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Food brings people together, especially comforting casseroles, like shepherd's pie, jalapeño macaroni and cheese, and lasagna. You need something to transport the final product, though, and a casserole carrier is the right vessel for the job, whether you're headed to a holiday dinner, tailgate before the big game, or night of binge-watching Netflix with friends and lots of good food.
Before you purchase your carrier, be sure to evaluate your needs. Are you the one who always brings multiple dishes? A dual compartment might be the right choice. Are you in charge of the pie? Go for a round model. Maybe you don’t own bakeware and opt for aluminum disposable pans? There is a carrier for that. Whatever your culinary leaning, there is a vehicle for you.
From stylish, eco-friendly options to insulated tote bags, here are the best casserole carriers.
Best Overall: Mier Insulated Double Casserole Carrier
Pouch for tongs and cutlery
Multiple pattern choices
Zippers can sometimes be sticky
This versatile model is lined with food-grade, BPA-free aluminum foil, and insulated with 8-millimeter-thick thermal foam to ensure dishes maintain their temperature whether that be hot or cold. The dual compartments are expandable and can accommodate most 9 x 13-inch baking pans, and the liner is a snap to clean.
This model from Mier comes in a variety of patterns and colors to suit any taste, and the exterior is crafted of durable, water-resistant Oxford fabric. The exterior pocket is great for storing utensils, napkins, and serveware for any occasion from picnics to potlucks. The handles are dual-padded for maximum comfort, and the whole carrier folds up for easy storage.
Dimensions: 16 x 11 x 7.5 inches | Material: Water-resistant, dirt-proof Oxford fabric | Insulated: Yes
Best Budget: Fancy Panz 2-in-1 Portable Casserole Carrier
Serving spoon and foil pan included
Available in multiple colors
The convenience of disposable aluminum casserole pans cannot be overstated. That said, they also come with some disadvantages, like the tendency to bend and spill when moved. Enter Fancy Panz. Available in six colors, they provide a frame to deposit your disposable pan into for transport. With the capacity to hold a standard aluminum half-sheet pan, your tater tot hotdish will easily go from oven to container to table without fear of spillage.
This affordable model is crafted of durable plastic. It is also dishwasher safe and lightweight to carry, but sturdy enough to keep your dish safe. Plus, it comes with an aluminum pan and serving spoon to dish out corn pudding to hungry dinner guests.
Dimensions: 13.5 x 11 x 3.5 inches | Material: Plastic | Insulated: No
Best Design: Àplat Canvas Travel Tote
Accommodates multiple pan shapes
Keeps dishes upright
"Stylish casserole carrier" is a tall order, but the Àplat Canvas Tote has it in spades. This model is crafted from sustainable, eco-friendly, double-layered, organic cotton canvas, and its minimalist design is attractive as well as versatile. The single slit down the center will accommodate round, square, and rectangular pans while keeping them upright during transit.
Take note that this carrier lacks insulation, so your food will not be protected from temperature loss, but this durable, plastic-free choice makes sense if you are looking for versatility. Toting elote to the next taco Tuesday bash just got a whole lot easier—and loads more stylish—plus, you can throw it in the washing machine if it gets soiled.
Dimensions: 15 x 15 inches | Material: Double-layered organic cotton canvas | Insulated: No
Best for Potlucks: Picnic Time Insulated Potluck Casserole Tote
Extra pockets for tools and drinks
Framed window for ID storage
Reinforced bottom to keep food upright
Top compartment is small
If you need a carrier to hold both the sweet potato casserole and the wine, the Picnic Time Tote has you covered. Its two-tier design is reinforced with a sturdy, insulated bottom to maintain shape securely around your baking dish and keep everything hot, and the zippered top compartment easily holds a couple of bottles plus a wine key.
There is more to love about this attractive tote. The double-stitched, reinforced handles are comfortable to carry, and design options include neutral black and fun plaid. The two elastic loops on the top compartment hold serving utensils, and the framed window slot for an ID card ensures your nifty new carrier makes it home.
Dimensions: 17 x 11 x 7 inches | Material: Aluminum and polyester | Insulated: Yes
Best for Picnics: Vera Bradley Insulated Picnic Tote Bag
Extra compartment for accessories
Inner compartment not separated
Founded in 1982 by Barbara Bradley Baekgaard and Patricia Miller, Vera Bradley has a reputation for fashionable, yet durable products. This insulated casserole carrier features elegant floral-printed microfiber material and a capacious interior that can fit two 9 x 13-inch pans stacked on top of each other.
The interior waterproof lining wipes clean with ease, and the sturdy handles make for comfortable portability of all your favorite munchies, from deviled eggs to chili cheese taco dip. The Vera Bradley Picnic Tote also has a top compartment for storing napkins, condiments, and utensils.
Dimensions: 6 x 12 x 17.25 inches | Material: Polyester canvas | Insulated: Yes
Best Multi-Dish: Rachael Ray Lasagna Lugger Combo
Large exterior pocket for tools
Two different size carriers included
Zippers may stick
Sometimes you are responsible for more than one dish at the function, which is where the Rachael Ray Lasagna Lugger Combo comes in. The dual compartments are insulated individually, and the lining is crafted from Sanafor Technology that features an antimicrobial additive to reduce odors, mold, and bacteria. Plus, it wipes clean easily.
Available in a variety of colors and patterns, this casserole carrier is attractive and ergonomically designed. The padded handle is comfortable when carrying even the heaviest load. Better yet, it is versatile. You can load up an icebox cake in the top and a steaming pan of lasagna in the bottom without fear of losing temperature either way. The exterior pocket is the spot to stash serveware, and the whole carrier is collapsible to aid in storage.
Dimensions: 16.7 x 4.9 x 12.8 inches | Material: Polyester | Insulated: Yes
Best Round: OddsnSands Round Casserole Carrier
Folds for easy storage
On the smaller side
Pies make get-togethers better, and with this two-layer insulated carrier, bringing a couple is easy. The fun doesn't stop at apple crumb, key lime, and lemon meringue, though. This expandable, soft-sided carrier can fit a 12-inch salad bowl, bundt pan, casserole dish, and more.
This sturdy, stylish carrier has a smaller upper compartment to transport sauces, napkins, plates, or even a thin pizza. The durable handles are gusseted for comfortable carrying, and the carrier collapses for easy storage. The handcrafted OddsnSands carrier is an attractive, well-insulated choice when lugging along peach pies or spinach quiches to your next shindig.
Dimensions: 2.5 x 5 x 2.5 inches | Material: Premium denier polyester | Insulated: Yes
The Mier Insulated Double Casserole Carrier (view at Amazon) is our top choice because of its expandable dual compartments, thick thermal lining, and extra accessory pocket to accommodate serving utensils. If you are looking for a dishwasher-safe option to transport your disposable pans, go for Fancy Panz (view at Amazon). The durable plastic carrier comes in six colors and makes spill-free transporting as simple as can be.
What to Look for in Casserole Carriers
The best rule of thumb when evaluating casserole carriers is to think about what you will be transporting. You need a carrier large enough to accommodate the dishes you regularly use. Compare your most-utilized pan dimensions to the carriers you are considering before purchase.
It does no good to buy an inexpensive carrier that frays or rips because you'll just end up buying another one. Look for features like double-stitching, reinforced seams, heavy-duty zippers, and exterior materials that will stay strong after repeated use. Another consideration in the quality sphere is ease of cleaning. A carrier with a lined interior may cost a bit more, but will make up that cost in stress-free cleanup.
When considering the design of a carrier, take a look at the handles. You may have heavy dishes you are toting and will want a handle that is not only reliable, but also comfortable to carry. Padded and gusseted handles are the best choice to ensure a comfortable grip that keeps dishes upright.
Besides transportation, the primary reason for a casserole carrier is maintaining temperature—hot and/or cold. Thick thermal insulation is the best option, but any level of insulated lining will help macaroni and cheese arrive bubbly.
Can you wash a casserole carrier?
This really depends on what type of carrier you bought. If it is an uninsulated material, like cotton or polyester, you can throw it in the washing machine without fear. If it is a plastic container, it is likely dishwasher safe. The best advice is always read the manufacturer’s care label. Most insulated containers are wiped clean and not submerged.
How hot is too hot for a casserole carrier?
Do not put pans directly out of the oven and into a carrier. The high heat will damage the lining. The best practice is to cover the pan with aluminum foil or a lid if it has one, wrap the entire hot pan in a kitchen towel, and set it in the carrier. Hot and cold packs can also help your dish maintain temperature during transport. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s label for clear instructions about heat resistance.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Carrie Honaker is a food writer who owns an embarrassingly obscene number of casserole pans and is always on the lookout for a reliable carrier to transport them to her next potluck. As a restaurateur and avid home cook, she has baked thousands of casseroles for gatherings and knows the importance of having a carrier that keeps everything hot and is comfortable to carry. Her work has appeared in many publications including Bon Appetit, Allrecipes, and Wine Enthusiast.