Best Casserole Dishes of 2018
Casserole dishes are versatile pieces of cookware that handle a wide range of recipes and come in varying sizes and shapes. Our shopping guide is here to help you find the best casserole dishes for your cooking needs.
Shopping Guide for the Best Casserole Dishes
A casserole dish, also called a baking dish, serves a useful purpose when you want to make casserole, but that's not all it's good for. You'll reach for your casserole dish over and over again when baking cakes, whipping up egg dishes, roasting chicken and vegetables, and so much more.
At BestReviews, we evaluated the various casserole dishes on the market for quality and aesthetics, consulted owner opinions, and boiled the information down into one handy shopping guide. Read on to learn more about choosing and using this must-have piece of cookware.
Key Casserole Dish Features
You'll find casserole dishes made of glass, porcelain, and stoneware. All three materials warm fairly slowly and don't conduct heat as well as metal. These characteristics make them suitable for recipes that require slow, steady heat—namely casseroles and baked goods.
The main difference between these materials comes down to appearance and price. Glass costs the least and is quite common, but porcelain and stoneware look nicer on the table. If price concerns you, a basic glass casserole dish would serve you adequately. If you want something handsome for your table, however, you might prefer the look of a porcelain or stoneware casserole dish.
Size and Shape
Casserole dishes span a wide range of sizes, the most common of which is a 13 x 9-inch rectangle that holds 3 quarts. That's large enough to feed several people. If you have a small family or want to bake cakes in your casserole dish, consider a slightly smaller 7 x 11-inch rectangular casserole dish that holds 2 quarts. Many bakers also like to have a square, 8 x 8-inch pan on hand. These dishes also hold 2 quarts.
While rectangular casserole dishes are the most common, you'll also find oval casserole dishes. These are usually made of stoneware and come with lids. Some have deeper sides than rectangular or square casserole dishes, making them suitable for roasting meat and vegetables.
Most rectangular casserole dishes don't include a lid, though some high-end stoneware models do. However, you'll commonly see lids on oval and square bakeware. Lids are usually made of glass, even if the dish itself is made of porcelain or stoneware.
If you plan to bake in your casserole dish, you probably won't need a lid. But if you want to prepare recipes for which moisture is a key ingredient, you'll want a casserole dish with a lid. Lids also help prevent your finished recipe from drying out once it's on the table.
Most casserole dishes flare out a bit at the sides, making them easy to pick up. This feature is especially true for glass casserole dishes. But porcelain and stoneware casserole dishes often have actual handles, which make it easier for you to carry them from the oven to the table.
Q. What's the difference between a casserole dish, a Dutch oven, a roasting pan, and a baking pan?
A. While these types of cookware look similar and the terms are often used interchangeably, the following statements are generally true.
- Casserole dishes are typically made of glass, porcelain, or stoneware. Most are rectangular in shape. There may or may not be a lid. You can use this type of dish for preparing casseroles as well as roasting, baking, and general oven-cooking tasks.
- Dutch ovens are often made of cast iron or metal, although some are ceramic. They are usually oval or round, and the pan is always accompanied by a tightly fitting lid. A Dutch oven re-creates the conditions of a regular oven on top of the stove.
- Roasting pans are similar to casserole dishes but have deeper sides and are made of metal. These pans can be oval or rectangular, and a rack may be included. You can use your roasting pan to prepare turkey, ham, beef, or other large pieces of meat.
- Baking pans are typically made of metal. They may be rectangular or square, and there is no lid. These pans are for baking breads and cakes and for general roasting purposes inside the oven.
Q. Can I substitute a roasting pan for a casserole dish?
A. It depends. If you're making a casserole with an egg, dairy, or creamy base, a glass casserole dish is your best bet because metal pans can cause these foods to discolor. If you just want to roast meat or bake a cake, go ahead and use your roasting pan.
Q. Are casserole dishes safe for use on the stove or under a broiler?
A. In general, no. Glass bakeware is not suitable for stovetop use, nor should it be placed under a broiler unless specifically designed for that purpose. The intense heat could cause the dish to shatter. Unless otherwise indicated, most glass bakeware is not safe for use at temperatures over 450° F.