Le Creuset vs All Clad, these two are biggest name in the cookware industry. But the big question is, who makes the best cookware? While this may disappoint some people, but all clad usually wins in terms of performance. The metal use is simply better on their cookware. However, there is more to a cookware than just performance. The color, the shape and the design are all important factor. This comparison will go through each aspect of the cookware and we will see which brand is truly better.
Le Creuset vs All Clad Quick Summary
|Best Cookware Categories||Le Creuset Dutch Oven||All Clad Copper Core Skillet|
|Colors||Wide Range||Brushed and Polished|
|Brand Awareness||Known Around the World||America|
|Metals and Materials||Enamel Cast Iron, Ceramic and Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel, Aluminum, Copper|
|Thoughts||The Dutch Oven are the star of the show. Because of the metals used, they are best suited for braising and retaining temperature. The design, color and heat retention makes it a great choice for serving on the table top. No other company has the reputation and design that Le Creuset has.||All Clad Copper Skillet is the best choice in their line up. It has a well designed shape and its perfect for searing and making sauces. The metal used will perform better than Le Creuset. However, All Clad does not have the same flair that Le Creuset has, it does not serve the function of center piece. If you are entertaining people Le Creuset would be better.|
|Recommended Reviewed Cookware||Dutch Oven||Copper Core Skillet|
Le Creuset is a french manufacturer of enameled cast iron cookware. It was founded in 1925 by two Armand Desaegher and Octave Aubecq. The original color, which is the volacanic flame is their most popular color. Ever since then, their cookware is known as the best cookware in the industry. Le Creuset have also expanded their produce line to various utensils and bakeware but those are usually produced offshore.
All Clad is a America manufacturer of cookware. It was founded by John Ulam, a metallurgist in 1967. Although their original purpose was to produce coins for the US mint, they have shifted manufacturing to produce cookware. They have also started to produce various cookware utensils like tongs or spatula but those are made offshore as well.
Le Creuset vs All Clad Metal
Before we get into the review, it is important to understand the metal that these two manufacturer use. This will give you an idea on how one cookware will perform over the other.
Le Creuset cookware primarily consists of a enamel cast iron. This is what they are most known for. However, the issue with cast iron is that its a poor conductor of heat. If you compare the thermal conductivity of cast iron to aluminum, you can see that it is at least 4 times better than cast iron. As a result, they simply cannot beat copper of aluminum in terms of heating. What makes it worse is the enamel coating. That coating is made of powdered glass and it actually makes it perform worse.
The advantage that cast iron has over aluminum is sheer mass. Because its so heavy, it can hold heat a lot better than aluminum or copper. This makes it great for searing food and caramelizing the curst.
In general, aluminum is a better metal to use for cooking. Le Creuset have a line of Stainless steel cookware that is suppose to compete with the likes of All Clad. However, in my opinion, All Clad still win in this regards. That is not to say that its bad, but I simply find the tri ply cookware of All Clad to be superior.
Most of All Clad cookware uses a Fully Cladded Design. This means that their cookware has multiple layers of metal sandwiched together. The thickness is uniform from the base to the rim. Their D5 has 5 layer and their d7 have 7 layers. In their copper core line, they use copper to improve heat conductivity.
They also have a nonstick line called the HA1. It uses anodized aluminum but the only issue is that its made in China.
In general, the metal used by all clad is generally better in terms of thermal conductivity. They have less heat spots and they heat up quicker as well. However, for heat retention, Le Creuset will win.
Le Creuset vs All Clad Colors
Colors is in reference to the different color available by the manufacturer. This also refers to the appearance of the bare metal finish that different manufacturer employs.
Le Creuset (Winner)
Hands down, you cannot beat Le Creuset in terms of the colors available. They have all colors of the rainbow and more. This makes it very attractive for those who enjoy decorating their home.
They will often come out with very limited runs of color. Some of my favorite limited edition would be the sakura design or even more recently the Star Wars theme design. I personally believe this is why Le Creuset is so successful. They can capture a wider audience than just the hardcore cookware geek.
All Clad is a lot more limited in the choice of color. What they basically have is bare metal with different finishes. You can either get a mirrored polished stainless steel or a brushed finish.
The Aluminum looks more like a stone grey and the brushed stainless steel look like a metallic grey.
Their copper core line is finished with a stainless steel exterior with a copper band showing. That bare copper band does nothing but show off its copper.
The ha1 is the only black finished cookware.
While these “Color” might look basic, they are all beautifully made. Its not bad by any means but they lose compared to Le Creuset.
Le Creuset vs All Clad Performance
Performance means how fast the cookware heats up, provide even heat and retain heat. This was touched upon at the metal portion but we will actually provide test results for this category.
To test the how well it distribute heat and how well it heats up, I perform a toast test where I place a piece of toast in the center than weight it down with a meat pounder. I heat up the pan for a total of 2-3 min then see the color of the toast. For the All Clad pans, I only used 2 minutes.
In spite of what most people claim, cast iron cookware are very poor conductor of heat. If you look at the test result below , you can see that it conducts heat very poorly. I had to increase my test time to 3 minute in order to give any coloring to the toast.
Not only that, there are big issues in regard to the heat distribution. There is big heat spots on the upper region of the toast. The lower region will remain unbrowned. This isnt something you really want when searing food.
The enamel coating is also correlated with degraded performance. I tested the skillet by lodge which has no enamel coating. That result showed that it performed better than Le Creuset. Although the enamel protects the cast iron from rusting, it takes away the heat conductivity cast iron.
In terms of sticking, it is poor. Its not bare cast iron and it wont take on the same seasoning. You will never get the same nonstick performance.
What Le Creuset does well is heat retention. Because of the weight of the pan, it is able to hold a lot of heat. This means that once it gets hot, it will stay hot.
Their newer line of stainless steel cookware does perform better than their cast iron cookware. However, it doesn’t seem like Le Creuset is interested in expanding that line.
All Clad (Winner)
All Clad on the other hand tries to use the best metal available for their cookware. While most of their cookware uses an aluminum core, their high end line uses a copper core. That pan actually heats up the fastest and provide the best heat distribution.
If you look below, their d5 cookware actually provides a pretty decent heat distribution and heats up fast.
Looking at the copper core pan, the heat distribution is near perfect. There is very little hot spot and it provides an even sear on the toast. This is something that you simply do not get with Le Creuset.
In terms of heat retention, it does not perform as well as Le Creuset. All Clad tries to combat this with their d7 line which has even more layers their d5 line. If you want something that performs similar to cast iron, then you should get that line.
In terms of sticking, I would say that Le Creuset is slightly better. If you do not know how to cook with stainless steel, everything will stick. It is never recommended to cook delicate food with stainless steel until you know how to cook in it.
Le Creuset vs All Clad Weight
This answer to this should be obvious now. Le Creuset is heavier than the likes of All Clad. Whether this is good or bad depends on you. Most people do not like how heavy cast iron pans are. But that weight gives it the ability to retain heat.
In cookware like dutch oven, this heavy heat retaining property is actually beneficial. It is also great when you sear steak. However, for ergonomic purpose, most people prefer all clad, its perfectly balanced.
Le Creuset vs All Clad Reputation
While reputation wont affect performance, some people do like the status and prestige that cookware gives. This is important when you are giving gifts to individuals, they will be more impressed by reputation rather than performance.
Le Creuset is known as THE cookware manufacturer. If you think of high end cookware, people think of Le Creuset. Even though All Clad is starting to become more popular, they simply do not compare.
One final thing, All Clad is made in America and Le Creuset is made in France. Some people prefer things made in America and others in France. The ironic thing is that All Clad is now own by a French Company…so yea.
If your focus is on performance, than All Clad is the clear winner. Their cookware heats up faster and has less heat spot. However, for designs and color, Le Creuset is better. One Caveat to this is the Dutch Oven. Since the primary purpose is to keep food hot, you want something big and heavy. Le Creuset Dutch Oven hits all that point. Even though All Clad have their own Dutch Oven, they cannot hold heat as well as Le Creuset.
For things like Frying Pans and Sauce Pot, I recommend you stick with All Clad. They react faster to heat change and they generally sear better as well. The copper core skillet and sauce pot comes highly recommended.
Like this article? Check out our Staub vs Le Creuset Article.