Last updated: 05/17/2020

How we pick our products

15Products analyzed

27Hours invested

4Studies researched

166Comments collected

We are often running out of time. Because of that, the hours and minutes we dedicate to our routine tasks are reduced continuously – in the kitchen, for instance. However, many of us still enjoy simmering delicious meals on our stoves, and the clay pot remains a chefs’ favorite to do so.

While this isn’t the best option for preparing a quick and easy dish, it is perfect for those who like to stew their dinner slowly. In addition, clay pots intensify flavors and add a distinctive touch to every meal. We have cooked up the following shopping guide to help you choose the most suitable model for your kitchen.

Key Facts

  • Clay pots are an excellent option for cooking traditional recipes. The flavor and aroma they confer are hard to get with other methods of cooking.
  • Don’t forget to analyze thoroughly the model you want to buy since its characteristics will determine how you can use it. Think about your needs and see if the clay pot meets them.
  • It is essential to verify that no leaded glazes have been used in their manufacture, while its capacity is naturally a key factor. In addition, your clay pot should be easy to clean and suitable for your type of stove. These are some of the most essential criteria to keep in mind.

Our Selection: The Best Clay Pots on the U.S. Market

We wanted to start off this guide with our very own selection of some of the best clay pots currently available on the market. That way, you have a better idea of what’s out there for you, and you may even discover some features that will interest you. Keep them all in mind when the time comes to get a new clay pot for your home.

Best Clay Pot for Roasts

This handcrafted clay pot by Romertopf will help you get that Thanksgiving roast just right – every time. With a capacity of 4.2 quarts that can hold up to 11 pounds, you can cook for up to 6 dinner guests in this classic baker. It is easy to clean and is both dishwasher and microwave safe. Note that this clay pot is specifically designed for oven use and cannot be placed on a stove.

Clay Pot with the Best Design

Made from glaze-fired fine clay, this Korean bowl called dolsot is as elegant as it is useful in the kitchen. Whether you want to cook up a delicious bibimbap for your guests or prepare soups for the winter, this lead-free clay pot will do the trick. It is dishwasher safe and will work equally well in your oven or your microwave, and naturally on your stovetop. Thermal-resistant to over 900°F, it has a capacity of 44 fl. oz.

Best Clay Pot for Mexican Dishes

Many of us love Mexican cuisine, but it’s not always easy to prepare it for all our guests. La Mexicana’s olla de barro is exactly what you need for this. Its 6-quart capacity will have you cooking up chili con carne and mole sauces for the whole family. Whether you want to use it on open fire or your electric stovetop, this large clay pot will become one of your favorite cookware in no time.

Best Clay Pot for North African Specialties

Our last product is this beautiful handmade tagine clay dish by Treasures of Morocco. Its peculiar design is specific to North Africa, where they use it to prepare shared meals such as couscous and tagine. This lead-free model is compatible with oven and stovetop cooking. Not only will it allow you to explore new cuisine, but it is also a beautiful decoration item to have at home!

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Clay Pots

We hope that you found our selection of the best clay pots on the market useful to understand better what to expect from this kitchenware. You may even have found the model that you want to purchase to start stewing away in your home. That being said, there are still many aspects of clay pots that you need to know, which is why we have answered the most frequently asked questions regarding this earthenware in the section below.

Despite being one of the oldest cooking methods on the planet, clay pots still offer fantastic results.
(Source: Olena Yakobchuk: 48201615/ 123rf.com)

What is a clay pot exactly?

This container is a spherical-shaped ceramic jar that is fired in special ovens that reach temperatures above 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. Despite being one of the oldest cooking methods on the planet, they still provide fantastic results. Slow cooking allows you to enhance the aromas and flavors of any food you cook.

Why should I cook in a clay pot?

Before you purchase your own clay pot, it is important that you understand the variety of benefits that this will offer. This is why we want to show you exactly why you should cook in these pots. In the following table, you can read more about the different features and characteristics that will revolutionize your time in the kitchen:

Characteristics Explanation
Versatility Many don’t know that clay pots are suitable for almost all types of stoves. You can even put them in the oven or the microwave.
Enhanced flavor Clay pots allow you to get an exceptional flavor for all your dishes. The charm of traditional cuisine is about to return to your table.
Easy to clean Another fear you may have is that your pot is difficult to clean. However, these products are nonstick, and many are even dishwasher safe.
Perfect cooking Another great advantage of pots is that their porosity is perfect. This makes it easier for excess steam to escape so that the food maintains the right humidity.
Even cooking Clay pots heat up completely, allowing for an even cooking of any food.
Heat-retaining Your clay pot can hold the heat for quite some time after you finish cooking.
Dry cooking you can prepare all kinds of dishes that require dry cooking or very little water in these types of pots. They are perfect for oven-cooked dishes.
Slow cooking Clay pots are ideal for slow cooking and stews for which you want to enhance the flavors and discover new aroma nuances.

How should I season my clay pot?

Just like other similar kitchenware, a clay pot needs to be seasoned before you can use it for the first time. This is essential to avoid damaging it and increase its durability. Remember that a new clay pot’s pores are too open, which can cause it to crack when you put it on the stove. This is why you should follow the seasoning method below:

  • Water. The first step is to place the clay pot into a water-filled container. This allows the pores to close. Leave the pot sitting for about eight hours. Remember that the water should cover the whole pot, both inside and outside, as well as the lid.
  • Bubbles. You can know that the process is working when small bubbles form on the surface of the pot, which means that the pores are closing.
  • Drying. Once the time is up, take the clay pot out of the water and carefully dry it with a cloth or paper towel.
  • Garlic. When it is dry, rub the outer base of the clay pot with a clove of garlic.
  • Complete drying. The pot will retain some moisture inside even after you dry it. Let it dry on its own before using it, so avoid storing it in a closet immediately.

Clay pots can work with almost any type of stove.
(Source: Наталья-Ерофеева: 52461378/ 123rf.com)

How should I care for my clay pot?

Keeping your clay pot in the best possible condition is primordial, which is why you should take several precautions. Otherwise, this earthenware will deteriorate quickly. In the list below, however, we will tell you everything you need to know to make sure that your new clay pot lasts:

  • Keep in mind that your clay pot retains heat very efficiently. For this reason, you will need to take it off the stove before your food is completely cooked to prevent it from burning. The residual heat will perfectly finish the job.
  • Never put an empty clay pot on a stove. Avoid putting extremely cold food, too, as either could crack your utensil.
  • Don’t heat your clay pot suddenly to prevent damage.
  • Avoid cleaning the pot while it is hot, as it could harm it.
  • Don’t forget that the clay perfectly preserves flavors and aromas. This is why we encourage you to have more than one pot if you often use it to prepare foods with robust flavors. You can have one for meat and one for fish, for example.
Lao TzuChinese Philosopher & Writer

“We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want.”

How do I clean my clay pot?

Having clean utensils in the kitchen is essential, so you’re sure to be interested in knowing exactly how to wash your clay pot. If you don’t clean it right after use, we recommend that you leave it soaking. Dishwasher safe models will also make your life much more comfortable. Otherwise, use a mild scrubber and your regular dish detergent to scrub until the pot is clean.

Rinse thoroughly. If you have some particularly sticky food, we recommend that you fill the pot almost completely with water and add a few drops of detergent. Put it on the stove and let it boil carefully for a few minutes before removing it and emptying the water. Wash the pot again with a mild scrubber and detergent, and it should be clean as a whistle.

How should I store my clay pot?

As we have discussed before, it is imperative that you take good care of your clay pot. While it is true that this material is fairly resistant, it is also quite delicate. In addition to cleaning it thoroughly and drying it with a cloth, you should also wait a few hours before storing it. If you can, let it dry in the direct sun.

Afterward, store your clay pot in a humidity-free cupboard. Place the lid upside down on the pot with a cloth in-between to prevent molding. Try to keep it out of the reach of children, as it is a heavy material but will certainly break it if falls to the ground.

Clay pots can hold the heat for quite some time after you finish cooking.
(Source: Liu Chen Chia: 20780913/ 123rf.com)

What are the advantages of clay pots?

You have already discovered a number of clay pot features by now, and you know how to take care of them. While this isn’t too complicated, knowing these details will also help you decide whether a clay pot is indeed right for you. In any case, there are still various purchasing criteria that you should be familiar with. But first, let’s look at the main benefits and drawbacks of these kitchen utensils:

Advantages
  • They offer a special way of cooking
  • They are ideal for preparing specific dishes
  • You can find affordable models
Disadvantages
  • They take up a lot of space
  • They are not suitable for induction cookers

Buyer’s Guide

We are now nearing the end of our shopping guide, and you should almost be ready to buy your very own clay pot. That being said, we can’t leave you without having one last look at the most essential purchasing criteria. If you keep them in mind as you browse through products, they will help you choose the right clay pot for your kitchen. Otherwise, you might regret it in the long run!

Lead-Free Glaze

You may not use your clay pot every day, but you still want a product that won’t be harmful to your health. In that regard, the most important thing is that the model you purchase uses lead-free glaze, as this metal can be dangerous. Buying a clay pot in stores can be difficult, as they aren’t necessarily labeled. This is why our selection of products will come in handy.

Remember not to heat the pot suddenly to avoid damaging it.
(Source: Bazru: 91312756/ 123rf.com)

Capacity

Here is another key criterion that you will need to evaluate. If you opt for a model that is too big for your needs, it will take longer to cook and will, therefore, lose value for money. If your clay pot is too small, on the other hand, you may not be able to cook for everyone. You may want a different model if you only cook for your family or if you often have guests over. The table below should help you decide on the capacity of your clay pot:

Capacity Guests
2.5 quarts From 1 to 2 guests
3-4 quarts From 2 to 4 guests
5-6.5 quarts 3 to 6 guests
8.5-10 quarts 6 to 8 guests

Cleaning

We have already discussed this aspect, but we want to emphasize the importance of having an easy-to-clean clay pot. In that regard, one aspect that could make all the difference for you is whether it can be put in the dishwasher or not. Your life will be considerably easier if it can. Don’t overlook this criterion, as you may come to regret it otherwise.

Guarantee

We strongly encourage you to choose a clay pot from a manufacturer that offers you the best guarantees possible. The manufacturing process, for instance, should have followed all the safety protocols required. A warranty will cover potential flaws or defects that do not derive from improper use. Opting for a product from a respected brand always confer greater peace of mind, too.

Stove Compatibility

Remember that you cannot use any clay pot on any stove. In that regard, check whether the model you want is compatible with your cooker or not. Note that clay pots cannot work with induction stoves on their own, although you can find metal diffusers that will help you do so.

Summary

There is no doubt that a clay pot is a fantastic option to indulge in traditional cuisine. If you like slow cooking and dishes with intense aromas and flavors, it will be perfect for you. Don’t neglect the seasoning before using your clay pot for the first time. This will prepare it to cook efficiently while increasing its useful life dramatically.

When the time comes to make your purchase, check that it does not contain any material that can harm your health. The capacity of the pot, as well as its compatibility with your stove and how easily you can clean it, are all important factors to consider. Last but not least, favor well-known manufacturers, as they tend to offer the best value for money.

Did you find our guide on clay pots useful? If so, feel free to share it on your social media. You can also leave us your opinion in the comments section below!

(Source of Featured Image: Bazru: 91117965/ 123rf.com)

Why you can trust me?

Thibault Perinet Freelance Writer & World Traveler
As a literature and translation licensee and avid traveler, language has always been at the heart of my daily life. A freelance writer since 2014, I love to delve into a variety of topics that contribute to my professional and personal development. My favorite things in life? Maté in the morning, soccer with friends, and old school hip hop.