Dutch Oven Battle: Lodge vs. Le Creuset

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Let me start by saying: This was not a scientific experiment. This was one little mouse in her kitchen with 2 pots and 8 lbs. of short ribs.

If you want science, check out Cook’s Illustrated exhaustive test. (Nitpickers, please pick nits over there.)

When it comes to cast iron, to a lot of people, there’s Le Creuset and Staub, then there’s everybody else. They’re the Rolls Royce and Bentley of cast iron cookery. Of course, they also both come with hefty (think $200+ in many cases) price tags.


So when a couple of folks asked me recently what kind of cast iron they should buy, I wasn’t sure what to say.

Dutch oven love

I love my Le Creuset dutch oven. It’s actually the only one I’ve ever had. I picked it up on a super sale at Marshall’s maybe 15 years ago for well under $100. (Get the same pot today on Amazon.com for $279. Yikes, right?)

That said, it felt totally irresponsible to recommend that anyone go drop almost three hundred bucks on a pot, when a less expensive brand would do just as well.

Or would it?

And so I decided to test a few for myself.

Over the last few years, a handful of more economical dutch ovens have cropped up at stores like Target. They’re colorful and enameled and every bit as heavy as my Le Creuset. Lodge, my favorite maker of non-enameled cast iron skillets, happens to be one of them.

So, I e-mailed Lodge to see if they’d be game for a comparison. Less than a week later, two shiny, new Lodge pots—one green, one blue—arrived on my doorstep. (Thank you, Lodge!)

The recipe

I wanted to test the pots by cooking something that I’ve made a zillion times before in my Le Creuset, so I’d be able to tell just how the Lodge model compared. I picked short ribs, something I make probably 2 dozen+ times every fall & winter. I followed a slight variation on my Guinness-Braised Short Ribs.

Now, cooking short ribs is one of those ineffable acts of culinary magic.

I mean, start with meat that’s tough as nails. Simmer it slowly in a covered pot for a few hours. The low, slow cooking breaks down all that tough, fibrous fat and tissue. And…voila! Succulent, moist, fall-off-the-bone, melt-in-your mouth meat + velvety broth that just might be the pinnacle of comfort food.

I’ve been braising short ribs for years, and it never ceases to impress me.

I got 8 lbs of ribs, and planned to cook 4 lbs. in each pot.

The Reigning Champion

In one corner, we have my big red pot, a 7 quart Le Creuset. She’s a tried-and-true kitchen veteran with 15 years of service.

Aside from a little discoloration on the interior enamel and a few exterior scratches, she performs just as valiantly as they day I brought her home. I love her dearly. We’ve been through thick and thin together. I’ve lugged her from apartment to apartment all through my 20s and early 30s. She’s cooked for happy and not-so-happy occasions. There’s just something so nice about a big, heavy pot bubbling away on the stove.

Am I overly sentimental? Without a doubt. Would I save Big Red if my house were on fire? I might think about it for half a sec. Regardless, it’s hard to imagine that another pot could perform as well.

The Contenders

Now, Lodge was kind enough to send me two pots. One was a 6-quart green pot from their L series.

(So pretty, right?)

I’m a sucker for little design details, and love the stainless accents on the handles and the swirly handle on the lid.

You can get her in Apple Green on Amazon.com for about $84. The same model in Liberty Blue goes for about $65.

The other was a 7.5 quart pot in Caribbean Blue from their Lodge Color series. This baby is just about $90 on Amazon.

This one has a more traditional dutch oven design, like my Le Creuset.

The Match Up

I decided to pit the blue model against my Le Creuset. Both are cast iron. Both are enameled. Both have domed lids with heat-resistant handles. Not exact duplicates, but close enough for my purposes. (After all, I’m making short ribs here, not splitting the atom.)

In case you’re (rightly) thinking I might be biased towards my Le Creuset, I had a team of testers ready to sample and compare my short ribs, including the Barking Sous Chef (who you can see presiding over the proceedings in the background below).

The test

With my kitchen full of cast iron, I hit the butcher to pick up the ribs. Eight pounds of meat later, I was ready to start cooking.

The first part of braising short ribs is to sear them in oil, which creates a ton of flavor.

I got the oil nice and hot in both pots, then added the meat (in batches…crowd a hot pot, and your meat will steam, not sear).

I got a good, brown sear from both pots in the same amount of time.

I flipped the ribs and got consistent results from both pots on all sides.

When the meat was seared on all sides, I added it all back to the pots (remember, I seared in batches)…

…then dumped in the Guinness.

I turned the heat to high to bring the liquid to a boil. Both pots started to bubble at about the same time.

Once they reached a boil, I added in the rest of the ingredients, then knocked the heat way down (so the liquid would just hold a simmer), and covered them.

Heat Resistant Handles

After about an hour on the stove, I peeked under the lids. The Lodge handle was actually cooler to the touch than my Le Creuset. One point for Lodge.

The finished ribs

I cooked the ribs for just a hair under 3 hours.

The pots really were virtually identical. The ribs from each were tender, with the meat falling off the bone.

There was about the same amount of liquid left in each pot.

We had a small party to feed a handful of our hungriest, carnivorous friends, and all agreed: Both batches of ribs were absolutely delicious, and folks couldn’t tell the difference between those cooked in the Le Creuset vs. the Lodge.

My verdict

In the end, the Lodge performed just as well as my tried-and-true Le Creuset. I highly recommend the Lodge pot. It did the same work that my Le Creuset did, at a fraction of the cost. If we had a money tree in the backyard, I’d have cabinets full of Le Creuset and the like. However, until then, if I needed new cast iron now, I wouldn’t think twice: I’d definitely go for a Lodge.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not retiring Big Red. Let’s just say that she has a new baby brother, and he fits in really well with the family.

*Please note that Lodge donated the pots for this post. My opinions, however, are strictly my own. The Lodge pot really did perform just as well as the Le Creuset. I don’t endorse anything I can’t get behind 100%.

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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie serves as an Associate Creative Director at PARTNERS+simons, a boutique ad agency in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.

184 COMMENTS

    • I agree
      I have bought my wife many Le Creuset cast iron enamel cooking dishes over the last 15 years, 1 large pot, 1 small frypan, 1 large frypan, 1 grill plate ect… It’s expensive but it makes a nice gift, UNTIL NOW. While heating some olive oil in the large cast iron pot (about 5 years old) a piece of enamel (5mm x 5mm) literally popped of the interior base of the large pot, EXPOSING THE CAST IRON. We took the pan to the Minimax store in Camberwell where it was purchased, they had a Le Crueset ‘rep’ examine it and they decided the fault was not covered by warranty. They said that the pot had been ‘over heated’ and been ‘cleaned abrasively’. I confess that the pot has been used for cooking and been cleaned quite a few times so I can only conclude that the pot is not warrantied if you use it for cooking. Lifetime Warranty, WHAT A LOAD OF ROT. I bought a cheap cast iron enamel pan from Aldi today, I think I’ll just by cheap stuff from now on if the expensive Le Creasust items aren’t really warrantied at all. I can just buy cheap and replace them if need be. I am very disappointed that the investment I thought I was making in a reputable product was just throwing money away. If though we had overheated it, or cleaned it in a damaging way I would not have bothered taking it back to the shop, I wish I could show you a picture of this will kept pot, I am very fair, but I don’t like being ripped off.
      Go the cheapie

      • Wow. Just thought I would share this story with you. About 2 years ago I worked in
        the cookware dept at a Bed Bath and Beyond. I was helping a customer order a Dutch
        Oven from Le Creuset. Customer was very vocal about how impressed she was with the
        company. She said she had a Dutch Oven which she had used almost on a daily basis for
        about 8 years. It had become stained and she called the company for help on how she could remove the stain. The customer service rep said for her not to worry about that (did not ask her any questions about usage) and sent her a new pot (she sent them the stained one). You might want to pursue this issue a little longer. It does seem ridiculous. You may get the same result, but it couldn’t hurt.

        • With the LC price tag comes there money back guarantee. I have owned both Lodge and LC. For enamel coated pots I prefer LC, my lodge chipped in less than a year. I still buy Lodge seasoned pans.

      • What heat setting were you heating the oil with? All enameled cookware has potential to chip, if heated too quickly. You should not go over medium, when doing anything other than boiling water.

      • Not sure if you will ever see this, but contact Le creuset directly. I bought a roasting pan from target that cracked. I emailed the company, they exchanged it no questions asked!

        • Look at the reviews for Le Crueset on Amazon. His story is one of dozens that are exactly the same. I’ll be buying a Lodge. Le Creuset doesn’t stand behind their products and they dispose of your pot when you pay $50 shipping to return it.

      • Dear go for the cheapie,

        Your local Bed Bath & Beyond would not treat you with this disrespect. If you purchase your Le Creuset from our stores or online and have it delivered, you may return any product you feel has a defect and we will cheerfully replace or give you store credit. Moreover, using your 20 percent off single item coupon, will get you the best value on Le Creuset and with the most complete guarantee. Please shop at BB& B for your best value and excellent service. (Customer service rep/cashier at store 64/Wilmette who just loves Le Creuset’s quality and performance)

        • I totally agree that BB&B is the best store for returns. You can return something months after purchase, with no receipt, just because you decide you don’t like it. Anything that is broken, not working anymore? Bring it back and they cheerfully replace it. Such an impressive standard compared to other stores like Target. I bought a toaster from Target and just after 3 months it stopped working. I took it back, with the receipt, and they would not replace it because they said the receipt expired. After making a stink, they finally agreed to give me a GC with the original purchase price. That would have been fine but I bought the toaster on sale and now it was $20 more. They would not honor the sale price and I ended up having to buy a cheaper toaster so I didn’t have to shell out more cash for the same product.

          Anyway, I am off the topic of this article completely but ultimately I want to say buy your stuff from BB&B with your 20% off coupon and know that you have free peace of mind for a long time to come since you can take it back and get a replacement for free.

          P.S. I am so glad to hear that Lodge works just the same. I love Le Crueset but can’t afford it. Lodge – you’ll be my choice until some long lost, unknown rich uncle dies and leaves me some money 🙂

          • I didn’t think you could use 20% on Le Creuset at BB&B? This is what I intended on doing but the fine prints says excludes Le Creuset so I didn’t want to waste a trip since that’s all I need to buy from there.

            • Looks like you’re right Suzanne! I just checked my BB&B 20% off coupon, and it excludes Le Creuset. I’ll be getting mine from Lodge too!

        • This is incorrect. Bed Bath & Beyond will NOT offer any discounts on Le Creuset items–it is specifically listed on every 20%/$5 off coupon. Aside from a special in-store deal (which I’ve yet to see) they will not ring it at a discount.

        • [email protected]

          Le Creuset is excluded on the 20% off coupon. 🙁

        • The enamel line is produced in China, but the traditional Lodge cast iron is Made in USA, in South Pittsburg, TN. Celebrating 120 years and growing the foundry this year. A tour of the production facility and a day at the Cornbread Festival is delicious fun.

      • I have a few Le Creuset pots that I inherited, and I don’t think they’re any easier to clean than any other pot. Food sticks on them just the same. I was excited when I got them, thinking they’d be easy to clean, but unfortunately no.

  1. Been toying with Le Creuset for years. This throws a wrench into the literal pot. Great article Now I need one on food processors too!

  2. I just got a Le Creuset as a wedding gift but am thrilled to hear that the more affordable Lodge worked just as well in case I want to expand my collection. Great matchup!

  3. Thank you so much for this post. It is sure nice to know that I don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars for a nice heavy duty pot. I am definitely going to invest in one of these beauties. I have had my eye on them for a while now. I just love the colors that are available! Thanks Lodge and Hungry Mouse!!!

  4. I have long lusted after a Le Creuset but alas, it’s not within my reach. Last year, I found a red 6-QT Lodge at Walmart, similar to the blue one in this comparison for $50. Whatta a deal! And I absolutely couldn’t be happier with it. This is a post I wrote on the first test run with it: http://bit.ly/m1pArW

  5. GREAT post….Glad that I have an alternative to my beloved Le Creuset!! Just an FYI – you can get really good prices if you hit up a Le Creuset outlet…That’s where my 5quart pot came from….

    Just curious – did cleanup go as smoothly with the Lodge?

  6. Years ago I picked up a worn Creuset roasting pot at a garage sale. I was so impressed with it, my husband searched Kijiji and came across the old orange pots and pans set, which still does me well after 25 years of cooking. I finally picked out a Creuset Dutch oven at Winners that did not have a lid for $99.00 Canadian. Fortunately I had a lid from a cast iron skillet that matched the dutch oven.
    STAUB is also an excellent line.

  7. Great post. I have a few Lodge pots & skillets and love them all. I also have a couple of other brands I feel also work well. Can you tell I really like cast iron? It also gives me a workout while cooking, the only down side. : ) I love short ribs & Guiness also. Can you share your recipe? It looks really tasty.

  8. I have to yell you what a GREAT posting. So FUN and so clever. I hope you don’t mind, I want to share this on my blog – cause it’s so gosh dang clever! I could not wait to see who the winner was, you had me glued to every word. Plus I cant wait to try your short rib recipe! BRAVO, simply LOVE this post!

  9. Wow! I didn’t even know that Lodge was getting into the enameled game…but I have to say it’s about time. Regular cast iron holds too many flavors and smells.
    Now, you say that you’d have a cabinet full of enameled Le Creuset if you had a money tree – but you’d also need some money for shelf supports and anchoring. 🙂

  10. Thanks for this review. I have long been one of the few who scoffed and said, “Le Creuset couldn’t really be worth ALL THAT MONEY!” (Secretly, of course, I’ve really thought, “Those pots are so cute! I wish I had that kind of money to spend on Le Creuset!”) I’ve been loving the $40 enameled Dutch oven I picked up at the restaurant supply store for a few years now, but have considered buying one of the Lodge models since I love their skillet so much. This test makes me feel better about being a cheapskate! 🙂

  11. I have had my Lodge enameled cast iron Dutch oven for at least 5 years. I was going to do some shortribs and needed a Dutch oven immediately and it was the only brand I could find locally. I think I spent about 30 bucks for it. I have often thought about springing for a more expensive version thinking I might get better results (although I have actually never been disappointed in my Lodge), but now I think I will just buy another Lodge in a bigger size. Thanks so much!

  12. Thanks for this review. I have long been one of the few who scoffed and said, “Le Creuset couldn’t really be worth ALL THAT MONEY!” (Secretly, of course, I’ve really thought, “Those pots are so cute! I wish I had that kind of money to spend on Le Creuset!”) I’ve been loving the $40 enameled Dutch oven I picked up at the restaurant supply store for a few years now, but have considered buying one of the Lodge models since I love their skillet so much. This test makes me feel better about being a cheapskate!

  13. […] Dutch Oven Battle – I’m a big fan of my Le Creuset pan, but I normally recommend a different dutch oven for people who are just starting cooking.  There’s no reason to spend $300 on a single pot.  This post shows why.  Both perform pretty much identically for braising.  (@ The Hungry Mouse) […]

  14. I studied The Lodge the other day at Target and contemplated getting it and then put it back down thinking I should probably continue saving and get the Le Crueset. No way Jose! I am running to Target to get my Lodge!!

  15. Just curious – what about the Green Lodge Dutch Oven? Should it perform just as well? Or do you think the shape or handle would have an impact? I really like the green one but would definitely go for the blue if I knew there were any performance differences.

  16. For me, I would spend the money for the Le Crueset! The Lodge is made in China, I will not buy anything that I am cooking in from China. Bowls, or things to be served cold, I have no problem with, but I repeat, I would never cook in anything made in China. JMO

    • Where is the Le Creuset made? I have enjoyed, maybe even loved my Lodge Made in USA for years. I have requested a reason for their enamel product being made in China as I feel it may these days be a problem with EPA/OSHA restrictions for the enameling process either being totally illegal now days, or cost prohibitive with necessary permits.
      I purchased and Emeril cast iron deep rectangular like 8 x 14 with ribbed lid smoker tray and grease rack, but it is no longer available. It was made in China.
      Cast iron from anywhere that is well made of quality iron will last lifetimes. But it must be seasoned and kept that way or you may as well get stainless or teflon type material.
      If you get a taste, time to reason it, or quit leaving kraut or tomato dishes in it overnight.
      Not to step on any toes, just a 63 yr old wanna be chef’s input.

      • Lodge couldn’t find an enameler here in the us and Europe would make the price same as le creuset. They have strict oversight and checks on their Chinese enameler. They’re serious about their reputation.

        • Thanks for that reply. I just bought a red Lodge enameled cast iron dutch oven, and was seriously thinking f I made a mistake just by the safety issues that crop up on various websites, but I feel comfortable now using it. I too am a novice cook and not a veteran so did not want to spend 300 dollars or similar on the LC, Staub or COPCO (Denmark).
          I will increase my collection in time.

    • I agree with you— China is slack on safety standards and you don’t know what is in the enamel they are using. I enjoyed reading the comparison between Lodge and Le Crueset— but I would like Jessie to repeat it 10 years from now! Will a Lodge-made-in China stand the test of time?

    • Agree 100% Alison! Lodge cast iron is made in USA. Lodge enamel is made in China. Le Creuset is made in France obviously. With all the quality control problems in China I do not want lead, or any other heavy metals, leeching into foods when cooking.

    • I believe the Le Crueset is also make in China now??? 🙁 Anything that Lodge makes that is enameled is also made in China. 🙁 I recently bought a regular cast iron dutch oven from them and it was awful. I seasoned it myself and had black flecks all over in the food. Their quality is really poor.

      • Non enameled Lodge isn’t made in China, though.

        I am surpruised how staineds her Le Creuset pan is… I bought a couple fom a friend who was liquidating her home and moving away. I got the braiser and a smaller pan. The braiser has plenty of usable life left, but it is cosmetically poor. The interior is crackled like the old craft paint that was popular years ago. I ike the pa and the wolan who wrote the braising cookbook that was so popular used it to test her recipes. Her first runner up, however, was the Lodge braiser.

  17. What a great comparison post! I definitely love the Lodge products that I have, so I have no doubt that their dutch oven is a solid choice too =)

  18. I just recently bought my first Le Creuset after several years of not being able to justify the price difference over the plain Lodge stuff. I have several Lodge non-enameled cast iron pieces that I would save from a burning house, but after finding out that the Lodge color are made in China, I’ll stick with the Le Creuset.

  19. Oh wow, I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that green Lodge pot. I had NO idea these were sold, and at TARGET of all places. Talk about killing two extremely fine birds with one stone – Target and an incredible cooking pot.

    Will be looking for one of these Lodge pots on my next visit. Gorgeous!

  20. Great post! I will definitely keep Lodge in mind when I can actually afford to go buy new kitchenware — at the moment our only cast iron is a good, heavy cast iron skillet.

  21. Unsurprising, but nice to learn that my biases are true. When you get to the core of it, you are talking about the quality of the iron (pretty universally the same) and the quality of the enamel. There’s no good reason in this day and age for Le Creuset to have any kind of enamel technology advantage.

    That said, I bought a dutch oven last winter, and have not used it much since getting my Sous Vide Supreme Demi. I’ve done short ribs in the SVS, and, while I’m not one to drop text speak, zOMFG. Only downside is a looooooong cook. 72 hours. I would try your short rib recipe in the SVS, but I think I’m gonna try the Rick Bayless version first. Known quantity in my home.

  22. Love this comparison!! By the way, if you want to get the inside of “big red” white again, pour in some bleach and set it out in the sun for a while. You will have the inside white again! The trick is the sun! – LOVE YOUR BLOG!! 🙂

  23. Hi, one question, where is Lodge made in? I hope it’s not China.. somehow I don’t really trust products Made In China (although I’m Chinese), especially when I need to cook in it, or serve my food in it.

    Do enlighten.

    • Yes–all of the Lodge enameled pieces are made in China. They claim to have “strict oversight” and stuff on the process….but I do not trust it either. 🙁 I was saving up for a Le Crueset but I am finding they are made in China now too (the enameled cast iron pieces, that is).

      Thank you!

  24. Nice article.

    I’d be curious to see the Lodge pot in 15 years, though, to find out if the enamel, handle, and cast iron survive as well as your Le Creuset has.

  25. I own the Lodge 12″ cast iron skillet that I use religiously at home and on camping trips.
    cooking on open fire is best. The Lodge is by far affordable and outperforms many popular brands.

  26. My 2 cents … I have had good luck with Le Creuset products, but I bought a Lodge Dutch oven about 6 months ago based on a Cooks Illustrated review. Like you they came to the conclusion that the Lodge oven performed just was well as the Le Creuset.
    After about 2 weeks I chipped the enamel off one of the handles when it touched the counter top … no big deal, my bad. Then last week, I warmed up a little oil, threw a few cubes of meat in the Dutch oven, and when the meat touched the surface of the oven it produced a loud pop and sent pieces of enamel flying all over.
    So I may have been unlucky and gotten a lemon, but Le Creuset ovens may be pricier for a good reason whether it is QC or process-related. Lodge makes great cast iron products, but I think I’ll stick to Le Creuset when it comes to enamel.

  27. Looks like they perform equally well but I wonder about how well the Lodge will hold up over time. I bought a bargin pot with Martha Stewart’s brand on it. It performs well however, in a year’s time it has a lot of chips in the surface so I don’t want to use it anymore…don’t want to ingest porcelain chips. I just wonder how the Lodge will look after all the years of service that your big red has given you.

  28. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you so much! I love my Lodge cast iron skillets Just can not afford to drop nearly $300 on a pot. If the Lodge can get the job done then I’m sold. Really glad I found your site. Will be back often!

  29. Fun post! First of all, the food looks delicious….
    My husband and I had been pining for a Le Creuset for years, and kept looking for bargains. We own a few Lodge cast iron pans and last year he spotted the Lodge Color series on sale at Farm and Fleet. We have a 6 quart red one, which looks very similar to the Le Creuset. We love it. It’s probably the only other brand I would totally trust, and I use it on a regular basis.

  30. The true test between the two will come some time from now. Will the Lodge Dutch Oven hold up like your 15 y.o. Le Creuset? I don’t know. I’ve only used Le Creuset, mainly because it was all that was available when I started cooking. But it’s shown itself to be a great brand. I really used my set up over the course of 20 years, and because Le Creuset has a lifetime guarantee, they replaced every single pot with a current model. 30 years of cookware for $97. Not a bad deal.

  31. I just ordered my first Lodge 6 quart from Amazon a couple of days ago, and reading through the reviews, all have had good things to say about the Lodge products and even compared the LC products. They found the same thing that you did, the perform just as well at a fraction of the cost. I’m thinking that the real test will come a few years down the road in terms of holding up. I read that the so far the Lodge dutch oven clean up every bit as well as the LC ovens, with not staining. For me that in itself is huge.

    I can’t wait to get my new dutch oven, thanks for doing the comparison, I love the post as well as the information provided therein.

    • Think about it…If it doesn’t hold up for 5, 10 or event 15 years, you can buy 2 or 3 more new ones for the same price. Doesn’t seem like a bad deal to own a “Lodge”.

  32. I actually own a couple of Staub pots. I was looking at the Lodge cast iron enamel line, but I decided against it because they are now being manufactured in China. See the third paragraph – http://www.lodgemfg.com/lodge-history.asp

    In the end, given all of the bad press coming out of China regarding faulty toys and tainted food, I’d rather play it safe and get something manufactured in France.

    The hard part was for me was deciding between Staub and Le Creuset. I ended up choosing Staub because I didn’t want to pay an extra $15 to replace the handle on the lid of a Le Creuset and I preferred a black interior to hide any stains.

    Looking forward to trying your braised ribs recipe.

  33. I have several LeCreuset pieces. My mother has had hers for over 30 years and is still going strong. Just like Jay stated, I’d be curious to see if the Lodge holds up as well as LeCreuset over time. I also wonder if they stand behind their products as well as LeCreuset does with their warranty. My personal preference is LeCreuest. They are expensive pieces, but well worth it.

  34. I love this comparison. I always feel like such a loser for not owning a Le Creuset, but now I can stop 🙂 And the ribs…oh my! I’d take some out of either pot.

  35. Yes, but what I really wanted to hear is how durable the Lodge is, especially in comparison to the Le Crueset. I am in the market for an enameled cast iron casserole having drilled into me about the joys of enameled cookware by my cooking instructors. More than a few reviewers on a couple of websites were very disapointed that the Lodge chipped off enamel into the food after just a couple of uses.

    I really do not want enamel chips added to my food. I think I will buy Le Crueset.

    Editorial note: How much of the Lodge made in China is done by low wage possibly slave labor with the factory throwing environmental concerns along with with wage and labor protections out the window with the waste slag?

  36. i wanted to try mark bittman’s no-knead bread recipe that was to be baked in a covered le creuset dutch oven. my lodge dutch oven had a phenolic (aka plastic) knob only good for about 375-400; the le creuset pot was ok at 500, whereas its knob was not. since recipe wanted 500 degree oven, was afraid to use knob on lodge (so i took it off before baking). bread was successful. have since bought le creuset’s replacement knob (about $11 and screw fit lodge perfectly) which is supposed to be good at any oven temp (and fit perfectly on my lodge). we’ll see…

    • Lodge won’t take 500 degree oven heat for baking bread. I tried it and it blew a chunk of enamel off the bottom. When reading over the care instructions after the event, I noted that it is not to be used at that heat. Maximum 400 degrees. I think the maximum Le Creuset temp is 450 degrees.

  37. I agree…I have a Lodge and Staub. The Lodge is the smaller of the two so I use the one which is the right size and ….there is no difference…one cost me $65 and the other cost me $280….hmmm…I love them both…

  38. I am wondering if it is a concern that the Lodge Enamel products are made in China? Lodge Cast Iron are made in USA but they import their enamel items from China, i wonder is this is a soruce of concern for the quality? Just wondering… thanks

  39. I always wanted to buy Le Creuset but the price was just too much. Recently I found Lodge dutch oven and was going to buy the original non enamel coating dutch oven but the pretty look of Le Creuset kept bothering me lol. After I read your post, I decided to buy Lodge 🙂 Thanks!

  40. Thanks for this cook off. My Le Creuset 5 1/2 qt dutch oven, after 30 years of use, developed a crack! Even at a discount outlet I would have to pay over $200!! But I believe I’m going back to real basics and buying the Lodge regular cast iron, as it is made in the USA. The enameled is imported from China. I’ve had my Lodge cast iron skillet since 1970 and have even used it to cook macaroni in the oven when I didn’t have a pot. Trustworthy.

    • I’d like to know as well, considering that I have a Dutch oven that has lasted only 6 months before the enamel broke off in the bottom and will be looking at replacing it.

  41. Let me throw another contender into the pot (no pun intended). I have 3 Dansk pots in the Kolbe style (made in Denmark), 2 dutch ovens and 1 soup pot. They have been used on the stove top and as well in the oven. The oldest was my grandmother’s (I’m 61 and she had as long as I remember, the other two were gifts to myself.
    The oldest has a little discoloring on the bottom, and that is it! Nothing else…not a chip, graze, etc. Needless to say, they have been babied (no dishwasher [no steel soap pads], NEVER hit your spoon on the edge of the pot, use over medium heat, NEVER high, etc.)and up until very recently could not have been replaced (unless through E-bay). However, I recently found out that Crate and Barrel have them. They are pricey, but I’m a firm believer in you get what you pay for…
    Out of the 3, I use the oldest the most.

  42. Thanks tor this. I wanted a LC for years and just cant afford it. I held off because I just didn’t want a cheep imitation. I found a Lodge outlet on vacation so I went for it. This makes me want to get started right away with using it!

  43. Thank you for this! Lodge did right by giving them to you because you helped their business. This totally decided me on the Lodge pots. They will be making some money on me in the near future 🙂

  44. Just bought a Lodge dutch oven last night at Target to make the bread I found on Pinterest. SO glad I found this review. Like nearly everyone else posting here, I would love to have a Le Crueset, but price was prohibitive. Can’t wait for the weekend to try out the Lodge!

  45. Just a thought: Le Creuset are made in and shipped from France. The Lodge Enamel/cast iron are made in and shipped from China. The standard Lodge cast Iron Dutch ovens are made in Tennessee in an environmentally sensitive plant. If these are issues for you, the cast iron dutch oven is worth serious consideration.

  46. What an informative post…and done well. I already bookmarked your Guinness short ribs. I have a stack of short ribs awaiting deliciousness.

    I love my Lodge cast iron skillet and I need a dutch oven! This is very helpful.

    My concern was where these are actually made. Like Jennifer, I researched the origin. I know all the strides that have been made for the Tennessee manufacturing and their employees. Along with the fact that this company is still operated by the Lodge family is commendable. I would have no reservations purchasing the enamel series if I knew the Chinese workers were treated fairly as well.

  47. I am so mad. I just bought a Le Creuset coffee mug and in little bitty tiny letters that you almost have to have a microscope to read, it says on the booklet: made in China. I would never have bought it if I’d known it had been made there. I do not trust any food or eating utensil/etc. coming from there at all. And to me, hiding the origin of a piece under tiny lettering on a leaflet is tantamount to false advertising. Taking it tomorrow for a refund.
    Le Creuset from France? Hah! Like most people still thinking Cadbury Chocolate is owned by Cadbury Chocolate when it’s owned by Kraft. And thinking John West is a reputable English fish company when it’s actually owned by a group of people in Thailand. Always check your origin source. Many people do not care about anything but money – and your health and safety are secondary if they come into the equation at all.

  48. P.S. I have the Lodge Logic Dutch oven and it is the absolute best. I also have their 12″ frying pan – a godsend. I’d recommend these to anyone wanting sturdy no-nonsense high-quality. Not those ridiculous enameled ones (would never trust them!) from China – but the good old-fashioned well made cast iron kind from Tennessee.

  49. I have a Lodge dutch oven and after 5 years there is rust dripping down from the top edge and a large piece of enamel has flaked off of the bottom. Lodge may perform as well as Le Creuset but it won’t last as long and who wants rust in their food anyway? I only use mine for baking bread now and use parchment paper in the bottom. I am going to by myself a Le Creuset for Christmas and one for my Chef daughter. At the end of the day, you get what you pay for.

  50. Thank you for posting a comparison between the cookware. I am a name brand snob and have always wanted Le Creuset cookware, but I really like the fact that the Lodge cookware is American made and considerably cheaper.. You are making my decision easier.

    One tip if I might add, go buy some barkeepers friend and you will have the discoloration out of Big Red in no time… It works wonders on anything with blemishes that aren’t gouged in.

    • I guess I need to back pedal a bit… Lodge’s non enameled cast iron is made in America, there Enameled line is not… From their website:
      “Combining our extensive history of making cast iron cookware with the fine art of enameling, Lodge has two lines of enamel coated cast iron cookware – Lodge Color and the L Series.

      Made to our exact specifications in China, the Dutch Ovens, Casseroles, Skillets, Grill Pans and Panini Presses in this line reflect our commitment to heirloom quality cookware at moderate prices.”

      I guess I’ll keep digging… (Why it matters is because I work in a vacuum repair shop and have seen what Chinese products ‘are’ when compared to American, Korean, Italian, German and French.)

  51. I loved your comparison but frankly, I think the any brand enameled dutch oven will cook the same, the test is the enamel itself. I have two Le Creuset items, the Doufau and a 7 qt Dutch oven. I also own a Rachel Ray 3 qt dutch oven. The RR 3qt is 2 yrs old and began chipping at 1 yr which is why I chose the Le Crueset next time around. I’d be curious to hear if anyone has other brands that might have chipped. I use the pans as stated in the literature, no dishwasher, handwashing, wooden and plastic spoons, so I was very disappointed when the RR enamel began chipping off.

  52. Great post. I’d love to see how they do after a few years of usage though.

    I bought the Lodge Color Enameled Cast-Iron 6-Quart Dutch Oven from Amazon in Feb 2010 and I’ve been pretty happy with it until yesterday, when part of the enamel on the bottom broke off and the little pieces flew into the air and hit my face. I was frying some bacon over med-high heat. Luckily I didn’t sustain any injuries.

    It is not used very often (on average, about 2-3 times a month), I always washed it by hand and used wooden spoons.

    I’ve never owned an Le Creuset so I cannot compare, but I will never buy anything made by Lodge gain.

  53. I thought this was a great comparison test……..and i think that it is true. I would agree and buy Lodge except that i recently learned that Lodge cast iron enameled pots are no longer made in the USA but are made in China. There are an increasing number of posts on the internet regarding failure over time of these products produced in china…..sounds like a lack of quality control……
    So after much thought, research, and hand-wringing i bought my first Le Creuset – made in France, lifetime warranty…on sale at williams- sonoma. Was so astonished at how much easier my cooking has become -and how much better everything tasted that i went bought a second smaller piece for everyday use.

  54. I have tried so many discounted brands -compared to LC (Martha, Palm Restaurant, Rachel, Cuisinart) and they just do not compare in the least to the LC set my grandmother left me. I have not tried Lodge, in fact I have never even heard of it which makes me wonder how I have missed it.
    The money I have spent with $80 here and there trying to find a worthy dupe to the Le Creuset pieces has surely cost me more than the actual LC 7.25 qt I wanted! They all chipped within weeks – a few months. My LC have yet to chip and some are 5, 10 & 20 years old!
    Also, I had to transfer what I was cooking from my 5qt LC into my larger “fake” -Palm Restaurant version the other night because I needed more room. I was astounded to see the difference in cooking right before my eyes. Transferring from one to the other really opened my eyes (and yes the pot was heated thoroughly). It just did not compare in the least, from start to finish. By the way my Palm crazed all over the bottom and the lid and edges chipped incredibly badly almost immediately. So I say skip it when you see this beautiful looking white large cast iron wannabe at Home Goods or like.

    I will say, I ran out yesterday to the Le Creuset outlet store and finally purchased a 7.25 qt round. I’m so pleased I finally did. At this point I am afraid to try anything else. Your experiment looked great but my gutt says the Lodge will not hold up like the LC in the long run. I will look for you to update and prove my gutt wrong 😉

    Btw… I only paid $159 for my 7.25, plus the stainless steel strainer insert for $30! Outlets for LC carry firsts and seconds. The seconds are ONLY second in finish NOT function. I really researched this, read reviews and asked lots of questions. You still get the full lifetime warranty on the seconds! Seconds will have a mark on the underside of the handle to denote their classification of being a second.. Look at the pieces, feel them. You will notice a small bubble or pock in the finish and that is what makes it a second. Truly in my experience, you do not even see them until you know to look for it.

    Finally, the fact they are still made in Europe is a Big plus for me. Yes, in most cases I want made in America but for cookware and Skincare/cosmetics I want made in Europe. Europe has much stronger guidelines and restrictions than we currently have here in America. Granted we are light years ahead of China in quality and safety but Europe is quite a way a heads of the US.

    So in short, I suggest finding a Le Creuset Outlet Store if you have always wanted a true blue LC to call your own. The prices, quality and service just cannot be beat IMO.
    I bought from the one in Flemington, NJ at the Liberty Village Outlets.

  55. I wonder if the comparison is flawed – as the real comparison would be how would the lodge perform after many years (looks like you have had the le crueset for a long time).

  56. I have a Lodge Dutch Pot, I’ve had it for less than a year. The enamel has chipped off, I’ve found traces in my food. After drying the lid you can feel a whitish chalk like dust coming off with your fingers. I’m throwing it away, I’m not even going to give it to good will. I don’t want to eat that material!!!

  57. Thank you so much for doing this comparison! I was really on the fence which pot to buy for my Oxtail soup! I also, liked that the Lodge handle was cooler, that was one of my worries. Then I saw “Aida” & “Dani” comment about Lodge chipping! Oh no. Now I am back to square one. Any advice since you made the comparison, please let me know.
    T~

  58. Thanks for this, I’ve been wondering about the quality of Lodge. I have some of their cast iron, but not of their enameled. I was hoping to read the Cook’s Illustrated comparison but they’ve firewalled it and no they may not have my credit card number. Jerks! I’d like to know how well the Lodge does over time, but considering I can buy 3-4 Lodge Dutch ovens for the cost of a Le Creuset, it’s probably worth trying the Lodge and finding out for myself.

    Thanks again!

  59. There is also another line very similar to LC called Chasseur. It, too, is made in France though it’s not as widely known, I have a braiser that is outstanding in quality and cost about $100 less than the LC model. They often turn up at Tuesday morning for a steaI. I have a piece of Staub but find the interior a bit too nails-on-a-chalkboard to cook with (even with a wooden spoon it makes my blood run cold). I have three pieces of LC that are workhorses and serve me well. I’d gladly invest in the Lodge enamel if it were made in TN; however, I have to admit that, though I love my original Lodge cast iron pans, I would not trust those made in China.

    • There is no question, lodge makes durable, reliable products. It’s just that they’re a newer/less well known company, unlike le creuset, which is a well known classic. Old faithful, if you would. But lodge will last just as long if not longer the le creuset. They’re both great companies that make great products.

  60. I own numerous Le Creuset pots, have not tried the Lodge but I’m sure it cooks as well. My biggest concern is that Lodge enameled cast iron is “made in China” and the Le Creuset pots are made in France. With concerns over other products made in China (melamine in foods and dog treats that have had disastrous effects) I’m just a bit leery of using anything manufactured there that will cross paths with anything I ingest.

  61. I was thrilled at this post, and since it’s been over 2 years, I’d like to know how the Lodge has held up? Le Creuset cookware lasts forever. I know this because I’m still using my mother’s cocotte that is at least 50 years old. It’s right next to my pots that are 20 and 10 years respectively. Has the enamel retained its integrity? Is the exterior still good?

  62. Hi Jessie, I am just about to test out my new Lodge dutch oven and see how it performs agains my own tried and true and beloved Le Creuset. I Googled “Lodge dutch oven vs Le Creuset” and found your post. They are both made in China and I had a hunch they would perform identically but I’m glad to find that you’ve already put them to the test. I’ll see if I get similar results. Thanks for the great, informational post. Lisa

  63. Hi Jessie, Thanks for this great post. I’m a fellow food-blogger and I was just about to put my new Lodge dutch oven to the tests against my own beloved and well-worn Le Creuset. I assume I’ll get similar results too! I found your blog when I googled “le Creuset vs lodge” Best, Lisa

  64. Well, great experiment!
    I praise any of cast iron pieces, from Le Creuset, Staub, Lodge, Wagner to not-the-brand-name pots. They all work pleasingly.
    However, from my experiences years long, Le Creuset and Staub would definitely not make disappointed, long last until your grandchild.
    Lodge is good, but not last as those brands. Well, for three-time cheaper, this is a good to go.

    The “Guinness-Braised Short Ribs” is so interesting.

  65. I agree.
    I have bought my wife many Le Creuset cast iron enamel cooking dishes over the last 15 years, 1 large pot, 1 small frypan, 1 large frypan, 1 grill plate ect… It’s expensive but it makes a nice gift, UNTIL NOW. While heating some olive oil in the large cast iron pot (about 5 years old) a piece of enamel (5mm x 5mm) literally popped of the interior base of the large pot, EXPOSING THE CAST IRON. We took the pan to the Minimax store in Camberwell where it was purchased, they had a Le Crueset ‘rep’ examine it and they decided the fault was not covered by warranty. They said that the pot had been ‘over heated’ and been ‘cleaned abrasively’. I confess that the pot has been used for cooking and been cleaned quite a few times so I can only conclude that the pot is not warrantied if you use it for cooking. Lifetime Warranty, WHAT A LOAD OF ROT. I bought a cheap cast iron enamel pan from Aldi today, I think I’ll just by cheap stuff from now on if the expensive Le Creasust items aren’t really warrantied at all. I can just buy cheap and replace them if need be. I am very disappointed that the investment I thought I was making in a reputable product was just throwing money away. If though we had overheated it, or cleaned it in a damaging way I would not have bothered taking it back to the shop, I wish I could show you a picture of this will kept pot, I am very fair, but I don’t like being ripped off.
    Get a cheap one

  66. Interesting since my Le Creuset cast iron flying pan has done the same thing. I was cooking steak and I noticed black flecks on the meat. I realized it was the pan flaking off. I need to search for my receipt but your post makes me very leery now.

  67. Just today I purchased my first cast iron dutch ovens. Yes ovens I got 2. One is a le creuset and one is a Lodge. I got very lucky and just happened to be going into TJ Maxx for towels and saw the clerk putting them out. The Le Creuset was a 5 qt in the red for half the price I’d seen them on sale for everywhere else, which I love. But then I also saw the Lodge which was a 7 qt in the dark green which I loved to. So I got both since there were only 1 of each to bring home and decide which one I was going to keep. The Lodge was a great size because I have 3 grown boys and a husband who can all eat their own weight in food.. LOL Im 56 years old and always dreamed of getting some Le Creuset but could never afford it. Your testing both was perfect timing for me but now Im more conflicted than ever. LOL At this point I think I will keep both and Im sure my husband will forgive the expense when I start cooking in them. But in the future I think I will go with Lodge for other purchases. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR DOING THIS TEST!!!

  68. Hi!

    Thank you so much for this article. I have been wanting to switch to a healthier and more pocket friendly (both now and in the long run) cook/ bake ware.
    I of course was looking at Le Creuset but the price point deters from buying all at once, I then came across Lodge, and loved the cast iron skillets and then did more research into the brand.
    This article was very helpful in that I will be happy to have a nice mix of both products!!
    I can’t wait to purchase my first Dutch oven!!

  69. I own a lodge and I like it…but my question is the discoloring normal and if yes why? For the first year or so I could treat the stains by soaking in bleach (as recommended by lodge) but year two and three they are more stubborn and aggravating. Should I worry about this? To my Military Retiree ming a stain means dirt, crud, CONTAMINATION!!! That being said my old lodge cast iron pan (I think is 25+ years old I can’t remember if I stole this one from my mom or bought it) I hardly clean other than to scrape/rinse off food and bake in the oven a few times a year.

  70. I have purchased several le creuset peices in the past few months having recently remodeled our kitchen with an induction stovetop. However, not all peices are made in France. I have several le creuset items that were made in Thailand and one in China, so the fear about Lodge because of the China connection doesn’t hold water. I’ve been happy with the le creuset, but after reading this article any new additions will be Lodge to give them a try. I only chose le creuset becasue thats what the cooking supply stores swore was the best (probably it appears it was the best for their wallets). Thanks for the great information.

  71. I’ve had my Lodge DO for around 5 years. No chips, cracks, or discoloration so far. I love it & the price but I also appreciate the deal I got on a Le Creuset DO from TJ Maxx. The warranty and reputation of Le Creuset carries weight in my opinion.

  72. I just bought some Le Creuset baking dishes and unfortunately, it was made in China…not in France like we are lead to believe…it is about the bottom dollar and labor is cheaper in China than France…I was surprised and disappointed

  73. Thanks so much for this article. Recently I ruined my workhorse 3.5 quart le Creseut dutch oven when I walked away from the plum jam I was making (ruined the jam too. Warning: when the recipe stays “Stir constantly” it means it). It was part of a set that I bought 35 years ago, and although the company has replaced one of the saucepans from the set I knew that this would definitely fall into the category of “abuse.” A new Dutch oven from LC would cost more than I paid for the original set, and I’ve been debating whether to replace it with another LC or go with Lodge. You answered my question. I’m ordering the Lodge right now, (But I’ll always love Cuisinart.)

  74. One thing I can’t overlook in this test is that Lodge provided you with their products for free (excerpt from your article below). You are incentivized to write a glowing review!

    “Over the last few years, a handful of more economical dutch ovens have cropped up at stores like Target. They’re colorful and enameled and every bit as heavy as my Le Creuset. Lodge, my favorite maker of non-enameled cast iron skillets, happens to be one of them.

    So, I e-mailed Lodge to see if they’d be game for a comparison. Less than a week later, two shiny, new Lodge pots—one green, one blue—arrived on my doorstep.”

  75. Thanks for this well written article…. I love my pure-clay Dutch oven I think the company that makes them is Miriams Earthen Cookware. I’ve tried both the ones you have reviewed here, but this one is very different, it’s made from a healthier raw material — natural clay. It’s not reactive with the food and does not leach in and they are unglazed too. They’re naturally non-stick and so very easy to clean. Prefer that any day. 🙂 You can find them here: http://miriamsearthencookware.com/dutch-oven-best/

  76. This was a great article that compelled me to look into the Chinese produced Lodge vs the French produced Le Creuset. I am new to the market of enameled cast iron and own three pieces that were gifts with a recent Christmas gift of choosing another one. I am looking to get the biggest bang for the buck but with the environment and my conscience running neck and neck.
    After visiting the Lodge website it states,”Our enameled cast iron is made to our strict specifications by our partner foundry in China.” so I looked up,”foundry in China and environment” as my keywords. I came across Foundry Products: Competitive Conditions in the U.S. Market, Inv. 332-460 written by the US Trade Commission. On page 9-42 it stated foreign invested foundries are typically held to a higher environmental standard then state owned. This gave me a little more peace of mind as I don’t want to add to any of the horrible air pollution I see on the news. Then the next section below was about workers rights and it spelled out that these so called protections are essentially not enforced, and they have a high rate of industrial accidents. That is enough of a turn off for me to buy the product. I feel Lodge is now written off my list no matter how cheap or how well it cooks.
    I then went to the Le Creuset website and learned their enameled cast iron has been made in the same place since 1928 and opened their foundry in 1925 in Fresnoy-le-Grand, France. They recycle the molds for each product to reduce waste and be environmentally friendly. Looking into France Foundry and environmental impacts I learned they meet a ISO 140001 environment management process that is audited by a third party. I must admit that sounds great. Looking into France’s labor laws I learned their labor laws are awesome and they get 2.5 days of time off per month. That is more time off then anyone I know in the US gets. I must admit I am envious and support work life balance for everyone.
    Looking at this I will still buy Le Creuset because it is better for people, the environment, and my conscience. The only downside is one pays for that, which I am willing to do, even if it means I only get to add one pice to my collection every year.

  77. I’ve had a Lodge enameled Dutch oven for almost 2 years and love it! No issues at all – bottom gets did colored but very diluted bleach and water cleans it up. It was about $85.00 and we bought it at a Kroger grocery store. I wanted a Tramontina, which Cooks recommended as a second to Le Crueset; there was some sort of manufacturering issue and they weren’t available for a while. Finally found them again at SAMs Club this past fall, for around $40.00. Love it too – and it has the automatic basting ridges on the underside of the lid like Le Crueset. I can afford a Le Crueset but don’t feel the need at this time. I use both my Lodge and Tramontina Dutch ovens interchangeably and often, and have had no problems with either.

  78. Thank you for this excellent review! My boss went out and bought the Lodge dutch oven after I shared a link to this post on my blog. He said it “won Christmas.” 🙂 I still love having my one Le Creuset Dutch oven, but next time I’m in the market I will definitely consider something less expensive. Thanks again.

  79. i love both pots. i do have a dutch oven but it’s not tall enough. it’s brand is “club” with a club icon on the handle like in the deck of playing cards. it’s been reliable so far for 30+ years of cooking although a hunk of meat taller that 4 inches won’t get covered. i have to cube or cut everything to size.

    i like to keep my club, but i also want to buy either le crouset or lodge for taller orders. iwish they are availiable in the Philippines, where i am. sigh!

  80. I’ve had a Lodge 6 Qt dutch oven for about 5 years that I absolutely loved. About a year ago the enamel started cracking and eventually chipped off the bottom. I was afrait it was going to scratch my cooktop so decided I should start researching my options (thinking it was time to bite the bullet and purchase a Le Creuset). I was so glad to come across this blog!

    After reading everyone’s comments I took a chance and emailed Lodge. There response was almost immediate and just asked if I could send a picture of the pot where the damage was. I did and they promptly replied they were sending me a replacement…..no charge, no shipping, no returning of the damaged one.

    I am so impressed by their customer service. I love my Lodge and will continue to add them to my collection of cookware!

  81. It’s 2013 and I want to buy my brother a dutch oven for Christmas. He sent me a link to some ceramic thing, but I knew he wanted enameled cast iron. I asked him about size and color, and he was, of course, very unhelpful and offered no opinion. I own a Staub, so I leaned that way. I Googled Staub vs LC and came across this post. hmmmmm.

    Onto Plan B. We have summer cottage that my siblings and I share. Many mutual friends, many wonderful dinners going late into the evening talking smack to one another. SO, I ordered a Lodge 7 qt enameled cast iron dutch oven in brick red and gave it to my brother to test. I suggested that he use it at home and develop SOME kind of opinion regarding size and color. Then, we will take the Lodge to the cottage and use it there, LEAVE it there, and I’d get him a Staub for home use.

    He loves the Lodge. So, now I just have to pry his size and color choice out of him. He cooks for less people at home than at the cottage, so maybe he needs the 6 qt…. I think I’ll get him the purple one just to spite him…. no. I’ll get the red or the blue.

    This is all a very long winded way to say “thank you” for your post and your test. I think it was a good test. If you ever get a Staub, maybe 12 pounds of ribs? 🙂

  82. I do not recommend the Le Creuset enameled pots. After my experience that showed the warranty does not count for much, I wouldn’t spent the extra again and would buy a much cheaper version. I bought a Le Creuset large round pot (dutch oven) and used it only a handful of times when I found two chips at the bottom. I sent pictures to the company given that it was almost brand new and I knew there was lifetime warranty and they said that based on the pictures they can see I overheated the pot and the warranty would not apply. I don’t know what overheating means exactly but I was using it for normal cooking of soups and stews so I don’t know. My mom has had similar cast iron cookware from a much cheaper brand for over 30 years and it never ever cracked or chipped even though I’m sure that over this period of time, she must have done some so called overheating to it. So I’m extremely disappointed with both the quality and the warranty. I wouldn’t spent he premium for the Le Creuset brand again.

  83. Just wanted to add my experience. I had a Lodge enameled dutch oven that developed a chip. I contacted them via email and they replaced it free of charge and they didn’t even ask me to return the chipped one. They just wanted pics of the interior, exterior and size dimensions to make sure I got the same one. Lodge is a great company and thanks to them I have a dutch oven for another 10 years.

  84. A wonderful post, it was very enjoyable to read!

    You didn’t mention the absolute best enamelled cookware – STAUB.

    I agree with the above comments about Le Creuset and its non-existent warranty. I contacted them recently about my 10 year old pots that have worn (not chipped) enamel even on the lids. They gave me the usual line about “evidence” of overheating and offered me a “courtesy” discount of 40% off once I sent my pots back the them at my expense!!!!!! I”m not really sure why I would have to send my pots back if they’re not replacing them, but they were very impolite so there was no point in asking for an explanation.

    I have a lot of Lodge cast iron and there is a MARKED difference in how it performs. It doesn’t conduct heat as well as the Le Creuset or the Staub and I’m surprised you didn’t mention that. A pot of water will boil far faster in a Le Creuset or Staub, and the surface of the pan heats much more evenly than the Lodge.

    I have an electric cooker, maybe if I had a gas cooker my experience would be different.

    Either way, Le Creuset has let me down, if you want a luxury brand, go for Staub!

  85. Did similar experiment with Lodge enamel, le cristot? enamel where I returned both and added a 3.2l Braiser to my 1.4L that I was already using for a few months.I can say I am a total novice,but wanted to have good cookware,and was willing to try alternatives to the default cast iron brands.To be fair,I did own a non enameled Lodge skillet and small pot which I still have and like a lot.Found the le cristot started losing the exterior enamel within a few uses.The enameled Lodge didn’t clean well,the stain really showed with one use versus the Le Creuset that would clean up,with mild staining.The enameled Lodge did heat up well,and cooked well for its short stint in my kitchen,just not the same overall performance as the LC.

  86. Le Creuset recently replaced one of their enameled tea pots for me. I had it a couple of years beyond the 5 year warranty, but they were just fantastic to work with me. So many times companies don’t stand behind their products, and it’s nice to deal with one that does – even without a receipt. – As many others have said, contact them directly through their customer service email. – Thanks Le Creuset!

  87. I own both and have not had to test the warranty with either. Buy Lodge…manufactured here in the USA! Now, where do we get the rib recipe?

  88. DEPENDING on the STORE policy, you might ignore the exclusion.
    I work at BBB on the weekends and my store takes all the coupons for every-thing – no exclusions.
    So, call your local store to find out their policy beforehand before you decide.
    I have heard of locations in other states that have exclusions; and that also do not take expired coupons. My store accepts the coupons (that come in the mail; or in magazines/flyers) even though they have expired.
    Call your local store for their policies.

  89. I have owned and used both for many years. I have used Le Creuset for about 40 years and Lodge for about 10 years. I have never had a new Le Creuset or Descoware the brand that was bought out by Le Creuset in the 70’s. I bought my Lodge new, because it was so similar to my Le Creuset I thought it would perform the same. It does, however, the OLD Le Creuset far, far, far, far, far, out performs the Lodge in durability and ease of cleaning. Remember I am speaking about vintage Le Creuset. New Le Creuset may very well be no better than new Lodge, I cannot speak for what the company has recently produced. But I can tell you for sure, nothing on the planet out performs the grey Glissimail used to enamel old vintage Descoware and for a short time the Le Creuset that had the grey Glissimail. I would pit my 50 year old vintage Le Creuset against ANY comers for another 15 years. Or like an earlier reviewer said, buy cheap buy twice. Kind of the same thing and you don’t have to wait as long to get some.

    Helen

  90. Call me a traditionalist, hipster or whatever you wish, but I would never buy an enameled cast iron anything for the simple fact they chip. Once it’s chipped, there is nothing you can do but live with it or replace it. All I have to do to my Lodge cast iron is season it maybe once a year. I use either the 10 inch skillet or the 10 inch dutch oven pretty much every day. ONCE and only once have I ever damaged a cast iron skillet beyond repair: I was pre-heating a skillet to fry some fish and the electric burner decided to short out and blew a blue spark-flame 3 feet up. There was a 1/2″ hole THROUGH the skillet. Nothing I could do for her at that point, so I sent her off to make new skillets.

  91. Great article. Just what I was looking for! I’ve only had Lodge and love them, but when I saw how much more the Le Crueset costs, I wondered if I might be missing something. Thank you!

  92. […] this test, both brands performed exactly the same. The Le Creuset comes in slightly different volumes […]

  93. The Le Creuset / price debate is something I have been interested in for years. Is Le Creuset worth the money? From my point of view no, not unless you want to impress people with your extravagance. Some 4 years ago I bought a dutch oven and did all the right things to it as one should. On the third use there was a loud cracking noise and a piece of white enamel about 2cm across flaked off. The store I bought it from went out of business in Adelaide. So I was stuck with it. I did buy at the same time some blue enamel cast iron ware made in China from a discount store. and I think the three pieces cost less than . They have been faultless and they are regularly used. Yes they have become stained and scratched but they have not flaked or broken and they will be good for a while yet. cast iron is cast iron. There might be differences in enamel but price does not seem to relate to quality in Le Creuset in my opinion. Yep, LC has tickets on itself,

  94. Also, on auction sites, you may be able to find a Danish-made brand, Copco. My D4 is about 7 quarts; my D3, about 5.5 quarts. Copco originally was a porcelain stove manufacturer, and I believe they quit making the porcelain cookware about 1980. They also made casseroles, baking dishes, etc. I’ve been totally satisfied with my 2 Copco pieces, and also with my 7.5 qt Lodge. Bon appetit!

  95. Great review! Exactly what I needed. I have been lusting after a Le Creuset dutch oven for the longest. I am a fan of Lodge and LOVE my cast iron skillet. However, I couldn’t shake the feeling that Le Creuset was the best because they are on so many cooking show. Being on a fixed income did not justify spending that kind of money. Thank you again for your review. Lodge it is!!!

  96. The wonderful thing about growing up in South Pittsburgh TN…. we just drive down to the Lodge Manufacturing store and pick new pieces of cast iron up in a regular basis! Still manufactured in the same place since1896! And most of us still own our mother’s hand me down pieces too!

    • Uhm, yes but only the non-enameled pieces are US made, the enameled Lodge pans are made in China and I have yet to see something durable coming out of that country. Eating glass is not a hobby of mine….

  97. I have had Lodge cast iron for years – I don’t bother with the enamel. It’s pretty, but I haven’t found that it functions any differently than the regular cast iron, and it can chip, discolour or get damaged. Just get regular cast iron, and you never need to worry! My first cast iron fry pan, which I have had for 30 years, was given to me by my grandmother – she got it for a wedding present. It’s more than 85 years old, and you can’t tell the difference from the new ones!

  98. Thank you so much for this comparison – I found it highly informative and I laughed out loud several times, as I enjoyed your honest expressions of love toward your Le Creuset. This comparison really helped me better understand what to do about putting a dutch oven on my wedding registry (everyone points to Le Creuset or Staub, but no one ever mentioned Lodge except my mom!). Thanks!

  99. I love my lodge cast iron cookware (not enameled) and have been considering enameled but they send their good old American made cast iron to China to be enameled and anything made in China kinda scares me these days, lead, toxic chemicals etc keeps showing up in stuff they make. I wonder where the expensive stuff is coated and where their enamel comes from?

  100. I recently purchased two Lodge dutch ovens. I always hesitated with Lodge (vs. Le Creuset) because I thought the black rims and lid rims were exposed cast iron, subject to rusting concerns on non-enameled cast iron. I’ve even read about how to season and seal those rims. While reading the manual for my new Lodge Dutch oven, I was pleased to discover the following:

    “There is no exposed cast iron on your enamel cookware. The black cooking surfaces, pot rims and lid rims are matte porcelain.”

    Fantastic!

  101. I am in the market for an enameled cast iron pan so this article is helpful. I, too, won’t buy the Lodge enamel pot because it is made in China. What a shame. I did let them know my sentiments and the reason they gave me for manufacturing the line in China is they haven’t found a company in the US that can do it for them. I don’t know how hard they have tried nor do I know how difficult it would be for a company to tool up to make their line, but with all the interest in this one article I would think it is a product line that would sell quite a few units. It is hard to justify spending $300 for a pot. So I will keep looking and hopefully in the near future they will be made in the US. In my experience things made in China look pretty but don’t last. Their standards and shortcuts scare me. I buy US whenever I can.

    • I trust Lodge among any other cookware company making ECI in China because I think they truly value their American customers and are on top of quality control. From what I’ve read here and there online, US standards are such that it’s prohibitively expensive to do ECI here because of EPA regulations, and the price would be the equivalent of LC or other items manufactured in France. As Lodge wishes to keep things affordable for their customers, they set up shop in China, where they oversee every step of the process. For these reasons, I purchased a Lodge dutch oven in that glorious red color and though it does have a few chips on the handles from lots of wear and tear I am overwhelmingly pleased with the quality, ease of cleaning, and how it cooks. It does work as well as my LC pot and I find myself using it more often because I like the rounded bottom.

      • There is a market for LC in America, though, so clearly there are people here willibg to pay LC prices. I wonder why Lodge doesn’t take a flyer on a run of enameled pots made in the U.S., just to see how they’d do.

  102. […] Jesse Cross of The Hungry Mouse and Good Housekeeping also like the Lodge. In her review, Cross states, “In the end, the Lodge performed just as well as my tried-and-true Le Creuset. … It did the same work that my Le Creuset did, at a fraction of the cost. … If I needed new cast iron now, I wouldn’t think twice: I’d definitely go for a Lodge.” […]

  103. Thanks for the comparison! I was wondering why I need to spend 200+ on LC if I can get Lodge for under $100! but I do love my LC very much and thinking if I should save up for another one or just go with Lodge… decisions decisions…

    One thing not related to the pot comparison, I use ” Bar Keeper’s friend” http://goo.gl/XOuzlU
    to treat the dark staining at the bottom of my LC, pour some powder on sponge and rub the pot dry with a little water, it works like magic for me! Hope this helps!

  104. Hello,

    I really enjoyed your comparison. I do own the same Lodge cast iron pot you have in a grey, bought mine at Home Goods for a good price. I also have two lodge raw cast iron skillets that are well seasoned. I however have a Le Creuset cast iron grill pan, and a small 7″ skillet. I tend to reach out for my Lodge raw cast iron ones more, than I do the enamel coated 7″ skillet from Le Creuset…I love my Lodge 6qt pot, that I’ve had since December…Lately I’ven been thinking about adding a 4qt pot to my collection…But I don’t know if I should invest in Le Creuset of get another Lodge…I haven’t had mine for very long, but I do notice your post was from back in 2011….I was wondering if you could do an update blog, or perhaps chime and let us know if you still think Lodge performs just as good as your Le Creuset…Or if after some use for 5yrs you’ve noticed that you prefer your Le Creuset over your lodge….I think a lot of people would enjoy your input, and update on how both pots have been performing & treating you. Thanx again for this beautiful review.

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