Emeril Lagasse Cookware: An Overview and Complete Review
One of the most famous celebrity chefs of all time, Emeril Lagasse has created an absolute empire, and is behind products ranging from cutlery to spices, kitchen appliances to even footwear (yes, footwear).
While some of the aforementioned lines are interesting to say the least, I wanted to take a moment to hone in on his lines of kitchen cookware, and to give an overview of what Emeril currently has to offer.
What kind of cookware does Emeril Lagasse have?
As of 2021, Emeril Lagasse has two lines of cookware, one made from stainless steel and the other, cast iron. While Emeril’s line of cast iron is largely composed of individual pieces, his stainless steel collection can be bought as a set or a la carte.
While I go into more detail below, I thought it would be helpful to simply list each item from both the stainless steel and cast iron lines. First up, cast iron:
Emeril Cast Iron, what’s available?
Emeril’s big boy, this heavy duty cast iron skillet comes pre-seasoned and ready for anything.
The perfect single burner griddle and grill press combo - pre-seasoned and ready to go.
This stand alone grill press has an old-style coil handle that stays cool even over the hottest fire.
Now, you’ll see when you navigate around a bit that Emeril has listed other cast iron products in the past - an 8 and 10 inch skillet, and a dual burner reversible skillet as well. These items appear to be unavailable as of this writing, though with respect to composition and performance, I would imagine the smaller skillets are comparable to the 12 inch pan listed above.
Emeril Cast Iron: an overview
This line of products is everything you’d expect to get from superior quality cast iron cookware. Not only are these pieces heavy - no cheaping out on ultra thin or poorly made castings - they also come pre-seasoned, so they’re ready to go as soon as you bring them home.
Let’s start with Emeril’s skillets. The larger 10 and 12 inch models are perfectly designed, and feature wide handles and an extra helper handle to easily maneuver the extra heft of cast iron. That’s not to say that the 8 inch model (currently unavailable though, as far as I can tell) is flimsy - you just don’t need as much leverage for such a small skillet.
Cast iron in general, and these Emeril skillets in particular, also have excellent heat retention. Heat these things up on your stovetop, BBQ or even over an open fire pit, and watch them retain high, even heat long after taken away from the cooking source.
The skillest all have dual sided pour spouts for decanting sauces and juices, as well as handle loops for hanging your pans when not in use. These things are so tough they will hold up well even up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
My advice though, when cooking with cast iron, is always to heat and cool your cast iron slowly, so as to avoid cracking and/or warping your pans. Cast iron is tough, but vulnerable to swift temperature changes - just something to be aware of.
I also really like the grill press that comes with a coiled handle. This handle really reminds me of the latches on old timey wood burning stoves - there is a reason cast iron was built this way, the handle is comfortable and stays cool to the touch.
Emeril also has a separate grill griddle and press set, which fits perfectly over just one burner, and is ideal for making hamburgers and paninis. Again, everything is pre-seasoned, meaning it’s ready to go, though this press has a solid cast iron knob handle, which is slightly more difficult to maneuver than the aforementioned, stand-alone grill press.
Now, let’s hear from the man himself, and learn how and why he designed this cast iron line as he did. Here’s what Emeril has to say about his cast iron:
When I think cast-iron, I think heritage cooking and pots that will last a lifetime, and that is exactly what you’ll get with the Emeril Lagasse Cast Iron line of pots created exclusively for me by Bradshaw Intl. I had them designed to my specifications, with details such as wide handles that make these heavy babies easy to pick up and maneuver.
Also, knowing that seasoning a cast-iron pan can be daunting for the home cook, these pans come pre-seasoned, which makes them ready to cook in from the moment they arrive in your kitchen.
Whether you plan on taking your cast-iron pots to the camp, cooking with them in your kitchen, or throwing them on the grill, with a minimum of care these pots will last a lifetime and give you all the benefits of cast-iron cooking with special features built-in for the serious cook.
Emeril Stainless Steel: what’s available?
The perfect saucepan if you’re short on space - ideal for small portions and apartment cooks.
Another a la carte item, this three quart model is the saucepan to go with if you can only pick one.
This twelve piece set is comprehensive, and no doubt the most cost effective way to start cooking with Emeril.
Again, you’ll quickly learn that a number of other stainless steel pieces are unavailable a la carte. Luckily, almost all of those pieces - excluding the 8 quart stock pot and 8 quart multi-cooker - can still be purchased as part of the larger set.
Emeril Stainless Steel: an overview
So, given that the set is the only way to get some of these items, and is absolutely the most cost effective approach, let’s take a close look at what Emeril’s 12 piece stainless steel cookware set includes:
If you’re like me, you might need a double-take there - didn’t we say 12 pieces? Well, while there are a combination of seven pans, pots and saucepans in this set, there are also five lids. So those 12 pieces? Yeah, that’s including lids. Not a big deal at all, just keeping you on your toes.
These are really nice pieces. Despite not being all-clad, these pots and pans still have plenty of heft, without being overly burdensome to maneuver.
The bases are nice and thick, made from encapsulated aluminum, making them fully integratable with all stovetops, including gas, electric and induction. They heat up quickly and retain heat well, though not as well as all-clad or cast iron.
This is a toss up though, if you want the level of heat retention and distribution that you would get from these latter materials, you’ve got to shell out for it. Not only that, but they’re much heavier, which obviously isn’t for everyone.
Beyond being made from superior materials, these pots and pans are also designed to be highly functional. And why wouldn’t they, seeing as Emeril designed them himself? The pots and pans all have integrated pour spouts, and the lids double as strainers.
I also really like that the saucepans have internal measurement gauges. This is really so simple, and such an easy design feature to implement in cookware, yet surprisingly rare. While I usually don’t use these internal indicators to measure my ingredients, they are really helpful to consider while cooking, especially when reducing sauces and/or glazes.
Because these pots and pans are made entirely from stainless steel and aluminum, they are good to go in the oven. This has become a critical point for me, since it allows me to go from stovetop to oven in one pan, without juggling food around.
In fact, these pans are oven safe up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit. Be forewarned though, the lids - which are made from tempered glass - can only be heated up to 350 degrees. So be careful!
Each handle is made from stainless steel, and attaches to the pan wall with two rivets. Riveted handles are certainly the way to go, though I will say that the internal rivets can collect food and become somewhat difficult to clean.
That said, if you’re having difficulty with food bits caught in the rivets, you can feel free to throw these things right in the dishwasher. Since there is no non-stick layer to worry about, you don’t have to be concerned about the dishwasher, or about using an abrasive sponge (more on cleaning these things below).
Although Emeril’s pans are quite expensive, especially if you purchase them individually, rather than as a set, they come with a lifetime warranty. When it comes to standing behind your products, that really can’t be beat.
What is Emeril cookware made of?
Emeril’s stainless steel cookware is made from a combination of stainless steel and all-clad aluminum, while his cast iron collection is made from 100% cast iron.
While the latter answer is quite obvious, the former isn’t as clear, and that’s because until about five years ago, Emeril also had an all-class stainless steel set that has since been discontinued. The current stainless steel cookware has a tri-ply base only, meaning a single layer of aluminum (for heating and retention) is sandwiched by two layers of stainless steel.
While the base of Emeril’s current stainless steel cookware is triple ply, the sides are simply stainless steel. Now, in my opinion this doesn’t make an enormous difference, but if you’ve cooked with all-clad stainless steel you will probably notice a difference in heat distribution. That said, constructing the base with triple ply saves on cost, since otherwise all-clad is usually about double the price.
How to clean Emeril cookware
Cleaning these two lines of cookware couldn’t be any more different, and that’s because the methods used in cleaning cast iron are obviously distinct from best practices when it comes to tackling stainless steel. Let’s break cleaning these two lines down separately, and start with stainless steel:
Cleaning Emeril stainless steel, the process:
- 1After you’ve finished cooking, turn off the heat on your pan and leave it to rest for a few minutes, allowing it to cool.
- 2After a few minutes (you will quickly get a sense of how long each pan in your collection takes to cool), it’s time to test for temperature. When you’re ready, simply touch the outer rim of the pan with the heel of your hand.
I know it sounds kind of painful, but it’s really not. The heel of the hand has more calluses than fingers and fewer nerve endings, so it’s pretty robust. If you can hold your palm to the pan for 5 seconds or longer without discomfort, then you know that the pan has cooled sufficiently and is good to go.
- 3Turn on the hot water in your sink and let it run, waiting for it to get very hot.
- 4Now, holding your pan by the handle, bring the cookware to the sink and let the hot water run against the cooking surface. The water will both rinse loose debris away, and keep peskier food bits nice and hot, making them easier to wipe away.
- 5Turn off the water, and using a gentle sponge and dish soap, wipe away any excess food debris or oil. Feel free to use an abrasive sponge for this step, since unlike with non-stick cookware, there is no fragile surface to damage on stainless steel.
- 6Once you’ve wiped away all of the food debris, turn the water back on and rinse the pan of excess soap. If you find that there is still food or oil on your pan, return to step four and repeat.
- 7Always dry your cookware immediately, using either paper towels or a clean dish cloth.
While I have always had success with the above steps, people also get great results from baking soda, mixed into a paste with water and vinegar, and even sea salt. Sea salt works as a great abrasive, and when mixed with water into a thick paste, it’s great for cleaning both stainless steel and cast iron.
And speaking of cast iron, let’s take a look at cleaning that too:
Cleaning Emeril cast iron, the process:
- 1Run the cast iron under hot water, preferably while the skillet is still warm.
- 2Use an abrasive sponge or brush to scrub off food debris and any excess oil.
- 3Rinse said food debris and/or excess oil with warm water.
- 4Wipe the skillet clean with some paper towel or a clean dish towel.
- 5Apply about a teaspoon (more if necessary) of neutral oil to the surface of your pan, massaging it gently into the skillet with a new piece of paper towel.
For a complete guide to cleaning cast iron, check out my ultimate guide to cleaning vintage cast iron. Although this was written with vintage cast iron (like Griswold and Wagner Ware) in mind, there is no reason why these best practices and tips can’t be applied to contemporary cast iron.
Who makes Emeril cookware?
Both Emeril’s cast iron and stainless steel cookware lines are made by Bradshaw International, an American manufacturer of food service equipment headquartered in Rancho Cucamonga, California.
Emeril has described their relationship in extremely favorable terms, with the latter manufacturer creating both lines according to Emeril’s exact design preferences and specifications.
Where is Emeril Lagasse cookware made?
Emeril Lagasse cookware is designed by Emeril, who is based in New Orleans, and manufactured by Bradshaw International, headquartered in California. That said, the actual manufacture of Emeril cookware occurs in China.
Emeril cookware, just like Apple and countless other household products, is designed in the United States and manufactured (owing to lower materials and labor costs) in China.
Is Emeril cookware oven safe?
Emeril’s cast iron cookware is oven safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, while the stainless steel pans are oven safe up to 550 degrees. But be advised, while the pans are good up to 550, the glass lids can only be heated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Is Emeril cookware PFOA free?
Emeril cookware is entirely PFOA free. That’s because PFOA is most often used in non-stick coatings, and neither Emeril’s cast iron nor his stainless steel lines are covered in non-stick.
You should definitely look out for PFOA and PTFE when shopping for non-stick pans. Without getting too technical right here, PFOA, known as perfluorooctanoic acid and more commonly as C8, is the material used to make PTFE.Because PFOA is harmful when ingested it has been removed from most - if not all - PTFE nonstick coatings. To learn more about non-stick coatings and associated safety concerns, see my comprehensive overview of hard-anodized cookware.
Is Emeril cookware induction ready?
Both Emeril’s cast iron and stainless steel lines of cookware are induction ready. The stainless steel line has a triple ply, aluminum encased base which heats up quickly and distributes heat evenly, and works fantastically on an induction range.
And not only that, but cast iron also works quite well on induction. The only problem, of course, is working with cast iron on a glass stovetop. So while the cast iron will technically work on an induction stovetop, you’ll want to be exceptionally careful that it doesn’t crack or scratch the glass.
The best way to protect your glass top stove when using cast iron is pretty obvious - be gentle! As long as you don’t drop your cast iron pan directly on the glass top, or slide the pan around on the glass, your stovetop should be just fine.
Cast iron works combines just as well with induction as it does with gas, although they may take longer to heat up on a glass top stove. Factor this extra time in, start on low when heating your cast iron, and you’ll be happy with the results.
A few more tips for protecting your glass top stove from cast iron:
- 1Never slide your cast iron pan on a glass top stove; once your pan is in place, leave it be.
- 2Always make sure to clean the bottom of your cast iron pan before using it on glass. Food debris can carbonize at the bottom of the pan, leaving a nasty stain on your glass top stove.
- 3Always wipe your glass top stove down after use.
- 4If you’re going to be cooking on a flat, glass stovetop, it’s best to avoid cast iron skillets with heat rings. These are not bad for your glass top stove per se, but the ring will reduce contact between the cast iron pan bottom and the stove, severely limiting heat transfer.
Luckily, none of Emeril’s cast iron skillets have heat rings, and with a solid, smooth bottom, they maintain even contact with the cooktop, heating up quite nicely.
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