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Tramontina vs Le Creuset Dutch Oven, which is better? It may surprise you that in terms of performance, there isn’t much difference. Both Dutch Oven performs really well. Le Creuset does have some minor advantage such as Enamel Durability and Better Overall Balance. However, in terms of cooking, the difference is not really that noticeable. This review will take a in depth look at the design and feature of these two dutch oven. We will see how a Chinese made dutch oven compares to a French classic
Tramontina vs Le Creuset Dutch Oven Quick Summary
|Colors||Limited||Wind Range of Color|
|Brand Awareness||America and Brazil||Known Around the World|
|Place of Manufacturer||China||France|
|Thoughts||Great Dutch Oven Design at a Fraction of the Price. However, colors are limited and Enamel is Fragile.||Widest range of colors available and its a Icon. It is slightly wider which allows for easier cooking. Expensive though.|
|Tested Cookware||Tramontina 5.5 qt Dutch Oven (Good and Budget Friendly)||Le Creuset 5.5 qt Dutch Oven (Best Performer Overall)|
Why use a Enamel Dutch Oven
There are pros and cons to a Enamel Dutch Oven. When compared to a bare cast iron, there is less overall maitance. The enamel coating protects the metal from rusting. However, since the enamel coating is basically powder glass, it degrades the overall performance. In my past tests I have found that bare cast iron always perform better in terms of head conductivity. They brown faster and generally do not stick.
What is an issue with bare cast iron is that they rust. If you cook acidic food like chili, you can risk stripping the seasoning. If that happens, rust is likely to form. The enamel coating act as a barrier protecting the cast iron underneath. Considering that a lot of dutch oven is used for soups and stews, this is a good thing.
Unfortunately, the enamel coating itself is fragile and can chip under misuse.
Tramontina vs Le Creuset Dutch Oven Design
Both of these handle are well designed. They give ample room for a comfortable and easy grip. I have enough room to clear my knuckle in both Dutch Oven. Le Creuset handle has slightly more room for my knuckles. Tramontina handle is wider though. I can fit all my finger easily in the Tramontina Dutch Oven. Where as in the Le Creuset, I can only use three of my fingers. In terms of design, I would say that Tramontina is better. The chances of you dropping the dutch oven is lower.
The shape of both Tramontina and Le Creuset are surprisingly similar. Tramontina is 10 inch in diameter with a base cooking diameter of 8.25 inch. Le Creuset is 10.3 inch in diameter and 8.5 inch in diameter. Tramontina is slightly taller at 5.25 inch while Le Creuset is only 4.75 inch.
A wider dutch oven is more practical than the taller type of dutch oven. They usually sacrifice width for height. When you do that, you have to sear food in more batches. If you dont do that, food will steam. Not only that, it is easier to stir and move food around. I recommend getting a wider dutch oven over a narrow one. Le Creuset wins this round, but both are quite close.
Tramontina vs Le Creuset Dutch Oven Lid
The design of these two lids are different. On the bottom of the Tramontina one, there are lines throughout it. Liquids will pool around those lines and it will drop back into the food. This is similar to how Staub their lid. The chisera droplets on those lid drop liquid back of the food also.
On the Le Creuset dutch oven, it is smooth. It wont “self baste” the food but it will go back into the pot eventually.
Both lids have a plastic handle so that it wont get hot over time. But there is a heat limit around 400 F, if you want to stick it in the oven, I recommend that you get a metal knob.
I know that Le Creuset have many different version knob. But for Tramontina, you have to make your own alternative. Other than that, both lids are very heavy and they hold in liquid and steam well.
Enamel Coating and Colors
Both dutch oven uses similar enamel coating. The range of color is a lot more extensive on the Le Creuset model. Where as Tramontina have only a few basic colors. The interior of both dutch oven is cream color. This lets you see the development of the fond. However overtime, the white glossy interior will discolor and marr. You can try and bleach it white again, but the glossy look will be gone.
Another thing to note is the durability of the enamel coating. In my experience, Le Creuset Enamel Coating is the most durable out of all the different manufacturer. Where as the one on Tramontina came chipped from the store. While its not going to fall apart, just dont expect the durability of Le Creuset.
On the rim of the pot, both have exposed cast iron. This is because under high heat, the enamel coating can fuse together. Older sauce pan from Le Creuset will have the lip coated. I guess they ran into some complaints.
In terms of thickness, Tramontina is thicker at 4.33 mm. While Le Creuset sidewall thickness is at 3.82 mm. In general, the thicker the cookware the better. They can retain heat a lot better. A great design to have if you intend on serving it on the table. It will keep the food hot a lot longer.
However, I think Le Creuset purposely made theirs thinner. They strike a balance of lightweight and performance. Not everyone likes a pot that is heavy. To counter any performance issues, the base of their dutch oven is made thicker. If you have a base that is too thin, all the heat will be lost and you will steam your food. Its a clever workaround that not all manufacturer do. Usually only more higher end cast iron designer like Lodge, Le Creuset and Staub will do this. Tramontina and Cuisinart not so much.
Fit and Finish
Fit and Finish on both of these pots are ok. While both have orange peel, it is less pronounced on the Le Creuset model. For whatever reason, the enamel coating never have a clear smooth paint. In the automotive industry, both will receive a F grade for it. Staub has the best finish, but it is still there.
Tramontina vs Le Creuset Dutch Oven Specs
Note:These measurement are done by me with the tools that I have on hand. The manufacturers have their own measurement guidelines and that should be assumed to be accurate. What I find on this review can vary widely due to several factors, such as ambient temperature, location, water, tool calibration, stove btu, etc..and should only be considered as my opinion.
Weight: 4085 g 9 lb Lid Weight: 1522g 3.3 lb
Rim Width:Around 10 inch
Base Cooking Diameter: Around 8.25 inch
Height: Around 5.24 inch
Thickness: 4.3 mm
Weight: 3477 g 7.66 lb Lid Weight: 1503 g 3.3 lb
Rim Width:Around 10.3 inch
Base Cooking Diameter: Around 8.5 inch
Height: Around 4.7 inch
Thickness: 3.82 mm
Le Creuset is slightly lighter due to its thinner sidewall. However, I think this was done on purpose. A lot of complaints from people is about the weight of the pot. To try and maintain performance, it seems like Le Creuset compensated for this by making its base thicker. Although I will say that Tramontina will retain its heat better.
Tramontina vs Le Creuset Dutch Oven Thoughts
Overall I think that Le Creuset dutch oven is better designed. They strike a perfect balance of weight and performance. It is slightly wider, letting you sear more food in less batches. Also the color and the Enamel coating is more durable than Tramontina. Not only that, it is made in France, where as Tramontina is made in China. However, you cannot beat the value and performance that Tramontina has. Whether Le Creuset is worth 2-3x the cost, that is up to you. If I was on a budget, I would go for Tramontina. But if you want the best dutch oven money can buy, Le Creuset wins hands down.
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