Casserole dishes are excellent products that come in a range of shapes and sizes. They’re great for cooking a wide variety of foods, and they can even double up as a serving plate.
However, if you don’t have a casserole dish handy, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t enjoy casserole-style meals. When a Dutch oven isn’t available, there are plenty of ways to use a casserole dish substitute instead. So if you’ve been wondering, ‘what can I use instead of a casserole dish?’ then you are in the right place.
Today we’re going to look at some of the best oven-safe wares you can use for your cooking needs. Let’s get started.
The Best Pots to Use for Casseroles
People love casseroles for a reason; they’re easy to use, and they look great too.
If you’re cooking a casserole or a meal with a lot of moisture in the ingredients, something like a Le Creuset casserole dish is likely to be the ideal purchase. However, for those who can’t afford these baking dishes, you’re not out of luck.
You can channel your inner chef with anything from a metal pan, stainless steel saucepan, or a deep dish that’s suitable for the oven.
Cast Iron Skillet
A cast-iron skillet is quite a high-maintenance product when it comes to cooking. You’ll need to carefully clean your pan every time you use it in the oven and make sure you don’t expose it to any rust. On the plus side, a cast iron pan is extremely versatile and safe to use both inside the oven and on top of the hob, depending on your needs.
If you want something that’s going to work well for a range of recipes, make sure that you look for pans that are deep enough to hold plenty of food. It’s also worth looking into the best ways of maintaining your pans. You can search online to get tips for prolonging iron cookware, or you can check the instructions provided by the company.
If a cast iron skillet is too much work for your kitchen, you can try using baking pans. They’re are great for cooking, and are usually made with metal that’s oven safe, so you can expose them to super-high temperatures without worrying about damaging your dish.
Baking pans are one of the most popular choices for cooking casseroles. The important part to remember is that your dish needs to be deep enough to hold plenty of food. Ideally, you might want one that’s dishwasher-safe too.
If you want to recreate the lid effect of your casserole dish, you can use aluminium foil to keep the heat in with a baking pan.
A slow cooker is an excellent alternative to a standard casserole. One of the best choices for convenience it allows you to place all of your ingredients into a single pot and set a timer. As long as there’s plenty of moisture in the meal, your slow cooker should heat your casserole to perfection.
Slow cookers are like mini ovens. You can cook all kinds of pot-based meals in it. Some products even give you dessert choices too. On the other hand, slow cookers can be a little pricey, but their design makes them excellent to have around the kitchen. Investing in a slow cooker can save you a lot of time in the long-run if you use it regularly.
Making a beef, veg, and ale casserole in the slow cooker today. It smells REALLY good.
— C Bridh Blanchard (@BridhC) March 16, 2021
Some people say that a Dutch oven and casserole dish are the same thing. The main difference is that a Dutch oven from a company like Le Crueset is more likely to be round, while casserole dishes can be rectangular or square. Dutch oven products can sometimes go in the oven or sit on top of the oven hob, depending on the design. Some homeowners will even use their Dutch oven as a serving pot for when the meal is ready.
A product made with stainless steel or cast iron is more likely to work well than anything made with more fragile materials. You’re also likely to find a lot of choices with an enamel finish, making it look eye-catching.
We've installed a Dutch Oven at Len's Hut, and we tried it out at the weekend – slow cooked Chicken Casserole, yum! #glamping #somerset #reopeningsoon #notlongtowait #dutchoven pic.twitter.com/K2a5AyqjPY
— Len & Ted,The Huts (@BA53HB) March 24, 2021
Can I Use a Saucepan Instead of a Casserole Dish?
Whether you choose a Dutch oven, a metal pan, or a glass dish to make your casserole, there are a few important factors to think about. Your casserole dish alternative needs to be able to withstand the temperatures that you want to cook at.
Saucepans can be a good choice in your search for the ideal casserole alternative. However, most of these pans will only be a good choice if you don’t need to put them inside of the oven, as many will have handles that can melt under high heat. A standard saucepan is designed to work on the top of the oven, not inside. You may need to consider a different kind of cookware if your recipe requires in-oven baking.
Key Points to Remember When Choosing a Casserole Alternative
If you decide that you aren’t ready to invest in a dedicated glass casserole dish or Dutch oven yet, there is a question or two you might want to ask yourself while you’re shopping for the perfect ware. Having the right pot or pan for your recipes can make a huge difference in how well a meal turns out.
Only certain materials will be suitable for use within ovens. Glass, stoneware, stainless steel, ceramic, enamelled cast iron and even silicone are good choices. When you are unsure of the material, better not expose it to high temperatures as this can be very dangerous.
View this post on Instagram
The pot you choose needs to have enough depth to hold the food for the dish or recipe you want to make. Some casseroles require a lot of ingredients and moisture, so you couldn’t simply cook the meal in something as shallow as a frying pan.
The alternative product will need to distribute heat evenly throughout the meal being cooked. If you can’t find something like this, you may need to stir the recipe regularly.
Remember that some alternatives to casserole dishes are more difficult to care for than others. A cast-iron pot requires more work and often can’t go in the dishwasher when you want to clean it.
If your recipe requires a lid to help with keeping moisture in, and you don’t have a glass lid that fits your casserole alternative, aluminium foil is a good option.
Having a Casserole Dish at Home
The best thing about casserole dishes is how versatile they are. These products can evenly heat a meal in no time and often come with handles on the sides that make them great for lifting in and out of the oven. If you make food like casseroles regularly, or you want to start experimenting with new food options, a casserole dish can help you do that.
View this post on Instagram
Remember, if you do have your own casserole dish, take care of it. The best ones on the market are often designed to last for years. However, you should be careful to clean the sides, lid, and inside carefully after each meal. It’s also worth looking for casserole dish options that feature high-strength materials, so they’re less likely to break.
Scrub your dish carefully to remove baked-on food from the sides and bottom, and avoid damaging the product with any harsh chemicals or materials.
Is Investing in a Casserole Dish a Good Idea?
The casserole dish is probably one of the most popular ovenwares on the market today. There are cooks out there that believe every home should have a casserole dish or at least a Dutch oven for casserole-style cooking. Both a casserole dish and a Dutch oven will withstand high temperatures in your oven and often work well on the hob too.
Now that companies like Le Creuset have created highly stylish and sophisticated cooking items, the popularity of these products are greater than ever. You can cook food in these oven-safe dishes with ease. Additionally, you can explore a range of recipes, from one pan chilli to mac and cheese.
Make Do With What You Have
Not everyone needs a casserole dish. If you just want to cook a lasagne at home and you don’t make many casseroles, then you might have been wondering,’ what can I use instead of a casserole dish?’.
You could use a simple baking pan with a deep fill and some aluminium foil. If you already have a slow cooker for making stews and soups, then the same cooker can work well for casseroles too.
Whether you need a casserole dish or not will depend on the kind of food you like to make. We hope you found your answer within this handy guide.
Let us know what you use for cooking your casseroles and all your other tasty dishes!