Have you ever tried cooking in Enameled Cast Iron Cookware? If not, perhaps, using one is what you need right now to pep up your cooking skills.
Traditional cast iron cookware has always been an essential part of our kitchen. However, a majority of celebrity chefs and cooks nowadays prefer to use the enameled versions of cookware.
Enamel-coated cast iron cookware can make your kitchen chores easier primarily because they are easy to clean.
But, that’s not all.
There are many other benefits for why you should choose Enameled Cast Iron Cookware over traditional cast iron cookware. If you are struggling with your cooking skills, why don’t you take some time out from your schedule and read this article to learn how to ease your struggle?
We will have a look at the best Enameled Cast Iron Cookware and some tips to use them more effectively.
What is Enameled cast iron?
Enameled cast iron is one step ahead of the cast iron cookware we have been using over the years. In fact, it is literally ‘one step ahead’ considering the traditional cookware is processed further through one more step before they are converted to the enameled cast iron cookware.
Let me describe this in simple words.
Once your traditional cast iron cookware is manufactured, a glass particulate known as “frit” is applied to it.
Next, it is baked at a higher temperature of nearly 1200 to 1400ºF. This causes the frit to get converted into a smoother porcelain surface, which is bonded nicely to the iron cast.
That is why the enameled cookware does not have any cast iron exposed to the surface. The black surface of the cookware, the pot rims as well as the lid rims have a matte porcelain finish. The porcelain finish is harder, though it may get chipped, if dropped or banged.
What makes enamel cast iron cookware more desirable is these utensils are resistant to strong alkaline and acidic foods and hence, can be safely used to cook, marinate, and refrigerate.
Here are some more features of enamel cast iron cookware that make it superior to the traditional iron cast cookware.
Protects core material
In enamel cast iron cookware, the vitreous enamel or the glass particle is fused and bonded to the underlying layer by using intense heat. This allows for the creation of a non-porous finish, which can protect the core material of the pots and pans.
Enameled cast iron cookware is resistant to rust and can be washed easily. Its enamel coating will ensure the strong aroma of garlic, onion, or seasoning will not be retained by the pots.
Lodge vs Le Creuset enameled cast iron
Lodge and Le Creuset are too most popular brands offering enameled cast iron cookware.
Both Lodge and Le Creuset have their own fan base. We will help you decide which brand is better for you because there are several similarities and some differences in the detail.
To begin with, Lodge is popular for the range of cast iron cookware it offers while Le Creuset Signature is largely appreciated for its Dutch ovens.
Now we are going to compare these two brands in terms of enameled cast iron cookware. The additional layer in these cookware gives it a smoother finish making it easier to clean and nicer to look at.
It also allows you to check how your cooking is progressing, particularly when you are browning the food, thanks to its light-colored surface. The enamel layer also ensures there are no alterations in the food flavors as the extra layer prevents the food from coming in contact with metal, that is iron.
Keeping these specific features of enameled cast iron cookware, we will take a look at the differences between Le Creuset and Lodge. We will see how these two brands offer unique features that can enhance the convenience you can derive from using enameled cast iron cookware.
The curved shape of Lodge ovens tapers towards the bottom while Le Creuset ovens have straighter sides that join at the bottom to form a pronounced angle. This difference in shape does matter a lot while cooking.
The Le Creuset can give you a larger base, thanks to its straight sidewall. This means you will have a broader cooking area to sear and brown, a benefit you will not be able to enjoy while using Lodge ovens.
The lid of Le Creuset Signature is flatter while that of the Lodge is taller and dome-shaped. If you have limited vertical space in the cabinet, a shorter pot with a flatter lid would be a good choice for you.
However, if you are cooking a whole chicken or a larger volume of food that sits a bit higher than the rim of your pot, the dome lid of Lodge oven would be more convenient for you as it would ensure the food doesn’t get squashed when the lid is closed.
The Lodge ovens have a stainless-steel knob, which is oven-safe for temperatures up to 500°F. Most models of Le Creuset’s have a composite, oven-safe lid knob.
Both the Le Creuset and Lodge have large handles, which allow you to have a firm grip on the vessel. But, the handles of Le Creuset are roomier because of the larger loop.
Le Creuset has a smoother and higher quality finish compared to the Lodge’s. The coating of Lodge’s is often uneven and prone to leave marks on its interior. Using a metal spoon for a few stirs is all it takes for these marks to appear.
Le Creuset Dutch ovens are available in a larger range of sizes when compared to the Lodge’s. If you are specifically looking for a big Dutch oven to cook for more than 10 people, you may not get the required size at Lodge’s. The biggest capacity of the ovens of this brand is just 7.5-quart that can serve approximately 7 to 8 people.
And if you look at the size range available at Le Creuset Dutch, their largest oven is oval-shaped having a whopping capacity of 15.5-quart.
Cooking can often get boring. And a prettier color may sometimes pep up your mood and help you cook some interesting dishes. Perhaps, this is why; the enameled cast iron Dutch ovens by Le Creuset are made available to you in a wide range of colors. On the other hand, most Lodge’s ovens have a darker color, which some of you may not like.
When it comes to price, Le Creuset Signature Dutch ovens are way above Lodge. It is estimated that each Le Creuset Signature Dutch oven costs nearly 7 to 8 times more than the price of the Lodge’s.
It may not matter much to you. Yet, let me reveal one more difference, just for your information.
Though Lodge is known as an American made cookware, the Lodge enameled Dutch oven is made in China.
The Le Creuset Dutch oven, on the other hand, is made in France. This could be one of the reasons why Le Creuset Dutch ovens are priced in an expensive range.
If you don’t really mind the tag, “Made in China”, the Lodge would serve you well. But if you are health-conscious and are concerned about the safety aspects, Le Creuset could be the better option for you.
Looking at the pros and cons of Le Creuset and Lodge cookware, we feel the former offers more benefits, albeit at a much higher price. So, if you do not mind the higher price tag, Le Creuset could be the one you are looking for.
After having a look at the pros and cons of Le Creuset and Lodge’s cookware, now is the time to choose the best enameled cast iron range. We will check some of the best Dutch oven, skillets, frying pans, and other cookware that would make cooking an enjoyable experience for you.
The Best Enameled Cast Iron Cookware
Let’s begin with finding out the best enameled cast iron cookware based on various parameters, such as heat distribution, resistance to scratches, quality, durability, and price.
I fell in love with this Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron Oven the moment I saw it. Its cherry red color was enough to attract my attention. However, color is not our priority.
So, I decided to leave aside my first impression and take a deeper look at the features.
The high-quality material of this enameled cast iron allows for an even and superior heat distribution and retention. This not just ensured the cooking is faster but also even. I don’t need to stir the contents as repeatedly as I usually do as the even heating ensures the food is cooked properly throughout.
I found the handles of this oven quite convenient to use. These are nearly 45% larger compared to most other ovens and provided me a steady grip, even with my oven mitts on.
It also has a sand-colored interior that is resistant to wear and tear. Another feature worth a mention is its larger composite knob, which is made to withstand higher temperatures.
The long-lasting exterior enamel of this cookware is also resistant to chipping and cracking. I am sure this one’s made to last for given its high quality material and durable interior and exterior.
The 7-1/4-Quart size of this oven is perfect for you to cook a delicious meal for your family.
Keeping this in mind, I feel the higher cost is justified. It is available in a wide range of colors and you are sure to find one that fits your kitchen.
Here’s another medium-sized Red Enamel Dutch Oven you can choose to cook a family meal.
What we really liked about this Dutch oven is the flawless pairing of function and form it offers.
The ergonomically designed handles are really convenient to use. It is easy to hold while cooking and cleaning. The advanced interior enamel is resistant to chipping, staining, and dulling and can be cleaned easily.
And the colorful exterior enamel is also long-lasting and resistant to chipping and cracking.
The sand-colored interior enamel is made to make it easier for you to monitor food while it is cooking thus preventing sticking and burning. However, this feature doesn’t work as expected. I am not quite happy with the way it heats the contents. There are times when the bottom part gets heated too much while the top remains uncooked.
Some other features I liked about this Dutch oven are the oversized handles that ensure an even distribution of weight, a secure grip, and the heat resistant, composite knobs.
Priced in the mid-range, we feel it may not be worth the investment considering it may spoil the dish if you are not careful enough to check the process continually. Le Creuset is a better investment for the long-term.
This Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Skillet can make cooking easier for you with its dual pour spouts and large iron handle.
It is a medium-sized skillet having a size of 11-3/4-inches that is enough for you to cook the main or side dish for your lunch or dinner.
The crack and chip-resistant enamel is inert, which means it will not react to foods. Moreover, the integral iron handle and helper handle provide additional support while carrying it whilst full of food.
It is available in four colors giving you a choice to match your skillet with the rest of the cookware in your kitchen. Available at a reasonable price, it does make up for one of the must-haves in your kitchen.
Enameled Cast Iron Skillet by Lodge has some features that can bring in a fun factor into your cooking!
Its porcelain surface can actually eliminate the need to season it before you add other ingredients. Its cooking surface and rim are black matte enamel, which is highly durable and won’t chip off easily.
I particularly appreciate the smoother glass surface of this skillet that would not react to ingredients keeping your food safe from the leaching of iron.
Its cast iron core also allows for even distribution and retention of heat thus ensuring the contents are cooked well across the skillet.
Priced in the low-range, you can definitely give it a try if you are on a budget.
If you are looking to buy an entire cooking range, this one’s for you! The 6-piece enameled cast-iron cookware set by Le Creuset Signature is just too good to resist.
It includes one 2-1/4-quart saucepan with a lid, one 5-1/2-quart French oven (round) with a lid, one 10-inch skillet grill (square), and one 8-by-10-inch roaster.
If you are in a hurry to set up your kitchen and get going with cooking right away, this cookware set provides you with a good head start.
The higher quality and durable material of these vessels is its best feature. The 45-percent larger handles of the pans, grills, and other cookware provide a good grip. The heating is evenly distributed across the pots. This is one of the features you need to have in your cookware, particularly if you don’t have much time to check and stir the food again and again while it’s cooking.
Some other features I liked about this cookware set are the advanced interior enamel and the secure-fitting lids having phenolic, stay-cool knobs.
So, if you are specifically looking for a cookware set, don’t hesitate to grab this one! It may look expensive; but considering the range of cookware it offers, the price is warranted.
If you are interested in finding out what other brands have to offer to your kitchen, read this section to find some of the best enameled cast iron cookware from other trusted brands.
This enameled solid cast iron is made to ensure an even and superior heat retention while its vibrant gradated exterior made of porcelain-enamel offers contemporary styling.
What makes this cookware stand apart is that it is compatible with most cooktops. It is oven-safe to 450 Degree.
The self-basting condensation ridges on its lid are designed to collect and direct the vapors to the food uniformly to produce moist, savory dishes.
It is available in different styles, colors, and sizes. So, you can choose one depending on your preferences including the amount of food you want to cook. Available in a lower price range, this brand provides a good combination of durable and cost-effective cookware.
Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Fry Pan is designed to ensure its porcelain enameled interior does not affect the flavors of food or absorb any odors. The cast iron construction of this fry pan provides superior heat retention and heat distribution.
The wide cast iron handles of this pan provide a secure and comfortable grip just like its oven-safe knob that is made to give you a nice grip.
This frying pan is available in different sizes and 3 colors. It is one of the low-priced options for frying pans you can try if you are particularly looking to save big.
Frequently Asked Questions
Read this section to find answers to the questions most people have about using enameled cast iron cookware.
How to clean enameled cast iron?
We all have created a mess of varying degrees in the kitchen. And how can we forget those cooking snafus, which needed tons of clean-up?
If you often have piles of cookware to clean, here’s how you can reduce your workload by cleaning your enameled cast iron cookware in a jiffy.
- Fill half of the pot with tap water and put it on the stovetop. Leave it uncovered.
- Bring the water to a boil and continue heating for another two to three minutes.
- Turn off the burner.
- Then, scrape the pan gently using a wooden spatula.
- Pour off the water, and allow the pan to sit briefly. This will allow the residue to flake off slowly just as the pan dries.
- Wash the pot with hot water and any dishwashing liquid.
This method of cleaning your enameled cast iron cookware will help you save time on scraping the contents that may sometimes leave your pot with scratches and marks. It will allow you to clean the pot easily and in a safe way such that it stays clean and scratch-free!
Is enameled cast iron safe?
Safety is a prime concern for all of us. I am sure you would not want to switch to enameled cast iron cookware just because it is convenient to use and easy to clean. After all; you are going to use it to cook meals for yourself and your family.
Unless you are sure it is safe and would not have any adverse effect on the food being cooked, there is no way you will let it replace your traditional trusted cast iron cookware. Right?
Ok, if the safety of Enameled Cast Iron Cookware is bothering you, you can keep your concerns aside.
It is not just safe to cook food but even better in this regard than your traditional cast iron cookware.
The traditional cast iron cookware may put you at risk of iron toxicity. The non-enameled cast iron cookware may cause this metal to seep into the food thus causing your blood iron levels to rise to toxic levels.
The excess iron levels in your body could lead to several health problems. And this risk associated with the use of cast iron cookware can be avoided by switching to enamel-coated iron.
The enamel-coated iron cookware prevents direct exposure of iron to the food. This can prevent iron from seeping into the foods thereby preventing iron toxicity. Additionally, the enamel coating is also non-reactive in nature. I will not alter the food contents by reacting to it. This is why enameled cast iron cookware is considered safer.
However, when you buy enamel coated cookware, make sure you choose a good quality product from a trusted brand. Check the coating to find out if it is thick enough and won’t chip easily. Taking these simple precautions while buying enameled cast iron cookware helps ensure your safety while also allowing you to enjoy cooking.
Based on the high-quality material, and reasonable price of Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron Skillet, we feel it is the best enameled cast iron cookware you should have in your kitchen.
If you are specifically looking for a cost-effective option, you can opt for Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Skillet.
Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast Iron Oven is another good quality enameled cast iron cookware we liked. If you do not mind paying the higher price, you can definitely have this oven. It would be a good long-term investment considering it’s durable and made to last.
How we ranked
We put hours of research into each post that features product recommendations to save you time. Before suggesting recommended products, we consider at least three times as many products as featured in the final post. We research different brands, manufactures and read both positive and negative user reviews. We condense all this information into an easy to read post that helps you make an informed choice based on your individual needs.