I regret cheating on Le Creuset with a cheap Dutch oven

I’ll be looking for a genuine Le Creuset replacement in the Amazon Prime Day sales

Le Creuset
(Image credit: Le Creuset)

During these long months of lockdown I’ve had time to do a lot of thinking. One thought that occurred to me during that time, as I placed yet another online order, this time for a Le Creuset milk pan, was this: if I had splashed out on Le Creuset pans back when I first moved out of home instead of buying the cheapest supermarket cookware I could find and then gradually moving up through better quality items until I ended up with a Le Creuset set 20 years later I would have probably saved a lot of money in the long run. Like I say, lockdown gives you time to think.

So now, with that realisation, Le Creuset has become my go-to cookware brand (unlike Duncan whose eye has been turned by a rival). Sayonara, Circulon, we had good times, but I’ve now abandoned you for Le Creuset saucepans and frying pans to complement my Le Creuset cast iron griddle and stoneware baking dishes. Oh and my single Le Creuset coffee mug, I must buy more.

But one Le Creuset item I don’t yet have in the collection is the signature cast iron Dutch oven (or casserole dish, to UK readers) – in volcanic orange, of course. That’s because I also had my eye turned, but not for something better.

Le Creuset stuff is excellent but there’s no getting away from the fact that it’s an expensive investment. Case in point: this 3.3L cast iron casserole dish from Le Creuset is priced at £230/AU$490. It’ll outlast me and the next generation so on a pounds-per-day basis that’s pretty good value. And everyone who sees it casually left out on the hob will be envious. But… it’s £230/AU$490, and even the best cheap Le Creuset deals aren’t going to see it priced like this £35 lookalike from Sainsburys(not available in AU) Thirty five pounds! That’s two medium-sized Domino’s pizzas!

So that’s how I ended up with a cheap supermarket casserole dish which looks (and cooks) a lot like a Le Creuset. But here’s the thing. Every time I use it – and I use it a lot – I can’t help but feel a little disappointed that it’s not a Le Creuset, and the similarity in appearance just drives that point home. And every time I use it, and it fails to #sparkjoy, I make a mental note to look out for a cheap – actual – cast iron Le Creuset casserole dish so that the Sainsburys version can be relegated to the back of the cupboard. Fingers crossed the Amazon Prime Day deals come good in that respect – I'll be watching closely.