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Does casserole dish shape matter?

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If a recipe calls for a 2.5 quart casserole dish, does it matter what shape it is? I have only been out of the parents house and a dorm room for a few years and so I seem to have only acquired a very deep round casserole dish. I plan to make a few holiday side dishes for an office party (sweet potato casserole, macaroni and cheese) and my only experience is from my mother and grandmother who seemed to usually bake the dishes in rectangular shallow casserole dishes. Does the shape matter? Should I go on the hunt or swipe one of theirs to make the dishes?

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  1. The shape doesn't really matter for those type of dishes. It will not impact the flavor but may increase the cooking time.

    For your type of dishes (mac and cheese, etc) there will be more "soft center" and less crispy top than you would get in a shallow rectangle shape. Some of the pot-luckers will be happy with that and others will bemoan the lack of crispy top.

    I don't think you need need to hunt down another dish just for this occasion, just file in the back of your mind as you hit yard sales and discount racks.

    1. The baking time might vary - longer for a round deep. However, a 9X13 shallow pan's contents will have more surface and edge area, producing more of the coveted browned, crusty, crunchy parts.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Scoutmaster

        Yea, the crusty bits are my favorite part.

        1. re: fldhkybnva

          In that case maybe you do need a 9x13 ... you should be able to get a Corning or Anchor Hocking one for not much $ at Target (I think I paid less than $20 for my last one?). To me the prices for oven glass are really reasonable ... and I still have every piece I've bought new, and I think all but one of my vintage pieces (I did have an old piece crack in the oven once--but only once in all these years).

          1. re: foiegras

            Yea I was eye-ing a Corningware casserole set which was very reasonable and definitely a good addition to my kitchen.

        2. re: Scoutmaster

          This. Figured it out the hard way years ago when doubling a recipe. 'Cause let's not kid ourselves, it's all about buttery bread crumbs and browned cheese.

        3. As you have one dish and you are talking multiple sides, I am going to assume you already know the trick of generously greasing your casserole, then baking said dish, then freezing the casserole, then slipping it into a sink full of hot water long enough to release, then popping the solidly frozen contents into a freezer bag after labelling said bag and back into the freezer, ready for re-introducing to the office party via a microwave or oven???

          Yep, I knew you already knew that...I had to learn the hard way at your age/stage when I only owned one casserole....

          1 Reply
          1. re: LJS

            Oh, actually I have several of the same deep round casserole dish somehow. I think they are presents from my mother who often forgets that she's sent something and resends the same thing and so I have three of them in different colors...that is a wonderful tip, thank you very much though!

          2. I'm a corner/edge person... and NOT ashamed to say so!! SIL is making her "deadly" cauliflower gratin for Christmas day and I WILL have a corner!!