A good lasagna pan is an essential piece of kitchen cookware for lasagna lovers and in this review we will tell you why, what to look for, tips for making your favorite lasagna recipe a success and our top 5 picks for the best lasagna pan.
One of the most beloved of one-pot family meals is a flavorful aromatic pan of lasagna. Luscious layers of meat, rich sauces, creamy cheeses and vegetables hiding between sheets of hearty pasta make this a meal that’s not only fun to eat but also fun to make. While there are plenty of lasagna recipes to satisfy just about any palette, they all have one common denominator — a good lasagna baking pan to pull off a successful stack.
Characteristics of the Best Lasagna Pan
Should you use metal or glass?
It’s pretty easy to grab the first casserole dish or roasting pan from your cabinet when making lasagna but the material of that pan can affect the outcome of your pasta.
While glass pans are generally poor conductors of heat, they do distribute heat more evenly than metal. They will not heat up quickly but will retain heat and stay warmer outside of the oven. Glass roasters are good as bakeware for “wet baking” such as casseroles, including lasagna, to be served directly to the table.
Metal pans are better heat conductors, will heat up foods more quickly and are better than glass if you want foods to brown. Metal pans, however, like non-stick, cast iron and aluminum will also react to foods that are acidic (such as tomato sauce) — at times adding an unwanted metallic flavor to foods or leaving a tinge of color along the edges of the foods that come in contact with the metal surface.
Consider a stainless steel lasagna pan over cast iron or aluminum if choosing a metal pan to capture those crispy edges and better browning. You can also find success with porcelain coated cast iron as well as stoneware.
Go Deep and Long
Whether you use no-boil pasta, dried pasta or fresh pasta, lasagna noodles measure approximately 10-inches in length.
Many standard glass and metal roasting pans are approximately 2-1/2 inches deep. Aim for 3-inches in depth, at least 13-inches in length and 9-inches in width.
This provides plenty of room to layer lasagna noodles across the top without overlapping and at least 3 layers deep with room for sauces and cheeses to adequately cover your pasta.
The more layers you can add, the better the stability of the stack and your presentation.
5 Tips for Making Your Lasagna Recipe the Best
TIP #1 – RAMP UP THE RICOTTA – Many lasagna recipes call for ricotta cheese with an egg or two, seasoned with herbs and grated cheese. Instead of hand mixing these ingredients together, add them all to a food processor and blend them together. This not only rounds out the flavor and the texture of the ricotta, it gives your lasagna an extra creamy, herby layer that is delicious when baked.
TIP #2 – RETHINK GROUND BEEF – Ground beef when cooked in a sauce has little texture and less flavor. Consider replacing your ground beef or partnering it with a pork or Italian sausage. While fattier than ground beef, sausage has a better texture, is loaded with flavor (especially when browned first) and is easily customizable to your heat level. Both spicy and sweet sausages make for heartier, richer sauces.
TIP #3 – PASTA MAKES A DIFFERENCE – The type and thickness of the lasagna pasta makes a difference in its taste. Dry pasta is thicker than the “No-Boil” and fresh varieties requiring the added time for the pasta to be water boiled first before assembly. Fresh pasta tends not to be as firm as the dry and “No-Boil” and can be a little on the soggy side when ladled with sauce. Surprisingly, No-Boil lasagna noodles are firm without being too thick, absorb sauces without becoming soggy and are very flavorful plus, no water to boil reducing your assembly time.
TIP #4 – BEWARE OF WATER RICH VEGETABLES – While not all lasagna recipes call for vegetables, many do. Adding spinach, zucchini, green peppers, mushrooms and chunky tomatoes to name few, are loaded with water that release into your sauce when baked. A soggy lasagna can cause your layers to slide thereby impacting your presentation. Saute veggies and drain before adding them to the sauce or squeeze out any excess liquid, as with spinach. Adding a pinch of salt to green veggies before combining with sauce adds a pop to their color.
TIP #5 – WITH MOZZARELLA, FRESH IS BEST – That gooey melted cheese, holding the lasagna together, tastes best when it has a fresh dairy flavor. Grated mozzarella is almost a must for any lasagna and the packaged, shredded part-skin variety just does not have the same flavor OR TEXTURE as grated FRESH mozzarella. A fresh mozzarella ball is easy to grate using the course side of a box grater and still gives you those melted strands but with the full rich dairy flavor.
Our 5 Top Performing Deep Dish Lasagna Pans
Here, in our opinion, are 5 top performing, large lasagna pans that give you plenty of room for layers, sauces, cheese and pasta — all in different price ranges and materials. These are offered in no particular order.
#1 – ExcelSteel 4-Piece Stainless Steel Lasagna Roaster
Made from stainless steel and with collapsible handles this lasagna baking pan comes with a lid and measures a generous 13-5/8″ long by 9-3/4 wide by 3-3/4″ deep.
This large lasagna pan is sold as a 4-piece set and comes with the roaster pan, a plastic lid for storing, a 12×9-inch roasting rack and a stainless spatula.
All pieces are dishwasher safe and the deep dish and rack are oven safe to 450 degrees. The plastic lid is not for oven use.
Because this is value priced, this pan is made from lower gauge stainless steel and is not as heavy as higher gauge stainless competitors. This set has been made outside the US and is imported from China.
#2 – Cuisinart 7117-16UR Stainless Steel Deep Lasagna Roaster
This Cuisinart 7117-16UR large lasagna pan is big enough for a family feast whether making lasagna, a fork tender pot roast or a golden brown stuffed turkey.
The riveted stainless steel handles make placing this large lasagna pan into the oven, and lifting it out, safe and hassle free. Inside measurements are approximately 12 inches wide × 16 inches long × 3.5″ deep — with the handles, the lasagna pan size overall is 13.25 inches x 6.25 inches x 20.75 inches.
Made from professional grade stainless steel, it comes with a solid stainless steel rack for roasting, drip-free pouring with the handles, dishwasher safe cleanup and a lifetime warranty from Cuisinart.
#3 – Arcuisine Borosilicate Glass Lasagna Rectangular Roaster
Most glass kitchen bakeware, from familiar names like Pyrex and Anchor Hocking, used this special glass material for years in their products until switching to the less expensive soda lime glass.
The benefit of Borosilicate glass is that it has a higher resistance to thermal changes than its less expensive counterpart.
What this means in a lasgana pan is Borosilicate glass, going from refrigerator or freezer to oven, is less likely to crack as it adjusts to temperature. Soda Lime glass bakeware, while tempered today with additives making it stronger, is still susceptible to cracking in extreme temperature changes.
This Arcuisine lasagna bakeware option measures 15.8 x 9.6 x 3.8 inches. It is made in France and comes with a manufacturer’s 5-year warranty against any defects in materials or workmanship.
#4 – Le Creuset Stoneware Covered Lasagna Baking Dish
While probably the highest priced of the bakeware reviewed here (about $100.00), Le Creuset products last for generations are heavier in weight than most competitors and are beautifully glazed.
Using stoneware in lasagna baking provides a pan that maintains temperatures like glass, resists scratching, provides great thermal resistance to temperature changes from freezer to oven and blocks the moisture absorption that can lead to cracking, crazing and rippling in other bakeware materials.
This rectangular baking pan comes with a lid and in decorative colors to coordinate with other cookware while providing an attractive presentation at serving time.
It measures 11 1/2-inches x 7 3/4-inches x 2 3/4-inches, is dishwasher safe and comes with the Stoneware Products Limited 5-year Warranty – Le Creuset ® of America, Inc.
#5 – Emile Henry Deep Dish Ceramic Lasagna Pan
Much like the Le Creuset lasagna pan above this ceramic baking dish will provide the benefits of even heating (to 520 degrees F), resistance to thermal stresses from heat change, scratch and stain resistance as well as a 3″ deep dish size for lots of cheesy, rich lasagna layers.
This French ceramic baking dish measures 13.75″ long by 10″ wide by 2.75″ deep.
With a saucy red color exterior and interior, this attractive deep dish baking pan is dishwasher and microwave safe, and sells for under $80.00.
It also comes with an unprecented 10 year manufacturer’s warranty and is available in other attractive colors.
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