I cooked a meal with Le Creuset's home economist - and discovered I've been making this mistake that's been damaging my cookware for years

Why high heat is a no-go for Le Creuset pans

Le Creuset Cast Iron Round Casserole in Peche
(Image credit: Le Creuset)

Le Creuset has a reputation which proceeds it, namely thanks to its cast iron cookware, which has bonafide heirloom status.

We love products that go the distance at Ideal Home, and things that combine functionality with design. For that, Le Creuset is pretty much unbeatable. That's why I was intrigued when I was invited to learn more about the brand's non cast-iron products (we're talking the best non stick pans and the best saucepan sets).

During a cook-along session with Le Creuset's home economist Alison Haigh, I learned more about cookware and the specific rules you should follow when using it than I ever thought I would. Here's how best to use Le Creuset to keep it pristine and functioning perfectly in your home.

Le Creuset products you might not know about

The Le Creuset cookware rules I didn't know

Le Creuset launched its stainless steel collection in 2004, and each piece of cookware is 3-ply. That means these pans are triple-layered with three distinct metals for even, fast heat distribution.

Alison Haigh, Le Creuset's home economist, claims that 'chefs will always use stainless steel in their kitchens', as they are 'the most robust' option on the market. She added that Le Creuset's stainless steel pans in particular are the easiest to use thanks to the 'professional weight', which means that though they are ultra-durable, they feel manageable in your hands.

During the session, these are the rules I learned about cooking with stainless steel, as well as lessons you can apply to the brand's cast iron cookware.

Your pans can double as bakeware

During a demo with the stainless steel collection, Alison turned out two cakes and a pie in the pans, something I hadn't even conceptualised you could ever do with a set like this. You can perfectly cook rice or pasta in a stainless steel set thanks to the even distribution of heat, sure, but did you know the same rule applies to baking?

During the demo, Alison showed us how the bottom of each cake and pie was perfectly baked in the pans, something I was frankly astounded by. If you invest in a stainless steel set then, you're getting more pieces of cookware for your money than you'd first imagined.

Le Creuset cookalong

(Image credit: Future)

Alison's recommended pick from the stainless steel collection is the 3-ply Stainless Steel Shallow Casserole dish, available from Le Creuset for £195.00. This is, according to Alison, the most versatile piece you can buy, and suprisingly, if used at the right temperature, provides a non-stick surface too, so you don't need to line the pans with greaseproof paper before baking. A true gamechanger.

Induction is the way to go

All of Le Creuset's pans are induction compatible, and Alison Haigh, Le Creuset's home economist thinks that this is the only pan type to invest in for the future.

Her thinking is, if you pick up one of the best pans for induction hobs, then you'll be able to cook more quickly than ever before. That's because you're getting direct heat at every possible point. As induction hobs have a high percentage of efficiency, if you pair that with the even heat distribution of Le Creuset's stainless steel, you're bound to get speedy results.

Le Creuset cookware

(Image credit: Future)

Obviously spending vasts amount of money on Le Creuset, an induction hob and a boiling water tap is idealistic, especially in a cost of living crisis. But it was interesting to hear about the most efficient possible way to cook, and to try out the stainless steel cookware.

When I was using the stainless steel casserole dish on an induction hob, I was amazed at how quickly it heated oil and subsequently stayed hot to cook a rich tomato sauce. For ultimate effiency, I can see how this pan and this type of hob is a winning combinaton.

You never need to use Le Creuset cookware on high heat

This is the golden rule that I learned from Alison Haigh (Le Creuset's home economist) that shocked me the most. When demoing several pieces of cookware (at once!) Alison stated that you should never use Le Creuset of any kind on high heat, as there's simply no need. As a frequent user of my cast iron Le Creuset piece at a high heat, I'm glad I learned this rule before it's too late.

Alison said 'We never, ever go above medium heat on any of cookware. You don't need to, because it's pure piece of metal, so it will heat nice and evenly. Because it doesn't require a high heat, it's energy saving as well.'

Le Creuset cast iron cookware on display during a demo

(Image credit: Future)

Alison went onto say that you should apply this rule when using Le Creuset cast iron too, both to keep it in the best possible nick and to prevent overheating whatever it is you're cooking And when you're done using it, as we've covered before, you should never rinse your pan in too hot or too cold water.

Yep, it's medium temperatures if you're using Le Creuset, and stainless steel if you want to upgrade your kitchen to the calibre of professional chefs. After this cook-along session, there's no denying that this is the brand our kitchen of dreams is filled with!

Molly Cleary
Kitchen Appliances Editor

Molly is Ideal Home’s Kitchen Appliances Editor and an all-around baking and cooking enthusiast. She joined the team in September 2022 as an Ecommerce Editor after working across Real Homes, Homes & Gardens and Livingetc. She's been reviewing products for 4 years and now specialises in weighing up kitchen essentials' pros and cons, from air fryers to bean-to-cup coffee machines. 

She's always been a keen reader, so after graduating from the University of Exeter in 2020 she was thrilled to find a way to write as a full-time job. Nowadays, she spends her days at home or the Ideal Home test facility trying out new kitchen innovations to see if they’re worth a space on your worktop. Her most beloved and hard-working appliance is her Sage coffee machine though she also takes the title of Ideal Home’s in-house air fryer expert after writing about them religiously over the past few years.

When she's not thinking or writing about kitchen appliances, she loves getting around London exploring new places, going for a dip at the Ladies’ Pond and consuming every bit of pop culture she can get her hands on.