Casseroles are one of the most versatile and delicious types of food. To make them, however, you need the right tools! With the right casserole dish, you can make and re-heat casseroles with ease. Finding the best dish for you and your cooking style can be difficult, but luckily we've narrowed down some options. To name just a few, our list offers dishes with lids, individual dishes, dishes with handles, and various other types so you can find the perfect one for you.
Our favorite is Libbey Store Baker's Basic 3-Piece Glass Casserole Baking Dish Set. This casserole dish set can be used for many recipes and comes with three sizes, all labeled and with lids, and the clear glass lets diners see what's inside. Check out more products on our best 10 list, and read through our buying guide, written in collaboration with a professional chef, for plenty of helpful information.
After looking through the different types of casserole dishes on the market, it's difficult to decide which one is right for you. This buying guide lays out the types of casserole dishes, as well as their advantages and disadvantages, to steer you in the right direction.
People say you only need one good casserole pot for life. It’s a versatile kitchen tool to have because you can create soups, pot roasts, sauces, stews, bread, and so much more in a casserole dish. So, this is an investment that requires careful consideration. For starters, there are four main types of casserole dishes you can choose from.
The most common options are ceramic or tempered glass casserole dishes. Glass dishes, while being fragile, have great heat retention. They also make it possible to keep an eye on your food as you cook, so you can monitor doneness. Glass will retain a lot of heat, but be aware that it doesn't always distribute it evenly.
Ceramic dishes are similar to glass dishes because they are also non-reactive to acidic foods. Unfortunately, they also share some of the disadvantages of glass, like fragility and uneven heat distribution. However, they have a high heat tolerance and are easy to clean due to their natural non-stick properties.
But, be careful putting any glass or ceramic dishes through any rapid temperature changes. They are sensitive to this, and it could result in damage. Many glass and ceramic dishes are dishwasher-safe, but not all. Be careful to note any metal in the dish, especially in decorations or glaze, for microwave use.
The durability and heat retention of cast iron is unmatched in the kitchen. Cast iron is especially good for searing on the stove and then transferring to the oven. Plus, it naturally acquires a non-stick coating with proper oil seasoning.
Cast iron will remain useful for years, but it requires regular care. A perk of enamel-coated cast iron is reduced maintenance and time spent re-seasoning your dish. However, you will need to practice caution when handling this type of dish, as the enamel coating can chip, peel, or crack.
Enameled cast iron is very resistant to acidic broths or mixtures. You can leave your dish cooking for hours on low heat in an enameled cast iron pot without the risk of taste changes due to any acidic ingredients.
You can also get a casserole dish using metals such as steel, aluminum, or copper. You will want to choose the material based on your priorities in the kitchen.
Aluminum is a rarer material for casserole dishes. However, it is very durable, has excellent heat transfer, and is lightweight. When aluminum is anodized, it becomes even thicker and more durable, making it longer-lasting.
However, it is best to avoid cooking anything acidic in aluminum, anodized or not. Foods like tomatoes, vinegar, and any citrus ingredients should be avoided, as aluminum can alter the flavor.
Stainless steel casserole dishes are fairly lightweight, non-reactive to acidic ingredients, and dishwasher-friendly. However, they aren't great when it comes to heat retention. The material also heats up slowly and unevenly compared to the other metals.
Copper conducts heat very well, and has the ability to cool very quickly. It offers even heating and can go from the stovetop to the oven to the table for serving. Like aluminum, though, copper reacts with acidic foods, so most if not all copper casserole dishes are lined with non-reactive stainless steel.
Casserole dishes can be circular, oval, or rectangular. It may not seem crucial at first, but experienced chefs recommend going for oval casserole dishes if you are working with pot roasts or cooking whole poultry.
Round pots are great for meats due to the even space for air circulation, while rectangular ones are ideal for dishes where you want browning over the whole top. With this in mind, a casserole dish for a juicy roast might need to be deeper than one you use for dishes like lasagna, macaroni and cheese, or shepard's pie.
If you don't have the resources to grab a few casserole dishes in multiple shapes and sizes, a standard oval one gives you enough leeway to try many fantastic casserole recipes.
A pan's measurements depend on your needs, whether you're cooking for yourself or a larger group. Standard casserole dishes are often 12 inches in diameter and can hold up to three or four quarts. This equates to a hearty meal that serves a family of four to five people.
You may prefer to bake individual portions in smaller ramekins, however. This way they'll cook faster, and it makes for a nice presentation at the table, where each diner gets their own dish.
The maximum temperature and heat retention ability mainly depends on the material and size of the dish. Most casserole dishes will be safe for at least 350 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, but cast iron can tolerate temperatures up to 700 degrees. Cast iron dishes also offer great heat retention. Copper is generally safe up to 450 or 600 degrees Fahrenheit.
Heavy, thick-bottomed casserole dishes evenly distribute the heat inside the pot, giving you thoroughly cooked meals. They also tend to retain heat better than lighter cookware and are much more durable. If weight is a problem, whether in handling or storage, you can opt for a more lightweight casserole dish made of aluminum.
The product description will often state the weight of the pot, along with its capacity. Be careful to not go over the listed capacity, because your food may not cook all the way through.
Lids can be a very beneficial addition to your casserole dish. However, some can used in the oven, while others are only suited for the stovetop. The lid of a casserole dish may have grooves on the inside of the lid to collect and redirect any condensation back to your dish while it cooks, which prevents the food from drying out.
It's also important to note if the dish itself has handles for taking the dish out of the oven, bringing it to the table, and carrying it to potlucks. Some dishes have large handles made for gripping easily, while others are smaller and hard to hold onto. Dishes without any handles at all can be difficult to carry and work with.
A good handle can make a huge difference when cooking and serving. It can be especially hard to hold onto a pan while wearing oven mitts or other protective covers, so large handles can accommodate you. It will be one less thing to worry about when you're in the kitchen.
Here are our 10 best casserole dishes. We made our choices based on the points listed in the buying guide below, as well as reviewer comments when available.
*Please note that these products were chosen after extensive research by mybest writers. The choices are not necessarily affiliated with or recommended by Jim Quast.
Baker's Basic 3-Piece Glass Casserole Baking Dish Set
Multi-Use Wonder Cooker
Enameled Cast Iron Covered Casserole Skillet
Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Double Dutch Oven
Martellata Tri-Ply Copper Covered Casserole
Set of 6 Porcelain Ramekins
HR Modern Classics Large Rectangular Baker
Glass Baking Dish With Airtight TrueFit Lid
Oven Basics Bake-and-Take Dish
French White Oval Ceramic Casserole
Best Set of Casserole Dishes
Best for Fast and Even Heat
Best Shallow Dish
Best for Multiuse Cooking
Best for Long-Term Use
Best for Individual Portions That Cook Quickly
Best for Bright Color Choices
Best Smaller Casserole for Bringing to Lunch
Best for Potlucks and Picnics
Best for Baking and Serving
|Material||Glass||Stainless steel, aluminum with nonstick coating||Enameled cast iron||Cast iron||Copper, aluminum, stainless steel interior||Porcelain||Ceramic||Glass||Glass||Ceramic dish, glass lid|
|Weight||1-2 lbs.||8.92 lbs.||12.24 lbs.||14 lbs.||5.5 lbs.||Not specified||2.4 lbs.||3 lbs.||7 lbs.||6.5 lbs.|
|Capacity||1, 2 and 3.2 qt.||15 x 6.5 x 9 in.||12 x 2 in.||12.5 x 10 x 6 in.||13 x 3.75 in.||4 x 2.4 in. each||13 x 9 x 2.1 in.||8 x 8 x 3.5 in.||Not provided||11 x 8.5 x 2.75 in.|
|Dimensions||Largest: 11.8 x 9.9 x 3 in.; 11.8 x 9.9 x 3 in.; 7.9 x 6.6 x 2.4 in.||9 qt. and 3 qt.||3.3 qt.||5 qt.||3 qt.||10 oz. each||4.8 qt.||2 qt.||3 qt.||2.5 qt.|
|Max temperature||425℉||Not specified||400℉||500℉||500℉||500℉||520℉||425℉||425℉||500℉|
|Extra features||Lids, set of 3||Glass lid, 2 pans||Lid, loop handles||Lid, loop handles||Lid, large handles||Stackable||Dishwasher-safe||Lid||Lid and tote||Glass lid|
|Capacity||1, 2 and 3.2 qt.|
|Dimensions||Largest: 11.8 x 9.9 x 3 in.; 11.8 x 9.9 x 3 in.; 7.9 x 6.6 x 2.4 in.|
|Extra features||Lids, set of 3|
|Material||Stainless steel, aluminum with nonstick coating|
|Dimensions||15 x 6.5 x 9 in.|
|Capacity||9 qt. and 3 qt.|
|Max temperature||Not specified|
|Extra features||Glass lid, 2 pans|
|Material||Enameled cast iron|
|Dimensions||12 x 2 in.|
|Extra features||Lid, loop handles|
|Dimensions||12.5 x 10 x 6 in.|
|Extra features||Lid, loop handles|
|Material||Copper, aluminum, stainless steel interior|
|Dimensions||13 x 3.75 in.|
|Extra features||Lid, large handles|
|Dimensions||4 x 2.4 in. each|
|Capacity||10 oz. each|
|Dimensions||13 x 9 x 2.1 in.|
|Dimensions||8 x 8 x 3.5 in.|
|Extra features||Lid and tote|
|Material||Ceramic dish, glass lid|
|Dimensions||11 x 8.5 x 2.75 in.|
|Extra features||Glass lid|
Are you on the lookout for other kitchen essentials? We've found the best products for you, whether you're baking up a batch of muffins or whipping up pasta for dinner.
Want to see more options? Check out the most popular casserole dishes on Amazon before you decide.
This expert reviewed the contents of the buying guide for accuracy and provided factual corrections when necessary. They did not participate in the product selection process, nor are they affiliated with any of our choices unless explicitly stated so.
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