Review of the Staub Braiser: A Beautiful Pan from a Beautiful Place

The Staub Braiser (aka 4-quart Sauté pan...but believe me, iit's a braiser).

The Staub Braiser (it’s called a 4-quart Sauté pan…but believe me, it’s a braiser).

I’ve been reviewing all of the major braising pans on the market. Next up: The Staub Braiser. And the answer to the key question: How does the Staub Braiser compare to Le Creuset?   

French Pedigree

Staub cookware is made in northeastern France—Alsace, to be exact, a place famous for one-pot meals (Choucroute Garnie, anyone)? According to the company website, the founder—the grandson of a cookware merchant—manufactured his first pot in a former artillery factory in 1974. He wanted to perfect the pans that have been traditionally used for Alsatian cooking.

Like Le Creuset, the Staub company specializes in enamel cast-iron cookware; yet while Le Creuset has branched out and now manufactures all kinds of kitchenware, Staub remains sharply focused on its enamel cast-iron products.

image

Is it any surprise that such a beautiful pan comes from a beautiful place? The Staub Braiser hails from Alsace (this photo is of Strasbourg, the region’s capital). Photo by MorBCN.

Incidentally, Alsace is near and dear to my heart for many reasons, including the fact that my friend and one of Amerique profonde’s best chefs, David Baruthio, hails from there. (See his great recipe for Dijon-Style Meatballs).

The Staub Braiser Versus the Le Creuset Braiser

Similarities between Staub and Le Creuset:
• Both are made in France of enamel cast iron and offer tight-fitting lids—the key to a great braise. (For a discussion of enamel cast-iron versus stainless steel braisers, see this post.)
• Both hold nearly the same volume (3 1/2 quarts for Le Creuset; 4 quarts for Staub).
• Each weighs about 10 pounds, with the lid on.
• The diameter of the interior cooking surface of both pans is nearly the same (about 9 1/2 inches)
• At this moment, both are exactly the same price on Amazon ($249.99).

The Le Creuset Braiser (left) has shorter sides that are slightly more flared than the Staub braiser.

The Le Creuset Braiser (left) has shorter sides that are slightly more flared than the Staub braiser.

Minor Differences between Staub and Le Creuset: 
• The sides of the Staub braiser are 1/2 inch taller (2 1/2 inches, versus Le Creuset’s 2 inch sides).
• The Le Creuset Braiser is available in 9 colors; Staub comes in four colors (basil, graphite gray, dark blue, and grenadine).
• Le Creuset has a stay-cool top knob that withstands temperatures up to 500°F; Staub’s metal top knob will get hot.
• The sides of the Le Creuset braiser are slightly flared (helpful at the sauteing stage), while the Staub braiser is more straight-sided.

None of these differences is enough to sway me from one camp into the other. Which leads me to….

Ten years of great cooking has discolored the interior of my Le Creuset Braiser. That really doesn't bother me that much. Still, I can't imagine this happening with the Staub braiser.

Le Creuset is cream-colored. Staub is black matte. Ten years of great cooking has discolored the interior of my Le Creuset Braiser. While this doesn’t bother me that much,  I can’t imagine this happening with the Staub braiser.

The Major Difference Between the Staub and Le Creuset Braiser

It’s all about the interior. Both braisers are made of enamel cast-iron inside and out. Though not, strictly speaking, “nonstick,” these enamel interiors offer anti-sticking properties. Plus, enamel won’t react (cause an off flavor with) acidic foods.

However, Le Creuset’s interior is shiny and cream-colored, while Staub’s interior is black matte (not shiny).

Same material. Different colors.

What does this mean for the cook? Some cooks may prefer the lighter interior because it allows you to better see the food you’re cooking: In the Le Creuset baiser, you can tell exactly how brown those onions are getting at a glance, while with the the Staub braiser, you might have to look more closely.

But the black interior has two major benefits, which in my view, trump the cream-colored interior: Akin to your grandmother’s black cast-iron skillet, Staub’s black interior offers fabulous browning capabilities. While I’ve never had any trouble getting foods browned in the Le Creuset braiser, the Staub braiser has the edge.

And another thing: As much as I adore my Le Creuset Braiser, the interior has definitely discolored over the years. I can’t see how this will happen with the Staub braiser.

Who Wins The Beauty Contest?

What cook isn’t kind of nuts about the amazing colors of the Le Creuset Braiser? If you’re looking for colors like Soleil, Palm, and Cassis, you’ll want to go the Le Creuset route:

You know you love these colors. Who doesn't?

You know you love these colors. Who doesn’t?

But the lush glaze on the Staub braiser is striking–the color is so beautifully rich and deep. I must admit, I’m smitten.

I love the rich color and glossy shine of the Staub braiser (left), though I won't kick Le Creuset (right) out of my kitchen!

I love the rich color and glossy shine of the Staub braiser (left), though I won’t kick Le Creuset (right) out of my kitchen!

The Bottom Line

Both pans are equal in quality; both are lovely to look at. I’ve cooked many a fabulous meal with the Le Creuset Braiser for more than 10 years; it’s a beloved old friend. However, if I didn’t already own one, and I had to choose which of the two to buy today, I’d opt for the Staub Braiser. I prefer the black interior, and I’m utterly seduced by its overall beauty.

But frankly, it’s a very close race. If the Staub is a “10,” the Le Creuset is a “9.9.” You should feel good about purchasing either pan.

Other links you might enjoy:

What is a Braiser? What is a Dutch Oven? Should I invest?
Review of the All-Clad Braiser: A great choice if you want a quality braiser, but don’t want the heft (weight!) of cast iron.
Review of the Lodge Braiser: An economical choice.
A list of all recipes in my Braiser Cookbook
 How to Braise without a Braiser
 

Links to Amazon products and customer reviews:

Staub Saute Pan – Braiser – 4Qt – Basil (other colors are available)

Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 3-1/2-Quart Round Braiser, Cherry (many other colors are available through this link)

All-Clad Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Bonded Dishwasher Safe Braiser Pan

Lodge Color Enameled Cast Iron Covered Casserole (3-Quart)(i.e., a braiser)

Also note that the Lodge Caribbean Blue colored braiseris currently on sale for $61.83. A bargain, in my book.

 

 

Note: I requested and received the Staub Braiser, Lodge Braiser and a Le Creuset Braiser from their respective companies for reviewing and photography purposes. I have also received the All-Clad Braiser for review, with the understanding that I will return it after testing. My opinions are strictly my own, and I have not been compensated in any other way. Also, any purchases you make through the links provided will help support this site–without adding to your costs whatsoever. Thank you for your consideration. 

Chez Bonne Femme is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. That means that any purchase you buy through a link that takes you to Amazon will help support this site. Thank you so much for your support!

Chez Bonne Femme is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. That means that any purchase you buy through a link that takes you to Amazon will help support this site. Thank you so much for your support!


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11 comments to Review of the Staub Braiser: A Beautiful Pan from a Beautiful Place

  • Thanks so much for doing the research for me. I have a stainless brasier, but I am lusting after either a Le Creuset or a Staub. I think I would be a winner either way.

    Madonna

  • Allison

    Okay Winnie, I know the straub has those “tentacle” things on the lid- did that mpact the braising ?

    • Wini

      Other Staub pans have the tentacles, but not this one. I don’t think they’re needed, because this is a lower pan–the steam doesn’t have as high to go, so there’s going to be more of it quicker. No tentacles needed.

  • […] Recipes like today’s cilantro lime chicken or my sage-wine braised short ribs would work perfectly in a  braiser!  Because a French braiser is shallow enough, more shallow than a pot or Dutch oven, it allows the moist heat to stay in close contact with the meat, thereby cooking meals to perfection! To learn more, check out Wini’s full review of the Staub Braiser here. […]

  • Kary

    Recently, I purchased a Staub braiser on sale. I’d been making one pot suppers like skillet lasagna and shrimp fettuccine Alfredo. Then I found your review and your Kindle braising cookbook and ordered it from Amazon. The first recipe we tried was the Braised Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms and Brown Rice. It was fantastic. Truth be told, no one in my family would eat the thighs. They loved them this way! Can’t wait to make it again and try the other recipes. I followed that with a great chuck roast and vegetables in the braiser that I normally make in a deeper pan. It was outstanding. Thank you for your work and time spent to focus on braising and highlighting these pans. Due to your reviews, I just purchased the Lodge as a gift to my brother and wife. They are enjoying it too.

  • Hello Wini!
    Thank you for this wonderfully thorough review.
    I wonder if you have thoughts on the Staub glass lid brasier vs. Their traditional lid?

    • Wini

      Hello Monika! I have not tested the glass-lidded Staub braiser. I would imagine that it’s absolutely fine, as long as the lid tightly covers the rest of the pan. And I trust the Staub brand to get that right! In fact, a glass lid would have one advantage, in that it would be a bit lighter. The Staub Braiser — and all raisers with cast-iron lids — can be heavy to lift out of the oven. With a glass lid, that would decrease the weight a bit.

      Thanks for writing!

  • Jaci

    Hi, please help me decide between the Staub braised 4.5qt, or 2.5qt, and the Staub Bouillabaisse Pot, Dark Blue, 5 qt. l can afford just one only. So, l want the most advantages, l started looking at the Staub cast iron frypan for eggs and pancakes, then thought the Bouillabaise would be more multipurpose, but l don’t know the interior flat base diameter, then l saw the braised ( with the cast iron tight lid), now l don’t know which one to get.
    Please help me choose. Also, l have a Staub Perfect Pan, which l seasoned with flax seed oil ( because my piklets and omelette were sticking on medium heat despite pre-warming the pan) seasoning with 5 coats flax seed oil was advised on an online site for all cast iron), but afterwards l found that l hadn’t noticed l’d dribbled oil on the outside, spooling the gorgeous look of the pretty enamel. Can l fix this, and how? HELP!

    • Wini

      Hi Jaci! I wish I could help you fix the exterior of the enamel, but I’m not sure how to do that. I wouldn’t worry about it though — a well-worn pot is the sign of many great meals cooked and enjoyed with family and friends! It’s a badge of honor.

      I would DEFINITELY go for the Staub Braiser, but the 4.5 quart is (in my mind) too large, while the 2.5 quart is too small. Why not the 3.5-quart braiser? That’s what I use and it’s PERFECT for serving 4 to 6 people.

      Here’s an article I wrote about buying a Dutch Oven (which is like a Bouillabaisse pot) versus a braiser.:

      Should I Buy a Braiser or a Dutch Oven

      The advice: Save money on the Dutch oven by buying a Farberware so that you can afford the braiser. The braiser is just my favorite pan in my kitchen, by far.

      Let me know if you have further questions. You can email me at wini moranville [ at ] yahoo [dot] com if you need a quicker response. Good luck!

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