Why I Choose Enameled Cast Iron Cookware (and a big giveaway for you!)

enameled cast iron

Among the many questions that find their way to my inbox weekly, is the question of cookware: namely, how do I choose my cookware, and what do I recommend using.  For many people who are transitioning to a healthier lifestyle one step at a time, abandoning nonstick, Teflon and aluminum cookware ranks on their list of things to do, but it raises the question, “What do you use instead? And Why?”

In our kitchen, we abandoned nonstick-coated pans and aluminum pots ages ago in favor of stainless steel, cast iron and enameled cast iron.  Stainless steel produces a beautiful sear, cast iron is impossible to beat when it comes to frying, but enameled cast iron takes my heart, and I use it for preparing most dishes including roasts, braised vegetables and meats, risottos and pilafs, stews, soups and similar dishes.   For baking, you might ask, I use both stoneware and enameled cast iron.

Why I’ve Fallen for Enameled Cast Iron

  • Enameled cast iron is incredibly easy to clean.  After braising, stewing or roasting, the interior of my enameled cast iron pans and Dutch ovens wipe clean with a sponge.
  • Enameled cast iron is durable. Enameled cast iron is heavy, and incredibly durable.
  • Enameled cast iron is doesn’t leach. While I use my regular cast iron skillet for many different foods, I avoid using it for acidic foods like chili and tomato sauces as acidic foods can potentially damage cast iron’s seasoning and potentially leach iron and other metals into the food I prepare.  This, of course, isn’t a problem with enameled cast iron.
  • Enameled cast iron are heirloom pieces.  Enameled cast iron is durable, beautiful, strong and long-lasting, and they are heirloom pieces.  Pieces to pass down from parent to child.
  • Enameled cookware is recommended by the Weston A. Price Foundation. In their dietary guidelines, the Weston A. Price Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to educating the public about healthy foods and cooking, makes the recommendation for enameled cookware because it is nontoxic and doesn’t leach.

Purchasing Enameled Cast Iron

Enameled cast iron are heirloom-quality pieces of cookware, and, as such, they’re pricier than inexpensive nonstick and aluminum cookware.  For me, this means I’ve slowly added one piece at a time to my collection of enameled cast iron cookware, with the most recent piece, a baking dish, a gift to myself for having officially seen my first cookbook The Nourished Kitchen through its proposal, writing, recipe testing to its release this Tuesday.

Prices for enameled cast iron vary from mid-range, in the case of Lodge which produces a variety of beautiful cast iron and enameled pieces, to high-end in the case of Le Creuset.  But remember, replacing one piece of cookware at a time with a better option like enameled cast iron can really help to making sure your kitchen is beautifully well-equipped for healthy, home cooking.

Take the Challenge!

I started replacing my cookware pieces with nontoxic alternatives one by one, and it’s a manageable and simple challenge.  In celebration of Earth Day, we’ve partnered up with Mighty Nest, an online resource that offers a wide variety of products to support a nontoxic lifestyle (read more about them here), to bring you a challenge and a giveaway that you will absolutely love.

What We’re Giving Away: Three Enameled Cast Iron Pieces

In honor of Earth Day, make a commitment to replace just one of your older pieces of cookware with a nontoxic option, like enameled cast iron (my favorite!).  Remember each small step counts.  Take the pledge below, and you could win $250 of gorgeous enameled cast iron cookware from MightyNest.  Then take more simple but mighty actions for a healthier home and planet in MightyNest for School’s Earth Day Challenge. Rally your school community to take action and win up to $1000.  And remember, when you purchase  any of these healthy options for cookware and 15% will be donated to your school.

  • Enameled Cast Iron 6-quart Dutch Oven: $109.95 (see it here)
  • Enameled Cast Iron 3-quart Covered Casserole: $99.95 (see it here)
  • Enameled cast Iron 10-inch Grill Pan: $70.95 (see it here)

This giveaway is sponsored by Mighty Nest. Thank you for supporting companies I believe in, as it helps me to continue developing recipes, and crafting unique content for you to enjoy.

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What people are saying

    • Beth says

      If you don’t win, you could keep your eye out for occasional bargains on Le Creuset, etc., at Tuesday Morning, TJ Maxx and Marshalls.

    • Janel says

      Check Craigslist, consignment stores, or Goodwill. You can often find pieces for a fraction of what they cost new.

    • Maria Brady says

      We are slowly making the switch also but still don’t have enameled cast iron or dutch oven-type of pan. Thank you for the give-away opportunity! :) I LOVE your website and cookbook!

    • says

      Le Creuset has outlets around the country too. Last time I was in Orlando I got a HUGE, round pot that retailed for $350 for $80 and they shipped it to my house for free. The outlets have seconds… Which usually just have cosmetic flaws and they are still guaranteed for life!

  1. Kim Campbell says

    I must say I love my old cast iron as well. I purchased your cook book and I can’t wait to dive in!!!

  2. Joe Parrette says

    Am I the only male who cooks??? I have also given up teflon, I don’t even use teflon for dental floss.

  3. Jennifer says

    I’ve never cooked with enameled cast iron before. I would love to start trying. We cook every night and enjoy preparing simple local foods!

  4. Rebecca says

    I have 2 pieces that I love and use on a daily basis. I could kick myself though. When I was a young bride and oh so naive, I was given a blue LeCrusset Stock pot and had no idea of the value. It was so heavy that I gave it away on our free table at Seminary. How dumb is that? Sixteen years later, I still think about that often and how I wish I knew then, what I know now.

  5. Kendra says

    I have both cast iron and enameled cast iron (just one of each lol) and I love the enamel so much more. I am slowly trying to replace all of my pots and pans, exactly what you are doing. Love giveaways like these.

  6. Heather says

    My husband gave me an enameled cast iron dutch oven for Christmas a few years ago, and it transformed our lives! I started cooking more (a tough feat as I was in BSN school), and we both lost a little weight. Love love love my enameled cast iron. :-)

  7. says

    I would love to have any one of these pieces. Our cookware is from 1973, and quite ready to be replaced. We are on a tight budget so can’t just go out and buy new stuff.

  8. Kathy says

    I’ve been slowly changing my cookware over the last several years. I’ve not yet splurged on enamel covered cast iron. I would love it.

  9. Kathy says

    I have some old and new regular cast iron and I love them all. My dutch oven is enameled but have never used a frying pan. I cook a lot so it’d be a great thing to win.
    By the way, received your new cookbook yesterday and its absolutely wonderful!! Thank you for spending the hours and hours and hours I’m sure it took to put it together.
    Now with the garden starting there will be lots of fresh ingredients to put to use and a great book to follow.

  10. Sandra says

    I have been coveting enameled cast iron cookware for some time now … trying to save up some money to start gradually making the switch! Thanks for the opportunity with this giveaway! :)

  11. Teresa says

    Awesome giveaway. DH just purchased a 14 quart U.S.A. made Lodge cast iron camp stove to use on his outdoor rocket stove that he is in the process of building. Unfortunately, the Lodge enameled cast iron is made in China.

  12. Anne says

    It’s a a very slow change since the budget doesn’t allow for much. But I’m certainly on the right path! I have one pan so far and none with Teflon ,

  13. Sheila says

    I have been slowly changing to cast Iron. I have not yet been able to afford any of the enameled type yet. Oh how I would love that!

  14. Rachael Perney says

    This would be lovely to win, Just starting to make my own baby food and she MUST have the cleanest food I can make (:

  15. Tiffany Larsen says

    I love my stainless steel everyday pan, cast iron, and enameled cast iron cookware! Stopped using Teflon years ago.

  16. Elizabeth says

    When I got my first enameled cast iron dutch I had a couple of things I knew I wanted to cook in it and really just wanted to try it. Now it is my most used pot and I love it!

  17. wendy says

    Postman just brought “The Nourished Kitchen” & I’m so excited to make some lifestyle changes for my family’s health! New cookware would make it healthier AND gorgeous ;-)

  18. Audrey says

    Have been contemplating switching our cookware for a while now but since I have returned to school we just don’t have the funds for cast iron. Would love to win some pieces to give us a head start. We have switched almost all our plastic storage containers to glass. Every little bit counts.

  19. Sue says

    I already purged my cookware several years ago. I use stainless steel, cast iron in both enamel & non-coated, & eco-friendly non-stick ceramic skillets. Although I don’t use the ceramic pans very often, I like having the non-stick option available whenever needed. I also use Pyrex glass & ceramic casserole dishes. The only aluminum I still own & use is baking sheets & cake pans. But, they are almost always lined with parchment paper beforehand. I bake specialty cakes out of my home so it’s hard to get away from aluminum completely. :(

  20. Sheila says

    Would love this set! I am using mostly stainless steel but still have one non-stick skillet for eggs as they stick in the stainless steel.

  21. says

    I cannot take the pledge as I junked all nonstick things 20 years ago when I brought a new love into my life — an African Grey parrot named Koko. Since then I’ve added other used parrots, plus lots of cast iron and stainless steel. Nonstick coated cookware, overheated, is instantly lethal to birds. If it kills them, what is it doing to us? I applaud your Nourished Kitchen endeavors, and urge all your followers to ditch that crappy cookware and be healthier. It has been hard in the last 20 yrs. finding safe cookware — even cookie sheets, George Foreman indoor grills, omelet pans, etc. come with that toxic stuff on them. But thanks to people like you, manufacturers are waking up. Thank you, Jenny.

  22. Tracey says

    Wonderful products! I love my enamel Dutch oven but definitely could use a few more pieces for everyday cooking!

  23. Sarah Flores says

    I received my first enameled cast iron for my wedding. I treat it like fine china. But unlike fine china, I use my pan every day.

  24. Sarah in CA says

    I love our lodge ware iron and use enameled cast iron. I pay for the enameled cast iron that is NOT manufactured in China. Lodge’s enameled cast iron is made in China. I just don’t trust the manufacturing methods or materials coming out of China. I would chose Staub or Le Creuset which are made in Europe as far as I can determine. Or just use the plain ol` lodge cast iron. I have found Staub from a good price through cook ware catalogs or Amazon. William-Sonoma is a good place to look over cookware but I wouldn’t necessarily buy it there.

  25. Kathleen says

    Jenny I just love what you!!! Thank u so much for not only giving people the chance to win these beautiful kitchen pieces but to involve the local schools, and allowing the schools that are not listed to be given the opportunity as well. That is so wonderful. Congrats on the book. Can’t wait to go and get a copy, hoping ill get it for a Mother’s Day gift

  26. Paulina says

    I have a question, which may sound odd… Where in “your school” does the $1000 go, if the winner doesn’t have a school they wish to claim as their own?

    I’m mainly talking about those of us who are disenchanted with the current school system’s questionable priorities, homeschoolers (my first homeschool student is currently still happily baking in my belly), and parents who opt for charter schools or other alternative forms of education.

    In our less-than stellar school district, such money just goes towards another sports field, as a majority of students who aim for college from our town on their “merits” are all encouraged to do so by pursuing athletic scholarships, not by aiming for academic excellence and consequent scholarships.

  27. Linda says

    This cookware looks like it’s just what the doctor ordered! We will have been married 45 years on May 31st, and I’ve spoken to my husband about needing new cookware in a rather urgent way. This would be a Godsend! Love that dark blue! :)

  28. Valerie says

    This cookware is beautiful! Would love to get some. Right now I use mostly stainless steel (Lustre Craft brand that I got one piece at a time on ebay) and a couple cast iron pans. What’s your opinion on the stainless steel?

  29. Megan says

    I only have one cast iron pan, so I’m not totally comfortable cooking with all types. I would love to win this set. Thanks.

  30. Kathy Mellin says

    I have no enameled cast iron, but would love to have some; winning any of these pieces would be amazing. I cook primarily with stainless steel and regular cast iron, glass baking dishes, and stoneware.

  31. 2wellsmade5 says

    OMGoodness…. I have been ogling the Le Creuset cookware forever! This would be amazing! As a homeschooling mom of 5, I am the everything and chef is up there on the list! I have a UN-used culinary degree… unless you count toddler finger food as a delicacy! This is a wonderful gift and I would gladly ditch a cast iron pot for these! Thanks for the opportunity!

    • Jenny says

      There’s a few things wrong with your comment: 1) Natural News is one of the *worst* sources for reliable and accurate information on the web. 2) The enamel on enameled cast iron is on the inside or the cooking surface. Just taking a look an enameled cast iron pan will tell you this.

  32. Rosanne Haaland says

    I am SO convinced that it’s time to get rid of my non-stick cookware. I’ve started by trying the ceramic coated cookware, but I really have wanted to get LeCreuset cookware, but just can’t find it anywhere in the budget. I’ve got the dutch oven on my Christmas wish list for this year!

  33. Deb in Indiana says

    I love cast iron cookware, but the only enameld cast iron I have is a VERY old jelly pan (too old to use, but still cool). I’d like to try enameled cast iron.

  34. Donna Rochelle says

    Hello, I would love to win this set of enameled cookware. I have a skillet and love it to make good fried chicken and baked cornbread but I would love love to win the grill pan. I have so many recipes I cannot make because I cannot afford this one. I want grilled veggies and shrimp and maybe some grilled peaches. YUM Thanks, Donna

  35. says

    I love my Le Creuset pot, I use it for everything. And I try to get one little thing each birthday, because these things are costly!! I love the feel of the weight, and the beautiful colours. I also have the butter dish, which is so much more solid than the flimsy china ones that I can’t believe I waited so long to replace it! I’d love to have one of everything but it will probably have to remain a dream.

    The big pot one always features on European wedding lists, and it was the only way I was going to get mine!

  36. Laura says

    Got rid of all my dented aluminum and “non-stick” Teflon-lined pots/pans years ago, when I moved into a house with a smooth glass cooktop. Got myself a nice stainless steel (flat-bottomed!) set of pots/pans, and they work great. Still use my grandma’s cast iron skillets … every day. They make the best cornbread! I’ve seen some enameled cast iron cookware at the local Goodwill or Salvation Army, but they are always chipped, and I didn’t think that would be so safe. Those of you with chipped enameled pans … do you still use them?

  37. Sharon says

    Actually, I’m confused: I use cast iron all the time and wasn’t aware of a problem re leaching. How is enameled cookware different? I thought the enameling was on the exterior, not the cooking surface that makes contact with food. Am I mistaken? If there is enamel on the interior surface, what’s to say it won’t chip off, leach, etc., into our food, and if so, wouldn’t there be a concern about paint or the other components of the enamel?

  38. Eliane says

    I would love to win. I want to change but is kind pricier for me right now. I wish everyone could change and cook real food in today’s days it’s so much better for our heathy. I will have some soon.

  39. Ali says

    This is going to sound really dumb, but I thought that a benefit of using cast iron was that it would add iron to your foods and that was good for you. Am I totally wrong and it’s actually harmful? I honestly thought that was a good thing but now wonder if I’ve been poisoning myself.

  40. Heather says

    If youth live in the Midwest try Kroger!! We have completely changed our cookware thanks to clearance and manager’s specials at Kroger. I even got to give my mom some great Lodge cookware because we found it so cheap! I’ve gotten 2 Lodge enameled cast iron dutch ovens with lids for under $40/ea there and a large set of steel pans/utensils (2 skillets, 2 sauce pans/pots, dutch oven and 4 lids plus 3 utensils) that was regularly $180 for $30!!!! One of the Lodge I only paid $25 for because I balked at the first markdown price (I had just bought one the week before) and the manager ended up chasing me down to offer it at $25 instead of $40! I would’ve bought all of them at that price if I’d had the extra cash!!!!

  41. Tiphini says

    Been saving up to purchase more pieces! Would love to win one of these to add to my growing family of awesome cookware!

  42. Annette Cunningham says

    I love cooking with cast iron pans, but do not own any that are enameled//interesting..sure hope I win!

  43. gina says

    I would love these. I have lots of regular cast iron, but no enameled.

    We still have a few non – stick aluminum pot and pans.

  44. KATE says

    My ex decided my cast iron was worth more as scrap metal. Now that he is an ex, I get to recollect my cooking essentials. Stainless steel is nice and cheap but no where near comfortable as cast iron.

  45. linda says

    I love my cast iron pans – I currently use mine a lot. I have never owned or tried an Enameled Cast Iron pan. Would love to get my hands on one to try.

  46. Susan M. says

    Got a large Le Creuset dutch oven for a wedding present in 1968, but I’m not passing it on to my grandchildren because, with constant use, it became totally dark inside and the enamel began popping off the bottom. I got a different brand a few years ago and tried to be extra careful with it, but it, too, is stained and getting dark inside. How do you keep these pieces looking new? I love them, but feel I must be doing something wrong. Am I the only person who’s had this experience?

  47. Elizabeth says

    I have two of my great grandmother’s cast iron skillets; one is very small, perfect for a fried egg. I haven’t thrown out my non-stick yet but I will, don’t even use it.

  48. Christina Mitchell says

    No aluminum in this house anymore! I’m slowly building up my collection of cast iron as the budget allows. I have a few stainless pots and a fry pan in use also. it frightens me to think of all the families eating off of toxic cookware!

  49. says

    This is e actly what im doing. My pots are garbage. Pieces of teflon are coming off. Im in desperate need of of these pots but being disabled not able to work makes it ever more harder to afford these pots. Winning this giveaway of pots would answer my prayers. Oh how i wish i win.

  50. Carrie says

    Fantastic giveaway! Thank you! My cookware is the one thing I’ve been wanting to switch to a safer product.

  51. Jake says

    A lower cost alternative to cast iron — and not as good but still non-toxic and very practical — is stainless steel clad aluminum. The Tremontina line, sold by Walmart and elsewhere, has been endorsed by some very well regarded chefs. I have a set, cost me about $100 for two frying pans, two sauce pans, a 23 qt stock pot and a 15 qt dutch oven. I bought the steel lids because I’ve broken every glass lid I ever had. Very durable, cooks great, amazing the way they distribute the heat. My only complaint was when the giant fry pan warped a bit, about 50 mils down in the center, cast iron would never do that. Banged it out until it was up in the center so it doesn’t rock, and vowed to eventually replace it. Only noticable when I do crepes, and then it just takes some extra shaking around.

  52. Rhonda Gordon says

    I would like to win this cookware I am currently in breast cancer chemotherapy and am making healthier cooking a priority.

  53. Mary Ann Hutchinson says

    This looks like a great site. I’m always looking for info on healthier options and how to make fresh food as opposed to buying processed. Thanks for hosting this site.

  54. Pamela Hairfield says

    I have ditched all my non-stick cookware, the stuff was flaking off into my food! I am making life changes in my diet for medical reasons and to just get healthier. My favorite pan is a cast iron fry pan… I use it for everything, including some baking! I did not realize, chili and spaghetti sauce should not be made in this pan. Oops! My grandmother used hers, for everything. Unfortunately, I have not been able to purchase an enameled cast iron dutch oven… my husband was layed off and has been on unemployment for almost 7 months. I am not able to work, so money is very tight. I hope my number is the lucky one picked, as I could surely use a new dutch oven!!!!

  55. Kat says

    My daughter gave me my first enameled cast iron piece two Christmas’ ago (well a gift certificate that I used to buy one) It is wonderful to have and use.

  56. Gwen MacCaughey says

    I’ve been slowly switching for years, but I have mostly cast iron, not the enameled because of price. One of the things you didn’t mention is that anyone living in an older house with children is potentially exposed to lead. One of the ways to prevent the body from taking up the lead is to increase your iron…..and of course doing that with your diet is preferable to a supplement. All three of my boys had slightly elevated lead levels when they were little, so I switched to cast iron then.

    I love your school idea, but feel left out! I run a homeschool co-op and on Tuesdays we have them all here. I make nourishing soup for the whole group, and our little school sure would love to benefit from your school giveaway – but of course we’re not on your list :(

  57. Lisa Kloock says

    After being diagnosed with Brain cancer, it is my quest to change the way I eat and what I use to cook it in. As you know, this could be very costly especially with medical bills. I am making the switch slowly, but I am getting there. I really wish I knew more before I was diagnosed. Thanks for all the info you share, it is life-changing.

  58. dawn stover says

    I have stainless cookware, but that isn’t always the best option for certain foods. I love cast iron, but cant use it with my flat top stove. this would solve that problem! thanks for this great opportunity!

  59. Alisha Sienkiel says

    I love enameled cast iron! I have one large cast iron dutch oven that I love but they are so expensive.

  60. Mandy says

    Saved up and bought two dutch ovens. The cat knocked one off the counter and the handle smashed. It’s now useless for cooking. Soooo disappointed. :(

  61. D Stevens says

    I have enameled roaster & a cast iron skillet, but not an enameled cast iron, would love to try one & get switched over. Great give a way !

  62. Megan G says

    I made the pledge to switch from dangerous non-stick long, long ago. And now I have an energy efficient conduction cooker, so using iron cookware is a pleasant necessity, but I have yet to try enameled pieces. Thanks for the chance to win one!

  63. Andrea says

    Silly question, Can these be used with glass top stoves? We love cast iron but can’t use it on our current stove.

  64. Melissa says

    I’ve been slowly switching from non-stick and other types and going to cast iron. Goodwill and yard sales are where you can find these at a bargain. I don’t have any enameled ones. I’d love to get one of these.

  65. Bonnie E. says

    Thanks, Jenny, for opportunity to win! I’d love to replace my nonstick pans. Normally use my one/only cast iron, but sometimes I have no choice!

  66. Jen says

    What type of pan do you recommend for an omelette? That is the only thing I have used non stick for in years…

  67. Rachel says

    My mom gave me the stainless steel pots she’d used at home while I was growing up as an extra wedding/new home gift 4 years ago. Even though the plastic handles are coming loose they’ve still outlasted everything. I got a ceramic coated pan just a few months ago to replace our old Teflon monstrosity. Time tested quality pieces are definitely worth getting in my opinion. (Over the first few years they probably pay for themselves anyway since you won’t need to replace them for decades).

  68. says

    I’ve always used non-toxic cookware (cast iron that’s enameled or cast iron.) We’ve been married 22 yrs so my enameled cast iron is chipped in a few places, need to replace a couple of pieces! Love it!

  69. Amanda says

    We Currently use stainless steel for all but one… Teflon. Unfortunately we haven’t replaced this one but hope too. This set would certainly help.

  70. Tamika Anderson says

    I have been tryjng to figure out the best cookware. I tossed some nasty baking pans awhile ago and haven’t been able to replace them as I do not want any non stick chemcial pans in my house!

  71. Sarra says

    Hi, I have had so many problems with my enameled cast iron pans from le creuset and chasseur. Over time, they have *all* chipped (small, fingertip sized chips). I read that they are not safe once they are chipped, because the bonding material is toxic and will leach into food. So I have thrown the chipped ones out. I have searched online and asked sales people how to avoid chipping the inside of the pan, and have found no answers. Also, in reality getting replacements from the manufacturers is also nearly impossible – just check out some forum discussions on this topic online. Until I figure out how to avoid chipping, I will not be buying more enamelled cast iron. Too expensive, if they get chipped! I would love it if you could address this issue and get me back on track with enamelled cast iron, I totally get the upside! Thank you!

  72. Alma Moreno says

    I was so ready to place an order for Lodge cookware until I read reviews about enamel peeling off and ending up in food. The Lodge website reads “Responsibly made in China.” If anyone in this community has a personal experience with Lodge cookware they can share, I would appreciate it. I’m sure we all would. We do the best we can to be aware and nurture our families, then reputable companies go to China. What sadness.

  73. Trisha says

    i am excited to replace some of my cookware with enameled cast iron! when will the winners of this giveaway be chosen and announced?

  74. Laura Gay says

    Beautiful cookware! I look for cast iron at thrift stores and garages sales. A new set would be heaven ;)

  75. MJ says

    Jenny, can you comment on the new ceramic pans I am seeing? What are the differences between ceramic and enameled? Thank you.

    • Jenny says

      Hi MJ – I don’t have them, so I have no experience using them. Several readers have asked me about that, so I’ve put in a request to the company for a sample and for product information so I can review them for readers sometime in the near future.

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