We were excited to try a legendary piece of cast iron from the fabled Le Creuset line. We chose a beautiful enamel-coated Marseille-blue colour and couldn’t wait to start cooking.
- Gorgeous design
- Great durability
- Enameled coating makes it easy to maintain
- Holds a lot of food
- Uneven heating
- Very heavy
- Unsafe handle
Le Creuset Features & Specs
- Size: 26 cm
- Weight: 2.7 kg
- Material: Cast Iron
- Coating: Enamel
- Handle: Enamel coated cast iron
- Dishwasher safe: Yes (but not recommended)
- Metal utensils: No
- Oven Safe: Yes (250°C)
- Hobs: Gas, electric, ceramic, induction
To access all tests and scores of frying pans we tested, read our full best frying pan article.
The advantage to enamelled cast iron is that it is a Teflon-free coating, which means you never have to season your Le Creuset cast iron pan. It is impervious to acids in sauces, so you can cook just about anything in it. It is not nonstick, however, and released food about the same as the better stainless pans in our tests.
What we discovered was that this pan just doesn’t seem to have a distinct purpose. It has all the negative properties of a heavy cast iron pan, including uneven heating, but without the benefit of the virtually nonstick seasoning and impervious durability of raw cast iron.
While this pan looks beautiful on the stove and at the table, it just doesn’t seem to have any cooking benefits. We found that this was the most uneven pan in our test, showing a 44-degree difference in 5 places during our long-term chicken fry. This unevenness was apparent when frying chicken wings. Wings in the centre cooked quickly, while those on the outside hardly browned at all. It took manoeuvring from inside to out to get all the wings to cook properly.
It is a large pan, and was able to fit 13 chicken wings, with a total volume of 2.2 litres.
Ease of use
The Le Creuset has a short handle that got very hot, up to 54°C, in our test. It was one of the pans that we found ourselves getting burned by, probably because the blue, enamelled handle looks so harmless. You cannot flip food easily in a pan of this heft (2.68 kg), and the steep sides and sharp angles made it hard to manoeuvre eggs with a spatula.
One nice thing is that it is so heavy and stable that you can fill it up with a heaping portion of macaroni with cheese and stir it without ever having to touch the pan at all. It just stays where you put it.
Cleaning and maintenance
Cleaning and caring for this pan is easier than cast iron because it is coated inside with black enamel and has a lovely exterior coating. Le Creuset recommends only cleaning with water to keep the patina forming on the enamel inside. Also be careful not to overheat the pan (don’t leave it empty on a hot stove for very long) because the enamel can crack.
This pan is a signature piece, and it would make a nice conversation starter at dinner parties. It is comforting and has warmth and charm that comes with a hefty price tag. It also comes in 9 different colors which is a style option that no other pan in our test could match.