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Finding the Best Moroccan Tagine Pot for You

Finding the Best Moroccan Tagine Pot for You

What is a Tagine Pot?

You may notice that I am making it a point to specify tagine pot and not just refer to this as a tagine. There is a simple reason for this. The word tagine has two meanings. A tagine refers to the food cooked inside the pot as well as the pot that is used to cook.

Traditionally tagine pots are made out of clay. They can be glazed or unglazed, the finish just depends on what the cook likes better. In Morocco you’ll also see lightweight aluminum tagines. Outside of Morocco there are more companies are making pots out of other materials like cast iron or even steel.

Tagines come in a variety of sizes. There are small cooking tagines that serve 1 or 2 people, medium for a small family and large tagines for 6+ people. If size is a factor the smaller tagines are good but a medium sized tagine pot is a good investment for long-term use.

Choosing the right Moroccan Tagine for you

Choosing the best tagine for cooking has a few factors to consider;

  • what will you be cooking?
  • how much experience do you have using a tagine?
  • how often will you be using your tagine?
  • how much money do you want to spend on your tagine cookware?

Cooking in a tagine requires a little bit of experimenting until you understand how yours works. An unglazed clay tagine will cook a lot differently than a cast iron enameled tagine. For beginners who don’t want to spend a lot of time fussing with traditional clay tagines, it makes sense to opt for the glazed versions. These tend to be more expensive however you can use them to cook many different things with or without the lid.

Those who want a more traditional tagine should look for an unglazed clay tagine. These are very easy to purchase in Morocco and make a great item to pick up if you’re visiting and want to bring something home. They also can be purchased abroad which is a good choice if you don’t want to carry the extra weight.

Where Can I Buy a Tagine Pot?

If you would have asked this question even a few years ago your options would have been very limited. But, thankfully Moroccan food is really making waves in the food scene. Today it’s a lot easier to buy tagines!

As mentioned above, if you’re visiting Morocco this is the best place to buy a traditional tagine. You will see two different types of pots. One is painted on the exterior, and one is plain. You can not cook in the decorated tagines.

Choosing a Tagine Pot for Cooking

When you are shopping you should make sure to double check if the pot is able to be put on the stovetop and/or into the oven – this is especially the case when purchasing clay tagines.

If you are buying a tagine in Morocco you’ll also want to be aware that some do contain small levels of lead. The makers of the tagines are becoming aware of this and doing more and more to make sure that their tagines are safe however at the end of the day money becomes a factor. If you’re unsure you can purchase an at home lead test.  You could even bring them along and check before you buy. https://amzn.to/2M8CleX

Best Tagine Comparison Guide

As wonderful as it is that there are now so many tagines on the market, it can be really hard to determine which one is the right one for you. I have chosen some of the top tagines to compare in this post so that you can make the right choice for you.

Large Lead-Free Cooking Tagine Unglazed

Description: This is an unglazed tagine imported from Morocco. It is lead free and 12″ wide.

Best for: Intermediate to Advanced

Safe to Use In: Oven or Stovetop at LOW temperatures

Price Range: under $75

Weight: 6 pounds

Extra Large Glazed Tagine

Description: This is a glazed tagine that is lead free and food safe to both cook and serve in. If cooking on gas or electric stoves it is best to use with a diffuser.

Best for: Beginner to Intermediate Cooks

Safe to Use In: Stovetop at low heat and up to 350F in the oven

Price Range: under $100

Weight: 15 pounds – 13.3″ diameter

Simple Small Tagine

Description: This is a small, glazed tagine imported from Morocco. It measures 8″ wide and is good for 1-2 people.

Best for: Beginner to Intermediate Cooks

Safe to Use In: Oven or Stovetop

Price Range: under $30

Weight: 6 pounds

Kamsah Hand Made and Painted Tagine

Description: This is a hand painted, clay tagine. It should be noted that typically tagines that are painted should not be cooked in. It has a much deeper bottom than most Moroccan tagines. The makers of this tagine do state that it can be used to cook directly in.

Best For: Intermediate to Advanced Cooks

Safe to Use In: Stovetop / Serving

Price Range: under $100

Weight: 6 lbs

Emile Henry Tagine

Description: These tagines are made in France and have a 10 year warranty from the manufacturer. They are made from terra cotta and made to be lighter than many other tagines.

Best for: Beginner to Advanced Cooks

Safe to Use In: Oven or Stovetop or BBQ Grill

Price Range: under $150 (some under $100!) 

Weight: 8.2 pounds

Le Creuset Moroccan Tagine

Description: Made with an enamel interior, cast iron base and stoneware lid this tagine combines the traditional cooking methods of the tagine with the properties Le Creuset cookware is known for. It also has a lifetime warranty for anyone who is cautious about purchasing a tagine in fear of it cracking.

Best for: Beginner to Advanced Cooks

Safe to Use In: Oven or Stovetop

Price Range: under $250

Weight: 7.2 pounds

This tagine has a higher price point however the lifetime warranty means you won’t need to purchase another one ever!

Uno Casa Cast Iron and Ceramic Tagine

Tagine Pot

Description: This 3.65qt tagine has an enameled cast iron base and ceramic lid and is a fire red. It’s a sturdy piece that won’t oxide or rust giving you the best of both worlds. The bottom of this tagine is quite high giving you plenty of space for filling up with meat and vegetables. This tagine also comes with a double oven mitt so you can take your tagine from stovetop to table with ease.

Best for: any level cook but especially beginners

Safe to Use In: Can be used up to 500F on gas, electric, and ceramic stovetops or in the oven.

Price Range: under $65

Weight: 11.5 lbs

MarocMama Reader Bonus! UnoCasa is giving you 10% off their tagines! Click the current prices below and the updated price will be given at checkout.

Cast Iron Bruntmor Tagine

Description: This 4qt tagine is an enameled cast iron piece that is available in 5 different colors (blue, red, green, purple and yellow). Both the top and the bottom are cast iron so it is incredibly sturdy. The bottom of the pot is just cast iron while the top cone part is enameled. One point to consider is that while it claims to be 4qt tagine people have mentioned that it is actually closer to 3qts.

Best for: any level cook but especially beginners

Safe to Use In: Anywhere! This is a great all purpose tagine it can go into 500F ovens, on stovetops, on a grill – really anywhere.

Price Range: under $75

Weight: 11.2 lbs

Clay Coyote Tagine

Description: An all-purpose tagine made from culinary grade ceramic. Material is safe for oven, stovetop, microwave and dishwasher. Each tagine is handmade in the USA. 

Best for: Beginner to Advanced Cooks

Safe to Use In: Oven and stovetop. Can also be used in microwave .

Price Range: under $200

Weight: 11 pounds

Kook Cast Iron and Ceramic Tagine

Description: This tagine is made from two different materials; the bottom is cast iron while the top is ceramic. It can be used in the stove or on the stovetop and thanks to the durable base it won’t crack like a clay tagine might. This size is a 2.5qt tagine that will serve 2 people.

Best for: Any ability cook

Safe to Use In: Oven or Stovetop

Price Range: Under $75

Weight: 9.5 pounds

Cooks Standard Steel Tagine

Description: This tagine model comes both with and without handles but the handled version is a great option for more stability. Materials are stainless steel with an aluminum core that makes cooking time faster. Includes a tempered glass lid and is dishwasher safe for easy cleanup.

Best for: Beginner to Intermediate Cooks

Safe to Use In: Induction compatible; Works on gas, electric, glass, ceramic, halogen heat as well as oven safe up to 500F.

Price Range: under $150

Weight: 10 pounds

NameLess
$
Best ForUse WeightLink
Large Unglazed $75Intermediate
Advanced
Oven
Stove
6 lbsBuy
Large Glazed $100Beginner IntermediateOven
Stove
15 lbsBuy
Small Tagine$30BeginnerOven
Stove
6 lbsBuy
Emile Henry$150AnyAny8.2 lbsBuy
Le Creuset$250AnyAny7.2 lbsBuy
Clay Coyote $200Intermediate
Advanced
Oven
Stove
11 lbsBuy
Cooks Standard Steel $150Beginner
Intermediate
Any10 lbsBuy
Kook Cast Iron and Ceramic$75BeginnerAny9.5 lbsBuy
Kamsah Hand Made and Painted$100AnyServing6lbsBuy
Cast Iron Bruntmor $75BeginnersAny11.2 lbsBuy
Uno Casa Tagine$65BeginnersAny11.5 lbsBuy

One final opinion. Many people have asked me which tagine I would buy. I’m lucky to have a zillion traditional style tagines out my door (literally there’s someone across the street that sells them). I’ve used traditional tagines for years.

But, if I were buying one new and didn’t live here, I’d choose the Le Creuset every time. It’s a sturdy, versatile tagine that you’ll be able to use for years and they have amazing customer service if something ever did go wrong.

How to Use a Tagine

If this is the first tagine you will be buying then you may need a few pointers on how to make the best use of it. When getting started it will depend on the tagine you choose.

For clay tagines you should always season/prime it to begin with. This may sound like an arduous process but if you want to keep your tagine from cracking it is very important. Not only does it strengthen the clay from cracking but can help remove some of the clay taste that comes naturally.

  1. Soak the lid and the base of the tagine in water for a minimum of 2 hours.
  2.  Drain the water and air dry the tagine. For an unglazed tagine, rub the entire vessel (interior and exterior) of the lid and base with olive oil.
  3. Put the pieces into a cold oven and turn the heat to 150C/300F for 2 hours.
  4. Turn off the oven, and leave the tagine to cool.
  5. Wash the cooled tagine by hand, and coat the interior again with olive oil before storing or using.

Why is this important?  

Clay and ceramic tagines will crack when put on high heat. They also can easily crack if put on any heat with nothing in the vessel so you should always take care to never do this. You should always use the lowest burner setting on a stove top and the oven unless you have chosen a tagine that specifically states it has a higher temperature point.

Heat Diffusers for Tagine Pots

A good way to protect your terra cotta tagine is to use a heat diffuser. This is a really inexpensive, simple instrument that you can purchase. To use you just put the diffuser between the stovetop heat source and your tagine.

Really, that’s it! I’ve found that for those who are afraid of cracking their tagine this is an easy way to ease into using them. You still need to keep the temperature low but it does add an extra layer of protection.

Pick up a heat diffuser for your tagines

Tagine Cookbooks

Once you’ve gotten your tagine and prepared it, it’s time to start cooking! There are countless tagine recipes out there so where should you start? You can browse my site for several different recipes. There are also a few cookbooks that I really love and think you will too.

Get my list of Moroccan cookbooks I love here.

Once you start cooking with a tagine you will discover how easy it really is. I highly recommend investing in a piece that you can have for several years. Even though it may seem like another piece of cookware it has so many uses!

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