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Best all around Baker for lasagna, etc

I currently have two large 9*13 ceramic bakers from Sango and both are chipped so I need to replace them. I was not really happy with the quality. I want to replce them with something that will last a while without chipping, warping etc. So quality is a priority but since I will need to buy two, I don't want to break the bank. Also, I am looking for something fairly multi purpose, we often cook lasagna in the pans but also use them for brownies, small roast chicken, etc. and something fairly deep. Also, what material should I be looking at - cermamic, cast iron, glass, etc? I've done some research on this and it seems Le Creuset or Emile Henry are good for ceramic, Mario Batali has a good cast iron pan (though I think it may be discontinued). All Clad has a great pan but it is very expensive....

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  1. The Mario Batali pan is the absolute best that I have ever used for lasagne. I last saw it at Crate and Barrel.

    However, I have never used it for roasting chickens, and it is way to big for brownies. What I like about the MB is its deep sides, but brownies and chickens don't need that depth. Why don't you consider two different pans?

    1. I use an 11 x 17 x 4 Calphalon Classic roasting pan. Use it to make brownies, roast chicken and lasagna, roasted potatoes, etc. They are 27.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond, plus you can use the 20% coupon.

      The cast iron seemed way too heavy and I have had stoneware crack in the past.

      1. I would just about kill for an Emile Henry ruffled Auberge rectangular baker, but does it really only come in red or blue? I might finally throw down if it came in figue. Can't seem to find it in a 9" x 13" config:

        What's funny is my cranberry Pyrex from the 90s (used for everything from cakes to meatloaf to lasagna to casseroles) is still going strong.

        4 Replies
        1. re: kattyeyes

          I absolutely love my Le Creuset 4.5 qt stoneware casserole. It's deeper than most other baking pans I've seen, it is very solidly built, it cleans up beautifully and I love that it comes with a lid. I also find that food cooks really evenly and quickly in this thing. I've used the 4.5 qt for lasagna, roast chicken, enchiladas, brisket, apple crisp and the like. I also have a couple of the smaller size bakers and I love them just as much, albeit for smaller jobs. They're all fantastic.

          1. re: kattyeyes

            The large baker and smaller both come in figue. I bought the larger one when it first came out. I just checked the EH catalog, pie plates in ruffled design, no rectangles.

            1. re: Candy

              Thank you for explaining, Candy. I think I remember talking to you about this back when I first saw the ruffled pans. That figue is GORGEOUS.

              Though, topbanana, the lid on your Le Creuset is a very nice feature. Similarly, I have a set of the smaller EH bakers (for indie shepherd's pies, crisps, etc.). But I the only LC items I own are spatulas! For the versatility and durability, I know LC is pricey, but presumably it will last you a lifetime and then some...who can knock that? One day when I have a real kitchen, I will have ample storage for all my toys...

              1. re: kattyeyes

                You are welcome. Le Creuset makes two rectangular bakers large and small. I am fortunate to have both. They are great lasagne bakers. My brilliant DH (I mentioned this on another post) pulled out my LC terrine and used it to make lasagne for the 2 of us. 1 noodle wide and long and about 3 noodles deep with the filling. Perfect for 2 or 3.

          2. Beth Bath and Beyond sells a 14" stainless roaster for $40.

            Cuisinart® Chef's Classic™ Stainless Steel 14" Lasagna Pan. They have a similar model that is Teflon lined if you feel the need.

            1. I got a HIC porcelain one that works well, broiler safe..

              1. I just bought an Emile Henry lasagna pan. It's beautiful, and much deeper than the pyrex baker I've used forever. But I'm having trouble believing the company's claim that it can go straight from fridge (or Freezer! who the hell would freeze food in its cooking container?) to oven -- and that it can go under a broiler.

                Could someone who has owned an EH baker for more than a year share your experience? Is there any truth to this? I'm not going to test it out with mine any time soon, but I am curious.

                6 Replies
                1. re: ellabee

                  i just went ahead and ordered two EH lasagna pans too! I ordered from Amazon and think I got a good price. I got a 14*11 and a 13*10, plus the larger pan came with a bonus small baker.

                  1. re: ellabee

                    I don't think that you could go directly from freezer to a preheated oven with ceramics Their manufacturing process is not different from others so I'd be very leary of doing so.

                    This is the statement from their website and it is either sloppy or intentionally vague because it doesnt directly claim that it can go from freezer to a pre-heated oven but it might give that idea to many customers.

                    "■All Emile Henry products are direct freezer-to-oven. They exhibit extraordinary thermal shock properties. They go under the broiler and in the microwave."

                    It is easy to go from a freezer to a cold oven but the thermal shock of moving instantly from 10° to 350+° would likely destroy the piece, especially with multiple uses..

                    1. re: Kelli2006

                      Apply that to EH Flame not the regular line.

                      1. re: Candy

                        I looked on the EH website about care and use and found this declarative statement.
                        "From Oven to Freezer
                        Emile Henry dishes can be taken directly from the freezer to a heated oven. This is wonderful for reheating frozen left-overs. "

                        They can also be used under a broiler, but not too close and the pan must be 3/4 full.

                        1. re: Kelli2006

                          Kelli, you go ahead and do that, but I am not willing to risk the shock to the piece.

                          1. re: Candy

                            Those are statements directly from the EH website and I assume that damage is covered by the warranty. I personally wouldnt do it nor do I not own any EH products.

                            I have had Corningware pieces break in the oven, and I do not use them over direct heat.

                  2. Thanks, Kelli. As I said, I'd be highly unlikely to have this dish in the freezer to begin with, and am not planning to test fridge-to-oven resistance anytime soon, either.

                    But I can imagine a situation where I'd like to run a casserole under the broiler for a couple of minutes. Does anyone who owns one of these Emile Henry pans have the experience of having done this without harm?

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: ellabee

                      In the regular stone ware line under the broiler is fine, but not freezer to oven or direct heat. In the broiler it is only going to be a matter of a few minutes. Flame is made to take more thermal shock. Think of Corningware.

                      1. re: Candy

                        Thanks, Candy. The 10 x 15" roaster in the Flame line looks like a good all-purchase baker/roaster, attractive enough for table/buffet, and deep enough for multi-layer lasagna, with the bonus of being able to deglaze on the stovetop after roasting. Already owning a good metal roaster, I'm happier with the beautiful regular stoneware version, but the flame one would be an excellent gift or purchase for someone starting up a kitchen.

                        1. re: ellabee

                          I use my Le Creuset roasters and au gratins more than my French ovens sometimes. Either the large or small rectangular roaster is perfect for lasagne, and the large one works well when I want to roast fish, potatoes and vegetables in one pan (first the veg, then the fish for the last +/-10 min). I broil a single piece of fish in the 20cm au gratin, and use the 28cm (3 qt) for crisps and cobblers.

                          1. re: Jay F

                            In the last few years I've definitely used my Le Creuset medium-large oval gratin pan (#32) more, ever since realizing that it's the perfect size and shape for roasting chicken (and other meats, though I do that a lot less often). I roast on a bed of chopped vegetables.

                            The pan was my mother's, still in excellent shape 40 years on. When I finally started using it regularly, it gave me so much pleasure that I went on a little ebay jag and picked up three smaller sizes for less than $100 total. Cobblers ahead... The smallest, the 20 cm you use for a single fish, is perfect for baked chiles rellenos for two.

                            1. re: ellabee

                              My #32 is 30 years old, the only piece I have left in Flame. It just screams "cooking" to me. I realize now it's a 24cm I use for fish. I'll bet a third chile relleno would fit with no problema.

                    2. I just bought two stoneware lasagna pans from Emile Henry and love them. I got a huge 14*11 and a 13*10. They were a little expensive but worth it and I feel like I got a decent deal on amazon. I made a baked ziti in the larger dish last night and love it. It is huge, gthe perfect size for a double batch of ziti, very deep, food comes out like a charm, and they are beautiful pieces. I have a few smaller pieces of Le Creuset stoneware and I like the EH much better, though I still love LC cast iron.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: AmblerGirl

                        What do you like better about the EH than the LC? What do you find different about the performance? ty

                        1. re: olympia

                          So far, and I really only just got the EH pans, I feel like clean up is easier in the EH and they feel more substantial. This may just be a function of the size of the EH pans I have vs. the Le Creuset, but I do love the depth of my EH pans too.

                      2. and if you like the edges/corners of your lasagna there is this pan (they make a similar, smaller one for Edge brownies).......