When I want to make a big pot of beans, some chili, or even a batch of glögg for a holiday party, I reach for my favorite enameled casserole dish. It’s a classic design, it can handle high heat, and it’s available in 11 different colors…but it’s not the famous Le Creuset.
The Købenstyle Casserole Dish from Danish brand Dansk is, despite the name, one of the most multifunctional cooking vessels in my kitchen. It’s quick to heat up to searing temperatures on the stovetop, but it can also serve as a Dutch oven for slow-cooking in the oven, or even on the grill or a campfire.
Besides giving the dish a brilliant color, the glass-like enamel coating also comes clean easily, even from burnt-on bits. It hasn’t even picked up any stains after almost 10 years of use in my messy kitchen. It’s even dishwasher-safe!
Dansk Kobenstyle 4-Quart Casserole
Lightweight yet durable
Easy to clean
Doesn’t hold heat as well as cast iron
Handles get hot during cooking
First created in 1956 by a Danish designer, the Købenstyle line is an enduring classic for its mid-century modern look, but those iconic features are also useful. The tall X-shaped handle on the lid is made so you can slide a spoon underneath to lift it off when hot, and the lid also flips over to serve as a perfectly sized trivet when it’s time to bring the pot to the table or set it on a buffet. The large, wide side handles offer a secure grip with your hands or hot pads, as well as a way to secure the lid for travel by threading a kitchen towel or twine through the side and lid handles together.
Købenstyle dishes were also made to be lightweight, using carbon steel instead of cast iron. This is where Le Creuset supposedly has its big advantage, with denser material that holds heat better. But for what I use my casserole dish for—stewing, slow-cooking, simmering—steel works just as well. Cast iron is better for super-high-heat searing, but the Købenstyle can still get hot enough for good browning, plus an enameled dish isn’t the best choice for searing a big steak anyway. (Incidentally, cast iron and steel will both work on an induction cooktop; it’s aluminum you have to worry about with induction.)
The enamel coating is what gives both Købenstyle and Le Creuset their shiny look and wide assortment of colors, but it’s also useful. It protects the metal from rusting, so you don’t have to season the pan like you would with a bare-metal version. Its glasslike surface also acts similarly to a nonstick coating during cooking and cleanup, making it easier to scrub off stuck-on bits without having to worry about scratching the surface or ruining the seasoning. Most enameled pans can go in the dishwasher, to boot. (Dansk says the Købenstyle is dishwasher-safe but recommends washing by hand. I’ve put mine through the dishwasher dozens of times and have not seen any damage.)
The Købenstyle casserole comes in 2- and 4-quart sizes, and I’d highly recommend the bigger one. It’s only about 40 percent more expensive for double the capacity. It’s big enough to handle a good-sized batch of homemade stock, but its compact shape fits better in the cabinet than a tall stockpot. I like to use mine to serve popcorn, too; there’s enough room to shake the kernels with butter and seasonings without spilling.
When it comes to actual cooking, the Købenstyle’s lighter material makes it quicker to heat up than cast iron, a nice feature for one of the most common dishes I use it for, a simple pot of beans. I get it sizzling hot, then toss in sausage or bacon to render some fat, add veggies to get some nice browning, then pour in the beans and liquid and turn down the heat to a simmer. (Thanks to Rancho Gordo sending me down the rabbit hole of artisanal beans, I’ve tried countless combinations of meat, vegetable, and legume using this same basic method.)
None of this is to say Le Creuset makes bad pans! They’re great, and I own one, too! They’re just a lot more expensive than Købenstyle, making them my second-favorite brand of enameled cookware.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
The Spruce Eats commerce writer Jason Horn has been writing about food and drinks for nearly 20 years, for publications including Serious Eats, Liquor.com, Thrillist, Robb Report, and Playboy. As an enthusiast of both cooking and writing, he’s way prouder than he probably should be that he learned the keyboard shortcut to type the letter ø for this story.