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Don't Ruin Your Enameled Cast Iron. Here's What You Should Really Be Doing

Enameled cast iron pots and pans aren't the same as your traditional cast iron pots and pans.

Mary-Elisabeth Combs Associate Writer
Mary-Elisabeth is an associate writer on CNET's How-To team. She's a recent graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill's English Department, and resides in Charlotte, North Carolina. On the How-To team, she covers a little bit of everything. When she's not writing, she's catching up on Formula 1 or reading.
Mary-Elisabeth Combs
3 min read
Lodge enameled cast-iron pot

If you want your enameled cast iron to last a lifetime, don't treat it like a regular cast-iron pot or pan. 


For most of my life, I haven't used high-quality cooking tools and utensils, but I've recently had a desire to invest in high-quality, long-lasting pieces for my kitchen. For Christmas, I was given a beautiful mini Le Creuset pot. It's one of my most prized possessions, and to be honest, the thought of ruining it terrifies me. On Christmas Day, I found myself going down Reddit-thread rabbit holes, to make sure I knew how to solve every problem that could ever befall my beloved pot. 

I knew that Le Creuset pots and pans -- and enameled cast-iron pots and pans more broadly -- are technically cast-iron pans. But I didn't know that the care and maintenance process for these pots and pans was so different from their regular cast-iron counterparts. These pots and pans are typically quite expensive, and if not cared for properly can be destroyed in no time.

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I've rounded up everything you need to know about keeping your enameled cast-iron pans in great condition for as long as possible. For more, here's how to clean your Keurig and tips to combat dust buildup in your home

How to cook with your enameled cast iron

Unlike their nonenameled counterparts, enameled cast-iron pans will not build up a nonstick layer of "seasoning." That means that you need to properly preheat and grease your enameled cast-iron pan when you are cooking with it. 

Le Creuset recommends preheating for about five minutes on medium heat if you're cooking on the stove, and the company also recommends keeping an eye on your pan while it preheats, and not heating it for too long to prevent cracking. 

It's also best to keep temperatures low while you're using your enameled cast iron, according to cookware retailer Williams Sonoma. The company also recommends that you should avoid using metal utensils when cooking with your enameled cast-iron pans, since they can scratch and gouge the enamel coating. 

How to store your enameled cast iron

You can store your enameled cast iron like any old pan, and keeping it somewhere dry is the best thing you can do for it. There's not a great difference between keeping it in the open air or storing it in a cabinet. Lodge Cast Iron recommends snagging some pot protectors to provide some extra protection to your pots and pans while storing them.

Personally, I keep my enameled cast iron in a cabinet, stored with other baking and cooking pans. I do make sure to keep it separate from my frequently used pots and pans, to protect it from being knocked around. 

How to clean your enameled cast iron

The best thing about enameled cast iron is that it's easy to clean. You don't have to worry about building up and maintaining a seasoning like you would with ordinary cast iron. You can simply clean enameled cast iron with warm water and a gentle dish soap. 

Even if the company that produces your enameled cast iron says it's OK to wash your pot or pan in the dishwasher, it's probably best to stick with washing your pots and pans by hand. 

If your enameled cast-iron pot or pan has some burnt or stuck-on food, you can fill your pot or pan with warm water and let it soak for a few minutes. Then, use a soft sponge or brush to wash away any remaining food. And of course, you should avoid using any metal to clean your enameled cast iron. 

According to Le Creuset, you can also use baking soda to loosen the burnt food by "fill[ing] the pot with warm water and a tablespoon or two of baking soda, and bring[ing] the water to a simmer for about 8 to 10 minutes." 

As a Le Creuset owner, I always clean mine using warm water, a soft sponge and a gentle dish soap, and it works great.

For more, here's how to fix a scorched cast-iron pan and the best Dutch ovens of 2024