Staub vs Le Creuset

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Perhaps you can’t find two brand names that are so renowned for their cast iron cookware than Staub and Le Creuset.

Interestingly enough, both companies are headquartered in France and both carry similar types of cookware with high-end price points. I often wonder what makes them unique.

I hope this post will peel the curtains behind the two companies to look at their distinct characteristics and how they resemble each other at the same time.

Their Stories

Based in the Alsace region of France, Staub was founded 1974 by a grandson of a cookware merchant, Francis Staub with his first design of an enameled pot. The pot combined the utility of cast iron with the latest technology at the time.

Since then, Staub has earned its reputation in the world of cast iron and cookware all over the world. In 2008, Staub became a subsidiary of Zwilling J. A. Henckels Group.

Le Creuset’s history is much longer and traced back to 1925 when Armand Desaegher, a casting specialist joined forces with Octave Aubercq, an enameling expert. It, too, is headquartered in France. The U.S. subsidiary was opened in South Carolina in 1974.

Design Elements

Interior

One of the Staub’s unique product characteristics is the black matte enamel interior. There are several advantages:

  1. Since it’s black, it doesn’t show much of stains from sauces and cooking.
  2. It’s also easier to clean.
  3. The cooking surface develops a patina and becomes over non-stick over time because the pores of the cookware are able to absorb the cooking oil.
  4. It’s very sturdy and highly resistant to thermal shocks, scratching and chipping.

Staub deploys a special enamel technique, called “majolica enamels” where the cookware is coated with uniquely glossy enamel and deeply intense shades just like the product image above.

On the other hand, the interior of Le Creuset cookware tends to be smoother and with light color coating. As much as it’s beautiful when it’s new, it becomes pitted and dingy with use. It’s harder to keep it pristine-looking.

Lid

The Staub’s lids are heavier and sturdier. They help retain moisture and seal the flavors in food during the cooking process. Perhaps one very significant edge Staub’s lid has is the dimples on the inside of the lid, aka basting spikes. These little bumps capture the moisture from the condensation of the cooked food and redistribute the moisture onto the food uniformly. This becomes a continuous cycle until food is fully cooked.  As a result, the meat gets tender and vegetables more flavorful.

While some of the Le Creuset cookware has similar feature, not all have the basting spikes in the lid.

Knob

The Staub’s knobs are made of either brass or nickel. They are versatile for cook tops or in the oven with heat resistance up to 500 degrees F.

The Le Creuset knobs are phenolic and are only oven-safe between 350 to 400 degrees F. You can buy a stainless steel knob for less than $15 to replace the phenolic knob so you can use the lid in the high temp oven.

Exterior

The Staub cast-iron cookware are heavy and sturdy. They appear to be more reserved and conservative if you’d assign them with a persona. They tend to fit better with traditional style homes and kitchens.

This is also reflected in the colored enamels. There are 8 permanent collections of colors such as black, graphite grey, dark blue, cherry, mustard, grenadine, aubergine, basilic. These colors are darker and more muted.

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The shape of the Le Creuset cookware gives people an air of modern and contemporary feel. The vibrant color selections are a major attraction for many customers who prefer modern décor.

The best known color in the Le Creuset collection is flame, the intense orange hue. This was the color of the first enamel cookware and it is still one of the best sought-after colors.

They Are So Similar

Let’s take a brief look at the resemblance:

  1. Both are French companies with a long history of being the most reputable cast iron brands in the world.
  2. The manufacturing processes for these two brands are very similar as well from creating the sand molds, pouring melted alloy, sanding and shot blasting to enamel-coating.
  3. Each piece of cookware is subject to a dozen of hands of skilled craftsmen during the entire process.
  4. Each piece of the cookware is unique just like everyone’s DNA.
  5. Both carry impressive lines of cookware and serve ware from cocottes or French ovens, braisers, skillets, sauté pans, sauce pans, saucers to specialty cookware such as tagines, fondue pots and woks.
  6. Both cookware are great for various cooking methods where slow cooking, braising and simmering are at the heart of the process and patience is the highest virtue.
  7. Both are made with the highest quality and will last for a lifetime or two.
  8. Both are priced on the high end in the cast iron market.
  9. Both offer lifetime limited warranty and are fully committed to product quality and durability.

The Ultimate Question

I know what you are thinking. Which one should you buy? I recommend you start from design perspectives and then end with functionality since these two brands are so close in quality. The questions I’d ask myself if I were you are:

  1. What style of kitchen do I have? Contemporary vs traditional?
  2. What color scheme do I prefer? Dark shades or light/juicy colors?
  3. What shapes do I like? Round, square, oval, heart?
  4. Size matters. How many quarts do I need?
  5. What would I use the cookware for? Braising, stir-frying, grilling, sauteing?

I hope I’ve provided you with enough insight in your search. Remember no matter which brand you’d prefer, it’s almost impossible to go wrong with either product. I can assure you that the cookware will soon become the piece you gravitate all the time.

Amazon carries one of the most complete collections from both brands. Head on over to check out what many customers had to say.

 

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