If you're looking for one cooking item to upgrade your kitchen, many home chefs would tell you a quality braiser is a safe bet. Braisers, coming from the French word for "embers" or "hot coals," are a multiuse cookware piece that's sure to enhance your cooking. Le Creuset, a bakeware company based out of France, has garnered worldwide appreciation for its wares, including its high quality braisers. For a top-of-the-line Le Creuset braiser, you can't go wrong with the Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast Iron Five-Quart Round Braiser.
Le Creuset braisers are simply the best of the best. With lifetime warranties, high quality stainless steel or enameled cast iron makes and a rainbow of color and design choices, each braiser carries the high quality expected from this upscale cookware company.
Similar to cast iron skillets, braisers can handle high heat, so they are great for searing meats, roasting vegetables in the oven (make sure the lid is oven-safe) and crisping or browning any type of food. Beyond that, braisers use both wet and dry heat, so they're especially good for making fall-off-the-bone stews and roasts. The tight-fitting lid seals in heat and moisture, ensuring your food will be cooked thoroughly and stay juicy.
Braisers are an expensive cookware item with some maintenance required to keep them in prime condition. While Le Creuset braisers tend to be pre-seasoned and enameled, some of its stainless steel may be harder to clean. Even pre-seasoned enameled cast iron braisers do need to be treated carefully; avoid harsh chemicals or leaving them soaking in water.
Le Creuset offers two materials for its braisers: stainless steel and enameled cast iron. Stainless steel is cheaper, is less intimidating for those who have never taken care of cast iron cookware and offers a sleek and modern look. Enameled cast iron, on the other hand, is more durable, retains heat better and longer and does not need to be seasoned regularly like normal cast iron. It does tend to be very heavy, though, and can be cumbersome or even dangerous if dropped.
Le Creuset has made a name for itself with high quality, colorful kitchenware, and its braisers are no exception. They come in many of the company's signature colors, such as Caribbean Blue, Marseille and Oyster, as well as other fun colors, such as Flame and Cerise Red.
While all braisers have the same domed top and shallow bottom, the circumference and depth of the braiser you choose determines how much you'll be able to cook in one go. They range from 3 to 6 quarts. For a family of four or more, a 5-quart (or larger) braiser would be a wise choice.
A Le Creuset braiser will cost $200-$400, depending on the materials and the size. The larger the braiser, the more expensive it will be. Stainless steel costs less than enameled cast iron braisers. Special color or design options also cost more.
A. If it's an enameled cast iron braiser, then yes. This material transfers a small amount of healthy iron to your food, which could be a blessing to those suffering from anemia. However, stainless steel braisers will not add iron to your dishes.
A. Unfortunately, no. For best results, it is recommended that you always wash your braiser by hand, and don't let it soak in water or soap for long periods of time.
What you need to know: Aesthetics and ergonomics go hand in hand for this high quality, elegant enameled cast iron braiser.
What you’ll love: With 5 quarts, this braiser is big enough to serve a whole family or party of four, or you can cook a meal with plenty of leftovers for you and your partner. Its lovely design makes it a centerpiece at any table or on your stovetop. Nine color options are available.
What you should consider: It should be handled with care and is a high-price investment.
What you need to know: If you're cooking for a smaller crowd, this enameled braiser offers all the benefits of the bigger model at a fraction of the price.
What you’ll love: It's available in nine bold color options and features the same tight-fitting lid and shallow base as the larger models. The stain-resistant, nonstick enamel comes pre-seasoned and can braise, sear or fry any food you'd like. It won't dull or crack even with daily use.
What you should consider: It also requires gentle treatment and hand-washing. It would not be practical for making large portions or liquid-heavy dishes.
What you need to know: If you want to invest in a braiser without worrying about the upkeep of cast iron, this nonstick braiser with glass lid is a lightweight and practical option.
What you’ll love: It is dishwasher-safe and holds 4 quarts. It's oven-safe up to 500 degrees (the lid, up to 425 degrees).
What you should consider: It is not available in other colors.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Micayla Mead writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.