Staub or Le Creuset Dutch oven: which one is better?
If you like cooking using a Dutch oven then you are probably dreaming about a Staub or a Le Creuset Dutch oven. They are both made in France using cast iron which makes them a sturdy and durable piece of cookware. Another similarity is the price. Both brands are not cheap. This is definitely not an impulse buy but an investment that requires some deeper consideration.
Making the comparison
What are the main differences between the two brands? I have tried cooking with both and here is a short list of the main differences.
Which one is easier to lift: Le Creuset is lighter because of the thinner construction making it easier to lift. Another point for Le Creuset are the bigger handles of the pot which makes it easier to maneuver. Staub is heavier and a great amount of the weight is in its lid. So, it’s good to take the lid off before lifting the pot.
The best interior: The main difference between Le Creuset and Staub lies in the pot’s interior. They are both made with enamel cast iron but Satub has a black matte enamel interior that is slightly rough while Le Creuset has a light-colored and more smooth interior. If you don’t like cooking in a dark pot then Staub is not the right choice for you. The dark interior makes it hard to see if fond is developing or if the food is burning. But, with time one gets used to it. Because the Staub interior is slightly rough, over time the oils used for cooking will penetrate the pores of the enamel making it a perfectly self-seasoned and nonstick cooking surface.
Easier to maintain: They are both easy to clean but Le Creuset gets stained with use because the interior is light colored. Staub, on the other hand, has a black interior so you won’t notice the discolorations and staining. If you get the Le Creuset pot you must know that with time your pot’s cooking surface will change in appearance and become somewhat dingy. I find that the Staub interior is sturdier than Le Creuset. I think the reason lies in the fact that Staub Dutch ovens were originally designed for heavy restaurant use.
The best lid: Staub has a heavier lid that fits snugly retaining the moisture. Moreover, Staub has a special lid with selfbasting spikes that retain the moisture in the oven. So, the Staub pot is ideal for making all those recipes that require basting like roasted meat. I love it for braising as well. On the other hand, Le Creuset has a smooth lid that is easier to clean.
The best lid knob: Staub has a brass/nickel knob that is heat resistant up to 500 ºF. The knob gets really hot, so be cautious. Le Creuset has a phenolic knob that is oven-safe to 350-400 ºF, which makes it great for stovetop cooking but not so much for the oven. You can buy a stainless steel replacement knob and use it for the oven. It costs around $10. So, Le Creuset offers you two different knobs to combine depending on the cooking appliance you are using (stovetop or oven).
The best look: Le Creuset is more colorful and modern looking. Staub has a high-gloss enamel finish and neutral colors. Even though it’s really a matter of taste, in my opinion Staub is more stylish. But, perhaps for somebody it might look too formal and traditional. Definitely a piece of cookware for special occasions.
The best price: Both brands are at the high end of the price range for Dutch ovens and they are certainly not cheap. They don’t offer the exact same sizes for Dutch ovens, but when compared Staub seems to be a few dollars cheaper.
The final verdict: Overall, I would give a slight advantage to Staub the main reason being that it has a great interior that stands the test of time. I also like the Staub look and the neutral colors (it matches well my kitchen décor). On the other hand Le Creuset has some advantages as well. It's easier to lift and handle and you are given the option of two different lid knobs.