Le Creuset’s advice to consumers: don’t use olive oil

Like many EYB members, I cherish my Le Creuset and Staub cookware. The durable, colorful, and downright gorgeous vessels are workhorses in my kitchen, helping me create stews, roasts, braises, soups, and more. That is why Jenny and I were somewhat perplexed by the recent advice Le Creuset offered to some customers who complained about damage to their pricey pans. The company has instructed consumers not to use olive oil in its cookware.

In an email to one customer, Le Creuset wrote ‘We advise to avoid using olive oil and recommend oils with a higher burning point like rapeseed oil, coconut oil and sunflower oil.’ They posit that the low smoke point of olive oil can create a residue on the bottom of the pan that becomes a barrier between the pan and the food. Other cookware manufacturers have issued similar advice.

While I understand the science behind using an oil with a higher smoke point for certain applications, I have often used olive oil to sweat vegetables for soups or stews with no ill effects on the cookware. In fact, the only time I ever had a problem was when I used a heat setting that was too high and walked away from a searing piece of meat, which caused a large scorched spot on the bottom of my 7-quart LC Dutch oven that was immune to all of my cleaning tricks. I think that high heat is much more of an issue than using olive oil, but then again I do not have to honor any cookware warranties so take my opinion with a grain of salt (or a dollop of sunflower oil).

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  • saladdays  on  April 27, 2022

    That is very interesting. Some years ago I was using a Le Creuset non-stick frying pan that was becoming very sticky and difficult to clean. I took it into the kitchen shop where I’d bought it and complained (quite politely!).
    The first thing they asked was what oil I used, which of course was olive oil. They explained about using olive oil at a high heat and told me never to use extra virgin olive oil only a lighter one in pans. I was told it was better to use a vegetable or sunflower oil. I was shown how to clean the pan using a plastic scraper. That’s very tedious and you could lose the will to live! I just live with it now, but I have other non-stick pans that don’t seem to have that problem though.

  • Kag2020  on  April 27, 2022

    Several of my Le Creuset pots have a bit of darkening on the bottom and I have noticed a problem with slight sticking. It’s true that the pots I use for soups and more gentle heating don’t have that discoloration. I will now view that darkening as an oil film rather than a burn and try a mild abrasive to remove it. Thank you!

  • sayeater  on  April 27, 2022

    My Le Creuset group has had a similar response. High heat is a bigger problem, and olive oil shouldn’t be used on high heat anyway no matter what cookware you use. Like you I’ll continue to use olive oil for low temp sweating, making confits, etc. in my LC pots.

  • sallylarhette  on  May 6, 2022

    That is interesting! Thank you1

  • Bekstayo  on  May 6, 2022

    Where did Le Creuset get their information? Because it isn’t based in fact. Here is what the North American Olive Oil Association says, and it directly contradicts what Le Creuset is trying to claim, for unknown reasons: ‘Extra virgin olive oil was more stable than saturated fats like coconut oils, and oils with high smoke points such as avocado oil. The smoke point of an oil did not correlate to the oil’s performance when heated. Oils with low smoke point (such as coconut oil), or moderate smoke points (such as extra virgin olive oil), outperformed oils with higher smoke points. Extra virgin olive oil performed better than refined olive oil indicating that the antioxidants in the EVOO may be one of the reasons for its high stability. In conclusion, there is no recognized definition of “high heat” cooking. Olive oil is safe to use in most home cooking methods including baking, frying, sauteing, roasting and grilling.https://www.aboutoliveoil.org/olive-oil-on-high-heat-is-it-safe

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