Casserole is a American staple. Build your food and pop it in the oven. It cant get easier than that. Casserole pans are usually rectangular or oblong with tall sidewall. They let you stack food on top of another. Once done, the inside will be meltingingly hot. Cheese are usually topped to to make it gooey. The Best Casserole Pan, Dish or Pot are those made with cast iron. However, those are pricey. Cheaper alternatives are those made with glass or ceramic.
Casserole Pan Use
Casserole Pan are usually used for baking. You can make gratin, pies, dessert and more. Anything that requires baking can be done in a Casserole Pan. If you have stove top compatible Casserole Pan, you can even cook on the stove top. However, most glass and ceramic models are not, do not attempt it or you will crack it.
How to Use
Using a Casserole Dish is pretty simple, just layer food on and put it in the oven. If you plan on baking desert, be sure to prep it before hand. Buttering it and dusting it with flower will reduce the chance of food sticking. However, things that has a lot of moisture, requires little to no prep time. The moisture in the food will help lift any stuck bits.
As stated before, unless its specifically state it, Casserole Pan cannot be used on the stove top. Metal Casserole Pan are generally compatible.
Glass vs Ceramic vs Cast Iron
Depending on what you get, they will behave differently. Cast Iron, Glass and Ceramic all hold heat well. However, Glass and Ceramic are the most fragile of the bunch. They can crack under thermal shock. If you take it out of a hot pan and place it on a cold surface, dont be surprised if it cracks. Glass Casserole Dish with Borosillicate Glass are resistance to this. They tend to be a little more pricey than your standard lime glass. OXO makes some Casserole Dish with Borosillicate glass.
For glass, ceramic and enamel cast iron I do not recommend using metal utensils on it. However, for the bare cast iron one, they work just fine.
Is a Lid Necessary?
No, but it sure makes life better. When you are baking in the oven, you want the top crust to brown. If you cover, steam will get trapped and as a result, no maillard reaction will occur.
However, use a lid to keep food hot or preventing containment from getting in is a great use for it. It also acts as a great presentation piece. If you can, try to get a lid.
Best Casserole Pan and Dish with Lid
Below, you will find a list of Best Casserole Pan and Dish with Lid. Only the cast iron model do not have the lid, but the other option do.
Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Rectangular Roaster, 5.25 qt(Best Overall)
For Durability and performance, nothing beats cast iron. They are not fragile like glass or ceramic and you can use it straight on the stove top. The beautiful colors will also match any Le Creuset set as well. However, the bad thing is the price. You can expect to pay hundreds just for one. Good thing there is a lifetime warranty with it. You can also use this as a roasting pan.
Cuisinart Cast Iron Roasting/Lasagna Pan, 14″ (Best Buy)
Thankfully cuisinart makes a very affordable alternative. While the handle might not be as secure as Le Creuset, you can still get a firm grip. Performance wise, you wont notice much of a difference. If anything, I would say that the enamel is a little less durable. Colors are not as extensive but good enough for most people need.
Le Creuset Heritage Casserole Stoneware Rectangular Dish with Platter Lid (Best Ceramic Casserole Dish with Lid)
Le Creuset makes the best ceramic model with a lid. Since the lid is flat, you can use it as a serving tray after you cook the food. Its also great for saving spaces. Other models have dome like handle that makes it hard to stack stuff. Colors are a little limited but still have that same great hue that Le Creuset is known for.
OXO Good Grips Freezer-to-Oven Safe 3 Qt Glass Baking Dish with Lid (Best Glass Model with Lid)
OXO is a good choice in this category. They use Borosillicate glass to resist thermal shock. They wont crack when you go from hot to cold like lime glass. The lid is plastic so its durable and wont shatter when you wash it. Its also great for storing food in the fridge. What I like most about this model is how affordable it is.
Best Casserole Pan and Dish with Lids Thoughts
There are many options for a Casserole Pan. The Best are the cast iron models. However, most if not any of them have a lid. Ceramic and Glass are good option, but they are fragile. If you do get a glass, models with borosillicate glass are better. They resist thermal shock so you wont accidentally break it. However, the best looking are those by Le Creuset. The lid on that model is functional as well. You can use it as a serving tray.
Looking to bake someone, check out our article on the Best 9 x 13 Baking Tray.