Le Creuset Skillet Review 2021 – Pricey But Built To Last

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A steak cooking on a gas stovetop in a blue Le Creuset skillet

A high quality skillet is an essential part of any cookware collection, and for my money Le Creuset makes one of the best in the business. That high quality comes with a price tag to match though.

In my Le Creuset skillet review I’m taking a closer look at this popular option. Is it worth the investment, and are there any alternatives worth considering?

(Want to learn more about cookware? Take a look through my archive for more guides and reviews.)

About The Le Creuset Signature Skillet

Le Creuset has been making high quality cookware for almost 100 years now. In that time it’s innovated in many areas of design, and is now considered the premium brand on the market.

Its most popular skillet combines cast iron durability with an enamel surface that provides an ultra-smooth cooking surface.

Enameled cast iron cookware isn’t true non-stick, but this is about as good as things get before you start adding chemical non-stick layers to the material. You also don’t have to worry about the coating wearing down over time.

As well as heating evenly, it also retains that heat very well. The manufacturing process eliminates hot spots, and this skillet can take an absurd amount of punishment at high heat without warping too.

The quality of craftsmanship in Le Creuset products extends to the coloring of the Signature skillet too.

High quality pigments really make this piece of kitchenware stand out, and the same color technology is used across the Le Creuset range. If you want to grow your collection over time, you won’t need to worry about color mismatches in your kitchen.

Who’s The Le Creuset Signature Skillet For?

If you love the idea of cast iron cookware, but don’t like the hassle of seasoning, this is the ideal skillet for you.

You get the same durability and performance of raw cast iron cookware, but enameled cast iron cookware protects the surface and provides a pretty effective non stick surface.

Le Creuset’s been producing cookware to the highest industry standards for more than a century. That quality and craftsmanship is backed up by a limited lifetime warranty.

The Le Creuset Signature skillet is also a surprisingly pretty piece of kitchen equipment – certainly when compared to the competition!

Who’s It NOT For?

If you’re working with liquid you may find the Le Creuset Signature Skillet a little frustrating. It has shallow sides, and it’s easy to splash the contents onto the cooktop.

A high end piece of cookware also commands a high end price. If you’re working to a budget, the price tag is probably the biggest thing going against the Signature skillet.

Pros

  • Cast iron cookware without the need for seasoning.
  • Built to last and includes a limited lifetime warranty.
  • Dual spout design makes it easy to pour from without making a mess.
  • Superior heat retention and outstanding overall performance.
  • Dishwasher safe for ease of cleaning.

Cons

  • Surprisingly heavy, but that goes with the territory with this sort of cookware.
  • Main handle is quite short. It keeps the weight down but means you have to handle with care.
  • It’s quite a shallow skillet. Working with liquids can be a messy affair!
  • Expensive compared to traditional cast iron cookware.
Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Iron...
  • Heavyweight fry pan requires very little oil, making it an excellent choice for low-fat cooking
  • Optimized for steady, even heat, Le Creusets improved enamel interior resists staining, dulling, and wear...
  • Black enamel interior requires no additional seasoning, unlike other cast-iron cookware

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Reviewing The Le Creuset Signature Skillet

The Signature Skillet comes in three different sizes:

  • 6.33″
  • 9.0″
  • 10.25″
  • 11.75″

For the purposes of this review I’ll be focusing on the 11.75″ model, which I think is the best option for the average family household.

Each one is otherwise the same. Only the size matters here, so just pick a size that’s going to work for your own circumstances.

Heavyweight Design & Enameled Cast Iron

The Signature skillet is fashioned from cast iron which is then layered with an enamel coating.

This provides a high performance cooking surface, without the need to keep that cast iron pan well-seasoned.

That protective layer also ensures that the skillet can’t develop rust over time, which means it’ll last longer. This isn’t a cheap skillet by any means, but it’s at least built to last.

It’s also available in quite a fun range of colors. While most cookware – particularly cast iron – is a typically drab affair, the Signature skillet is something you’ll actually want to leave out in the kitchen!

Like a lot of cast iron skillets though, the Signature is quite a heavy piece of cookware. It’s a very satisfying skillet to work with, but this is definitely something to be aware of. If you have any kind of weakness in your hands – or trouble with your grip – this isn’t going to be the skillet for you.

The section on the handle design, just a little further down the page, has more detail on this particular issue.

Cooking With The Le Creuset Signature Skillet

The Le Creuset Skillet doesn’t need any seasoning work thanks to that enamel layer.

Overall it takes a little longer to warm up than other cast iron skillets, but once hot it retains that heat extremely well.

If you’re working on other elements of a meal, this superior heat retention keeps the food warm for a surprising amount of time.

It’s also got well-positioned pouring spouts on either side of the pan. Pouring is pretty easy and doesn’t make a terrible mess of the cooktop either.

There is one problem when you’re working with liquids, however.

Overall, the skillet is quite shallow. That means you’re somewhat limited when it comes to working with liquids in higher volumes.

You need to stir quite slowly if there’s any kind of sauce in the dish, so you don’t end up spilling the contents all over the sides.

Pros & Cons Of The Handles

There are two handles on the Le Creuset Skillet.

The first of these is a fairly short handle (more on that later), designed for lifting and turning as you cook.

The second of these is a so-called “helper handle” which is located on the opposite side. When your pan is full and you need to transfer it around the kitchen, this provides some very welcome extra stability and strength.

As I just mentioned though, there’s an issue with the size of the main handle. It’s relatively short, which means you have to be careful not to make contact with the cooking surface while you’re gripping it.

I suspect it’s a necessary trade-off related to the skillet’s weight. It’s already quite a hefty thing, and adding any more length to the handle would have turned that from a slight issue into a real problem.

I should also mention that both the regular handle and the helper handle get quite hot over time. You’ll want to have a pair of oven mitts on standby when you’re transferring the contents or serving up.

Is It Easy To Clean?

Normally you’d stay well away from putting cast iron cookware through the dishwasher.

It takes a lot of work to keep a cast iron skillet well-seasoned, after all, and machine washing is a great way to undo an awful lot of hard work.

The good news with the Le Creuset Skillet is that it is dishwasher safe, thanks to that protective enamel coating.

That said, it’s quite a cumbersome thing to put through your dishwasher, and so I think it’s better to assume you’ll spend extra time hand washing this skillet.

I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. That same enamel coating makes clean-up quite easy, and certainly when compared to most other cookware.

Unless you’ve got some really stubborn stuff gripping to the surface, it washes up pretty easily alongside the rest of your kit.

It’s safe to soak as well. I’d recommend filling it with warm water and letting it rest while you do the rest of the washing up. By the time you’re done, everything should come off the Le Creuset pretty easily.

Let’s Talk About The Money

Unless you manage to stumble across a bargain, it’s fair to say that buying the Le Creuset Skillet is going to require a pretty significant investment. Certainly when you compare it to traditional cast iron cookware.

Part of that increased cost comes from the extra enamel surfacing, which protects the skillet. It also eliminates the time you’d otherwise have to spend re-seasoning the pan over time.

You also have to consider that Le Creuset offers a lifetime warranty.

This is one of those occasions where I think the Le Creuset Skillet is worth the extra money if you’re going to make regular use of a skillet, and – of course – if you can afford the upfront investment.

This stuff can last a lifetime if you look after it. If you don’t, there’s always that warranty to fall back on!

What Size Skillet Do You Need?

As I mentioned at the start of my review, the Le Creuset Skillet is available in four different sizes. I thought it would be useful to include some quick thoughts on how you might go about picking the right one for your own home:

6.33 Inch Le Creuset Skillet – I think this is too small to be effective for anything but the lightest of cooking jobs. You’ll be able to cook a single portion of meat in this, but I think you’ll be seriously limiting your potential. Considering the cost, I think you’re better off going for a bigger size.

9.0 / 10.25 Inch Le Creuset Skillet – These two are similar enough that they can be covered as one. Expect to be able to cook for up to a few people with either of these skillets. If in doubt, go for the 10.25″ to give yourself some extra wiggle room. I guarantee you’ll end up needing it if you go for the smaller option!

11.75 Inch Le Creuset Skillet – If you’re entertaining more than a few people, or are working with larger cuts of meat, go for the biggest size. It’s a bit overkill if you’re just cooking for yourself, but if you’re cooking for an entire family this is the sensible choice.

Alternatives

I wanted to include a few popular alternatives to consider in my Le Creuset Skillet review.

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet

Lodge is a name that will be very familiar to cookware enthusiasts. This is another company that’s been around for more than a century, but focuses on so-called raw cast iron pans.

Sale
Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet, 10.25",...
  • One Lodge Pre-Seasoned 10.25 Inch Cast Iron Skillet
  • Unparalleled heat retention and even heating
  • Pre-seasoned with 100% natural vegetable oil

The main difference between Lodge’s cast iron skillet and the Le Creuset is the lack of an enamel layer. That means more maintenance in the long run, as you’ll need to keep the skillet well-seasoned over time.

Raw cast iron doesn’t play nicely with acidic stuff like tomato sauces either, and can develop rust if it’s exposed to acidic liquids for long periods of time.

It still offers excellent performance and durability though, and it does so at a much lower price point. You just need to be a little more careful when using and maintaining this particular skillet.

Staub Cast Iron Traditional Skillet

Staub takes a similar approach to Le Creuset with its enameled cast iron skillet. In terms of performance, I don’t think the average home cook will notice the difference between the two.

Staub Cast Iron 11-inch Traditional Skillet -...
  • Textured black matte enamel interior ensures exceptional browning.
  • Enameled cast iron is easy to clean and doesn’t require seasoning.
  • Durable cast iron construction boasts incredible heat retention and distribution.

That similarity extends to the design of both skillets as well. Like the Le Creuset skillet, the Staub features two pouring spouts, as well as solid handles.

I think the Le Creuset is slightly easier to work with overall, thanks to the more generous looping helper handle. All cast iron cookware is quite heavy, and what sounds like a small consideration can actually be a big advantage.

If you don’t think that’s going to be an issue for you, you can save a decent chunk of change by choosing the Staub skillet over the Le Creuset.

Final Verdict On The Le Creuset Skillet?

If you can justify the upfront cost, the Le Creuset Skillet is an extremely versatile and durable piece of cookware that will last a lifetime. It’s so solidly built, you might even end up handing it down to your kids.

The heat distribution and retention is exceptional, and you don’t have to worry about hot spots or warping over time. That enamel layer also solves the thorny problem of cooking with acidic foods.

Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Iron...
  • Heavyweight fry pan requires very little oil, making it an excellent choice for low-fat cooking
  • Optimized for steady, even heat, Le Creusets improved enamel interior resists staining, dulling, and wear...
  • Black enamel interior requires no additional seasoning, unlike other cast-iron cookware

The relatively high cost is the only obstacle to owning the Le Creuset Skillet. If it’s too much for you, definitely consider one of my alternatives (particularly the Staub).

If you only want the very best skillet for your cookware collection though, the Le Creuset is the only show in town.

Click here to find out more about the Le Creuset Signature Skillet, and read more reviews from its owners.

Frequently Asked Questions

I wanted to wrap things up by answering some of the most common questions people have about the Le Creuset Skillet.

Why Is My Le Creuset Skillet Sticking?

The likely cause of this is failing to pre-heat the skillet properly. You need to warm the skillet up a little first, then add oil, then only add food once the oil has warmed up.

You won’t always need to add oil, depending on the food you’re cooking, but if you do it really does pay to let it heat up first.

As a general rule of thumb, Le Creuset skillets operate best at a low to medium heat.

Does A Le Creuset Skillet Need Seasoning?

No, that enamel layer means there’s nothing to season!

Seasoning is all about filling in the microscopic pores on a cast iron surface with oil. As there’s no exposed cast iron on the Signature skillet, there’s nothing for the oil to bond to.

Is A Le Creuset Skillet Worth It?

In terms of performance and durability, investing in Le Creuset is definitely worthwhile. That’s if you do a lot of skillet cooking, of course, and can justify the high cost.

It’s built to last a lifetime, and Le Creuset’s warranty support is second to none.

Take a look at some of the alternatives I’ve listed further up the page if your budget can’t stretch to a Le Creuset. Both of those main competitors offer excellent cast iron cookware, although raw cast iron pans do require a little more TLC.

Can You Put A Le Creuset Skillet In The Oven?

Yes. It’s oven safe and – according to the manufacturer – can be used at any temperature too.

If you’re using other Le Creuset cookware, pay attention to the owner’s manual for any given item. Some include handles that aren’t suitable for particularly high oven temperatures, so you need to work within a stricter heat range.