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Best Tagine

For those who are new to the world of tagine cookery – or have never heard of this little crock-pot style device - you’re in for a treat.

For those who are new to the world of tagine cookery – or have never heard of this little crock-pot style device – you’re in for a treat. In a nutshell, it’s a non-electric cooking vessel comprised of two pieces – a deeper base that holds your proteins, vegetables, and broths plus a domed lid. The snug fit between bowl and top is what allows foods to cook to perfection whether over an open heat source or in a standard oven. And while the traditional tagine dates back to ninth century Morocco and the Middle East, today’s options are constructed from a wide range of materials to deliver a contemporary, easy-care twist on this old-world classic.

What Are the Benefits to Using a Tagine?

Similar to the old clay Römertopf, a tagine provides the easy prep-and-go style of one-pot cooking. It comes in a variety of materials that are well-suited to different heat sources and a wide range of sizes that make it ideal for everything from smaller meals to a full family dinner. And because it’s non-electric it can be used indoors or outdoors without compromising the flavor and quality of your favorite foods. The trick is in the snug fit between pot and lid that seal in juices, recirculating them up and throughout the dish for a self-basting, extra flavorful meal. For those who have never cooked with a tagine before, you simply can’t go wrong.

What to Look for When Buying a Tagine

Construction

Not all tagines are intended for cooking – some are simply serving pieces that offer an elegant presentation of your cooked foods. Before you buy, verify your tagine can be used on your preferred heat source (not all can be used with induction stoves or in ovens) as well as whether it requires a heat diffuser pad to prevent cracking. Some designs will feature a small hole at the top of the lid that releases steam and reduces the moisture in the pot for a more intense food flavor. While it may slow down the cooking process and does require monitoring to prevent food from drying out, it’s an option worth considering if you enjoy a more hands-on approach to meal prep.

Materials

Unglazed Clay

Tagines were originally crafted of pottery with a non-glazed interior that absorbed spicy flavors and passed them along from one dish to the next – a desirable characteristic for many chefs. This material is still a favorite with those wanting a more authentic cook process. It does require a little more care including pre-soaking before use, oiling, and lower heat to prevent damage.

Glazed Clay

Adding a glaze to an earthenware tagine, makes for an easier clean-up and lessens the danger of food burning – more common with the porous clay designs. You do lose out on the flavor pass-on between dishes and your pot will still require pre-soaking to prevent cracking. But it’s a great hybrid that offers the appeal of natural clay plus the easier care finish typical of metal options.

Cast Iron

Today, cast iron is a popular material for tagines because of its ability to distribute heat evenly across the pot base and sides. Cracking will never be a worry, and they do well on stovetops including gas or electric, as well as ovens and even an open fire. And because of iron’s naturally porous finish, you can still enjoy the transfer of flavors from dish to dish.

Capacity:

Tagine capacity is as important as the foods you’re putting into it. Overcrowding a too-small pot can result in steam not being able to circulate, an uneven cook, and disappointing results as you lose the benefit of the natural re-baste process. Stocking up on a few different sizes of this affordable cooking vessel is an easy solution.

Top 6 Tagines

Kamsah 4-quart Hand-Painted Ceramic Tagine with Glazed Interior

Best for Traditional Design

For those wanting to cook in an authentic clay tagine but are concerned about its potential to crack and leak, this glazed earthenware pot brings you the best of both worlds. The beautiful hand-painted bowl and matching lid are glazed inside and out for an easy-care finish that’s less prone to fractures than its porous counter-part. Best of all, the generous 4-quart capacity can be loaded up with all your favorite proteins, vegetables, or broths, and then heated on any cooktop including open flame or electric. The pot and fitted lid form an air-tight seal that retains flavors and moisture. When your meal has finished cooking, this elegant-looking pot goes straight from kitchen to tabletop for serving. A 36-hour soaking process is required before first-time use and hand-washing is a must.

Who Should Buy This Tagine?

This is the ideal choice for those who love one-pot cooking that goes from stovetop to tabletop without the need for serving bowls and platters. This beautifully hand-painted tagine is both durable and beautiful.

Pros:

  • Traditional clay construction
  • Use for cooking and serving
  • Hand-painted glazed exterior
  • Easy-clean glazed interior

Cons:

  • Requires a diffuser plate

Specs for Comparison:

Materials: Earthenware

Capacity: 4-quart

Maintenance: Soak up to 36 hours pre-use, hand-wash only

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Bruntmore 4-quart Enameled Cast Iron Tagine Pot with Matching Lid

Best for Entertainers

The classic tagine gets a functional makeover with this hard-wearing, enamel-on-cast-iron option. Renowned for its ability to dissipate heat evenly across any cook surface, cast iron has excellent heat retention which makes it ideal for use as a tagine. In fact, this 4-quart design is suited for stovetop cooking or ovens up to 500-degrees Fahrenheit which lets you pop it on a low heat to use as a slow-cooker, or brown meats at a higher temperature, before adding vegetables and liquids. Both the pot and lid are constructed from a lighter-weight iron that delivers the tight seal needed to trap moisture but is easier to lift in and out of an oven or off a cooktop. And for those who love a quick clean-up, this heavy-duty tagine is dishwasher-safe.

Who Should Buy This Tagine?

This is a great option for those who entertain. The 4-quart capacity produces larger volumes of food while the enamelled cast iron construction means less monitoring of foods, and more time spent with guests.

Pros:

  • Cast iron construction
  • Durable cast iron lid
  • Stove-top or oven use
  • Dishwasher safe

Cons:

  • Heavier combined weight

Specs for Comparison:

Materials: Enameled cast iron

Capacity: 4-quart

Maintenance: Dishwasher-safe

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Emile Henry 2.1-quart Burgundy Clay Tagine with Scratch-Resistant Finish

Best Investment Piece

This traditional clay tagine is made in France using all-natural, proprietary materials and a unique, high-fired technology that makes it suitable for virtually any heat source. From open flame including gas stovetops, broilers, barbecue grills, or wood fires, to electric and induction cooktops (diffuser plate required with induction), and even microwave or standard ovens. This versatile pot is the perfect, all-around cooking vessel. At just 2.1-quarts, it’s the ideal size for preparing a small, one-pot family dinner or for cooking a savory side dish that can feed a crowd. The distinctive burgundy clay construction and superior glazed finish of this tagine make it highly resistant to thermal shock and capable of going from freezer to oven without a defrost period. And because the durable finish is fade- and scratch-resistant, the entire unit is dishwasher-safe.

Who Should Buy This Tagine?

This is ideal for those wanting convenience and versatility. This cooking pot goes from freezer to stovetop without the need to defrost and can be used with multiple heat sources including stovetop, barbecue grill, or oven.

Pros:

  • Traditional clay construction
  • Stovetop or oven use
  • Dishwasher safe
  • No diffuser plate required

Cons:

  • Pricier than most

Specs for Comparison:

Materials: Earthenware

Capacity: 2.1-quart

Maintenance: Dishwasher safe

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Uno Casa 3.65-quart Cast-Iron Tajine with Ceramic Lid and Oven Mitts

Best for The Experimental Cook

If you enjoy trying out the latest cooking trends, but still appreciate knowing your dish will turn out as planned, this generously sized cast iron tagine with a downloadable recipe book is just the ticket. The enamelled interior means this 3.65-quart pot is non-stick, doesn’t require pre-seasoning, and because it’s made with cast iron, your dishes stay hotter, longer. It’s perfect for use on any cooktop – including ceramic electric, gas, or induction – as well as for popping into the oven for when baking is in order. The wider, easy-grip rim and double oven-mitts ensure a safer, wrap-around hold for lifting and transferring hot dishes while the brilliant red ceramic lid makes this tagine a perfect conversation starter when used as a serving dish. And because both pieces are dishwasher-safe, clean-up is always easy.

Who Should Buy This Tagine?

A great option for the cook who loves the convenience of one-pot meals that can be cooked and served in the same dish. And with a non-stick finished interior, clean-ups are quick and easy.

Pros:

Enamelled cast iron pot

Non-stick finish

No pre-seasoning required

Includes oven mitts and downloadable recipes

Cons:

Ceramic lid may chip

Specs for Comparison:

Materials: Enameled cast iron pot / ceramic lid

Capacity: 3.65-quart

Maintenance: Dishwasher-safe

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Cooks Standard 4.5-quart Stainless Steel Tagine with Extra Lid

Best for Versatility

If you appreciate cookware that does double-duty, this stainless-steel tagine with dual-cook lids is a perfect addition to your arsenal of culinary equipment. Not only is this extra-large, 4.5-quart tagine constructed from 2 layers of stainless steel with an aluminum core for even heat distribution, it includes lids that change-up its use from tagine to casserole. Plus, you get a metal base with generous side handles for easy lifting on any cooktop (including gas, electric, induction, or ceramic). Use as a sauté pan, or add the peaked ceramic topper and transition this versatile pot into a beautiful oven-proof tagine. Swap out that lid for one made from tempered glass and you have an elegant looking casserole that takes your favorite Moroccan dishes from oven to the tabletop. Best of all, each piece is dishwasher-safe.

Who Should Buy This Tagine?

For tight cupboard space, a multi-functional pan is the way to go. This quality stainless-steel pot with ceramic topper and tempered glass lid delivers the seal and steam capabilities you need from a tagine plus the style you want with a serving piece.

Pros:

  • Stainless steel with aluminum core
  • Dual lids for tagine or casserole
  • Extra-large capacity
  • Works on any cooktop or oven

Cons:

  • Handles not heat-proof

Specs for Comparison:

Materials: Stainless steel pot / ceramic lid / tempered glass lid

Capacity: 4.5-quart

Maintenance: Dishwasher-safe

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Raphael Rozen 10-quart Clay Tagine with Recipe Book

Best Large Capacity

If cooking for a crowd is typical of your dinner-time routine, you’ll appreciate this large capacity, 10-quart tagine that seamlessly transitions from stovetop to table without the need for extra serving dishes. The traditional clay bowl and lid are hand-crafted and feature a glazed, non-stick interior for greater durability and easier clean-ups. And because it’s designed for use on the stovetop (with heat diffuser plate) or at low temperatures in the oven, it’s easy to free up burner space by moving finished dishes into a pre-heated oven as you continue to work. The colorful glazing makes a beautiful presentation to guests while the deep, fitted rim, prevents your meals from seeping or spilling during transit. As with all traditional clay tagines, this one requires hand-washing.

Who Should Buy This Tagine?

This large-capacity tagine is a great option for those who cook volumes of food but don’t want to sacrifice authenticity for convenience. It’s ideal for stovetop or oven use and makes a dramatic statement when entertaining.

Pros:

  • Traditional clay construction
  • Non-stick glazed interior
  • Use for cooking and serving
  • Stovetop or oven use

Cons:

  • Hand washing only

Specs for Comparison:

Materials: Clay

Capacity: 10-quart

Maintenance: Soaking pre-use, hand-wash only

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Bottom Line

Today’s tagine will almost certainly become your “go-to” kitchen appliance because of its convenience and versatility. There are no cords, no plugs, no counter space you have to clear – just pop it on your stovetop or into your oven, and let the pot’s unique design do all the rest. They’re available in a variety of sizes and materials to suit your personal cook style and because these dramatic looking pots transition from stovetop to tabletop, they provide that all-important wow factor. All without the messy hassle of spooning hot foods onto serving platters.

Photo credit: Tatiana Bralnina/Shutterstock

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