What’s the Difference?
Enameled cast iron has both benefits and drawbacks as compared to “naked” black cast iron cookware. It’s the basic black dressed up with enamel paint, and looks prettier!
- it’s easier to maintain – the enamel coating doesn’t require the process of seasoning
- it gets hot and stays hot just like plain cast iron, though the enamel coating may take longer to heat the pot thoroughly
- the coating prevents any iron from the pan itself from being absorbed into food, and therefore can be used with more acid ingredients like tomatoes and wine. They won’t cause any pitting of the iron, and the food will not pick up a metallic taste
- They are almost as long lasting and can be a heirloom like regular cast iron
- it won’t rust
- there are quite a few manufacturer’s, and it can come in great colors!
- Iron is iron – and it’s all heavy
- the enamel coating lining the interior can chip, and then the smooth surface is marred. I don’t use any metal spoons or turners in it. And the outside enamel paint may chip, though I find the interior is more likely to.
- it’s usually a lot more costly to buy
- the interior surface doesn’t obtain the nonstick qualities that a plain well seasoned cast iron piece can
That said, I have several Le Creuset dutch ovens in various sizes, and I favor the original Flame orange color. Enameled cast iron now comes in blues, and greens, and reds and yellows, with new colors coming out every year.
Lodge, who makes much of the traditional black cast iron today, has also gotten into the enameled field with items like this blue casserole pan.