Pieces nest for compact storage
Pretty enough for serving
Could be damaged by thermal shock
Rough bottom could scratch surfaces
While the Rachael Ray Cucina Ceramic Casserole Set (58314) is sold for casserole cooking, we threw caution to the wind, using the set for foods as varied as stacked enchiladas, chicken casserole, cherry pie, and even salad. From oven to refrigerator to dishwasher, we tested this set daily, for just about everything except making toast. Here’s how it performed.
Design: Homey and comfy
This is a set of two different casserole dishes, in two different depths, and it includes a lid that fits both. We loved the versatility of this set and the fact that it’s attractive enough for serving. While we might not choose them for an elegant dinner with the queen, it’s perfect for family dinners, in a blue color that reminded us of our favorite faded jeans (it’s also available in cranberry red and lavender). The shape of the rim and side handles, along with the color variations at the edges made the set look handmade instead of mass-produced, which we appreciated.
We loved the versatility of this set and the fact that it’s attractive enough for serving.
The lid worked well for cooking when we wanted to keep in the steam, and it was also useful for food storage. The tall handle made the lid easy to grab, but it was a little less useful when we tried to fit the pan and lid into our toaster oven to make a baked ratatouille. The toaster oven had less overhead space than our oven, so we had to use a bit of aluminum foil as a temporary lid. While the small side handles didn’t look substantial, they worked well when we needed to grab the hot casserole dish with oven-mitted paws.
For storage, the pieces nest nicely and take up less space. We discovered that the lid also happened to fit our glass pie pans perfectly, so we could use it to cover those as well.
Material: Glazed stoneware
These ceramic pieces are sufficiently sturdy, but they’re not too heavy to lift when filled with food. Stoneware can act as an insulator, but when we tested one of the dishes with a cherry pie, the bottom crust browned nicely. Meanwhile, our chicken noodle casserole didn’t burn on the bottom, but it cooked through properly. The entire casserole is glazed, except for the bottom rim. This means that it’s less slippery, but it also means that the rough surface could mar delicate surfaces if someone slides it rather than lifting it to move it.
For storage, the pieces nest nicely and take up less space.
This set is microwave, oven, freezer, refrigerator, and dishwasher safe, but it’s not safe for broiler use. Like any stoneware, it can break if dropped or exposed to rapid and wide temperature changes, like pouring cold water into a hot dish. While foods can go from refrigerator to oven, if the dish is refrigerator-cold, the oven should be set for a lower initial temperature, then raised.
Heating Capacity: Just like it’s supposed to
Casserole dishes aren’t meant to heat quickly (the goal is even cooking), and that’s exactly how this one performed. 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. If these are used for serving, it’s also nice for keeping food warm at the table. However, we’d suggest a trivet to protect the table and perhaps small potholders if the dish will need to be passed for serving.
Cleaning: Easy by hand or machine
These dishes were easy to clean, which was a bit of a surprise since stoneware is porous. However, the attractive glaze kept food from adhering too strongly. Even when we had a bit of burned cheese from our stacked enchiladas, all it took was a little soak to remove it. Most of the time, we simply used a soapy sponge to clean the cooled cookware.
Price: Definitely affordable
It’s hard to quibble with the affordability of this set. We loved the fact that we could choose a smaller or larger dish, depending on what we were cooking, and having a pair of matching dishes looked nice on the table. The lid was an added plus.
Rachael Ray Cucina Ceramic Casserole Set vs. CorningWare French White Round Casserole Dish with Glass Cover
CorningWare has been around for generations, and the look of this 2.5-quart round casserole dish is classic. In fact, it’s a good match for souffle dishes and ramekins with a similar shape and pattern. If you want to match a casserole with those other pieces that you already own, there’s no doubt that the CorningWare piece would be a good buy. It’s slightly larger than either of the Rachael Ray casserole dishes, and it includes a lid. However, we’re a bit more smitten with the Rachael Ray set because of its attractive design and the fact that it includes two bases.
- Product Name Rachael Ray Cucina Ceramic Casserole Set
- Product Brand Rachael Ray
- MPN 58314
- Price $34.99
- Color Agave Blue, Cranberry Red, Lavender
- Material Glazed ceramic
- Warranty Guaranteed to be free from defects in materials and workmanship upon receipt of the product. Stoneware products do not offer a replacement warranty after use.