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May 12, 2020 5 min read

Cooking with Enameled Cast Iron

  • Enameled cast iron retains more heat very efficiently and performs any cooking task withamazing results including searing, baking, slow cooking, frying, stir-frying and sauteing
  • Preheating a cast iron pan over medium heat will provide best results cast iron can be used reliably on any heat source, including induction, and with any oven or grill
  • Once the pan is hot, almost all cooking can be continued on lower settings
  • From stove to table, Le Creuset enameled cast iron retains heat so food stays hot for serving
  • Before first use remove all packaging and labels, and wash the pan in hot, soapy water
  • Smooth sand colored interior enamel is ideal for searing, deglazing, and slow cooking with moisture and provides easy release for oven baked casseroles and sauteed items
  • Satin black interior enamel is specifically designed for grilling and browning, yet requires none of the seasoning and maintenance or raw cast iron 

Heat Recommendations

  • Le Creuset cast iron cookware can be used on all heat sources including gas, electric solid plate or radiant ring, vitro-ceramic glass, induction, and ovens fired by gas, oil, coal or wood
  • When using any glass-topped stove, always lift the pan when moving it; never slide it, as this may damage the stovetop or the base of the pan
  • Gas flames must always be confined to the base area, and must never extend around the sidewalls of the pan
  • Long handles should be positioned safely where they do not hang over the front of the stove or other heat zones
  • Medium or low heat will provide the best results for cooking, including frying and searing. Allow the pan to heat gradually and thoroughly for even and efficient cooking results. Once the pan is hot, almost all cooking can be continued on lower settings.
  • High heat temperatures should only be used for boiling liquid and reducing stocks or sauces, high heats should never be used to preheat a pan before lowering the heat for cooking
  • Cast iron retains heat so efficiently that overheating will cause food to burn or stick
  • Cast iron handles, stainless steel knobs and phenolic knobs will become hot during stovetop and oven use, always use a dry thick cloth or oven mitts when lifting 

Oils and Fats

  • With the exception of Grills, the enamel surface is not ideal for dry cooking. Your choice of liquid, oil, fat or butter should completely cover the base before heating begins. Do not leave the pan unattended, and do not allow a pan to boil dry, as this may permanently damage the enamel
  • For deep frying, the maximum oil level must not exceed 1/3 full. This depth allows sufficient height above the oil for it to rise once foods are added. An oil frying thermometer should be used for safety, and a lid should be readily available in case of overheating or flaring
  • Enameled cast iron retains heat extremely well and will allow oil to stay hot for better results 

Food Storage and Marinating

  1. The vitreous enamel surface is impermeable and therefore ideal for raw or cooked food storage, and for marinating with acidic ingredients such as wine. 

Tools to Use

  • For stirring and surface protection, Le Creuset silicone tools are recommended. Wooden or heat-resistant plastic tools may also be used
  • Metal tools, spoons or balloon whisks may be used, but require special care - they should not be scraped over the enamel surface, and do not knock these on the rim of the pan
  • Hand-held electric or battery-operated beaters should not be used, their blades will damage the enamel, and knives or utensils with sharp edges should not be used to cut foods inside a pan

Oven Use

  • The black phenolic lid knobs on our Signature range of enameled cast iron are heat-resistant to 480°F / 250°C
  • The black phenolic lid knobs on our Classic range of enameled cast iron are heat-resistant to 375°F / 190°C
  • Products with integral cast iron handles or stainless steel knobs can be used at any oven temperature
  • Pans with wooden handles or knobs must not be placed in the oven
  • Do not place any cookware on the floors of ovens with cast iron linings, this will increase the cooking temperature inside the oven, resulting in an increased cooking rate with detrimental effects on food
  • For best results always place on a shelf or rack

Cooking Tips for Grilling

  • Grills with satin black interior enamel may be preheated to reach a hot surface temperature for searing and caramelization, this advice does not apply to any other products
  • Sear lines from ribbed grills will not be produced if the pan surface is too cool, or if the food is too wet.
  • For best results while grilling and searing, it is important that the cooking surface is sufficiently hot before cooking begins and that food is patted dry
  • Place the empty pan on medium heat and allow it to heat for several minutes, then take a few drops of water on your fingers and scatter over the hot surface, if they sizzle and evaporate almost immediately it is hot and ready for use
  • Do not add oil to the cold pan—the oil may become too hot and smoke, when the surface is hot enough, lightly oil it with cooking spray or brush it with oil using a Le Creuset silicone basting brush, or very lightly oil the surface of your food.
  • Vegetable, ground nut or corn oils are recommended. Olive oil may cause excessive smoking.
  • Once a patina covers the cooking surface from repeated use, very little oil will be necessary
  • For distinct sear lines, leave the food undisturbed on the surface for several minutes, if the food is moved too quickly the lines will be poor, and steam from the food may be released onto the surface

Cooking Tips for Shallow Frying and Sautéing

  • For frying and sauteing, the fat should be hot before adding food. Bring the pan and fat or oil to the correct temperature together over medium heat
  • Oil is hot enough when there is a gentle ripple in its surface, for butter and other fats, bubbling or foaming indicates the correct temperature
  • If either begins smoking, or if butter begins browning, it is too hot and should be cooled slightly before proceeding by removing the pan from the heat source for a few moments.
  • Enameled cast iron retains heat when cold food is placed on the surface, so better caramelization and flavor are achieved

Cooking Tips for Le Creuset Stoneware

  • Le Creuset enameled Stoneware is produced with the same high quality enamel as our cast iron and the dense ceramic stoneware is perfect for oven cooking and retaining heat for table service
  • Stoneware is oven safe to 500°F and is broiler safe with a distance of 2 ½ inches
  • Stoneware products are also freezer safe, great for saving food, but should be brought to room temperature before being placed in an oven
  • All Le Creuset enameled products are dishwasher safe