Staub vs Le Creuset (2021 Guide): Cocotte vs Dutch Oven

| | , , ,

Just so you know: Clan Kitchen is reader supported. When you buy through links on this site, we may earn a commission.

I love nothing more than cookware that you can use serve with as well as cook with. Stovetop to dining table is convenient and stylish, yet it only works with attractive, robust cookware, like a well-designed, enameled Dutch Oven.

So, do you fancy a nice, high-quality Dutch oven, yet find yourself wondering Staub or Le Creuset? 

Both are made in France, and are expensive and attractive Dutch ovens. (OK, Staub claims its pot is a cocotte – yet it’s the same thing – more on that below.)

Both are recognized among the top Dutch oven brands.

Yet are the two brands worth the added cost or should you go for something else? And which one is better?

SPOILER ALERT: if you don’t want to read the whole Staub vs Le Creuset article and just want a recommendation: I would choose Le Creuset because of it simply has the best quality.

Read on to find out why I’m such a fan of Le Creuset.

Things to consider before buying an Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Before wading into the Staub vs Le Creuset debate in detail, let’s just understand Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Ovens.

Cocotte vs Dutch Oven

Staub calls their pot a “cocotte”, Le Creuset calls theirs a Dutch oven.  What’s the difference between a cocotte and a Dutch oven?

Nothing!  A cocotte is the same as a Dutch oven.  You can take cocotte as the French word for Dutch oven.  

OK, “four hollandaise” is literally the French word for Dutch oven, but the words have merged in modern times.

While they have slightly different histories, these days, it’s the same idea:  A large pot, often of enameled cast iron, that can be used as an oven when heated.

I sometimes see that some manufacturers call their smaller Dutch ovens  “cocottes” – but that’s just a matter of convenience.  Cocottes can be just as big as Dutch Ovens.

Sometimes manufacturers also differentiate on shape – but you can ignore that.  Both a cocotte and a Dutch oven are round, sometimes circular, other times with an oval shape. (An oval-shaped Dutch oven is useful if cooking a bird.)

Both Dutch ovens and cocottes are great at browning, baking, roasting, deep-frying, or broiling.

Of course, most manufacturers use the term “Dutch oven” as it’s easily recognizable.  On the other hand, “cocotte” sounds a bit fancier and can be used to differentiate a product.

Porcelain Enamel Coating

Cast Iron is one of those magical materials.  It’s very cheap, yet it can last forever.  It’s pretty efficient at heating, and its high heat retention gives you more options when cooking.

When well seasoned, it’s naturally non-stick.

A Lodge “bare” cast iron Dutch oven (not reviewed)

So why isn’t all cookware made of cast iron?  Well, to cut a long story short, it could rust if you don’t look after it. So it’s a bit more hassle.  Plus, well, it’s not quite as non-stick as Teflon.

This is the advantage of an enamel coating: It “protects” the cast iron layer underneath.  So you get the superb heating efficiency of cast iron, without needing as much care.

Even better, enameled coatings comes in a range of beautiful colors.  It’s one of the few cookware dishes you’d be equally comfortable using for both cooking and serving.

Now, the biggest issue with the porcelain enamel coating is the risk of chipping.  There simply isn’t a way of repairing it if that happens.  Sure, a few chips aren’t the end of the world, but at some point, you will need to throw the pot away.  It isn’t “fixable” in the way bare cast iron is.

So you mustn’t compromise on quality with an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven.  If you are going to get one, get a quality product where you expect the coating to last.

Honestly, if you want a cheap Dutch oven, don’t get an enameled cast iron one – just get a stainless steel stockpot and be done!

Size

You need to think about what you want from a Dutch oven, and how many people you are cooking for.

If you are using it for baking bread, I suggest 3 quarts for every pound (450 grams) of bread.

For most other uses, I’d suggest 1 to 1.5 quarts ( 0.9 – 1.4 liters) per person.

So, 5 – 7 quarts (4.7 – 6.6 liters) is usually a decent-sized Dutch oven that lets you cook for a family of around 3 – 6 people. 

Both the Staub and Le Creuset Dutch ovens reviewed here are 5.5 quarts.

Knobs

Knobs can be the weak point of a good enameled cast iron cookware. You normally get either plastic or stainless steel knobs.

(Actually I’m not sure if its plastic, but it has a plasticky look and feel to it.)

Plastic knobs tend to blend in with the enamel better, but are usually not oven safe to as a high a temperature.

Worse, they break easily. Even the quality ones.

Image of cracked plastic handle / knob on enameled cast iron lid

I would strongly recommend stainless steel knobs, which are oven-safe to higher temperatures and more durable. For Staub I’ve only seen stainless steel knobs. Le Creuset Dutch ovens come with either (depending on color option.) Make sure you get one with a stainless steel knob.

Who should buy an enameled cast iron Dutch oven?

Enameled Dutch ovens are best suited to those who want to cook tasty, healthy food as smoothly as possible.  

If all you are doing is reheating dinners – get a microwave!

If you enjoy the idea of spending time looking after your Dutch oven – consider a cast-iron Dutch oven.

On the other hand, if you want:

  • A healthy cooking surface
  • Easy to use and manage cookware
  • Long-lasting pots
  • The benefits of cast iron without the hassle

Then an enameled cast iron Dutch Oven is ideal for you.

Are enameled Dutch ovens safe?

If they are from a reputable manufacturer – then yes, enameled cast-iron Dutch ovens are safe. To be clear; Staub and Le Creuset are both highly reputable, premium, manufacturers!

The enamel is a hard surface that doesn’t leach toxins – as long as you are using a high-quality product.

I’d never recommend cheap knockoff imports for any cookware.  Get a quality product to make sure it’s safe.

Le Creuset Signature 5.5 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven Review

Le Creuset makes its Dutch ovens in France to an exacting standard.  These high-quality pots are designed for you to pass on to the next generation.

For me, the 5.5 Quart (5.2 liter) Le Creuset Dutch oven (reviewed) is just the right size for my family of four.  If I have guests, I will cook more than one dish – so the 5.5 quart still works.

On the other hand, if you have a bigger family or just want more capacity, then consider the 7.5 quart (7.1 liter) Le Creuset Dutch Oven.  It’s great for 5-7 people.

The Le Creuset Dutch oven is so easy to use as well.  It’s are naturally non-stick and dishwasher safe, so clean up is a cinch.

I love the selection of colors offered by Le Creuset, including a color that matches my kitchen (a similar design to this website).

Some customers report it cracking with extreme temperature changes.  Using a Le Creuset Dutch oven on the stove, I would suggest not going straight to a high heat but warming up first on a low then medium heat.  This advice isn’t specific for Le Creuset; it applies to any enameled cast iron cookware.

It’s tempting to go straight to “pre-warm” on the high heat because it takes so long to warm up.  Yet repeated extreme temperature changes void the warranty and risk the enamel cracking.

Also, keep it below the oven-safe temperature of 260°C (500°F).  Honestly, I never go that high anyway!

I love the sandy white interior of the Le Creuset Dutch oven.  It makes it ideal for serving food in – saving on dishes and time!

It can be a bit more effort to get the white interiors looking spotless – if you find this is the case, consider buying a special cleaner. Or, consider Staub below, which has a dark interior.

However I have to say that my Le Creuset Dutch oven interior has remained white even after heavy use. If anything, the rim has burred very slightly, but that’s not very noticeable.

Burred rim on enameled cast iron
Le Creuset Dutch oven with some marks on rim and outside (after heavy use), but a pretty spotless interior.

This Dutch oven is a quality pot.  As with any product, you need to treat it right, but it will be such a piece of cake to use if you do.  (As well as baking you many cakes!)

A lot of effort goes into making a Le Creuset Dutch oven, as you can see in this video:

If you are a patient person who wants a high-quality Dutch oven that lasts then I would recommend this Le Creuset cast iron pot to you.

Pros:

  • Made in France
  • Superb quality
  • Beautiful enamel
  • Efficient & even heating
  • Holds the heat well
  • Attractive range of colors
  • Easy to clean
  • Naturally safe non-stick
  • Tight-fitting lids stop food drying out
  • Dishwasher safe – in theory
  • Metal Utensil Safe
  • Oven safe to 260°C (500°F)
  • Light for cast iron
  • Le Creuset is the top enamel Dutch oven brand

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Reports of cracking with extreme temperature changes
  • Takes time to warm up
  • Heavy – as with all enameled cast iron
  • Light interior can be harder to clean

If you like Le Creuset cookware, then bear in mind they also offer other great enameled cast iron cookware, such as skillets.

Staub Cast Iron 5.5 Quart Round Cocotte Review

Another high quality French Dutch oven cocotte, this time from Staub, the main Le Creuset competitor.

There’s no doubt that Staub has done a fantastic job here, and there’s a lot to love about this beautiful cocotte.

At 5.5 quarts (5.2 liters), this Staub Dutch oven is the same size as Le Creuset – i.e. family-sized.

It is available in a range of colors and ticks all the boxes in terms of non-stick, being dishwasher safe, and oven safe.

Without the lid, the Staub Dutch oven is actually oven safe to an incredible  480°C (900°F).  It’s a more standard (but still useful) 260°C (500°F) with the lid.

Speaking of the lid.

The lid is well designed with little pointy bumps dotted about the surface.  These help water condense and fall back into the food – trapping the moisture inside.  Staub calls this a “rainforest effect”…

Yet Staub may have been slightly too clever here as those little bumps do make the lid a bit harder to clean! What’s more Le Creuset lids don’t have this feature and it’s never been a problem for me.

The matte black interior is actually enamel (not bare cast iron).  I don’t think it looks quite as nice as the Le Creuset white interior.  Yet, on the other hand, it’s a bit easier to clean as it doesn’t show stains. (Just make sure you have cleaned it).

Overall this is a fantastic Dutch oven at a slightly more affordable price than Le Creuset.  Make sure to register the warranty, though, as there are occasional reports of cracks or the coating flaking.

Pros:

  • Made in France
  • Good quality
  • Versatile
  • Attractive enamel with a range of colors
  • Cleverly designed lid helps trap moisture
  • Even & efficient heating
  • Conducts heat well
  • Non-stick and easy to clean
  • Dishwasher safe – but not recommended
  • Oven safe to 260°C (500°F) with lid,  480°C (900°F) without lid
  • Reports Staub do honor warranty – make sure to register
  • More affordable than Le Creuset

Cons:

  • Still Pricey
  • Bumps in the lid make it harder to clean
  • Lid doesn’t seal as well as Le Creuset
  • Reports of cracking
  • Dark interior isn’t as attractive

Le Creuset vs Staub: What’s The difference?

Let’s be clear: both Staub and Le Creuset make beautiful, high-quality, enameled Dutch ovens.  They will last you decades, or longer if treated right.

And yet.

I feel Le Creuset’s Dutch oven is just a bit higher quality than Staub’s cocotte.  The Le Creuset is a bit easier to clean and less prone to chipping.

At the time of writing, Le Creuset is significantly more expensive than Staub.

So maybe they are equal on a value basis.  Staub, while still an expensive top quality product, is just slightly more affordable but not quite as good as Le Creuset.

There are also some smaller differences worth noting

  • As reviewed, the Le Creuset Dutch oven has a smooth white “sandy” interior, yet Staub has a matte black dark interior
  • Staub traps moisture through bumps on the inside of the lid, Le Creuset through a tight-fitting lid.

I feel that they are more alike than they are different, though. 

Staub vs Le Creuset: Commonalities

enameled cast iron lid made in France
  • Made in France
  • 5.5 Quarts – family-sized pot
  • Dishwasher safe – but only in theory, I wouldn’t use the dishwasher!
  • Oven safe to a high temperature
  • Available in attractive colors
  • Possible to crack / chip if subjected to extreme temperature changes or dropped
  • Good at retaining moisture
  • Efficient heat conductors

The thing I like about both products is where they are made.  Sometimes you see other products advertised as American or European, and it turns out they are made in China.  Where is Staub made?  What about Le Creuset?

Both Staub and Le Creuset Dutch ovens are made in France.  That doesn’t, on its own, automatically make them high quality.  Yet I think, by now, you will have realized that the manufacturers have focused on quality.

What else is out there?

If you aren’t convinced by neither Staub nor Le Creuset Dutch ovens, and want an alternative, here are a couple of more affordable choices:

Lodge enameled cast iron Dutch oven

Lodge is a well known US cast iron cookware manufacturer.  If you live in the US you may prefer American Made to French-made, but are Lodge products American made?

I think some are, yet Lodge’s enamel cookware is made in China.  Lodge is a reputable manufacturer, so there’s nothing wrong with made in China, but it’s not the same as made in France!

This is a nice enameled pot that, like Staub and Le Creuset Dutch ovens, comes in a beautiful range of colors.

At 6 quarts (5.7 liters), it’s slightly bigger than Staub or Le Creuset but still family-sized.

Lodge makes excellent cookware, but their enameled cast iron is on the “budget” side in terms of quality and price.

Sure, if you can’t afford to buy the absolute best Dutch oven (i.e. Le Creuset or Staub), this could be the right choice.  Yet what would rather -to save some money in the short term or to have a pot you can pass on to your children?

Pros:

  • Nice selection of colors
  • Affordable for enameled cast iron
  • Oven safe to 260°C (500°F) with lid

Cons:

  • Famous American Manufacturer but made in China…
  • Enamel chips too easily
  • Exposed cast iron rim prone to rust 
  • Lid doesn’t seal well over pot

Lodge vs Le Creuset and Staub

Lodge is an ok and definitely more affordable brand. Yet it is made in China not France, and it simply won’t last as long. What’s more the cooking performance just isn’t as good.

Tramontina Dutch Oven

Tramontina, similar to Lodge, is another budget choice.

Funnily enough, Tramontina is a well known, high-quality Brazilian manufacturer.  Yet these Dutch ovens are made in China!  Another thing in common with the Lodge, but not Le Creuset nor Staub Dutch ovens.

It is available in a great selection of colors and is certainly an attractive choice.  In a way, it’s an excellent way of getting the “enameled cookware” wow factor on a budget.  Serve your guests soup in this, and they will fall off their chairs.

But it won’t last; this pot is more challenging to clean than Le Creuset and Staub and not as durable.

It’s a nice pot, and if you really want an enameled cast iron Dutch oven but can’t afford something better – sure.  Go for it.

The risk is you fall in love with having one and need to buy a replacement after a few years, as the Tramontina wears away.

I’ve reviewed the Tramontina Dutch oven in more depth, if you are interested.

Pros:

  • Nice selection of colors
  • Condensation ridges on lid to capture moisture – similar to Staub
  • Affordable for enameled cast iron
  • Oven safe to 232°C (450°F) with lid

Cons:

  • Reports of not responding to warranty claims
  • Food prone to sticking – hard to clean
  • Customers complain enamel wears off the pot – and into their food
  • Prone to chipping

Tramontina vs Le Creuset and Staub

Tramontina is a decent brand with a “simpler” look than either Le Creuset and Staub Dutch ovens. Yet Tramontina’s Dutch oven is harder to use and wears away quickly.

Tramontina is a Brazilian brand but chose to make its Dutch oven in China. A shame, since Le Creuset and Staub Dutch ovens are both made in France.

FAQs

Why is Le Creuset so expensive?

Le Creuset is a premium quality brand. A Le Creuset Dutch oven is expensive for cookware, but not so expensive when compared with other luxury items.

Le Creuset Dutch ovens are made in France to exacting standards, which has cost implications. Yet Staub also make their Dutch ovens in France to high standards and, whilst not cheap, are normally more affordable than Le Creuset.

Is Staub French or German?

Staub is a French brand which makes their cookware in France.

Staub originated in the Alsace region of France, which was once part of Germany. However, the Alsace region belonged to France when Staub was created, and Staub has always been a French company.

Can I use metal utensils with Le Creuset or Staub?

I would recommend not using metal utensils with a Le Creuset or Staub Dutch oven There is a risk you will scratch the enamel coating. This is especially noticeable with Le Creuset Dutch ovens as Le Creuset interiors are so lightly colored.

The Best Dutch Oven: Staub or Le Creuset?

Staub vs Le Creuset

So these are both beautiful cast iron enameled Dutch ovens with two key differences:

  • Staub is, usually, cheaper (but still expensive).
  • Le Creuset is probably better quality (but both are still top quality)

Both Staub and Le Creuset could reasonably claim the label of “best Dutch oven.” Which you go for is up to you.  I think that when spending this level of money, it’s worth spending a bit extra to get the top quality of the Le Creuset Dutch oven.

Quality

Investing in quality in the short term often means saving in the long term.  I believe this is one of those cases.

This is something you can pass on to your kids.  It’s something you will use time and again and really appreciate.

I think Staub vs Le Creuset is a bit of a simplification because they both are amazing Dutch ovens – if you prefer one over the other – get it, and you won’t regret it.  They are both made in France with love and care, resulting in quality products.

If you want my opinion, then I would say – go for the best quality, get the Le Creuset Dutch oven, and enjoy it.

Affordable Alternatives to Staub and Le Creuset

Not interested in the whole Staub vs Le Creuset discussion as you think both Le Creuset and Staub Dutch ovens are just too expensive?  Perhaps you’re worried about smashing your new Le Creuset Dutch oven by accident?

Having two children, I completely sympathize with the idea that cookware can be too expensive and high quality.  Yes, sometimes, you can have too much of a good thing.

If you buy more affordable cookware, then it won’t sting as much if breaks.

Yet, I find that cheaper alternatives are more likely to break.  This isn’t just because of the quality, but because I might not take quite as much care of them as I do a more expensive option.

If I know something is meant to last generations, then I’m going to treat it with a bit more TLC.

But that’s me.

If you’re looking for some affordable alternatives to Staub and Le Creuset then I’m happy to help!

Both Lodge and Tramontina enameled cast iron Dutch ovens are made in China.  This isn’t the end of the world, but it may be why they are cheaper.

Quality wise I think they are both OK, but definitely a budget choice.  Just like the price.  Yet Tramontina feels like a slightly better design.

So if you want an affordable, short term, alternative to Le Creuset and Staub, consider Tramontina.