Your Pocket Guide to Cleaning & Maintaining Le Creuset Cookware

Here's how to make your shiny new cookware last forever.

March 28, 2023
Photo by Julia Gartland

You’ve done the hard part—somehow, someway you came into possession of Le Creuset cookware. Now for the easier, albeit more annoying part: taking care of it.

Since Le Creuset cookware can be an investment, it’s important to know how to get the most out of it. Like anything else, this comes down to doing proper, routine (and often boring) maintenance. Here’s everything you need to know in order to keep your enameled cast-iron cookware shining.

What NOT to do

According to the Le Creuset website, you should never expose your hot pan to significantly colder water because the thermal shock may cause the enamel to crack. If you’re cleaning your pan in the sink, let it cool before running it under cold water. Also, do not pour chilled water into a hot pan. Le Creuset states that you should never use metal sponges, abrasive cleaners, or metal utensils when washing as they may scratch the cookware’s enamel surface. Instead, the brand recommends using soft natural or nylon sponges when cleaning the interior or exterior of your pan.

How to Remove Stuck-On Food

Picture this: You use your brand new Le Creuset Dutch oven to make beef brisket or scalloped potatoes. Everyone loves it and tells you how great of a cook you are. You feel so great you start thinking about how it wouldn’t be that wild if you did open that restaurant you’ve always dreamed of. And then, while you’re contemplating what color tablecloths you’d want at your fictional restaurant, you look down and notice that crisped chunks of whatever-you-just-made are seemingly glued to the interior of your shiny new Dutch oven. What do you do?

Well, to reiterate, you definitely should not use steel wool or abrasive cleaners. Instead, take Le Creuset’s advice and do the following.

  • Option 1: Fill the pot with warm, soapy water, let it soak for at least 15 minutes, then scrub with a soft brush or sponge.
  • Option 2: Fill the pot with water, then add a tablespoon or two of baking soda. Bring the water to a simmer for roughly 10 minutes. Drain the water, then clean with dish soap and a soft sponge or brush.

How to Deep-Clean Your Cookware

If you want to keep your cookware forever young, you’ll occasionally need to give it a thorough deep clean. Using a soft sponge paired with either Bar Keepers Friend or a paste made of baking soda water, scrub away the long-lasting stains and oil residue found on your pot.

Photo by Ty Mecham

Keep Your Cookware Dry

To improve cookware longevity, always remember that moisture is the enemy. After cleaning your cookware, it’s important to completely dry your cookware because residual moisture could damage the enamel finish. Similarly, if possible, never store your Le Creuset in an area with direct steam exposure.

How to Store Your Cookware

To protect the cookware’s enameled finish, it’s best to avoid stacking multiple pans when storing them. If this is unavoidable, Le Creuset recommends purchasing their cookware protectors for improved storage safety. Of course, you could likely recreate this using kitchen towels or any sort of padding that fits between your stored equipment.

Let us know how you keep your Le Creuset cookware looking beautiful in the comments below!
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Paul Hagopian

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anniette July 24, 2023
I have a lot of Le Creuset, collected in the 70's and 80's, in use daily for fifty years. I clean it with Blue Dawn and the scratchy side of a plastic sponge. Occasionally, when a pot gets quite dingy, I'll let it soak a short while full of water with a little bleach added: brightens it right up. I do use Barkeepers for stubborn stains and stuck-ons, and even used spray oven cleaner to bring back a big pot blackened by several years of no-knead bread baking — it worked a charm. I use metal whisks as needed. The pans are reliable performers and worth the gentle care. Two old ruined Dutch ovens live outside as dog bowls. A naughty dog pulled one off the stove, and a faulty Jenn-Air range went berserk and overheated the other; (one has a crack, the other has pock marks) both, decades ago. I didn't realize they were covered by guarantees at the time.
Lynnie April 14, 2023
Or … buy Staub enameled cast iron instead! I grew up on Le Creuset and have owned/used a number of pieces over the years. But, along the way I started picking up Staub and vastly prefer it. Le Creuset’s light colored, almost glossy-smooth interior does not hold up that well over time in my opinion (and yes, I’m meticulous in how I handle my cookware in terms of temperature settings, utensils, cleaning, storing, etc.) but I find the enamel discolors…especially if you cook with turmeric and such. I find Staub is more durable and awesome to cook in. I’ve bought some of my fav pieces right here!
Julie M. April 16, 2023
We may be the minority, but I too love my Staub pieces for their durability. It's not like I will toss my LC any time soon but Staub are my work horses in the kitchen.
Celine April 13, 2023
I inherited a large Creuset pot. The enamel has popped in three places. Can it be repaired?
cosmiccook April 13, 2023
your LC WILL get more brown w age--all the Bar Keepers Friend & Le Creuset special (toxic & expensive) to the contrary! I use BKF and usually put towels between them. I'd never use any metal on my pots but have had my 3 approx. 25 years
AllisonT April 13, 2023
Read this article with a guilty smile, since I never once thought about taking any special care of my workhorse Le Creusets. I use silicone or wood utensils with all my cookware, never put cold water in a hot pan (one shattered pyrex dish taught me that), dry my pans before storing them, and use separators for stacking. Bar Keepers Friend, despite that odd smell, is great when the cooking interiors get dingy brown, and also good for lifting scorch marks on the bottoms. My first LC was a wedding gift in 2002 and the pan is well used, well loved and looks almost new.
Diana April 13, 2023
I don't suppose you should be using metal serving utensils as your photo shows.
wendy April 13, 2023
i have had my le creuset pots and pans for 40 years. they do not look perfect, but still cook beautifully. i wonder what you recommend for getting rid of tomato sauce stains
MsJoanie April 13, 2023
Bon Ami works great for removing stains and is less abrasive (I think) than the Bar Keepers Friend that the article mentions. It doesn't smell as weird either. I also use it to get the cooked on grease off the bottom of my All Clad stainless.
Nancy April 13, 2023
I use baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. In my 6 qt I use about a half to a cup of baking soda and about 2 cups of peroxide. I put that on the stove over high heat and bring to a boil Once that is boiling I will add enough hot water to cover the discolored part of the enamel and bring that back to a boil for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool to the point I can handle it and dump the liquid and wash with dish soap and water. Removes most stains, even those that are years old. I did that while at my daughter's house and she was quite surprised when she pulled one of her pans out to use. She called me to ask how in the world I'd gotten those things to shine like new.
wendy April 13, 2023
i have actually done a similar thing with a mix of bleach and dishsoap and boiling water. it has worked for me, but wondered what others do. never thought about peroxide.
cosmiccook April 13, 2023
I'll try this next time!
Lynn R. April 14, 2023
I just read that combo takes stains out of furniture too. Couldn't believe the before and after of a friend's sofa someone spilled red wine on.
judy April 8, 2023
Super Expensive cookware that needs to be babied. I use enameled stainless steel pans for most of my cooking. Stuff gets burned on. Just part of cooking. NO problem. I make a paste of baking soda, a few drops of water and a drop or two of Dawn dish soap. smear it over the surface of teh pan where the burns are, and scrub with my stainless steel scrubber. Comes clean with general ease, or may need a repeat if really burned on. Sparkling clean, no marks. I go from high heat to cool water, no problem with crazing or cracking enamel. These pans cook beautifully and last a long time. I ahve had some for many years. And they do NOT weigh a ton. I cannot lift cast iron due to shoulder nerve damage. Adding food into it makes it impossible. Enameled Stainless steel is lightweight and easy Reduced prices, beautiful colors. Of course, I don't have a matched set. But I go for easy of use and performance. OH, I did not mention performance. They cook wonderfully. So, it is a no for men Le Cruet...and other pricy pans. I also have a number of stainless steel pans that are not enameled, and they too are excellent...Frustrated with 52 move to pushing fancy kitchen products and home goods and away from a. focus on food...'
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