Casserole cookware comes in as large a variety as casserole recipes. This type of cookware can be made from a number of different materials, including stainless steel, glass, or stoneware, and comes in many different shapes and sizes. Casserole dishes can be purchased alone or in sets, which usually offer between two and six different sizes and shapes. Most casserole cookware comes with matching lids and sometimes other accessories, such as trivets or serving spoons. The best type of casserole dish to use depends on the type of food being made as well as personal preference and budget, as cookware can vary widely in price.
Any casserole dish should be cooked in an oven-safe material, but other features vary. Most stainless steel or cast iron pots can also be used on the stove top, allowing food to be prepared to a certain point on the stove and then finished in the oven. This feature is particularly useful if a cook wants to brown meats or combine ingredients for a sauce prior to baking. This type of casserole cookware is also a good choice when a casserole is prepared on the stove top and then placed under the broiler for a few minutes to brown the top.
Some people prefer to use casserole cookware that is made from enamel or stoneware. These types can be easier to clean than stainless, and some chefs believe they heat food more evenly than metal. Stoneware and enamel pots often come in a variety of colors, making them attractive to use as tabletop servers. This feature can save the step of preparing a casserole in the oven and then transferring it to a separate dish for serving. Casserole cookware also comes in clear or colored glass, which is a popular choice, but cooks should be aware that glass cookware usually requires less cooking time than other dishes.
A single casserole dish can range in price from $10 US Dollars (USD) to more than $100 USD, so there are options to fit almost any budget. Sets can also be purchased beginning around $20 USD and usually contain several different sized dishes along with matching lids. Sets that have self-sealing lids allow the casserole dishes to be placed directly in the refrigerator and keep the contents from spilling if the casserole is being taken to another location. Before choosing a type of casserole cookware, it is a good idea to know whether it is dishwasher safe and if it requires any other special care. Some materials, like stoneware or cast iron, should be cleaned only with hot water, because soap can be absorbed by the material and interfere with the curing process.