Our baking expert shares the casserole you need in your life

There are many good reasons to make a casserole. This classic dish combines different ingredients, such as meat, cheese and vegetables, for a robust meal. There are many variations, from Italian lasagna to tuna noodle casserole or mac and cheese. Another selling point of casserole recipes is that they’re easy to cook, serve, store as leftovers, and reheat. However, to make a casserole, you need a quality casserole.

To find the best casserole dish, we consulted our pastry expert Andrea Boudewijn. A Cordon Bleu-trained pastry chef and owner of Superfine Bakery in Los Angeles, Boudewijn shared information about the casserole dish and other kitchen utensils she recommends.

The best casserole

No matter what kind of food you love, chances are there’s a casserole recipe you’ll enjoy. “I love casseroles because they seem to be universal in any culture or any family. Everyone has some sort of recipe that is cooked in a dish and then taken from that dish and served directly on the table,” Boudewijn said.

A casserole is made and served in one dish, so it’s important to have a pattern that simplifies these steps. Boudewijn recommends the Set of two Amazon Basics casserole dishes which are made with solid borosilicate glass. Having two dishes adds versatility when choosing the size of casserole you want to make. “The small one would serve two to four people, and a larger one would serve six to eight people and more,” Boudewijn said, adding that both dishes have handles that are easy to grab with an oven mitt.

What to do if you don’t have a casserole

If you haven’t purchased a casserole yet but are looking forward to indulging yourself, there are other cooking utensils you can use. A bread pan or a brownie pan will do in a pinch, and a lasagna pan is ideal for large recipes, Boudewijn said. She added that she likes glass pans for casseroles because you can easily watch the ingredients bubble up as they cook. This helps you determine when to add toppings like fried onions.

Other Useful Gadgets for Making Pans

A casserole may be the most important item you need to prepare a casserole, but other gadgets will come in handy throughout the cooking process. Our kitchen expert recommends several practical kitchen items that will also serve many other purposes beyond making pans.

An oven mitt is a must, Boudewijn said. “It protects your hand from the heat when you take the casserole out of the oven and put it somewhere to cool. It can also be used as a trivet. If you need to put it down and then place the pan on it, “it will protect any surface, countertop, etc. from the heat.”

Other kitchen essentials Boudewijn recommends for casserole cooking include a can opener, trivet, and chef’s knife.

Some casseroles require canned ingredients, and not all cans have flip-top lids, she explained. This is where a can opener comes in handy. A trivet can be used as a barrier between a hot casserole dish and a counter or table. Home cooks will find a durable chef’s knife useful for preparing certain casserole ingredients as well as many other cooking needs. “A chef’s knife is a great all-purpose basic tool that any cook can have in their kitchen for anything,” she said.

Boudewijn noted that a particularly useful small appliance for making casseroles is a toaster oven. Not only is this type of oven compact, but it’s handy in hot weather when using a full-size stove can make the house warm. “If you don’t want to heat your big oven and you have a countertop, you need a countertop oven,” she said.

Easy asparagus gratin recipe

Whether you want to try a new casserole or need an easy meal for tonight’s dinner, asparagus casserole is a delicious and easy dish to try. Boudewijn provided steps and tips for her Asparagus Casserole recipe which she says is creamy and satisfying.

Ingredients

  • Three 15-ounce cans of asparagus
  • Two 10.5 ounce cans of cream of celery soup
  • A 6 ounce container of fried onions

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Open the three cans of asparagus and empty the water.

3. In a 6-by-8-inch pan about 2 inches deep, gently slide the asparagus into three neat clumps. Gently shake the pan to make a solid layer of asparagus. The asparagus tips should be parallel to the short side of the casserole.

4. Dump both cans of cream of celery on top of the asparagus and spread to form the next solid layer. Completely cover the asparagus.

5. Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake until the cream of celery begins to bubble around the sides (about 30-40 minutes).

6. Briefly take the pan out of the oven and spread a very generous layer of fried onions all over the pan.

7. Cook another 10 minutes or so to crisp the onions, and voila!

Tips

Boudewijn said that with a few tips, an asparagus stew would be perfect.

“You may want to gently run a knife over the spears to cut them into bite-sized pieces before adding the soup to make scooping easier. Whole spears are nice, but can be messy when you remove a portion for serving,” she said. A square or rectangular pan is ideal for preparing your asparagus recipe. A round dish is likely to give the vegetable odd curves or shapes after cooking.

Boudewijn also recommends watching the pan closely when cooking the filling to prevent it from burning. This trick applies to any pan. “It’s really meant to be cooked for a short time, just until warmed through, crispy, or slightly caramelized.”

Boudewijn added that preventing mess in the oven will simplify post-cooking cleanup and serving the pan. “You might want to have a hob either directly under the casserole or on the rack below to catch anything that may fall or drip.

Best Casserole and Casserole Essentials

Amazon Basics 2-Piece Glass Oven-Safe Casserole Bakeware Set

Boudewijn loves this pair of casserole dishes for their durable, oven-safe glass construction and helpful side handles. The dishes come in two different sizes, making them ideal for preparing large or small casseroles.

Sold by Amazon

Chef Craft Heavy Duty Turner

Chef Craft Heavy Duty Spatula/Spatula

This large spatula is Boudewijn’s choice for casseroles, as it features a durable square top that makes it easy to scoop out individual portions. It’s also handy for scraping the sides of a casserole dish and can be used for other cooking tasks, like flipping pancakes.

Sold by Amazon

OXO Good Grips Silicone Oven Mitt

OXO Good Grips Silicone Oven Mitt

Not only is an oven mitt necessary to take a pan out of the oven, but it can also be used as a trivet. Boudewijn said this silicone glove is ideal for both purposes. It is available in a choice of several colors to match different kitchen decors.

Sold by Amazon and Macy’s

Set of 2 ECOSALL natural wood coasters

ECOSALL Natural Wood Trivet, Set of Two

These natural beech wood trivets offer two advantages, which is why Boudewijn chose them. Not only will they protect a table or counter when placed under a freshly baked casserole dish, but they will also sport an attractive design.

Sold by Amazon

KitchenAid Gourmet Multi-Function Can Opener

KitchenAid Gourmet Multi-Function Can Opener

Boudewijn said everyone needs a can opener in their collection of kitchen gadgets. This model is simple yet strong, made by a trusted brand, and comes in several fun colors.

Sold by Amazon

Wusthof classic chef's knife

Wusthof classic chef’s knife

A chef’s knife, like this model recommended by Boudewijn, will come in handy when preparing ingredients for a casserole and a host of other dishes as well. This knife features a sturdy high carbon steel blade that stays sharp even after repeated use.

Sold by On the table and Amazon

Austria Mueller Toaster Oven

Austria Mueller Toaster Oven

Boudewijn enjoys cooking with a toaster oven, especially in the summer when it’s too hot to fire up a full-size stove. This model offers a spacious interior, easy to use controls and convection cooking.

Sold by Amazon

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