Le Creuset LS2532-3067 Signature Chip Resistant Braiser, 3.5-Quart
Last updated date: January 26, 2023
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We looked at the top Braisers and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Braiser you should buy.
Update as January 26, 2023:
Checkout The Best Braiser for a detailed review of all the top braisers.
The Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 3 1/2 Qt. braiser is the best. all-around braising pan you can buy. It has easy-to-grip handles that were designed with oven mitts in mind and comes in a myriad of fun color options. So not only will this braiser look good in your kitchen, but it will also allow you to create countless delicious meals.
In our analysis of 49 expert reviews, the Le Creuset Signature Chip Resistant Braiser, 3.5-Quart placed 7th when we looked at the top 13 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.
From The Manufacturer
Enameled cast iron is a remarkable and robust material that performs well with modern requirements for food preparation and cooking. Whether you choose to stir-fry, slow-cook a casserole, sear a steak or bake a cake, there is a shape that is suitable. Cast iron performs well for either slow cooking or high-temperature searing. Cast iron can be used reliably on any heat source, including induction, and with any oven or grill. It has the ability to retain heat efficiently, which allows for use of lower heat settings in stovetop and oven cooking. On the table, a hot covered dish will keep food hot for second servings. Cast iron can also be used to keep foods cold. A chilled dish becomes an ideal cold food server on a hot summer day. It can also be placed in the freezer for food storage or advanced food preparation. High heat temperatures should only be used for boiling water for vegetables or pasta, or for reducing the consistency of stocks or sauces. High heats should never be used to preheat a pan before lowering the heat for cooking. Cast iron retains heat so efficiently that overheating will cause food to burn or stick. The vitreous enamel surface is impermeable and therefore ideal for raw or cooked food storage, and for marinating with acidic ingredients such as wine. For frying and sauteing, the fat should be hot before adding food. Bring the pan and fat or oil to the correct temperature together. Oil is hot enough when there is a gentle ripple in its surface. For butter and other fats, bubbling or foaming indicates the correct temperature. If either begins smoking, or if butter begins browning, it is too hot and should be cooled slightly before proceeding. The quickest way to do this is to remove the pan from the heat source for a few moments. For longer shallow frying a mixture of oil and butter gives excellent results.
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Our Expert Consultant
Julie Chernoff is a long-time member of Les Dames d’Escoffier (past president of the Chicago Chapter, and current co-chair of the LDEI Legacy Awards Committee), the Association of Food Journalists (AFJ) and the International Association of Culinary Professionals.
Chernoff is the dining editor of Better, a lifestyle website and print magazine. Her journalism started in the test kitchens of Weight Watchers Magazine. She holds a BA in English from Yale University and is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy. She has spent the last few decades styling, photographing, teaching, developing recipes, editing, thinking and writing about food.
Overall Product Rankings
An Overview On Braisers
One long-standing method for cooking meats and vegetables is to use high heat and a little oil to first brown our foods before slowly simmering them in cooking liquid. This method of braising can be done by amateurs and professional chefs alike to easily bring robust flavors to our dishes.
Braising provides a nice caramelized, brown crust that really brings out the nuanced flavors of specific cuts of meat. It also allows them to cook at a slower pace and have time to truly soak in the seasonings. This process, also ideal for browning and caramelizing vegetables, lets the food gather flavor as the liquid evaporates and circulates back over the top of the meats and vegetables with the help of a tightly fitting lid.
“Braising is best done in a pan designed for the purpose,” culinary expert Julie Chernoff, member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, dining editor of Better magazine, and food journalist, says. “But don’t worry … this pan will be one of the most versatile in our cooking arsenal.”
She says the best pans are large, with a flat bottom and high sides to accommodate larger cuts of meat or a stew. An ideal set of braising cookware will be especially wide at the base. That provides a lot of surface area, so that all of the meats and vegetables can have direct contact with the pan directly while searing.
“Because you don’t want to overcrowd proteins in a pan when searing them — that would lead to steaming rather than to the desired caramelization — most recipes have you sear the meat in batches. Larger pans mean fewer batches are necessary,” Chernoff explains. “You’re looking for a pan that is made of heavy metal, which protects against burning and promotes even heating.”
The pan should also be deep enough to allow you to add your liquids and other spices or ingredients before placing the lid on to allow it all to simmer together. This will tenderize your meats and vegetables to the perfect temperature and texture. The depth of the braiser can determine how much food you can create in the one dish, generally ranging from three to seven quarts in volume. A deep pan can be very handy in creating large batches of soup, chili or stews for a large crowd, or for those of us who like to meal prep large quantities of food to have handy for the upcoming week. Deeper, larger pans also mean fewer dirty dishes during the process of creating your meal and also gives a lot of flexibility to how the braiser can be used in the kitchen.
Many of the braisers that top the product category also boast a design that allows them to go in the oven for the latter half of the cooking process. The Lodge Enamel Cast Iron Braiser, 3.6-Quart has large handles that can be easily picked up and maneuvered while wearing oven mitts. As a general rule, it would be wise to stay away from any products which have rubberized handles that aren’t rated for oven temperatures up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
A braiser will need to have a heavy, tight-fitting lid to help circulate all the steam and flavoring back into the dish as it simmers on the stove or in the oven. The lid doesn’t have to be anything too fancy, but it should have an easy-to-use handle that can be grabbed while wearing an oven mitt. You should always be mindful to not put your face directly over the pan when removing the lid, as there will generally be a release of steam.
Another part of the design to look out for in most braisers is two handles, one on each side of the pan, which allow a solid grip while picking it up and moving it. A long single handle, like seen on many frying pans, will get very hot and could be dangerous if the user doesn’t exercise caution.
Safety and balance are key when it comes to handles, Remember, though, that those double handles will get hot, too.
“Don’t forget your oven mitts,” Chernoff advises. “Moving hot liquid around is no joke!”
Braisers are truly a multi-use cookware set, as touted by the AmazonBasics Enameled Casserole Braiser, 3.3-Quart. As it suggests in its name, you might find yourself grabbing this option for most of your daily cooking needs. It provides the versatility many look for while shopping for new cookware. For example, the low stance of a braising pan allows it to be used for simple frying tasks, like cooking eggs, but provides room to use your spatula to flipping things and moving food around.
Many braisers are even coated with nonstick ceramic finishes that make cleaning them a breeze; just a little soap and hot water will allow you to easily remove all the food debris you created from cooking. You won’t need to use a scrubber and a good amount of elbow grease to get them clean.
But braising is a great way to get the most out of tougher, less expensive cuts of meat, so having one of these pans on hand is a great idea.
“This cooking method is ideal for short ribs, osso buco, pork shoulder, chicken cacciatore and more,” Chernoff notes.
The Braiser Buying Guide
When looking to purchase a braiser, there are a number of factors to keep in mind that will help ensure that your new cookware lives up to the task.
- Find a braising pan that has a large bottom surface area. In order to brown or sear your meats and vegetables, they should have as much contact with the hot surface of the pan as possible. Any pieces stacked above the bottom layer will not braise but will start cooking slowly as the heat passes up to them.
- Determine how many portions of food you will generally want to make in your braiser. A smaller braiser can hold a few quarts of food, which is often enough to feed an average family. A deeper braiser will let you build a much larger dish that can be divided up into many more servings. But the depth of the pan will not allow for browning more meat, so this option is best suited for stews or soups, where the larger volume is beneficial.
- Look carefully at the specs of both the lid and the pan. Make sure that both will handle the high temperatures of roasting in the oven, which is often the method used for the simmering portion of the recipe.
- Choose a pan that is easy to lift with two hands while wearing oven mitts. This will also make the pan more compact as it won’t have one long handle and will, therefore, fit more conveniently in your cupboard when in storage.
- Braisers can come in many beautiful colors as well. If you like the idea of taking the simmering dish out of the oven and setting it directly on the table for serving, look for an aesthetically pleasing color and finish. If you’re looking for a braiser that will look nice on the table as a serving dish, you may want to lean toward purchasing one that has a thicker construction, which will help the dish retain its heat over the course of the meal. A thicker enamel-coated cast iron braiser will keep foods hot much longer than a thinner stainless steel model. The thicker braisers will also help eliminate hot-spots as the food simmers.
- If you intend to use the braiser as a skillet, look at the braisers that will cater to that need. It should have a shorter depth that allows you to get down to the bottom of the pan easily with a spatula or other utensil.
- Note that some braisers have a glass lid while others have an opaque lid that matches the pan. The glass lid has the benefit of allowing the user to see into the pan and check on your food. Other than that, both types of lids serve the same function during the cooking process.
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