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French cookware is known for its quality, durability, and performance. But with so many brands to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you? In this guide, we will review the best French cookware brands and products for 2023, so you can make an informed decision about your purchase.
You already know that French cuisine is unique. Perhaps it’s the elaborately prepared recipes that have been handed down through the centuries, the fresh ingredients, or the rich sauces. Whatever it is, French cuisine has an incredible flavor. Additionally, you need some high-quality French cookware in your kitchen if you want to step up your French cooking game. Here, we’re not just discussing any old pots and pans. We are referring to the high-quality enameled cast iron skillets and Dutch ovens that will last a lifetime and enhance the flavor of everything you prepare.
We’ve included a list of the greatest French cookware manufacturers and some of their top items for 2023 in this post, so you can discover everything you need to start whipping up delicious meals in your own kitchen. After learning French, you won’t want to return. Your crepes will be lighter than air, your coq au vin will taste better, and your souffles will rise higher. A little butter, a splash of wine, and the appropriate French cookware can instantly elevate you to the status of culinary expert in the City of Light.
What Makes French Cookware So Special?
French cookware is renowned for a reason. Made from high-quality, durable materials like enameled cast iron, stainless steel, and anodized aluminum, French pots and pans are built to last and perform beautifully.
Beyond superior materials, French cookware is also thoughtfully designed. Lids fit tight to lock in moisture. Rims are smooth and drip-free. Handles are wide, stay cool, and are balanced for easy maneuvering. Many collections come with accessories like steamers, paella pans, and roasting pans to make one-pot meals or entertain in style.
With proper care—hand washing, drying completely, and occasional re-seasoning—high-quality French cookware can become a family heirloom, a lifetime investment that makes cooking an absolute pleasure. Once you try it, you’ll understand why French cookware is in a class by itself.
Top French Cookware Brands Worth Investing In
When it comes to French cookware, you can’t go wrong with brands that have been around for generations and are used by professional chefs worldwide. Two of the best are Le Creuset and Staub.
Le Creuset has been crafting high-quality enameled cast iron cookware in France since 1925. Their signature round Dutch ovens come in a variety of sizes and colors to match any kitchen. Le Creuset’s cast iron distributes heat evenly and retains heat well, so you can sear, braise, bake, and more. Their pans and pots will last a lifetime with proper care. While pricey, Le Creuset is worth the investment for serious home cooks.
Like Le Creuset, Staub specializes in enameled cast iron cookware made in France. Staub’s signature cocotte (Dutch ovens) have a cult following for their ability to produce perfect braises, stews, and other one-pot meals. Staub’s black matte enamel interior creates an ideal browning environment and requires no seasoning. Staub lids have spikes on the inside that continually release condensed liquid back onto the food for maximum flavor. High-quality, durable, and stunning, Staub rivals Le Creuset and is a top choice of accomplished chefs.
Between Le Creuset and Staub, you can’t go wrong. While expensive, their cookware is an investment that will bring years of cooking joy and recipe perfection. For a taste of France in your own kitchen, choose from these heritage brands that have stood the test of time. Your cooking will never be the same!
Le Creuset the Gold Standard of French Cookware
Le Creuset is the gold standard for French cookware and a favorite of professional and home cooks alike. For nearly a century, Le Creuset has been producing high-quality enameled cast iron cookware that lasts a lifetime.
Le Creuset uses the highest-grade raw materials and time-honored techniques to produce cookware that stands up to daily use and lasts for generations. Their signature enameled cast iron is unmatched in even heat distribution, versatility, and durability. The enamel coating is resistant to chipping, cracking, and staining, and the cast iron base retains and distributes heat efficiently.
Le Creuset’s cookware comes in a rainbow of vibrant colors that make a statement in any kitchen. Their signature loop handles and conical lid knobs are functional and stylish. The brand’s most well-known piece, the Dutch oven, comes in round and oval shapes, perfect for braising, stewing, baking bread, and more.
Le Creuset backs its cookware with a lifetime warranty, so you can buy with confidence. As long as you follow the care instructions, your Le Creuset pieces should last a lifetime and beyond. The brand even offers a lifetime replacement program for certain retired colors or styles.
From stovetop to oven to table, Le Creuset cookware transitions seamlessly. Their enameled cast iron works on all heat sources, including induction, and is oven-safe up to 500 F. The pieces also double as attractive serving dishes for memorable meals with friends and family. A Le Creuset Dutch oven or skillet is one of the most versatile pieces of cookware you can have in your kitchen.
For classic French style and performance, you can’t beat Le Creuset. While not the most affordable brand, their cookware is worth the investment for home cooks serious about quality and craftsmanship. Le Creuset makes cooking and entertaining a joy for life.
Staub is a premium French cookware brand known for its enameled cast iron cocotte, also known as Dutch ovens. Their sturdy, chip-resistant cocottes are versatile and durable, allowing you to braise, bake, roast, sauté, and fry. They come in a range of sizes, from 1.5 up to 13.25 quarts, so you can find the perfect size for your needs.
Staub’s enameled cast iron is fired at high temperatures to create an extra smooth, glossy coat. Their signature matte black enamel interior, called “La Cocotte,” creates the ideal browning and braising surface. The interior enamel is also textured to create tiny pores that continually release steam, creating a natural braising environment. The heavy cast iron distributes and retains heat extremely well for even cooking.
Versatile and Practical
A Staub cocotte can handle a wide range of cooking techniques, so it’s a very practical piece to have in your kitchen. You can use it on the stovetop, in the oven, on the grill, or over a campfire. It’s great for braising meat, simmering soups, and stews, baking bread, or roasting vegetables. The lid has built-in spikes that create rain-like drops of moisture, so it’s perfect for self-basting roasts and whole chickens.
Built to Last
Staub’s enameled cast iron is very durable and long-lasting. With proper care and use, a Staub cocotte can become a treasured family heirloom passed down through generations. They come with a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects. The matte black interior enamel is also naturally non-stick and stain-resistant. With regular use, the patina will develop a natural non-stick sheen.
For high-quality, versatile, and durable French cookware, Staub is a top choice. Their enameled cast iron cocottes are ideal for stovetop and oven cooking, creating delicious meals for years to come. Between the range of sizes, shapes, and colors, you’re sure to find a Staub cocotte perfect for your needs.
Mauviel: Premium Copper Cookware From France
For over 150 years, Mauviel has been producing high-quality copper cookware in the town of Villedieu-les-Poêles, known as the “City of Copper”. Their cookware is trusted by professional chefs and home cooks alike for its unparalleled heat conductivity and durability.
Mauviel’s signature product is their M’Cook line, featuring heavy-gauge copper and stainless steel. The copper exterior allows for quick, even heating, while the stainless steel interior is non-reactive and easy to clean. These pans will last a lifetime and become naturally nonstick over time. Options include frying pans, saucepans, sauté pans, and stockpots in a range of sizes. Though an investment, Mauviel cookware is worth the cost for serious home cooks and will make cooking more enjoyable.
For a premium product at a lower price point, consider the M’Passion line. These pans feature a thicker copper layer than comparable brands and an aluminum core for optimal heat distribution. The stainless steel interior and cast iron handles make them durable and stylish. M’Passion is a great choice if you want the cooking performance of copper without the higher cost.
Mauviel also produces several copper and stainless steel sets that make a stunning addition to any kitchen. Their products feature a classic French design with bronze handles that will impress guests. For cooks interested in building a collection piece by piece, Mauviel’s products can also be purchased individually.
With a variety of price points and products to suit every need, Mauviel is a premier French brand for high-quality, handcrafted copper cookware built to last. Their cookware allows you to create delicious meals with ease and confidence. For cooks passionate about performance, Mauviel is the pinnacle of French craftsmanship and cooking excellence.
De Buyer: Affordable Carbon Steel Pans
De Buyer is a French cookware brand known for its affordable yet high-quality carbon steel pans. Carbon steel is a fantastic material for pans, as it’s naturally non-stick when properly seasoned and is very durable. De Buyer makes several carbon steel pan lines at a range of price points, from entry-level to professional quality.
Mineral B Element Pans
De Buyer’s most popular and budget-friendly line is the Mineral B Element. These pans have a beeswax finish that helps with initial seasoning. The pans are made of 99% pure iron and 1% carbon, so they’re non-reactive and perfect for searing and browning. With regular use and re-seasoning, these pans develop a natural non-stick patina. The Mineral B line includes skillets, crepe pans, grill pans, and more.
A step up from the Mineral B Element, the Country line features heavier-gage carbon steel and a more polished finish. The thicker steel distributes heat more evenly and helps the pans retain heat better. The smooth finish also makes these pans naturally more nonstick. The Country line includes round and oval skillets, sauté pans, crepe pans, and specialty pans like woks and paella pans.
De Buyer’s Prima Matera line represents their highest-quality carbon steel cookware. These pans have an extra-thick gauge of steel and the most polished finish for maximum heat retention and release. Prima Matera pans are engineered for professional kitchens but are still reasonably affordable for home cooks. This line includes skillets, sauté pans, grill pans, and more.
Any of De Buyer’s carbon steel pans would make a fantastic addition to your kitchen. With proper care and seasoning, these pans will last a lifetime and become naturally non-stick. If you’re looking for high-quality, affordable French cookware, De Buyer is an excellent brand to consider. Their range of products can fit any budget, so you really can’t go wrong.
Cristel: Innovative Stainless Steel and Nonstick Options
Cristel is a premium French cookware brand that produces innovative and high-quality products. Founded in 1968, Cristel is known for its stylish yet functional designs and use of stainless steel and nonstick materials.
Stainless Steel Lines
Cristel’s stainless steel cookware lines, like Castel’In and Strate, are durable and distribute heat evenly for precise cooking control. The sturdy multi-ply construction with an aluminum core prevents warping. Stainless steel is nonreactive, so you can cook acidic foods without worrying about a metallic taste. These pots and pans can handle high heat and are oven-safe up to 500 F.
For low-fat cooking and easy cleanup, Cristel’s nonstick lines like Mutine and Tac are excellent options. Their nonstick coatings, like Ceradon and Excalibur, are PFOA-free, scratch-resistant, and safe to use with metal utensils. Nonstick pieces like fry pans and saucepans make cooking eggs, fish, and crepes a breeze. However, most nonstick coatings can’t handle as much heat as stainless steel.
One of Cristel’s most innovative products is its Control Induction line, which provides precise temperature control for induction stovetops. Their Strate and Mutine lines also feature stay-cool handles, pour spouts, and tight-fitting lids to lock in heat, moisture, and nutrients. Many pieces, like stockpots and saute pans, have helper handles for easier lifting and maneuvering.
Cristel offers high-performance, innovative, and stylish cookware that home cooks and professionals will both appreciate. While a bit pricey, their products are built to last a lifetime. For cooks seeking the best of French style and cooking functionality, Cristel is a premier choice. Whether you prefer sleek stainless steel or effortless nonstick, Cristel has professional-quality pieces to fulfill your cooking needs.
Emile Henry: Beautiful and Functional Ceramic Bakeware
Emile Henry makes some of the most beautiful and functional ceramic bakeware. Founded in France in 1850, Emile Henry is known for high-quality stoneware and ceramic pieces that are both stylish and extremely durable. Their products are a bit of an investment, but they will last a lifetime with proper care.
Emile Henry’s signature clay, called Flame Ceramic, is fired at an extremely high temperature, which makes it non-porous, shock-resistant, and able to withstand direct transfer from the freezer to a hot oven. Their ceramics have superior heat retention and distribution, so your food will stay warmer longer at the table. Emile Henry products are also dishwasher, microwave, and broiler safe.
Some of Emile Henry’s most popular products include:
While a bit of an investment, Emile Henry’s ceramics should last a lifetime and are well worth the cost. Their products are high-quality, extremely versatile, and simply stunning. Any home cook or baker would be delighted to receive Emile Henry’s ceramics as a gift. For beautiful, functional French cookware, you can’t go wrong with Emile Henry.
How to Care for Your French Cookware and Make It Last
To keep your French cookware in tip-top shape and ensure it lasts for years to come, proper care and maintenance are key. Treat your cookware well, and it will treat you well in return, producing many memorable meals.
Hand Wash Only
Most high-quality French cookware is not dishwasher safe and must be hand washed. Hand washing allows you to thoroughly clean the entire pan, including the handles and any rivets. It also avoids the harsh detergents used in dishwashers, which can strip the seasoning and damage the cookware over time. Make hand washing easy by filling your sink with hot, soapy water immediately after cooking. Let the pans soak if needed, then scrub off any stuck-on bits with a sponge or nylon scrubber. Rinse and dry completely to prevent water spots.
For cast iron and carbon steel cookware, re-seasoning regularly is essential. Seasoning is the process of baking oil onto the pan to create a natural, non-stick patina. After every few uses or when food starts to stick, scrub your pan with hot water and a stiff brush to remove debris. Dry it completely, then coat it with a flavorless oil like canola or flaxseed oil. Place in a 300-degree oven for about an hour, then let cool. The oil will harden into a slick, rust-proof coating.
Use and Abuse
While you should baby your French cookware to an extent, don’t be afraid to really use and abuse it at times. Searing meat, deglazing with wine, making pan sauces, and using metal utensils are all part of developing flavor and character. The more you use your cookware, the better it will perform. Just be sure to care for it properly after each use.
When storing, dry your French cookware completely to prevent rusting. Stack pans and lids together, separated by soft liners like paper towels, to avoid scratches. Never stack heavy pans on top of lids or handles, which can cause dents or damage. Store your cookware in a cool, dry location away from harsh chemicals. With proper care and storage, your French cookware can last a lifetime.
That covers all the information you need to make an investment in long-lasting, high-quality French cookware. Selecting a reliable French brand is essential for success, whether of your preference for nonstick ceramic, triple-layered stainless steel, or traditional cast iron. Your new pots and pans may become treasured cooking utensils that you pass down for generations if you give them the care and upkeep they need. Why don’t you act sooner? Go through and infuse your food with a little verve de vivre. Happy eating!