I bought my Le Creuset stoneware 9inch square baking dish for a bargain price at Home Goods and it is my favorite baking dish.
I have been using it for at least a year or two, and I think my favorite use is roasting vegetables – it cleans up very easily too. I’ve also baked egg frittatas in it, along with desserts. Sometimes, baked on eggs do require a bit more elbow grease to clean it, but probably my fault for not pre-coating with enough oil.
Scratches or black marks from metal utensils (which I try not to use very often in the dish) are easily removed by using a touch of Barkeepers Friend cleanser.
I love this baking dish but is it better than a far less expensive stoneware baking dish? I think so. I don’t like buying “Made in China” stoneware for fear of lead levels in the glaze or other materials, and I know it’s possible that the lead content in the Le Creuset is no better or worse, but it does not feel like cheap stoneware that clanks & clangs when you hit it against something. (FYI, Le Creuset stoneware is made in Thailand)
The Le Creuset stoneware pieces are strong and very well made. No, I don’t recommend paying full retail price for them, but if you run across one or two pieces of Le Creuset stoneware at Marshalls, Home Goods, TJ Maxx, Tuesday Morning, or other discounters, then grab it! I believe I paid about $15 for the 9inch square piece. I was tempted at a later date to purchase the large loaf pan, but decided to wait.