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Braiser vs. William Sonoma’s essential oven

I recently posted a question about Dutch ovens and I’m back! 🙂 I have been researching the last few days trying to decide on 2 Le Creuset pieces to get. They will be my first nice pieces of cookware and I want to make sure I choose things that are versatile. For one of the pieces, I want a shallow-ish dish (just a little shallower/wider than something like a Dutch oven) and I think I’ve narrowed it down to either the braiser (not sure on size) or the 3.5 qt essential oven that I believe is exclusive to William Sonoma. I’m going to get a larger size Dutch oven than I was originally planning on, so I want the other piece to be something like the 2 I mentioned, but feel free to suggest other pieces that are similar if you think they are better. I do prefer the double handles on each side rather than one longer handle for bigger pieces like this though!

I am a mom to 2, trying for a 3rd so will likely be cooking for 5. Im 28 and I only began cooking once I was maybe 26 (hated it prior to that, but have always LOVED baking) so I’m really not making anything super fancy, simply because I don’t know how yet lol. We eat things like chicken, fish, baked pasta, casseroles, stir fry, and obviously some super easy kid stuff like Mac and cheese or quesadillas 🙂 Thanks!!


  1. Soda444

    I would recommend the 3.5qt braiser and the 5.5 (whatever) qt Dutch Oven.

    If there’s no change of you cooking a whole chicken in it then the 6.75qt wide round dutch oven would be a better buy that the 5.5qt dutch oven and might also adequately replace the braiser, making the small sauteuse an excellent supplemental pan.

  2. Moon_In_Scorpio

    I, as mom cooking for a family of 3-4, recently got two similar styles (3.5 qt Staub Everything pan [the braiser base w/ glass lid], and LC 3.5 qt. Sauteuse). I use my Braiser significnatly more than the Sauteuse. I don’t really make stew type dishes much, so I think there’s that. I only really use the sauteuse for soups. (This might be because of my lack of cooking sophistication, lol). I use the braiser for all sorts of things from sautéing veggies, frying chicken etc. I also use it for baked casserole type dishes. The braiser has come to be the work horse of my kitchen. I hope this helps – I’m happy to answer any questions.

  3. skquestion

    I have both (mine is not called essential oven but basically the same thing), and if I had to pick one, I would say essential oven. Mine is a bit big for me, and I wish I had one smaller since it’s really for everyday use, it’s rounder and can be used for everyday stuff including pasta sauce and casserole. Braiser is great and I use it all the time since mine is the right size for me but for versatility, it’s a bit shallow, meaning it’s a bit like a deeper frying pan. I use it all the time because I already have other LC small pieces that can do things like casserole. For one piece that does it all in the way you describe, I think is essential oven. But I wonder if essential oven 3.5 qt is the right size for a family of 5, (another consideration is their “soup pot”, which basically is a similar configuration but even rounder comes in 4.5 qt, and I have a family member who uses that for her 4 people family daily use and loves it). If you end up choosing the braiser, I think 3.5 qt would be the right size cooking for 5 (the next size up would be too big to maneuver)

  4. BrEdwards1031

    I love my sauteuse, which I believe is the same as the essential oven. Its versatile and a good size for most average days where I’m not making a ton of extra food (though I always have leftovers). I also want the braiser but I just haven’t bought one yet. I like that the sauteuse has the curved bottom/side so it’s easier to stir without leaving anything behind. Plus you can’t beat the sale price on it right now, and its also on the LC website so they probably have more color options than WS.

  5. whatrpeople

    Honestly if I were you I’d get the braiser and an instant pot. Three young kids is a lot and you’re not cooking anything really finicky

  6. My fav is the round wide dutch oven because it is shallower but also very wide cooking surface area.

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