Burnt expensive pot. Sad.
January 29, 2006 8:56 AM   Subscribe

Is my (month-old, Christmas gift from my mom) Le Creuset dutch oven still usable?

Because we have a tiny kitchen, I leave my two large pots on the stovetop. My husband, while putting a kettle on, accidentally turned on the wrong burner and, by the time he realized that the tea water wasn't heating up, the more expensive of the two pots was melted onto the burner.

After letting it cool, I was able to get it off, but the enamel is melted down to the cast iron on the bottom and inside, the enamel is bumpy, slightly cracked and has some burn marks. I've tried searching around and all of the info I can find either says "don't do that to begin with!" or involves people with more money than I replacing their burned-out pots many times over.

Is this pot still safe to use, if not as aesthetically pleasing?
posted by stefnet to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
I would keep using it. The quality of Le Creuset lies mainly in the cast iron, the enamel makes it easier to cook in, and easier to clean.
As long as you don't mind watching out for chips of the enamel that break off out of the cracks, and fishing them out of your food, you can keep using it for the rest of your life.
I have a small cast iron frying pan (not Le Creuset) where the coating (I don't remember exactly what it was, definitely softer than the glassy enamel Le Creuset uses) started to come off. I got tired of fishing for bits, so I scraped all the enamel off the inside. It works beautifully, especially since I'm happy with leaving it slightly greasy.
If cracks and flakes coming off start to expose the bare iron, take care to dry thoroughly after washing, for it will get rusty even when only slightly moist. Again not a problem, a stiff brush will take the rust right off again.
posted by disso at 9:43 AM on January 29, 2006

Le Creuset isn't really supposed to do that. It's meant to withstand really high temperatures and the enamel shouldn't melt... that's basically why people pay so much for it. My Le Creuset pots have withstood more abuse than that and are still in great shape.

That being said, they have a 99 year warranty, and are very good at following through with it. Contact the manufacturer, be very nice to them, and try to get a replacement sent to you or have it sent back for repair. Bumpy, cracked enamel is worthless and will be more trouble than it's worth to try to cook on.
posted by booknerd at 10:00 AM on January 29, 2006

Response by poster: From Le Creuset's site:

"This warranty does not cover damage from abuse , commercial use or other non-consumer use, neglect, abnormal wear or tear, overheating, or any use not in accordance with the cookware instructions provided with the product."

"Our warranty does not cover breakage from dropping or damage from burning the cookware."

The pot was damaged due to overheating and neglect, really, so it's not worth persuing. Actually, Le Creuset is not meant to be cooked with high heat, either. It should be cooked over low to medium heats because it holds the heat so well.
posted by stefnet at 10:06 AM on January 29, 2006

Yeah, their web site says that. CAution, what follows may sound gauche. Ask your mom where she got it. Williams-Sonoma? Take it back there. Seriously, the store will cheerfully give you a new one and they can deal with LeCreuset.
posted by fixedgear at 10:43 AM on January 29, 2006

I've ruined two Le Creuset pots this way. (Actually, one was ruined by forgetting there was chicken in vinegar sauce in there.) Once the enamel is destroyed, I wouldn't use the pot again. I sucked it up and got a new one. You can get some really great deals on LC by searching the web.
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:08 AM on January 29, 2006

If you decide to continue using the pot, don't cook anything acidic (wine, vinegar, citrus, tomatoes, etc.) in it. The acids react with the exposed iron and impart an off taste to the foods.
posted by luneray at 11:23 AM on January 29, 2006

Is there a counterfeit kitchenware ring? I'm surprised that real Creuset stuff would do this. I know our dutch oven has been cooked with on high gas and ceramic cooktop electric heat and in the oven up to 500 degrees with no problems at all, not even close.
posted by mikel at 8:53 PM on January 29, 2006

mikel writes "I'm surprised that real Creuset stuff would do this. I know our dutch oven has been cooked with on high gas and ceramic cooktop electric heat and in the oven up to 500 degrees with no problems at all, not even close."

The key thing is the pot was empty
posted by Mitheral at 7:45 AM on January 30, 2006

Yeah, my wife was taking a look and said the same thing >after< I posted. It's surprising that it makes that much of a difference, but I guess if I think back to Newton's laws and such in high school physics it shouldn't be that surprising.
posted by mikel at 2:33 PM on January 30, 2006

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