What kind of 9x13 oven pan/dish should I get? (EU)
March 16, 2019 12:58 PM   Subscribe

I need a 9x13 size oven pan or dish, but I'd like to buy just one for both dessert baking and casserole style dishes that call for that size. Is that workable? Right now I'm looking at two very different things: this baking tin (pro: inexpensive! it has a lid! con: non-stick finish, will eventually need to be replaced; too thin for casserole type dishes?) and this enameled cast iron baking dish (pro: should be a buy-once item -- done and dusted. cons: can't tell what the depth is -- maybe too high and therefore a problem (idk!) for baked goods? is cast iron not great for things like cakes?)

I'd rather not get glass or porcelain because of the higher likelihood of breaking, but I will, if that's the best solution. The two I've linked above aren't the only choices, just two that seemed like possibly good options.

I don't bake dessert type things often, and don't really have good baseline knowledge or skills in that area; the sorts of things I would do would be fairly simple items (crumbles, snacking cake, lemon bars) very occasionally.

I would be interested to hear what you use and love, especially if it can do double duty!
posted by taz to Food & Drink (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I always default to Pyrex. A little more durable than plain glass or porcelain, and generally inexpensive enough to replace if it lasts 1/3 the time of enamelware. Bravetart concurs.
posted by supercres at 1:24 PM on March 16, 2019 [14 favorites]

I agree that I think pyrex is the best bet for an all in one pan here. The metal baking tin is really only suited for cakes, IMO. The enameled cast iron would be awesome but I think it would only be necessary if you want to be able to sear things in it, and it wouldn't work well at all for desserts. Also, $$$
posted by quaking fajita at 1:32 PM on March 16, 2019 [4 favorites]

Yeah I came in to say Pyrex as well. I've actually never had one break - they are the durable workhorses of the oven and they work equally well for cakes and casseroles. The one box that vanished on this cross country move had all my pyrex casserole dishes in it and I am mourning them and haunting the Goodwill. They disappear really quickly from thrift stores, which I think says a lot about how great they are.
posted by mygothlaundry at 1:36 PM on March 16, 2019 [3 favorites]

Glass recommendation here too. I’m rough with things and clumsy, but I’ve never broken a baking dish. They seem sturdy enough.

Really don’t get the non-stick: the surface won’t last long at all.

My actual recommendation is to get two: Pyrex and cheap not-nonstick metal — I suppose it’s steel? Pyrex for baking and casseroles, and metal for roasting vegetables and meat.
posted by LizardBreath at 1:38 PM on March 16, 2019 [3 favorites]

Stoneware casseroles are a little fancier than Pyrex and cheaper than enameled iron. I'd go for those or Pyrex. Me, I am a huge fan of Pyrex for baking because I can judge the bottom crusts as well as the tops. And they're fine for casseroles, lasagne, etc. Look for handles or sides shaped so you can grab them in oven mitts.

I often find that doing my searing in a stovetop pan is worth the extra dirty dish, because I can control it better, don't have to tip hot fat out of a big searing-hot casserole, etc etc.
posted by clew at 3:01 PM on March 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

Pyrex or ceramic (I prefer ceramic but mine is cheap and came from the grocery store, but I bake everything from casseroles and brownies in it.)
posted by DarlingBri at 4:04 PM on March 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

I've cooked enough to be able to tell you that a thin pan in a kitchen can cook any casserole - but I'd never buy non-stick if my intent was to cook casserole in it. Casserole, cheese, burnt noodles, fat that renders *just right* to be wrong results in the teflon coming off either in the cooking or cleaning process. The second that teflon comes off, that pan will be absolute crap for baking.

On those 2 pans. The first one you showed us is for baking, preferably light baking. The second one you will hate to hoist around, but is for anything but cheese and gluten - despite those things coming out absolutely perfect in. I mean, I can taste the normande, the baked cod... some braised brussel sprouts soaking up that liquid, putting it into a wood fired oven, and finishing the whole thing with a hefty amount of cheese on the top before the trip under the broiler... And then I can hear the *hours* of cursing to scrub that pan clean - because no pan comes clean easily from that. And I can see the day 3 years into the ownership of the pan... where you reluctantly look at the pan and want to cook something, yet simultaneously no longer want to relive the nightmare scrub-fest that took scrubbing for two days and soaking for 2 nights, and still leaves that small bit of charred cheese around the handle that you've never been able to scrub free, and the light scratch marks from the utensils used to try to break some of that burned in goodness free... Are you going to make it? Or are you going to hero worship that heavier than hell pan?

Pyrex to start, you can always oil and flour / cocoa the inside for brownies, and the casserole the snot out of it with absolutely no guilt. When it breaks, or a different pyrex breaks, you can replace it guilt free.
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:11 PM on March 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

I really like W M Bartleet & Sons mine has held up for 10 years so far.
posted by Lanark at 4:19 PM on March 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

Kitchen klutz here too but I have decades old clear glass ones with plastic fitted lids like the Wilton and can't stress enough how useful they are - as soon the contents/leftovers are cool enough, the lid can go on for refrigeration/freezing/transporting. I hesitate to buy any cooking dish without a fitted lid these days.

I've also made brownies, lemon traybakes, etc. in them very successfully (just line generously with baking paper and you can pull the cake out and transfer to a cooling rack). Cakes or fudge brownies that need cooking in a bain marie are especially good in glass pyrex style dishes too.
posted by humph at 5:05 PM on March 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

I have two different sizes of this Emile Henry and I love them. They are sturdy and have some heft to them, but not as much as your second option. There is a 10 year manufacturing guarantee as well. Another version.

My gratins and lasagnas have come out markedly better than the craptastic cheapie aluminum ones I had before. Brownies, coffee cakes, lemon bars and crumbles would also be good in these, but an American style cake recipe I usually do in anodized aluminium, in a brand analogous to the Wilton in your first link.
posted by romakimmy at 7:45 PM on March 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

Pyrex is unbreakable, but I think my Falcon Enamelware is cuter. (You don't have to buy a whole set, and my daughter who gave it to me for Christmas found it cheaper on Amazon).
There is an equivalent German brand, Riess, with very pretty stuff.
Enamelware is relatively cheap, light, easy to clean and very durable. It can go in the dishwasher.

As everyone says, avoid the teflon. If something burns I learnt here on metafilter that overnight soaking is the way to go.
posted by mumimor at 7:55 AM on March 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

I would be careful with Pyrex. See this Gizmodo article about the long-standing problem of exploding Pyrex pans. This has actually happened to me twice in the last eight years, and I won't use Pyrex anymore. (Actually, "exploding" might be an overstatement. "Catastrophically shattering" is more accurate).
posted by alex1965 at 10:31 AM on March 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

Glassmaking student here.

Pyrex is no longer made of borosilicate glass. Borosilicate glass withstands a lot of thermal shock without breaking. But it's expensive.

Nowadays Pyrex is made of cheaper soda-lime glass, which does not withstand thermal shock very well. This is the kind of glass my school uses for glassmaking. When we finish working with the hot glass, we cut the class off of the metal rod we handle it with by dropping some cold water on the part that we want to break off...and it breaks off easily. This is what will happen to your Pyrex if you subject it to any thermal shock, or a too-swift transition from a hot state to a cold one. Soda-lime glass can also shatter for no apparent reason at all.
posted by all the light we cannot see at 11:15 AM on March 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

Just want to put in a vote to get something with a lid. Personally I love my Pyrex with a lid, but I understand if you don't want to try glass. The lid just comes in handy many times. (It's way sturdier than if you just cover the pan with plastic or foil.)
posted by hydra77 at 11:17 AM on March 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

Pyrex is no longer made of borosilicate glass.

Thats only true in the USA

pyrex (lower case) = soda-lime glass (USA market)
PRYEX (upper case) = borosilicate glass (UK/Europe)

The european stuff costs about 50% more
posted by Lanark at 11:35 AM on March 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

Thank you everyone; PYREX takes the day! I ordered this Pyrex Borosilicate Glass Rectangular Roaster with Easy Grip Handles, 35x23cm , which, luckily, I was able to find locally, and on sale, so it was a little over 17 EUR, including delivery. I really wanted to find one with a lid, but all the ones I could find were not the right size.

I'm very glad I asked; you guys really helped me a lot with all this info!
posted by taz at 12:19 PM on March 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

Further update: Received, and made a shepherd's pie in it the same day. I like it, it's easy to work with (good handles for gripping), easy to clean, and it worked great for that first casserole-style dish, of course, but the bottom inside measures 12 inches in length, while the top inside measures 13 inches ... which is something I was worried about. Online ordering often doesn't give you all the specifications you want/need. We'll see how it works without straight sides for a lemon bar type thing next up on my want-to-make list.

BUT, the main reason I'm updating is to say that US (especially) people should definitely read alex1965's link about "exploding Pyrex pans." (Mefi thread on this here.) Eek! I wasn't thinking so much about that sort of scenario, but more about dropping onto the hard floor between oven and counter / stovetop), but this is important info for US buyers. Mine is borosilicate glass so probably won't spontaneously attack me. ఠ_ఠ
posted by taz at 6:38 AM on March 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

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