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Le Creuset Essential Oven vs Dutch Oven (2021): What’s the Difference?

Le Creuset has a ton of cookware, among which are its iconic Dutch ovens. But even then, focusing on just them can get confusing. After all, they come in different shapes and sizes, and at times, they’re referred to as French ovens too. And then there’s the Essential Oven in the mix, further complicating everything. That might have been a bit of an exaggeration. At any rate, we compare the Essential Oven to the Round Dutch Oven to help clear things up. One reason for that is they’re both round, which is generally accepted to be the “standard” form factor.

Le Creuset Essential Oven vs Dutch Oven Comparison Chart

ModelLe Creuset Essential OvenLe Creuset Round Dutch Oven
Le Creuset Essential OvenLe Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Round Dutch Oven, 5.5 qt., Cerise
PriceCheck Price at Williams-Sonoma.comCheck Price
MaterialEnameled cast ironEnameled cast iron
Sizes3 ½ qt.1 qt., 2 qt., 2 ¾ qt., 3 ½ qt., 4 ½ qt., 5 ½ qt., 7 ¼ qt., 9 qt., 13 ¼ qt.
Oven SafeYes, up to 500°FYes, up to 500°F
Dishwasher SafeYesYes
Country of OriginFranceFrance
ColorsRed, Flame, Lapis, Navy, Teal, Ocean, Matte White, French Gray, Persimmon, Meringue, Midnight Gray, Nectar, Matte Black ,Matte French GrayCerise, Flame, Caribbean, Marseille, Marine, Indigo, Sea Salt, Artichaut, White, Meringue, Oyster, Licorice, Midnight Gray, Stone, Berry, Nectar, Persimmon, Fig, Emerald Green
WarrantyLifetimeLifetime

Main Differences

The Round Dutch Oven is available in more colors and sizes than the Essential Oven.

Le Creuset Essential Oven vs Dutch Oven Main Differences
The Essential Oven (in photo) is a Williams Sonoma exclusive.
First off, what’s the difference between Dutch and French ovens? Both are heavy cast-iron pots with tight-fitting lids, but that’s as far as their similarities go. What sets the latter apart is it’s enameled, and it’s considered to be a modernized version of the classic cookware. Needless to say, it’s typically made in France. Technically, the Essential Oven and Round Dutch Oven are French ovens. Their country of origin is France and are made with enameled cast iron, so everything checks out. But for clarity’s sake, we’ll stick with calling them Dutch ovens. As for how the two models differ, the Essential Oven is available only at Williams Sonoma and measures only 3 ½ qt. In contrast, the Round Dutch Oven goes from 1 qt. to 13 ¼ qt. That’s about it. You can use either oven for roasting vegetables, slow cooking, no-knead bread, and many others with unrivaled heat retention and distribution.

Size Variants

Besides being a Williams Sonoma exclusive, the Essential Oven is also limited in size options.

Le Creuset Essential Oven vs Dutch Oven Size Variants
The Round Dutch Oven (in photo) comes in a wide variety of sizes.
Williams Sonoma’s Essential Oven is available only in 3 ½ qt. It’s large enough for a family of four and small enough to fit in a cupboard or, say, bring along to the office for a potluck. In that sense, it really lives up to its name. Meanwhile, the Round Dutch Oven is more flexible. It has a long list of sizes to choose from: 1 qt., 2 qt., 2 ¾ qt., 3 ½ qt., 4 ½ qt., 5 ½ qt., 7 ¼ qt., 9 qt., and 13 ¼ qt. Just to give you an idea, you can cook one to two servings with the ones on the lower end of the spectrum or more than nine servings with the ones on the higher end.

Cooking Performance

Both Dutch ovens are on the pricier side for a good reason.

Le Creuset Essential Oven vs Dutch Oven Cooking Performance
The Essential Oven (left) and Round Dutch Oven (right) are best for slow cooking for long periods.
Saying that these Dutch ovens are versatile is an understatement. For starters, their material is perfect for browning meat before braising. They can even be used for baking and deep frying, to name a few. On top of that, their tightening lids are excellent in retaining heat and moisture. You can also stick them in the oven, expanding the number of dishes you can make with them. Speaking of, the Essential Oven and Round Dutch Oven are safe up to 500°F. That includes their knobs, but take note that there are some that can only go up to 390°F. It’s also worth mentioning they’re dishwasher safe, so cleanup won’t be much of an issue.

Verdict

Apart from size and availability, there isn’t much of a difference between the Essential Oven and Round Dutch Oven.

You can’t go wrong with either the Essential Oven or the Round Dutch Oven. Regardless of which you choose, you’d more or less get the same cooking performance and benefits that Dutch ovens typically have. You could go for the Essential Oven if 3 ½ qt. is what you’re looking for and if Williams Sonoma is offering a better deal than other retailers for the Round Dutch Oven in the same size.

FAQs

📌 What’s the difference between the Essential Oven and Round Dutch Oven?

The Essential Oven is sold exclusively by Williams Sonoma and comes only in 3 ½ qt., while the Round Dutch Oven is offered by various retailers and available in more sizes.

📌 How long is the warranty on the Essential Oven and Round Dutch Oven?

Both the Essential Oven and Round Dutch Oven come with lifetime warranty.

📌 Are the Essential Oven and Round Dutch Oven dishwasher safe?

Yes, you can clean the Essential Oven and Round Dutch Oven using a dishwasher.

📌 Are Le Creuset knobs oven safe?

Yes. For example, Le Creuset’s stainless steel knobs are safe at any temperature. Its Signature phenolic knobs can also go up to 500°F, but its classic version won’t survive temperatures above 390°F.

Last update on 2021-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Vincent Lanaria

Senior Editor, researcher and writer passionate about running, cooking, and how technology mixes with the two.