There are many good reasons to make a casserole. This classic dish combines different ingredients, such as meat, cheese and vegetables, for a hardy meal. There are many variations, from Italian lasagna to tuna noodle casserole or mac and cheese. Another selling point of casserole recipes is that they are easy to bake, serve, save as leftovers and reheat. However, to make a casserole, you need a quality casserole dish.
To find the best casserole dish, we consulted with our baking expert Andrea Boudewijn. A Cordon Bleu-trained pastry chef and owner of Superfine Bakery out of Los Angeles, Boudewijn shared information about the casserole dish and other kitchen tools she recommends.
The best casserole dish
Regardless of the type of food you like, chances are there is a casserole recipe that you’ll enjoy. “I love casseroles because they seem to be universal in any culture or any family. Everybody has some sort of recipe that is baked within one dish and then taken from that dish and served directly on the table,” Boudewijn said.
A casserole is made and served in one dish, so it’s important to have a model that simplifies these steps. Boudewijn recommends the Amazon Basics set of two casserole dishes that are crafted with strong borosilicate glass. Having two dishes adds versatility when choosing the size of the casserole you want to prepare. “The small one would serve two to four people, and a larger one would serve six to eight plus,” said Boudewijn, adding that both dishes have handles that are easy to grasp with an oven mitt.
What to do if you don’t have a casserole dish
If you haven’t purchased a casserole dish yet but can’t wait to indulge in a casserole, there are other cookware pieces you can use. A loaf pan or brownie pan will do in a pinch, and a lasagna pan is ideal for large recipes, Boudewijn said. She added that she likes glass pans for casseroles because you can easily watch the ingredients bubble as they bake. This helps you determine when to add toppings like french fried onions.
Other useful gadgets for making casseroles
A casserole dish may be the most important item you need for preparing a casserole, but other gadgets will come in handy throughout the cooking process. Our cooking expert recommends several practical kitchen items that will also serve numerous other purposes beyond casserole making.
An oven mitt is a must-have, Boudewijn said. “It protects your hand from the heat when you’re pulling the casserole dish out of the oven and placing it somewhere to cool. It also can serve as a trivet. If you need to set it down and then put the pan on top of it, “It will protect whatever surface, countertop, etc. from the heat.”
Other kitchen essentials that Boudewijn recommends for casserole baking include a can opener, trivet and chef’s knife.
Some casseroles call for canned ingredients, and not all cans have flip-top lids, she explained. That’s where a can opener is useful. A trivet can be used as a barrier between a hot casserole dish and countertop or table. Home cooks will find that a durable chef’s knife will be useful for preparing some casserole ingredients as well as many other cooking needs. “A chef’s knife is a great all-around basic tool for any cook to have in their kitchen for anything,” she said.
Boudewijn noted that a small appliance that is especially useful for preparing casseroles is a toaster oven. Not only is this type of oven compact, but it comes in handy in warm weather when using a full-size range can make the house hot. “If you don’t want to heat up your big oven and you have a countertop, you have a need for a countertop oven,” she said.
Easy asparagus casserole recipe
Whether you are eager to try out a new casserole dish or need an easy meal for tonight’s dinner, asparagus casserole is a delicious and easy dish to try. Boudewijn provided steps and tips for her asparagus casserole recipe that she said is creamy and satisfying.
- Three 15-ounce cans of asparagus
- Two 10.5-ounce cans of cream of celery soup
- One 6-ounce container of french fried onions
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Open the three cans of asparagus, and drain out the water.
3. In a 6-inch-by-8-inch casserole dish that’s about 2 inches deep, gently slide out the asparagus in three orderly clumps. Gently shake the pan to make a solid layer of asparagus. The asparagus spears should be parallel with the short side of the casserole dish.
4. Empty the two cans of cream of celery soup on top of the asparagus, and spread it to form the next solid layer. Completely cover the asparagus.
5. Place the casserole in the preheated oven, and bake until the cream of celery soup starts bubbling up the sides (about 30 to 40 minutes).
6. Pull the casserole briefly out of the oven, and make a very generous layer of the french fried onions over the whole casserole.
7. Bake for another 10 minutes or so to crisp up the onions, and you’re done!
Boudewijn advised that following a few tips will make an asparagus casserole turn out perfectly.
“You may want to gently run a knife across the spears to cut them into bite-size pieces before adding the soup for easier scooping. Whole spears are nice, but can be messy when lifting out a portion for service,” she said. A square or rectangle pan is best for preparing her asparagus recipe. A round dish is likely to result in the vegetable having bends or odd shapes after baking.
Boudewijn also recommends keeping a close watch on the casserole when baking the topping to prevent burning. This tip applies to any casserole. “It really is supposed to only be baked for a short time, just until it’s warmed through, crisp or slightly caramelized.”
Boudewijn added that preventing messes in the oven will simplify cleanup after the casserole is baked and served. “You may want to have a sheet pan either directly under the casserole dish or on the next rack below to catch anything that may fall or drip.”
Best casserole dish and casserole-making essentials
Boudewijn likes this pair of casserole dishes for their durable oven-safe glass construction and useful side handles. The dishes are two different sizes, which make them ideal for preparing large or small casseroles.
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This large spatula is Boudewijn’s choice for casseroles, as it features a durable square top that makes it easy to scoop out individual servings. It is also practical for scraping the sides of a casserole dish and can be used for other cooking tasks, such as flipping pancakes.
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Not only is an oven mitt necessary for taking a casserole out of the oven, but it can double as a trivet. Boudewijn said that this silicone mitt is ideal for both purposes. It’s available in a choice of several colors to match different kitchen decor.
These natural beechwood trivets offer two benefits, which is why Boudewijn chose them. Not only will they protect a table or countertop when placed under a casserole dish that is fresh from the oven, but they also sport an attractive design.
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Boudewijn said that everyone needs a can opener in their collection of kitchen gadgets. This model is simple yet solid, is made by a trusted brand and is available in several fun colors.
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A chef’s knife, like this model that Boudewijn recommends, will come in handy when preparing ingredients for a casserole and a multitude of other dishes as well. This knife boasts a sturdy high-carbon steel blade that stays sharp even after repeated use.
Boudewijn likes to cook with a toaster oven, especially in the summer when it’s too hot to turn on a full-size range. This model offers a roomy interior, easy-to-use controls and convection cooking.
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Jennifer Manfrin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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