Want to make friends? Get into making casseroles. Showing up with a generous tray of comfort food is a good way to show others you care. “A casserole is a dish you serve when you have people over, or that you take when you're going somewhere,” says Jenné Claiborne, author of the vegan cookbook and blog "Sweet Potato Soul". “It’s food to share,” she says.
Every kitchen needs at least one casserole dish for lasagna, mac and cheese, enchiladas, or tuna noodle casserole. But finding just the right one depends on your needs and your budget. The price range in this category of cookware is wide so rest assured you'll find the one for you. There are basic varieties that get the job done and objects of beauty you’ll pass on in your will.
Whether you need one perfect option or are looking to add fun shapes and sizes to your collection, our list of the best casserole dishes has something for everyone.
Emile Henry Modern Classics Rectangular Baker
High-fired clay is very durable
Heat proof to 500 degrees
Glaze resists crazing and scratches
Could break if banged or dropped
No lid for storage
This well-made casserole dish by Emile Henry is constructed of high-fired Burgundian clay, giving it superior heating and heat-retaining capabilities. This material is highly resistant to thermal shock, so you can confidently move it from the freezer to the oven without the worry of the dish cracking. This baker also features a scratch-resistant glaze which gives the pan a nonstick quality that makes the surface quite easy to clean.
During testing, we found it the perfect size for lasagna and even roasting a spatchcocked chicken, making it a wonderfully versatile dish. We did note that the thick clay construction makes it somewhat heavy for its size, but that wasn't a dealbreaker since its heft made it feel sturdy. Though it might be a bit large for singles and couples, it gives you plenty of capacity when you need it. It's a great-looking casserole dish that is oven and broiler-safe up to 520 degrees, it's easy to clean by hand or in the dishwasher.
Price at time of publish: $90
Material: Ceramic | Size: 13 x 9 x 2.95 inches | Max Temp: 500 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
"While it might be a little bit large for everyday meals for singles or couples, it’s nice to have at least one large pan on hand for baking, roasting, and serving." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Pyrex Deep Glass Baking Dish Set With Lids
Glass allows you to visually monitor cooking
Handles allow for secure transport
Isn't the most attractive for table presentation
Lids are not oven proof
Clear glass doesn’t quite have the aesthetic appeal of most of the casserole dishes on our list, but in terms of functionality for the price, it doesn’t get better than this set from trusted glass manufacturer Pyrex. It includes three sizes of casserole pans (a 13 x 9-inch, 8 x 8-inch, and 7 x 11-inch options) with corresponding plastic lids. Each dish is 50 percent deeper than the original Pyrex Basics dishes, allowing for you to make more stuffing, casserole, or lasagna in one go.
The tempered glass is safe for the microwave, pre-heated oven, and freezer. And though the glass may look basic, it does have advantages, too. You can see whether your masterpiece is getting bubbly and ready to hit the table. The lids also make it convenient to carry your casserole to a party or store leftovers in your refrigerator.
Price at time of publish: $45
Material: Tempered glass | Size: 13 x 9, 8 x 8, 7 x 11 inches | Max Temp: 425 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Lodge 3.6 Quart Enamel Cast Iron Casserole Dish with Lid
Cast iron can be heavy
Finish can be susceptible to scratches
Not every type of casserole wants to be a rectangle. This beautiful round option is a great buy when you are looking to expand beyond the classic shape. It’s also bigger than most other dishes on this list, so it is perfect if you want to feed a crowd your trademark mac and cheese or a pie-shaped breakfast casserole. The tight-fitting lid keeps moisture in when needed and also keeps the dish sealed for storage.
Round baking dishes are also well suited to paella and roasts, making this an especially versatile choice to bake, broil, or simmer in. It's stovetop and oven safe to 500 degrees and offers excellent heat distribution and retention thanks to the cast iron construction. The porcelain enamel finish is not just beautiful, it's also easy to clean by hand (though you'll want to avoid using metal tools so you don't scratch the interior). This is a durable piece of cookware that can last a lifetime with proper care.
Price at time of publish: $80
Material: Enameled cast iron | Size: 14.4 x 12.55 x 3.4 inches | Max Temp: 500 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Fiesta 17 oz. Oval Individual Casserole Dish
Perfect capacity for individual servings
Great for scaling down recipes
Durable and easy to clean
Expensive since you'll want multiples
When you are really ready to embrace a casserole lifestyle, get a few of these small ceramic dishes and delight your family with personal servings of mac and cheese or their very own gratin daphinois. Mix and match the bright colors (these dishes are available in more than a dozen fun shades) or opt for one thematic hue—either way, they add a bold pop of color to your table setting.
These mini casserole dishes are oven safe to 500 degrees and can also be used in the microwave. These would also be memorable vessels for individual fruit cobblers or crisps at dessert, giving that restaurant-like presentation for your dinner guests. This size dish is also perfect for poaching garlic cloves in oil without using a gallon of oil to get the job done. Cleanup is easy since they can be placed into the dishwasher for hassle-free maintenance.
Price at time of publish: $23
Material: Ceramic | Size: 9 x 5 x 2 inches | Max Temp: 500 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Dansk Kobenstyle Large Baker
Excellent heat conduction and responsiveness
Oven safe to 572 degrees
Hand wash only
Sleek Scandinavian design meets the heating efficacy of carbon steel in this stylish baker. Designed in 1956 by Jens Quistgaard, this baker is crafted of carbon steel, which acts similar to cast iron when it comes to durability and heating capabilities but isn't as heavy. The generous rectangular shape lets you load it up with enough gratin or cobbler for a large group, and the unique branched handles provide a secure way to transport the dish from oven to table.
This baker can be used in the freezer, stovetop, or oven (safe up to 572 degrees) making it wonderfully versatile. The sleek enameled finish provides a fairly nonstick surface that can be cleaned very easily by hand.
Price at time of publish: $135
Material: Enamel over carbon steel | Size: 13 x 9.75 x 2.25 inches | Max Temp: 572 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: No
Best With Lid
Le Creuset Heritage Stoneware Covered Baker
Made by top French manufacturer
Comes with oven-safe lid
Available in several beautiful finishes
Pricier than most
Can be quite heavy
This renowned French brand of cookware is held in high regard by both professional and amateur cooks for a good reason—they look great and perform well. This lidded casserole dish is made of durable high-fired stoneware that offers great heat retention and distribution and can be used in the freezer, oven, and microwave. The porcelain enamel finish prevents odors and flavors from being absorbed and it also makes the dish easy to clean.
If you’re ready to invest in the casserole dish you’ll leave to the next generation, this beauty won’t let you down. The lid will let you skip the aluminum foil recipes often ask you to use, and it makes it easy to transport your casserole to a party or potluck in style. It’s available in several colors so you can find one that suits your tastes, or coordinates with your existing Le Creuset pieces.
Price at time of publish: $130
Material: Ceramic | Size: 12.5 x 8.5 x 2.5 inches | Max Temp: 500 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Whatever casserole dish you buy, you’ll want to keep it looking nice and extend its life by washing it the right way. Most casserole dishes are technically dishwasher safe, but you don’t want to put them there. “Clean it as best you can with liquid soap and sponge, then use baking soda to scrub it. This makes your casserole look totally new,” says Claiborne.
Made In Square Baking Dish
Handles make it easy to transport
Withstands high heat
If you prefer a classic porcelain baker, look no further than this model from Made In. Made of heavy-duty glazed porcelain, it feels substantial enough to withstand heavy use (as much of Made In's products are meant to give near-commercial quality at home). Its handles make it easy and safe to maneuver around the kitchen even while scalding hot, and it’s fairly deep for those times when you want to make a tall lasagna or extra tuna noodle casserole.
We noted that this dish can withstand higher heat than most of its competitors, up to 650 degrees. It is also microwave and freezer safe, so you can reheat or store pre-made casseroles with ease. When you're not using it for baking, the decorative blue or red trim also makes it a pretty serving vessel.
To clean, you can place this dish into the dishwasher, but handwashing is very easy too, thanks to the slick glazed surface. If the square 8 x 8-inch model feels too small, it is also available in a larger 9 x 13-inch size for family-sized lasagnas and casseroles.
Price at time of publish: $100
Material: Porcelain | Size: 8 x 8 x 2.5 inches | Max Temp: 650 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
"The glaze gives it a nice shine and keeps food from sticking, no matter what’s cooking." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Even if you’re not a casserole enthusiast, you should have one great casserole dish, and it should be the Emile Henry Modern Classics Large Baker. If you are looking for a cost-conscious option that still performs well, the Pyrex Deep Baking Set offers a variety of pieces at a super affordable price point.
What To Look For When Buying a Casserole Dish
by Bernadette Machard de Gramont
Porcelain and stoneware casseroles both fall under this category. Ceramic casserole dishes are sturdy, often aesthetically-pleasing pieces that hold up well in the oven. Made from some type of clay, they heat up slowly but evenly and retain heat well, which can also help conserve energy in the long run. This type of baking dish is also less susceptible to thermal shock—some pieces can go directly from the freezer to the oven with no problem. Be sure to pick pieces that have a smooth interior glaze for easier cleanup.
Enameled Cast Iron
This type of casserole is a serious workhorse—it can be used on top of the stove as well as in the oven. It has the heat retention and durability of cast iron, but the glass-like enamel coating also makes it attractive enough to go from oven to table (just be sure to use a couple of really good trivets underneath to protect your table). This type of casserole dish is also resistant to thermal shock, but it is always recommended that you cool the pan down before plunging it into cold water.
While glass isn’t the most attractive pick for oven-to-table presentation, it tends to be an inexpensive and reliable option that performs really well. Glass performs similarly to ceramic, heating evenly and retaining its heat well. When picking a glass casserole dish, be sure that it is oven-safe, tempered glass (bonus points if it is microwave safe too). This material is susceptible to thermal shock, so be sure that your pan is completely cooled down before putting it in contact with cold water.
Aluminum and Hard-Anodized Aluminum
Aluminum responds very quickly to heat and any temperature changes, and is usually oven and freezer safe. These types of pans are also typically lighter in weight than their ceramic or cast iron counterparts. The caveat is that uncoated aluminum might react with acidic foods (like tomato sauce) and cause off flavors and discoloration of your cookware. Hard anodized aluminum is a treated material that has the same conductivity as bare aluminum, but has the added bonus of an oxidized top layer that prevents this. If choosing an aluminum pan, you may find hard anodized to be the preferable option.
When choosing a casserole, you want to look for a sturdy pan that is easy to transport in and out of the oven. Thick walls will provide the structure necessary to hold the weight of a heavy casserole, and will also make the pan resistant to shattering. Having handles that you can grab is extremely useful—they don’t necessarily have to be large loop handles, but they should protrude enough so that you can easily pull your dish out of the oven with protective kitchen mitts on.
Size and Shape
Casserole dishes come in a wide range of sizes and shapes. Choosing a casserole dish will depend on how many servings you will be making. Smaller square (8 x 8-inch) and rectangular dishes (7 x 11-inch) will hold about 2 quarts, while larger dishes, like a standard 9 x 13-inch casserole, will hold around 3 quarts (serving anywhere from 4 to 6 people). A standard round casserole dish measures 12 inches in diameter, and hold approximately 3.7 quarts. Oval casserole dishes, sometimes called gratin dishes, are available in individual portion sizes and go up to larger 14-inch, 3.5-quart sizes that can feed about 4 to 6 people.
Casserole dishes will typically be safe to use up to 450 degrees, but many are rated with a higher maximum heat threshold. If you like to finish your dishes under the broiler, be sure to pick a casserole dish that can withstand 500 degrees or higher. Always double check with the manufacturer’s specifications to ensure your baking dish falls within the temperature range you need.
Care & Maintenance
The biggest issue with casserole dishes is cleaning off any baked-on debris, so you’ll want to soak them for easier removal. Because some materials are more susceptible to thermal shock, be sure your pans are completely cooled down before putting them into cool water so they don’t crack. While most glazed items are resistant to scratches, you can prevent damaging your pan’s surface by scrubbing away stuck-on food with a non-abrasive scrubber (like nylon). If your dish is dishwasher safe, you can simply tuck it into your dishwasher, but still attempt to remove any bits of food or grease prior to the wash cycle.
Can you bake a cake in a casserole dish?
Since casserole dishes tend to be heavy, they're a little more cumbersome when it comes to maneuvering and flipping your cake out of the pan. But since it's still an ovenproof baking dish, you can certainly use it to bake a cake if you don't have a dedicated cake tin available. (We still recommend using a cake pan if possible.)
What can you cook in a cast iron casserole dish?
Cast iron casseroles can be used to cook lasagnas and other typical casserole dishes, but they are also very versatile and can often be used directly on the stove. Use them to brown meats on the stovetop and finish by braising or roasting them in the oven.
How do you carry a hot casserole dish?
From oven to table, be sure you are using a thick pair of oven mitts (or pot holders) and place your hot casserole dish on a heat-proof trivet to protect your tabletop. If you're transporting your casserole dish to a potluck, line a box with towels and place your casserole inside, using extra rolled-up towels along the sides to keep the dish from sliding. If any liquid escapes, your towel liner will catch them.
Can you freeze casserole dishes?
Absolutely. Many casserole dishes can easily be made in advance and frozen, then popped into the oven when you're ready to eat them (like this Spicy Chorizo Breakfast Casserole). For these types of casseroles, try to use a dish that has a silicone lid to prevent freezer burn. For more ideas on what to make, check out these 16 Easy Casseroles to Make For Dinner.
Why Trust the Spruce Eats
Joy Manning is a food writer and recipe developer. Her work has appeared in many publications including The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Washington Post. She’s the author of "Almost Meatless" and "Stuff Every Cook Should Know."
This piece was edited by Bernadette Machard de Gramont, an LA-based writer who specializes in global food and wine content. She researches and tests a variety of cookware, bakeware, and wine tools, and interviews field experts for their insight.
Chou JM, Lee JL, Ko YC. Thermal shock resistance test for cast iron used in casting environments. J Mater Sci. 1990;25(6):2971-2974.