Best casserole dishes – on test

The ultimate comfort food creator, a robust casserole dish is a must for every kitchen. We put pots through their paces to bring you a review of the most durable, hard-working, heart-warming five on the market.

**STAR BUY**

Best…for longevity and choice

Le Creuset pot
Le Creuset Signature 26cm shallow casserole 

Best bits: Attractive aesthetic, good heat distribution and good range of shapes and sizes. 
Price: £160

Comments: For range of colour, shape and size, Le Creuset can’t be beaten. They’re expensive but we can say from experience that their products stand the test of time and cooking results are excellent. With fantastic heat distribution, these pans don’t need much oil compared to some cast iron brands and ingredients rarely stick. We chose this shallow pan, for the occasions when a deep pan just won’t do – think creamy risottos, meatballs in rich tomato sauce, fish curry…

Buy from Le Creuset
 

Best for…style

Staub

Staub 24cm round cocotte 

Best bits: Statement design and sleek cast iron finish. 
Price: £239

Comments: When this pan landed with the BBC Good Food test team we were blown away by its appearance. If it didn’t cook so well, we’d put it in a display cabinet and gawp at it all day! Leaving onions to sweat for a stew, we were pleasantly surprised by the aroma of caramelisation - the slow, even heat coaxing them into such a state of voluptuousness that we were instantly sold. It may be a lot of money but Staub does offer exceptional results.

Buy from Zwilling
 

Best… budget cast iron

Berghoff
BergHOFF Ron 28 x 22cm covered oval casserole

Best bits: Value for money
Price: £99.99

Comments: If you’re after cast iron but Staub and Le Creuset are out of your price range then this is a good alternative. It offers all the key features of cast iron: durability, even cooking, and is suitable for all types of hob and oven too.  It didn’t feel quite as responsive as the other two but for the price it's an absolute winner.

Buy from Very

Best for…safe and easy handling

Circulon

Circulon Symmetry 26cm hard anodised casserole 

Best bits: Easy maneuverability, handy grips and good cooking environment.
Price: £100

Comments: Cast iron can be extremely heavy, making it unmanageable for some. We loved the practicality of the Circulon pan. Not only is it lightweight, even when filled with a hearty casserole, it also has grips on the top and side handles, reducing the chance of slippage or burning. You don’t get the same richness as you do from a cast iron cook but it still produces good results, has a generous capacity and seals in moisture well.

Buy from Circulon
 

Best…for traditionalists

Mason Cash

Mason Cash Cane 2 litre casserole dish

Best bits: A reasonably priced pot for occasional casserole-makers. 
Price: £24.99

Comments: Although we tend to prefer hob-to-table casseroles, we appreciate the old-fashioned virtues of a ceramic serving dish. This diminutive casserole is not suitable for the stove-top so you’ll need to do onions, garlic and meat-browning separately before assembling your casserole for the oven. Big enough for 2-3 people, we made a French-style sausage stew with flavours and liquid remaining beautifully locked in to create truly moreish results. It goes in the microwave too, unlike cast iron or metal.

Buy from Very

Buyer’s advice

Why buy?

Sausage casseroleCasseroles are a versatile piece of kit – they can be used to make soups, stews, pot roasts, sauces, the list goes on... For the scratch cook, it’s an essential.


What should I buy?

A casserole that is suitable for hob, oven and attractive enough for the table maximises on practicality and minimises on washing up. Cast iron may seem like an expensive option but a dish that’ll last for decades is an investment worth making. From the other materials, we found non-stick metal or ceramic casseroles both offered unique plus points and were more budget-friendly. 


What we looked for

Chicken stewDurability: A casserole that could stand a certain amount of wear and tear.
Versatility: We wanted a pan that ticked at least three of the following boxes: suitable for all hobs types, oven, serving, dishwasher, microwave.
Good heat distribution: The key to teasing out a richness of flavour from ingredients.
Well sealed: We wanted all the flavours and moisture to remain firmly intact.

More advice on buying kitchen equipment...

Best hand blenders
Best kettles
Best pestle and mortars
Best toasters
Best mixing bowls


Put your casserole to good use... 

Our best-ever casserole recipes
Vegetarian casserole recipes
One-pot recipes
Tagine recipes

This review was last updated in October 2016. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@bbc.com. 

Do you have a trusty casserole pot? We’d love to hear your product suggestions. 

Comments, questions and tips

Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
Tony Kneecaps
27th Sep, 2017
I agree with what people are saying here - Le Creuset and Staub are well out of the range of what many people would be willing to pay. T K Maxx is an excellent hunting ground for good quality kitchen kit. I can personally recommend House of Fraser's Linea range of cast iron cooking ware. Five years ago, I bought a 25 cm round casserole pot for £30 (Current full retail price £50). I use it at least twice a week and it's excellent. It also came with a lifetime guarantee. I'd be far happier if GF reviews mentioned more items that are inline with what people are realistically looking to pay and fewer Rolls Royce-type items.
Julieatt
24th Sep, 2017
I do love Le Creuset but it is far too expensive for the normal bod. I would recommend Sainsburys own or as someone else has said go to TK Max and have a look at what they have
Leleni
30th Jan, 2017
£100 - best for budget? Not for mine, and there are a lot of people worse off than me. It's quite upsetting to read this sort of thing when you know you'll never manage to get what is considered bottom of the range. Please be more realistic in order not to alienate your users.
Rolandclarke12
2nd Jan, 2017
I'm sure all of these cook well and Le Creuset is great stuff, albeit, at a price. My recommendation to anyone looking for a good value casserole dish to either buy from TK Max (stock changes so you to see what is available), price usually sub £30. Alternatively, Sainsbury's have been stocking their own range of cast iron cookware in a range of attractive colours. From time to time these are sold at half price so a decent size casserole dish can be had for £25 or less...
griddle_pan
19th Oct, 2017
Or, do as a lot of people do and wait for the sales or buy seconds. My 22cm Le Creuset was bought (as a second) in a sale in 1984 when I moved into my present home and it is still going strong. griddle_pan
catie74
20th Oct, 2017
My mother was given the smaller Le Creuset belonging to her mother when she moved into her own home back in the 60's. My mother has now passed this on to me. This much loved dish has fed generations and cured many a broken heart. I love the fact that it was my Grandmothers, then my mothers and now mine. I will dutifully pass it o. I think this alone stands testament to its durability. Granted they are expensive, but you get what you pay for. As said look out for seconds and also look in TK Maxx
Danipeart
1st Oct, 2017
Can these be used on a ceramic hob? I’ve never tried a casserole dish on my hob as I’m always worried it will break!
goodfoodteam's picture
goodfoodteam
6th Oct, 2017
Thanks for your question. The top four can be used on a ceramic hob but not the last Mason Cash one - this is designed for oven use only. We would recommend that you look at the specifications/ product details before you buy any casserole as it always lists exactly which types of heat source can be used.
Be the first to suggest a tip for this recipe...Got your own twist on this recipe? Or do you have suggestions for possible swaps and additions? We’d love to hear your ideas.