5 Best Casserole Dishes, Tested by Food Network Kitchen
These dishes can make more than, well, casseroles. Find out why we love them.
Our Top Casserole Dish Picks
Tested by Beth Lipton for Food Network Kitchen
A good casserole dish is essential for any serious home cook. Not only can you make those namesake casseroles in it, but you'll also reach for it when making cobblers and crisps, bread pudding, baked pasta dishes and more. As with so many kitchen musts, casserole dishes come in a variety of materials, colors and styles. Though it may seem like they're all fairly similar, after baking in a variety of them, we found a few that stand out, whether you want a standard get-it-done dish or one you can show off at dinner parties.
All the pans we tested yielded evenly cooked mac and cheese with lightly browned edges, and all were easy to clean with just soap and water. The best ones came down to design and ease of use. Read on for our favorites.
How We Tested
Intake: We purchased 10 well-reviewed casserole dishes, in both glass and ceramic models. Some included lids and some did not. Most measured a standard 9-by-13 inches — about a 3-4 quart capacity. We weighed each one, since these dishes can get heavy as you hoist them into and out of the fridge, freezer and oven. We also took into account whether or not the design included handles and, if so, how comfortable they were to use. We also took into account which dishes were broiler-safe and the highest oven temperature they could be used at. We also considered any claims about durability or quality, any special features (such as included lids) and length of warranty.
Cooking: Next, we baked a batch of homemade macaroni and cheese in each one (making us very popular with our neighbors, indeed). We turned out each one onto a cutting board to see how evenly the casserole baked. We checked for browning on the bottom of the macaroni and cheese and how well the top browned. We also took into consideration how quickly the casserole baked through and how well it fit into each dish.
Cleaning: Then we washed each dish by hand with soap and water to see if it cleaned up easily. And we noted which dishes were dishwasher-safe.
Pyrex has basically become synonymous with glass baking dishes, and it’s easy to see why: This is a no-frills, gets-the-job-done pan that just works really well. It’s not the heaviest or lightest one we tried; it’s just right. We found it to be sturdy, but not hard to lift out of the oven, even with a bubbling batch of mac and cheese inside. The two-inch-high sides are enough for most applications, and the handles are just wide enough to make them easy to grip with kitchen towels or oven mitts. It’s freezer-, microwave- and dishwasher-safe (though it cleaned up so easily with just soap and water, it won’t need to take up dishwasher space). Made from non-porous glass, it won’t absorb odors or stains, so you can go ahead and bake your grandma’s lasagna in it and then a batch of brownies. This dish isn’t the prettiest, but it’s solid, reliable and unfussy. Bottom line: It's a pan you’ll use again and again without thinking about it. It comes with a lid, which is helpful when taking side dishes, desserts and casseroles to potlucks and holiday dinners.
If you prefer a ceramic dish but you still want that workhorse quality, this baking dish is for you. With a two-and-a-half-inch depth, it’s slightly more generous than a typical casserole, but not so deep that your regular recipes won’t fill it nicely. Plus, it has generous handles that are especially easy to grasp, which is useful since you have that extra bit of depth. Though this pan is durable enough to withstand freezer, oven, microwave and even broiler (up to 500 F), it felt lighter than some others we tested (though it’s not lightweight, to be sure). Its simple design makes it table-worthy if not showy, and it cleans up like a champ with just soap and water.
This is the priciest model from our selection, but (as with Le Creuset Dutch ovens) this is a classic that you’ll turn to again and again over the years and probably bequeath to your grandchildren. Considering its five-inch depth, it’s not overly heavy but still quite solid. The lid almost doubles the weight, so consider that when using it to transport a full dish of food. We love this casserole dish because it’s oven-safe up to 500 degrees F and can withstand the broiler, cooks evenly and retains temperature well (both for hot and cold). Similar to other models, this one is dishwasher safe but too easy to clean by hand to make it worth the dishwasher real estate. Pick your favorite from the 23 color options, and it will decorate your table nicely.
Great Jones took the notion of retro casseroles to the max by creating this sturdy dish, complete with a groovy design. But it isn’t just style without substance — the Hot Dish is also very thoughtfully designed. The large handles make it easy to grasp and handy when you have a "hot dish" full of food. The three-inch depth means you can really stack up that lasagna or breakfast casserole with all the goodies. It bakes evenly, can take the heat up to 450 degrees F, and, although you can put it in the dishwasher, we found it cleaned up so easily by hand that you wouldn’t need to. It’s a great value for the price, and it comes in four colors: Broccoli, Blueberry, Taffy and Mustard.
This dish is similar to the HIC in that it’s made from porcelain, has generous easy-to-grasp handles and boasts a two-and-a-half-inch depth. The upgrades here are subtle: It’s more elegant looking, it’s safe up to 572 degrees F, and it’s made in one mold, so the handles are carved into the dish, which the company claims makes them sturdier. This is a beautiful pan that’s durable enough to use for everyday cooking, but pretty enough to be featured at your dressiest holiday dinners. Afterward, it cleans up easily with soap and water. And we love that it comes with a lifetime warranty.
What to Consider When Buying a Casserole Dish
Material: Casserole dishes come in a variety of materials, with the most popular choices being glass, ceramic and enameled cast iron. Always check if the dish is marked oven- or microwave-safe before using. Glass is a good in-the-middle option for a casserole dish as it's not the lightest but also not the heaviest of materials. You can see through the dish to monitor how done your food is getting during the cooking process. Ceramic dishes can usually handle higher heat than glass but can be more fragile in construction. Enameled cast iron dishes can handle the most heat out of all three materials but are usually the heaviest in weight.
Style: Consider the type of handles (or no handles) the casserole dish has before purchasing. Handles can help make it easier to lift the dish from the oven, especially when it's hot. There are tab-style handles as well as looped handles. Looped handles tend to offer a better grasp and are easier to hold onto. All of the casserole dishes on our best-of list feature handles for easy handling of the dish. Extra accessories such as lids can offer a tight seal but aren't necessary.
Maintenance/Care: While many casserole dishes are dishwasher-safe, a nonstick dish will alleviate some of the hassle of stuck-on food. Always check the manufacturer's instructions before buying to ensure the care instructions are best suited to you. Since casserole dishes are heavier and larger than some baking dishes, also consider where you would store the dish when not in use.