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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 the 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. There are basic ones 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, our list of the best casserole dishes has something for everyone.
Best Overall: Emile Henry HR Modern Classics Large Rectangular Baker
High-fired clay is very durable
Heat proof to 520 degrees
Glaze resists crazing and scratches
Could break if banged or dropped
This well-made casserole dish by Emile Henry is constructed of high-fired Burgundian clay, giving it superior heating and heat-retaining capability. This material is highly resistant to thermal shock, so you can confidently move it from the freezer to the oven without worry. This baker also features a scratch-resistant glaze which gives the pan a nonstick quality that will make the surface quite easy to clean. Oven and broiler-safe up to 520 degrees, this versatile dish looks great on your table and is made to last.
"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
Best Budget: Pyrex Deep Baking Dish Set
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.
Best Round: Lodge 3.6 Quart Enamel Cast Iron Casserole Dish with Lid
Can also be used on any cooktop for frying, braising, and more
Cast iron can be heavy
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 casserole dishes on this list, so it is perfect if you want to feed a crowd your trademark mac and cheese.
Round baking dishes are also well suited to paella and roasts, making this an especially versatile choice. The enamel cast iron finish is easy to clean. This is another durable piece of cookware that can last a lifetime.
Best Individual: Fiesta 17 oz. Oval Individual Casserole Dish
Perfect capacity for individual servings
Also great for scaling down recipes
Durable and easy to clean
Expensive since you'll likely have to buy multiples
When you are really ready to embrace a casserole lifestyle, get a few of these small casserole dishes and delight your family with personal servings of mac and cheese. Mix and match the bright colors (these dishes are available in more than a dozen fun shades) for a bold look on your table.
They’re also low maintenance because they’re chip resistant as well as dishwasher, microwave, and oven safe. These would also be memorable vessels for individual fruit cobblers or crisps at dessert. When you aren’t hosting dinner parties, this size is perfect for poaching garlic cloves in oil without using a gallon of oil to get the job done.
Best Multipurpose: Rachael Ray Cucina Casserole Dish Set with Lid, 3 Piece
Two sizes to fit any capacity need
Gorgeous rustic look
Very well-priced set
Does not have handles
Two round casserole dishes plus a lid make this set perfect for all of your cooking needs! There is one 1.5-quart casserole and one 2-quart casserole, so you can cook everything from macaroni and cheese to chicken and rice.
Rather than having prominent side handles, the flared sides widen on either end to create handles that make for a prettier presentation on the table. Got leftovers? You can easily store them in the refrigerator or freezer. When it comes time to cook or reheat, they're microwave safe and oven safe to 500 degrees.
Reviewers say they are beautiful pieces, and the lid has a large loop handle that’s easy to grasp (even when wearing oven mitts). They’re dishwasher safe for easy cleaning when all the food is gone, but users have commented that they are easy to clean by hand as well.
"Once hot, the casserole dishes and the lid stayed warm, keeping our cooked food toasty warm, which is great when the food is done before the table is set." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Best With Lid: Le Creuset Stoneware Covered Rectangular Casserole
Made by top French manufacturer
Comes with oven-safe lid
Available in several beautiful finishes
Pricier than most
Can be quite heavy
This French brand of cookware is an object of desire for most enthusiastic home cooks. It looks gorgeous and is highly functional. The products are of high quality and often last a lifetime. You’ll need to keep that in mind in order to get over the price tag.
If you’re ready to invest in the casserole dish you’ll leave to the next generation, this lidded 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.
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.
Best Small: Emile Henry Modern Classics Square Baker
Great size for scaled down recipes
Ideal size for brownies
Extra sturdy ceramic construction
Attractive finish that looks great on the table
Doesn't come with lid
A square 8-by-8 baking dish is not exactly half the size of a 9-by-13 inch casserole, but it’s pretty close. If you’re not cooking for a crowd, you will typically have good results if you cut a recipe that calls for a 9-by-13-inch baking dish in half with this smaller casserole dish.
It’s also the perfect size for brownies, snack cakes, and hot dips like spinach artichoke. Emile Henry crafts cookware with its special HR ceramic. It’s sturdier and less likely to break than standard ceramic.
"This pan is making us rethink our exclusive use of metal baking pans since it’s also lovely for serving the baked goods at the table." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Best Porcelain: HIC Oblong Rectangular Baking Dish
Generous depth, perfect for layered dishes
Handles make it easy to transport to and from oven
Only available in plain white finish
At first glance, this casserole looks a little plain Jane with its monochromatic plain white design. But sometimes the classic look of porcelain cookware is exactly what you want. Its looped 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. This is an especially good choice for cooks with less arm strength—it’s much lighter than the cast iron options on the list. The glazed porcelain is easy to keep bright and clean.
What To Look For When Buying a Casserole Dish
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 chemically 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.
The price for a casserole dish will depend on the material, size, and manufacturer. Glass casserole dishes are typically the best value option, so if budget is an issue, this might be the material for you. For other materials, the prices vary widely depending on the manufacturer. Heritage stoneware and enameled cast iron piece will be the most expensive, topping out at over $100 for the largest capacities from premium European brands.
Most major manufacturers will offer a warranty of some sort, whether it be a limited period or a lifetime warranty. These warranties typically cover any defects in materials or workmanship and do not cover regular wear and tear, accidents, misuse, and damage from commercial use. Always be sure to review the manufacturer’s warranty prior to purchase to ensure it is adequate.
This French-based company has been making fine ceramic ovenware and bakeware since 1850. Its casserole dishes are made from Burgundian clay, which gradually and evenly distributes heat. The best-selling Modern Classics bakers are high-fired featuring a scratch-resistant glaze, do not contain lead or cadmium, and can go from the freezer to the microwave or oven without risk of thermal shock.
Le Creuset was founded in 1925 in northern France by two Belgian industrialists who combined their casting and enameling skills to create the signature Le Creuset cocotte. This premium brand also expanded its product offering to include stoneware casseroles and gratin dishes, as well as a variety of specialty pieces (like tagines, ramekins, and serving platters) in an array of colors. Le Creuset’s products are designed to be heritage pieces that are handed down for generations.
Created in 1915 by Corning Inc., Pyrex is a leader in producing glass products that are used in kitchens and laboratories worldwide. Pyrex’s original products were made from borosilicate glass, a low-expansion material that is resistant to breakage and thermal shock, making them ideal for bakeware. Its product lineup is easily affordable and consists of a wide variety of practical shapes, from casserole dishes to bowls and measuring cups.
This recognizable brand of colorful ceramic dinnerware has been popular since its introduction in 1936. With a brief production hiatus from 1973 to 1985, it reemerged in 1986 and has reigned supreme as the most widely produced solid color dinnerware in the US. Its line includes over 30 different color glazes in a variety of shapes—including oven-safe bakeware—with regular annual and limited edition color releases.
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.