Often called a brasier, this large, medium-depth pan resembles a shallow, wider version of a stock pot or Dutch oven.
In general, the pan is round with 2 loop handles and typically includes a lid. A rondeau pan will usually be made of enameled cast iron, copper, or stainless steel.
If you are here just looking for a braiser or rondeau pan then I recommend the enameled cast iron braiser by Le Creuset.
But I’ve spent many hours researching rondeau pans, and have 5 recommendations, all made of different materials. So, don’t hesitate to read through my review to find the best rondeau pan for you.
What are Braiser and Rondeau Pans used for?
Chefs love rondeau pans’ versatility. Firstly, the shorter handles mean they will comfortably fit in the oven, so stove to oven dishes are easier.
In fact, they even look a little like casserole dishes, and, providing they are oven-safe, you can absolutely use them this way!
Their high sides make it possible to cook all sorts of liquids, including stews, and soups. But of course, they come into their own when reducing sauces; the large cooking surface spreads up evaporation.
This means that the cooking liquid will be thicker and have an intenser flavor when using a braised.
That’s not all! The large surface area of the braised usually provides plenty of room for searing or braising a steak, pork chops, brisket, or pieces of chicken. Its low wall and wide base make flipping food much easier than in a Dutch oven.
Since rondeau pans are usually quite big, they are ideal for cooking meals for the whole family.
There isn’t really a difference between rondeaus and braisers. If anything I see stainless steel pans are more likely to be called rondeaus, and enameled cast iron pans are more likely to be labeled as braisers.
Yet this nomenclature isn’t especially relevant and I will largely use the terms interchangeably in this article.
If you want to know more, especially about the differences between a braiser and a Dutch oven, my braiser vs Dutch oven guide might be of interest! In short, there is a lot of overlap, but a Dutch oven has higher side walls.
What to look for in Rondeau Pans
Once you’ve started using a rondeau pan you will realize what an essential piece of kitchen equipment it is. But what factors should you consider when buying one?
Rondeau Pan Sizes
A large rondeau pan allows you to cook more, and maneuver food around the pan comfortably.
Yet if it’s too large, and too heavy, it can be quite cumbersome.
The limiting factor is really the size of the burner on the stove, meaning that ideally a rondeau pan should be between 8 and 12 inches in diameter.
It can be a little difficult to translate this into servings though. Generally I suggest 1 to 1.5 quarts per person. So a 4 to 6 quart braiser should be enough for a family of four.
But, of course, it depends entirely on what you are cooking!
Different materials have different heat transfer and retention properties.
For example, stainless steel has a low heat conductivity, increasing the chance of hotspots.
Aluminum, on the other hand, transfers heat well, creating an even heat distribution.
Copper also transfers heat well, and also reacts very quickly to changes in temperature, making it ideal for cooking sauces and sugars.
Cast iron, including enamel cast iron, has a high thermal capacity, and is conductive. This means a low chance of hotspots, as long as you wait for your pan to heat up.
So it depends on what you are using your rondeau pan for, and how.
Generally speaking, if you are a chef looking for professional cookware, either copper or stainless steel is likely to be the best material. On the other hand enameled cast iron is ideal for the home cook.
A tight-fitting lid is incredibly useful for those times you are cooking and want to trap as much moisture as you can.
Glass lids can help you see the food you are cooking, whereas solid lids (cast iron or stainless steel) are more durable.
Watch out for the lid’s oven-safe temperature. I often find that the cookware piece has a higher oven-safe temperature than the lid.
A braiser should come with two loop handles. These help it fit in the oven, yet let you carry the heavy pan when you need to.
It’s important these handles are sturdy and fastened securely to the pan. They will be taking a lot of load over the years and they need to last.
They should also have a comfortable grip so you can carry the heavy pan without hurting yourself.
Best Rondeau Pan – Braiser Reviews
Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Braiser (Best Overall)
This 5 quart enameled cast iron braiser is a premium product both in terms of quality and price. It’s the perfect size for a family of four.
Le Creuset is well known as a top cookware brand and makes all its cookware, including this braiser, in France.
The enamel provides an almost nonstick surface. Enough that if you cook with oil or butter, and preheat your pan, you shouldn’t have any problems.
The cast iron helps eliminate hotspots and provides long-lasting heat.
The biggest downside of this braiser is that it is expensive. Le Creuset always is. Personally, I think it’s worth it.
I would say though that this isn’t the first enameled cast iron Le Creuset product I would buy. If you’ve never owned enameled cast iron, I suggest first trying a Dutch oven (either Le Creuset or Staub would do.)
What do customers think of this braiser? Largely they are happy with its quality, durability, and performance. Remember this pan is not only stove top to oven but also oven (or stove) to table. It’s beautiful and you should feel proud to serve your meals in it.
This braiser is ideal for home cooks.
Yet there have been a small number of complaints and concerns. If you don’t preheat the pan, it can be sticky. Plus if you aren’t careful the enamel can chip or scratch, and this is an expensive product to have to throw away.
Take care when you are using it and you should be fine: Avoid metal utensils, minimize dishwasher time, and no sudden temperature changes.
If you look after it, this pan can be your kitchen workhorse. Great for frying, sautéing, simmering, pan roasting, braising and oven roasting there is little it isn’t suitable for. You could even bake a loaf of bread in it.
Since this pan is so versatile I would recommend it for most people, affordability permitting.
- High quality
- Easy to use
- Great performance–heats evenly
- Good quality
- Dishwasher safe
- Oven safe to 500 F (260 C)
- Made in France
- Sturdy, tight-fitting lid
- Risk of chipping or scratching
Mauviel Copper Rondeau Pan (Best for Professional Kitchens)
This pan by Mauviel is one of the few that is actually labeled as a rondeau. Perhaps Mauviel, as a French brand, understands the term best.
This is a true copper pan, with a copper exterior that is super-responsive to changes in heat, making this pan ideal for preparing sauces or cooking fudge.
Thanks to this, the pan performs excellently, with no hot spots.
The high, straight sides help retain the cooking liquid.
With a 5.8 quart capacity, this is a family-sized rondeau pan, though this pan is ideal for restaurant kitchens.
If used properly, there are few reports of problems. Of course if you overheat copper, for example, it will stain. This rondeau isn’t for beginners. In fact, this pan is ideal for a professional kitchen.
Since this is such a quality product, the main drawback is the cost. But if you know what you are doing and can afford it, Mauviel is an excellent choice.
- Responsive heating
- No hotspots
- Quality brand
- Oven safe to 500 F (260 C)
- Premium price
- Copper will stain if overheated
- Not dishwasher safe
If copper is a bit too much for you, but you like the quality you see with Mauviel, they do also offer a stainless steel rondeau. This has five layers of metal and is designed to provide a safe cooking surface, while avoiding hotspots.
Since it doesn’t include copper, it won’t be quite as responsive though.
Tramontina Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Braiser
This 6 quart braiser by Tramontina is fully clad tri-ply. This means that there are three layers going all around the pan.
The outside layer consists of magnetic stainless steel, making the braiser durable and induction compatible.
The middle layer is aluminum, helping create an even heat distribution.
The cooking surface is 18/10 stainless steel – safe for cooking all foods (unless you have a nickel allergy.)
This 6 quart braiser is easily enough to feed a family of four, though if you are looking for something smaller, Tramontina also offers a 3 quart version.
The high straight sides really help when it comes to simmering liquids.
This is a good quality pan at an affordable price. Owners report how sturdy it is, and that it performs well.
The main concerns that some customers report are that the pans are not always made in Brazil (sometimes they can be made in China), and that the stainless steel can stain with use.
I wouldn’t let this put me off, if you need a braiser and are comfortable cooking with stainless steel, I recommend this braiser to you.
- Oven Safe to 500 F (260 C)
- Easy to Use
- Dishwasher safe
- Sturdy handles
- Aluminum core for superior heat distribution
- Doesn’t perfectly distribute heat–slight variations
- Stainless steel can be harder to clean
Lodge Cast Iron Skillet
Though Lodge labels this pan a skillet, it’s closer to being a braiser or rondeau pan. A skillet would normally be slightly shallower and have a long handle instead of the two looping handles seen here.
Labels aside, this is an affordable alternative for those looking for a cast iron alternative to Le Creuset.
This is a very large pan, making it great for preparing large batches of food at once, though it may take more than one burner on your stove,.
Since this isn’t enameled it will need a little bit more care than Le Creuset, yet with that care it could even last longer since it doesn’t have an enamel layer that could chip.
Of course a more affordable product that should last longer means there is a catch somewhere! In this case it is simply that the Lodge, as with all bare cast iron, can be a bit of work. You need to handwash it immediately after use, keep it dry, and season it if necessary. I explain more in my cast iron guide.
The other downside is the lack of lid, to be honest that would put me off more than the extra work cast iron involves. But you can get your own lid.
Since this skillet is so large (the final “downside”) there isn’t a great choice when it comes to lids, but this 18 inch lid should do the trick.
If you are prepared to do this, then you should know that cast iron is one of the best value cookware materials around.
- Made in USA
- Oven safe to any reasonable temperature
- Large cooking surface
- Needs work to maintain
- Not dishwasher safe
- No lid supplied
- Very big
Calphalon Non-Stick All Purpose pan
Calphalon labels this an “All-Purpose Pan.” It looks like a braiser / rondeau to me, so why do that?
Well braisers/rondeaus are not normally non-stick, so it’s a slightly strange material combination.
I also suspect that Calphalon is simply trying to be clear in its labeling. Not everyone knows what a braiser or rondeau pan is. But “all-purpose pan” is not a bad description.
Although non-stick isn’t as durable as any of the other materials in this review, this is a quality pan that should last. The hard-anodized aluminum surface substantially increases durability, and the handles are stainless steel and able to take the weight of a full pan.
In theory this pan is dishwasher safe, but there are some reports of damage after users placed it in a dishwasher. I recommend hand washing only–which shouldn’t be hard with a non-stick surface.
Some customers also reported the pan warping. This is really poor, especially for a quality pan like this one. To avoid it happening to you make sure not to heat or cool the pan suddenly. Gradual temperature changes are best.
Overall this is a decent pan at an affordable price with some manageable defects. Yet I would suggest non-stick is good for a frying pan, but not so much for a rondeau pan.
If you must have non-stick for your braiser, then get this pan. Yet if you can manage with something else, like enameled cast iron for example, then that would likely be a better choice.
- Non-stick for easier cooking
- Quality pan at an affordable price
- Calphalon’s customer service is helpful
- Non-stick coating will eventually wear away
- Reports of damage if the dishwasher is used
- Pan can warp with sudden temperature changes
Best Braiser / Rondeau
The best braiser for me is the Le Creuset enameled cast iron braiser. This versatile pan is great for families and well worth the normally steep cost of owning a Le Creuset.
Yet when using cast iron, even when enameled, you need to cook in a different way. The pan takes longer to react to heat changes. I understand this isn’t for everyone!
If you want a more reactive pan, then consider the Mauviel copper rondeau pan. This is pan is also quite attractive in its own way, and has superb performance.
Finally, if you are on a budget, then perhaps the Lodge Cast Iron Skillet is for you.