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Buying a cast iron french oven pot is no small investment. The top brands on the market are Le Creuset and Staub. As you can see here, I have both. The red pot is Le Creuset (13 1/4 quart) and the dark (4 quart) and light grey (13 1/4 quart) pots are Staub. If you are in the market for one of these beauties (Yes they are truly beautiful additions to your kitchen!), I hope I can help you with your decision. 

They are both made in France, are of the highest quality (price reflects that) and are pieces that will last a lifetime. 

So what are the differences… if there are any?

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This is the first piece I bought. A beautiful red 13 1/4 quart Le Creuset french oven. Perfect for braising meats for a large crowd or making a huge batch of soup or stew. I looked for the biggest size they sold. I have been able to keep the interior of mine clean (with the help of Bar Keepers Friend), but others have complained that the interior of their pieces have become stained over time. It is finished with a durable non stick interior but since it is light in color, it can stain.

IMG_0687This is the inside of the lid. Same finish. And yes… I have used mine countless times and it has gotten very soiled.

IMG_0691Moving on to my 4 quart Staub. My 13 1/4 quart Staub looks the same inside as this one. The interior of Staub as you can see is a dark non stick durable finish. Much less likely to show stains. But stains to me are not the big issue here. Let’s talk about the performance.

IMG_0686This is the interior of all Staub lids. And here is where the big difference starts and ends. Staub puts those small spikes all over the under side of the lids. Why? First of all, the design of the Staub lid keeps the moisture in the pot much, much better than any competitor including Le Creuset (See the deep well they made around the lid so it sits down on the pot? Great design that works!), and those spikes act as a self baster. The moisture inside the pot collects on each spike, then drips down throughout the braising process. Genius! Does it really work?

In my experience, for example braising short ribs, the Staub far surpassed my Le Creuset in the outcome of my ribs. The first time I braised short ribs in my Le Creuset, I found it didn’t keep the moisture in. It almost burned on the bottom. I was surprised, given how heavy the lid was. 

Enter Staub. I tried the exact recipe and it came out perfect with the juices staying in the pot with the meat. The design of their lid makes a huge difference!

When we have a huge dinner party and need both the Le Creuset and Staub (Like we did at Christmas for my husband’s company Christmas party), I learned that if I placed a large piece of heavy duty foil over the top of the Le Creuset pot, then place the lid over the foil, I was able to retain the moisture like the Staub does without the foil. 

The bottom line? Go for the Staub… no doubt…. no questions… hands down!

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And if you are anything like me and like the little details, Staub offers these lid handles in a variety of animals. They come as an option on some of their products and they offer them separately if they don’t. As you can see, my big pot is in need of an animal lid handle! I need to go place my order. You can purchase these beautiful pots HERE and HERE. As I mentioned, these are no small investment and you should get the best performance for your buck. Staub wins!