Cooking with the best clay pots is a grounding experience that results in amazing food. The porous surface of clay cookware retains steam and keeps dishes flavorful and tender. Looking for your own clay pot can be overwhelming – many choices and styles exist. This review explores seven pots on the market so you can find the best clay pots for cooking.
1. When to Use clay pots for cooking?
Clay pots, also known as earthenware or terracotta pots, have been used for cooking for centuries in various cultures around the world. They offer unique advantages and impart distinct flavors to the food. There are some situations when using clay pots for cooking might be beneficial as below:
- Slow Cooking and Braising: Clay pots are excellent for slow cooking and braising dishes. Their porous nature allows them to retain and distribute heat evenly, which helps in gently cooking tougher cuts of meat and allowing flavors to meld.
- One-Pot Meals: Clay pots are great for making one-pot meals, such as stews, soups, and casseroles. They can be used over open flames, stovetops, or in ovens.
- Traditional and Ethnic Dishes: If you’re cooking traditional or ethnic dishes that traditionally use clay pots, using them can enhance the authenticity and flavor of the food.
- Flavor Infusion: Clay pots can impart a subtle earthy flavor to the food. This can be especially desirable for certain types of cuisine where this flavor complements the dish, such as certain curries or rice dishes.
- Retaining Moisture: The porous nature of clay pots allows them to absorb some moisture from the food and release it slowly during cooking. This can help in keeping the food moist and preventing it from drying out.
- Healthy Cooking: Clay pots generally don’t require as much oil or fat for cooking due to their heat retention and slow-cooking properties. This can make your dishes healthier while still being flavorful.
- Baking Bread: Clay pots with lids can be used for baking bread. The lid helps create a steamy environment inside the pot, resulting in a crispy crust and soft interior.
- Roasting: Clay pots can be used for roasting meats, vegetables, and even whole poultry. They help retain moisture and ensure even cooking.
- Soups and Broths: Clay pots are excellent for simmering soups, broths, and stocks. The slow, gentle heat helps flavors develop over time.
- Outdoor Cooking: Clay pots can be used for outdoor cooking over open fires or grills. Their heat retention properties make them suitable for campfire cooking.
2. When not to use clay pots for cooking?
While clay pots can be a wonderful addition to your kitchen, there are certain situations when it’s not advisable to use them for cooking. Here are some scenarios in which you might want to avoid using clay pots:
- High-Temperature Cooking: Clay pots are not well-suited for extremely high-temperature cooking methods such as deep frying or searing at very high heat. Sudden and extreme temperature changes can cause the clay to crack or break.
- Quick Cooking: If you’re preparing dishes that require very fast cooking times, such as stir-fries or dishes that need to be cooked in a matter of minutes, clay pots might not be the best choice. They are better suited for slow and gentle cooking.
- Dishes Requiring Precise Temperature Control: Clay pots have a slower heat response compared to metal pans, making them less suitable for dishes that require precise temperature control, such as delicate sauces or dishes that need to be cooked to specific levels of doneness.
- Acidic or Alkaline Foods: Highly acidic or alkaline foods can react with the clay and affect the flavor of the food. This could also lead to the leaching of minerals from the clay into the food, which might not be desirable.
- Metal Utensils: Using metal utensils to stir or serve food in clay pots can cause scratching and damage to the pot’s surface. It’s better to use wooden or silicone utensils to avoid this.
- Dishwasher Use: Clay pots are not suitable for dishwasher use. The combination of heat, detergent, and mechanical agitation could damage the pot.
- Microwave Cooking: Some clay pots are not microwave-safe, as they can’t handle the rapid and uneven heating that occurs in a microwave.
- Fragility and Maintenance: If you’re looking for cookware that’s low-maintenance and can withstand rough handling, clay pots might not be the best choice. They require careful handling and specific cleaning methods.
- Uniform Cooking Times: If you’re looking for consistent and predictable cooking times, clay pots might not provide that level of precision. Cooking times can vary based on factors such as pot size, thickness, and the specific clay used.
- Busy Weeknight Meals: If you’re short on time and need to prepare meals quickly, clay pots might not be the most convenient option due to their slower cooking process.
3. What are advantages cooking with clay pots?
Cooking with clay pots offers several advantages that can enhance the taste, texture, and overall experience of your culinary creations. Here are some of the key advantages of using clay pots for cooking:
- Natural Flavor Enhancement: Clay pots impart a unique earthy flavor to the food. This flavor infusion can add depth and authenticity to dishes, making them taste more traditional and rustic.
- Even Heat Distribution: Clay pots distribute heat more evenly compared to some other types of cookware. This results in consistent cooking and helps prevent hot spots that can lead to unevenly cooked food.
- Slow and Gentle Cooking: Clay pots are excellent for slow cooking and braising. The gradual and gentle heat they provide allows tough cuts of meat to become tender while preserving the integrity of delicate ingredients.
- Moisture Retention: The porous nature of clay pots allows them to absorb some moisture from the food and release it gradually during cooking. This helps keep the dish moist and prevents it from drying out.
- Healthy Cooking: Clay pots require less oil or fat due to their heat retention properties. This can result in healthier dishes while still achieving delicious flavors.
- One-Pot Meals: Clay pots are well-suited for creating one-pot meals. You can combine various ingredients and flavors in a single pot, allowing them to meld together over slow cooking.
- Retains Nutrients: The slow cooking process in clay pots helps preserve the nutrients and vitamins present in the ingredients, resulting in healthier and more nutritious meals.
- Environmental Friendliness: Clay pots are often made from natural and sustainable materials, making them an environmentally friendly choice for cooking.
- Outdoor Cooking: Clay pots can be used for outdoor cooking over open fires, campfires, or grills, providing a traditional cooking experience in natural settings.
- Versatility: Clay pots can be used for a wide range of dishes, including stews, soups, roasts, curries, bread baking, and more.
- Enhanced Aesthetics: Clay pots can be presented directly on the table, adding a rustic and charming aesthetic to your dining experience.
- Connection to Tradition: Cooking with clay pots can connect you to culinary traditions of various cultures around the world. It’s a way to explore and celebrate different cooking techniques and styles.
4. What are disadvantages cooking with clay pots?
While cooking with clay pots offers several advantages, there are also certain disadvantages and limitations to consider. Here are some of the potential disadvantages of using clay pots for cooking:
- Fragility: Clay pots are more fragile than other types of cookware, such as metal or cast iron. They can crack or break if dropped or mishandled.
- Susceptibility to Cracking: Clay pots are sensitive to rapid temperature changes. Sudden shifts from high heat to low heat or exposure to cold water can cause them to crack.
- Limited High-Temperature Use: Clay pots are not suitable for cooking methods that require very high temperatures, such as deep frying or searing at very high heat. They can’t withstand extreme temperatures without the risk of cracking.
- Longer Cooking Times: While slow cooking is an advantage in many cases, it can also be a disadvantage if you’re looking to prepare dishes quickly. Clay pots generally require longer cooking times compared to other cookware.
- Careful Handling and Maintenance: Clay pots require careful handling to avoid chipping, cracking, or breaking. Additionally, they need specific cleaning methods and should not be washed in a dishwasher.
- Limited Dishwasher Use: Most clay pots are not dishwasher-safe due to their porous nature and fragility. Washing them in a dishwasher could lead to damage.
- Limited Precise Temperature Control: Clay pots don’t offer the same level of precise temperature control as some other cookware materials, like stainless steel or copper. This can make them less suitable for dishes requiring specific temperature adjustments.
- Acidic and Alkaline Foods: Highly acidic or alkaline foods can react with the clay, altering the flavor of the food or causing the pot to deteriorate over time.
- Inconsistent Cooking Times: Due to variations in clay pot thickness, size, and material, cooking times may vary, leading to less predictability in recipe results.
- Flavor Transfer: While the earthy flavor imparted by clay pots can be an advantage, it might not be desirable for all dishes or cuisines. The flavor transfer might not complement certain recipes.
- Limited Compatibility with Modern Stovetops: Some clay pots might not be compatible with modern induction stovetops, as they need direct contact with a flame or heat source.
- Initial Seasoning Required: New clay pots often need to be soaked and seasoned before their first use to prevent cracking. This process can take time and effort.
Considering these disadvantages, it’s important to assess your cooking needs and preferences before deciding to use clay pots. While they can offer unique benefits and enhance the flavor of certain dishes, they might not be the ideal choice for all cooking situations. You can refer clay pots – earthen pot reviews below for more understanding about this cookware.
Top 7 Clay Pots – Earthen Pot Reviews
1. Premium Ceramic Black Casserole Clay Pot with Lid
The first of the clay pot reviews is this Coisound1688 ceramic casserole pot. This pot is oven and dishwasher-safe, with a striking black finish and a natural, twice-fired glaze. Unlike some casserole dishes, this one is suitable for use on the stovetop, in the oven, and in the microwave. I always look for versatility in my kitchen, and this is some of the best clay pot cookware.
I find that the Coisound1688 clay pot is easier to clean and keep than stone pots because of its glazing. I’ve had clay pots with weaker glazes that have cracked easily, but this glaze keeps the pot sturdy. Also, the glaze keeps the pot from absorbing the flavor and moisture from your cooking. This pot seals so well that I can enjoy my leftovers with the same great taste the day after cooking.
Clay pots like this may be the best earthen cookware for cooking rice and stews. Korean bibimbap tastes fantastic in this pot. The lid keeps steam in from the rice while the flavors blend to create a fragrant dish you’ll never forget.
However, one drawback of this specific casserole pot is its size. There is only one size option for this pot, so larger families might prefer another entry on our list for their needs. However, individuals and couples cooking together will love this earthenware pot.
|Product Care Instructions||Oven Safe, Dishwasher Safe|
|Is Dishwasher Safe||Yes|
|Product Dimensions||7.67″D x 9″W x 3.4″H|
|Package Dimensions||8.7 x 8.46 x 5.79 inches|
|Item Weight||3.65 pounds|
2. Eurita Clay Roaster Non-Stick Dutch Oven
The next clay pot is a Reston Lloyd piece in a unique terracotta color. This pot differs from all the others on our list because of its shape. Rather than being circular, this Dutch oven has a rectangular shape with rounded corners, lending it some aesthetic appeal. Furthermore, it’s oven safe up to 500°F and microwave safe too. Its 4-quart capacity means it’s perfect for a Sunday chicken roast.
One thing I love about this pot is that it comes with a free recipe guide that has more than 50 recipes. The recipe guide is a great feature for anyone who hasn’t used the best earthen cookware before. Trying out the recipes is also fun to explore the Dutch oven’s capabilities. The roast pork with sauerkraut recipe is a favorite for me.
This is one of the best clay pots for baking bread. You can use it to leave the dough to prove, and you can even fit two loaves side by side in the 4-quart model. Your bread stays moist and springy in the non-stick pot base. Cleverly, the lid is unglazed and porous, allowing it to retain moisture and keep your meat and bread from drying out.
Some users have raised concerns that the casserole pot could crack or break. When you own any type of clay cookware like this, properly treating it and maintaining it prevents damage like this from occurring and keeps your meals fragrant and juicy.
|Product Dimensions||10.5″D x 14.4″W x 7″H|
|Item Weight||8 Pounds|
|Country of Origin||Portugal|
|Maximum temperature||500 Degrees Fahrenheit|
|Care instructions||Microwave Safe, Hand Wash|
|Included Components||Included components: one lid, one base & Free Recipe Guide|
3. Neoflam Kiesel Non-Stick Ceramic Casserole Pot
An immediate positive of the Neoflam casserole pot is its versatile sizing. The smallest version has a 1-quart capacity, while the medium sits at 1.5 quarts, and the large model is a 2-quart pot. All Neoflam sizes are smaller than many other clay casserole pots, but choosing the perfect size for your needs is nice.
This design consists of natural, non-toxic materials – even the colored pigments are completely natural. The natural ceramic makes this pot highly resistant to thermal factors. The end result is a versatile pot you can use on gas stoves, induction cooktops, ovens, grills, microwaves, and even hotplates. This is the best clay pot cookware for young adults living in a studio with limited options like hotplates.
This non-stick earthen pot is perfect for making soup and other hot lunches you can take to work. The color combinations and the large lid handle replicating a stone are adorable touches that make this a great decorative piece and a useful piece of cookware.
One con to this specific model is its small handles. Although the handles are small and require a little extra care when moving the pot around, it’s an aesthetically pleasing pot that looks great in anyone’s kitchen.
|Material||Clay, Stoneware, Ceramic|
|Item Weight||3.2 Pounds|
|Product Care Instructions||Oven Safe|
|Is Dishwasher Safe||Yes|
|Product Dimensions||8.26 x 7.4 x 3.54 inches|
|Country of Origin||Korea, Republic of|
4. Ginpo Pottery Chrysanthemum Rice Earthenware Pot
This Ginpo Touki earthenware cooking pot is also on the small side. However, it’s the perfect size for cooking rice for two. It has engraved marks on the inside, so you always know how much water you should put in for the perfect rice. Once steam rises from the pot lid, it’s ready to come off the heat. Cooking perfect rice every time is so easy with this pot.
Its dual lid design creates an inner and outer lid, increasing its heat retention and making it easy to modify for more or less water absorption. This feature makes it one of the best earthenware pots for cooking different rice varieties. It’s quicker to properly steam brown rice with both lids on than cooking it in an open pot on a stovetop.
The beautiful chrysanthemum design on the outer lid keeps this pot unique and beautiful, making it a stunning addition to any kitchen or dorm room. However, there is a downside to the dual lids. It’s easy enough to misplace one of the lids because each component is separate, and if you do lose a lid, the pot is significantly more prone to cracking from heat exposure.
The daintiness of this earthenware pot means it has very subtle handles, which is both a pro and a con. On the one hand, you benefit from being careful when maneuvering around with it. However, on the other hand, it’s easy to pack away in tight spaces which is perfect if you have a small kitchen.
|Item Weight||2 Kilograms (4.4 pounds)|
|Product Dimensions||7.68 x 8.46 x 5.91 inches|
5. Banko Ware 52013 Ginpo Hanamishima Earthenware Pot No.9
This earthenware clay pot has beautiful coloring and engraved pattern detail, making it a stand-out piece of kitchenware for any home. Made in Japan, this piece is perfect for hot pot dishes. It’s also big enough to serve a family in one sitting – a unique feature for this list that makes it one of the best clay pot cookware pieces.
Its size and design help it retain moisture excellently, meaning you can cook meat and stews without worrying about it becoming dry and flavorless. The heavy lid and interior glaze ensure every meal is delightfully juicy.
The downside to having a pot so large is its weight. Its capacity is 10.9fl oz, which can feel heavy when full, especially with dense foods. It also comes with a Japanese instruction manual that doesn’t have translations. However, it’s easy to find translated versions online.
These instructions will easily walk you through the steps of seasoning the pot before use. Pots like this one need seasoning before you use them to seal any pores in the interior and prevent staining or damage.
Overall, this is one of the best clay pots for a family-sized serving of delicious meals like soups, rice, ramen, porridge, or anything else. It’s a beautiful piece of kitchenware that’s easy to keep clean and display proudly.
|Capacity||3200 Cubic Centimeters|
|Product Dimensions||11.02″D x 12.2″W x 6.46″H|
|Item Weight||2720 Grams|
|Item Weight||6 pounds|
6. Ginpo Pottery Chrysanthemum Earthenware Pot
This is another Ginpo Touki chrysanthemum clay pot that has beautiful coloring and design features. This one is a little larger than our previous entry, weighing 1kg. It’s perfect for making rice for one, and it looks fantastic in your kitchen when you’re not using it.
Japanese craftsmanship strikes again with this beautiful piece of earthenware. Ginpo Pottery’s fantastic chrysanthemum series is designed to suit various modern kitchen styles while retaining the traditional techniques that make these clay pots so desirable in the first place.
This is possibly the best clay pot cookware for cooking and eating alone. Not only can you cook on the stovetop, in the oven, and the microwave with it, but you can also eat straight from it comfortably and easily. Elevating your evening meal with beautiful cookware makes every meal more enjoyable.
One con to remember with this pot is that it’s shallow. There are some deeper pots on this list, but this one’s shallow bowl makes it perfect for making small meals like steamed dumplings or rice.
If you’re looking for a cooking pot ideal for one living alone, this piece is perfect for you. Young adults heading to university or moving out alone for the first time would love a hot pot like this one.
|Item Weight||1 Kilograms (2.2 pounds)|
|Product Dimensions||7.28 x 8.27 x 3.94 inches|
|Number of pieces||1|
7. Pearl Metal Donabe Rice Cooker Clay Pot
Finally, this beautiful Pearl Metal donabe – ‘clay pot’ in Japanese. This is probably the best clay pot for beauty. The soft pink blushes accent the pristine white coloring, and pink and white cherry blossoms complete the design for a stunning piece of Japanese pottery. This specific type of donabe is called Kamado-san, meaning it comes from Iga, Japan. Pottery from this area is highly prestigious.
This pot has a double-lid feature that prevents spills and improves heat retention, making it perfect for cooking rice and other broth-based dishes. The capacity for this pot is 1.9 quarts, making it another popular choice for single individuals. If you’re cooking for two, it’s best to use this pot as a rice cooking pot rather than a pot for cooking the main dish.
If you want to cook something nice for yourself though, this pot is excellent for cooking and eating. The beautiful design suits your tabletop as much as your kitchen shelves. Eating is a sacred experience, and it becomes more enjoyable with such an aesthetically pleasing vessel.
A downside to this clay pot is that it’s only suitable for use with direct fire sources like a gas-powered stove top. However, the benefit is that it’s perfectly designed for this usage, with a thick base that resists any burning or damage from the heat and flames.
|Item Weight||1.22 Kilograms (2.68 pounds)|
|Package Dimensions||8.23 x 8.19 x 3.58 inches|
Cooking with clay pots offers a unique and traditional approach to culinary artistry, with both advantages and considerations that must be weighed. These porous vessels have been cherished for generations across various cultures, contributing a distinct earthy flavor and enhancing the overall cooking experience. Their even heat distribution, moisture retention, and slow-cooking properties make them ideal for dishes that require tenderizing and melding of flavors.
Ultimately, the decision to use clay pots for cooking hinges on an appreciation for tradition, a willingness to embrace their unique attributes, and a commitment to their proper care and maintenance. By understanding both the advantages and disadvantages, you can harness the potential of clay pots to create wholesome, flavorful, and unforgettable meals that pay homage to centuries of culinary heritage.