Which casserole dish is best?

When making a casserole, the most crucial piece isn’t your recipe or ingredients, it’s the dish itself. This is because it’s the act of baking your food in a casserole dish that makes it a casserole. 

Whether you’re trying to recreate your mother’s famous tuna casserole or making your own lasagna for the first time, the Lodge Cast-Iron Casserole Pan is the best choice. It’s strong, and you can use it as more than just a baking dish.

What to know before you buy a casserole dish

Shapes

Casserole dishes typically come in four shapes: square, rectangle, circle and oval.

  • Square shapes are good choices for baking brownies or whipping up small-sized dishes for feeding smaller groups.
  • Rectangular shapes are the most common. Almost any dish you can think of can be made in a rectangular dish.
  • Circular shapes are more specialized. They’re used for dishes such as tarts and quiches.
  • Oval shapes are effectively rectangular dishes but more visually appealing. Use one to spice up your presentation.

Size and capacity

The size and capacity of your casserole dish determine what — and how much — you can make.

  • Size is typically given in inches. Many recipes call for a specific size of dish. For example, a box of brownie mix may call for a specific size rectangular or square dish, so the brownies are the appropriate thickness.
  • Capacity is typically given in ounces or quarts. Roughly speaking, one quart is enough to feed one person. Most casserole dishes don’t get larger than 5 quarts.

Lids

Many casserole dishes come with lids. It may have a glass lid used to protect the top of the food from burning and keep the food hot once it’s done or have a plastic lid that tightly seals the dish for storing leftovers. Some dishes come with both types of lids.

What to look for in a quality casserole dish

Material

Most casserole dishes are made of glass, ceramic, cast iron or porcelain enamel.

  • Glass is the most common, thanks to its low cost and lack of reactivity to acidic ingredients. Glass also retains heat well.
  • Ceramic is meant to withstand higher and lower temperatures than normal. It’s also non-stick but heavy.
  • Cast iron is the most durable and versatile as it can also be used as a regular pan on your stovetop. However, it requires regular maintenance, is hard to clean, reacts to acids and is heavy.
  • Porcelain enamel comes in the most colors, is easy to clean and fairly light. However, it’s prone to chipping and has poor heat retention.

Handles

The best casserole dishes have handles, though some are better than others. Basic handles are no more than a small lip on either side, while the best handles are silicone coated for grip and to be cooler to the touch.

How much you can expect to spend on a casserole dish

Casserole dishes typically cost $10-$100, depending on the size and material. Most individual dishes shouldn’t cost more than $50. Casserole dish sets can cost several hundred dollars.

Casserole dish FAQ

How many casserole dishes should I have?

A. That depends on how often you cook and what kind of recipes you prefer. If you only cook once or twice a week, one dish should suffice. If you like to make all kinds of food, you should have several dishes in different sizes and shapes.

How do I clean a casserole dish?

A. Most casserole dishes can be safely cleaned in the dishwasher. Just double-check that your dish explicitly states it’s safe before you toss it in. Even if your casserole dish is dishwasher-safe, washing it by hand with a soft sponge and some hot water and dish soap can help improve its lifespan. If food is baked on, let it soak overnight, no matter if you wash it by hand or machine later.

What’s the best casserole dish to buy?

Top casserole dish 

Lodge Cast-Iron Casserole Pan

Lodge Cast-Iron Casserole Pan

What you need to know: It’s gorgeous, durable, spacious and effective.

What you’ll love: It comes in 3- or 3.6-quart sizes and eight colors. The porcelain coating is naturally non-stick and a breeze to clean. The lid tightly seals the pot, making it perfect for cooking and storing leftovers. You can use it on your cooktop as a regular pan.

What you should consider: It’s heavy at 14.6 pounds, so be careful moving it when it’s full. A few consumers reported receiving chipped, cracked or otherwise broken dishes. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Wayfair

Top casserole dish for the money

Amazon Basics Oven-Safe Glass Casserole Baking Dishes

Amazon Basics Oven-Safe Glass Casserole Baking Dishes

What you need to know: Two good-quality dishes of different sizes are paired for the price of one.

What you’ll love: The big dish can hold 3 quarts while the smaller dish can hold 2 quarts. It’s BPA-free, plus freezer and microwave-safe. They are also heat resistant up to 1,000 degrees and resist chipping from rapid temperature changes. They are dishwasher-safe.

What you should consider: The handles are small and can be difficult to get a firm hold on. A few customers had issues with breaks or chipping.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

CorningWare French White 12-Piece Ceramic Bakeware Set

CorningWare French White 12-Piece Ceramic Bakeware Set

What you need to know: It’s an excellent starter set for the budding chef.

What you’ll love: The set includes a 2.5-quart oval dish and a 1.5-quart round dish, both with matching glass and plastic lids. It also includes one 24- and 16-ounce round dish with matching plastic lids and two 4-ounce ramekins. Sets with more or fewer pieces are available.

What you should consider: The ramekins don’t have lids, but you should be able to purchase some from a third-party vendor. A few purchasers received broken pieces.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Wayfair

 

Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Jordan Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.