I’ve Used This Pot Every Single Day Since I Got It Last Year

updated May 13, 2020
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gray Le Creuset pan on stovetop
Credit: Rochelle Bilow

I put exactly one thing on my Christmas list last year. I knew I was taking a gamble; if Santa couldn’t deliver, I’d be out of luck (and out of presents). But honestly, it was the only thing I wanted. 

I’m happy to report that the man in the red suit came through. I got my wish: a brand-new enameled Le Creuset chef’s oven. Now, I know what you’re thinking: Duh. Le Creuset is the Rolls Royce of cookware. We … knew that? Where’s the element of surprise here? I get what you’re saying, but please allow me to point out that it’s a chef’s oven — not a Dutch oven.

Additionally, I asked for the smallest chef’s oven available. It’s a sweet 1 1/2 quarts. While I can see the appeal of going big when committing to high-end quality cookware, (you can’t exactly cook a holiday brisket in a miniature Dutch oven), I’ve never once regretted my choice. I love this pot so much, and find it so useful, that I have cooked with it every day since I got it late last year. That’s no exaggeration. Here’s why I love it — and why I recommend you buy one in this size, too.

1. All the colors!

Let’s be real: Half the appeal of a Le Creuset is the variety of colors. Choosing your dream pot is analogous to making a statement about what kind of person you are: Do you give off coastal Marine blue vibes, or are you more of a Cerise type? These things matter. While the small chef’s oven doesn’t come in every color Le Creuset has to offer, there are some gorgeous options. Mine is a deep gray called Oyster.

2. It’s really convenient for reheating.

I don’t own a microwave, so whenever I want to reheat leftovers I need to crank the oven or get the stovetop rocking. The petite size of this pot is perfect for warming up soups, stews, beans, rice, and pretty much everything else I like to eat — and it does it quickly to boot. I just add a splash of water and stir to get things started. I like that its walls are slightly more rounded at the base than a Dutch oven, which makes stirring a lot easier. And because the pot is made from Le Creuset’s signature enameled cast iron, it holds and distributes heat really efficiently. This means that I won’t be left with rice that’s scorched in some spots and still-cold in others.

3. It sears and sautés like a dream.

We all know not to crowd the pan when sautéing veggies and proteins — it makes for steamed and soggy eats, rather than golden-brown and crispy bits. But when you cook in a pot that’s too big for the food, you invite the opposite problem: blackening and smoking before your stuff is fully cooked through. I cook for one, so I don’t need enough space to brown three packages of tofu at once. The surface area of my pot is generous enough to allow for air circulation, but not so big that the sugars and proteins over-caramelize and burn.

4. It’s handy for quick kitchen tasks.

I use this pot for so much more than soup-making and braising. I’ve melted butter or coconut oil in it multiple times. (I like to place the jar of coconut oil in the pot and fill the pot with water, then bring it to a simmer. The contents melt super-fast!) I use it to boil sugar and water for a simple syrup. I’ve warmed up tortillas in it. I heat my milk in it most mornings before pouring it into coffee. It’s just right for tossing together a quick pan sauce. In fact, now that I think about it, I don’t just use it daily — I use it multiple times a day.

5. Its small size makes it a snap to clean.

I would probably use my chef’s oven about half as much if it was the size of a more traditional Dutch oven. We can all relate to the pain of scrubbing a large pot in a small sink. (Maybe this year, I should ask Santa for a deep one-bay farmhouse-style sink.) But this tiny guy is no problem at all. I’ve found that I have to wash my big pots immediately, because they leave no room for other dishes in the sink. Happily, I can set my small pot down and still have room for all of the tongs, whisks, plates, cookie sheets, and multiple wine glasses. It’s nice to be able to wash dishes in a batch, rather than many times throughout the day.

Are you a small pot fan, too? Or are you living large? Tell us which size you like best in the comments!