Which CorningWare or Pyrex casserole dish is best?
CorningWare and Pyrex have been staples of many home kitchens for years. They’re sturdy, conduct heat well, cook casseroles evenly and look good enough to use as serving dishes for meals with family or friends. With that said, they’re made from significantly different materials, shaped differently and have different characteristics in terms of durability.
While both CorningWare and Pyrex make great casserole dishes, CorningWare models are generally more versatile and slightly more reliable due to their unique ceramic-glass material. For that reason, although a Pyrex casserole dish is still a good choice, CorningWare is a better option if you’re willing to make a larger investment.
CorningWare casserole dishes
CorningWare baking dishes are made from a specialized glass-ceramic compound called Pyroceram that’s remarkably resistant to damage from chips and thermal expansion. That’s extremely important in the context of baking a casserole because normal, untempered glass would quickly shatter into dangerous shards when heated in an oven. CorningWare also sports an opaque white appearance and does a great job of heating its contents consistently.
CorningWare casserole dish pros
The glass-ceramic material that makes up CorningWare casserole dishes is particularly remarkable because of how versatile it is. Unlike even the strongest tempered-glass dishes, CorningWare cookware can even be used on gas and electric stoves. In real-world tests, it heats as consistently as anything and because you can’t see through it, it hides the often unsightly crispy sides of a well-done casserole.
Because of its durability, CorningWare isn’t just great for baking and braising — it can even be used under a high-heat broiler, unlike most other glass baking dishes. You also don’t have to worry about using it to reheat foods, as its thermal expansion resistance means it’s safe in the microwave.
CorningWare casserole dish cons
It’s still made of a type of glass, so it’s susceptible to cracks and chips if you’re not careful. Plus, its superior durability comes at a price: It costs considerably more than Pyrex and other tempered-glass baking dishes. Also, while the body of a CorningWare baking dish is made from resilient Pyroceram, if it comes with a lid, that’s made from standard tempered glass, so you’ll need to treat it with extra care.
What are the best CorningWare casserole dishes to buy?
CorningWare 4-Quart Casserole Dish
This basic 4-quart baking dish has tall sides and is perfect for holding plenty of delicious casserole and it’s as sturdy as anything else in the CorningWare lineup.
Sold by Amazon
CorningWare Oblong Casserole Dish
While it doesn’t have the highest capacity, it’s longer than most others and, therefore, offers more surface area, which leads to shorter cooking times and more of the tasty brown crust on top that comes from finishing underneath a high-heat broiler.
Sold by Amazon
Complete with five Pyroceram cooking dishes each with matching lids, this set lets you save money on a versatile kit good for a huge range of meals.
Sold by Amazon
Pyrex casserole dishes
Once upon a time, Pyrex baking dishes were made from glass high in a chemical called borosilicate, which added significant resistance to thermal expansion damage. While that’s no longer the case, the tempered soda-lime glass that now makes up Pyrex casserole dishes is still highly durable, as long as you take good care of it and follow a few simple guidelines.
Pyrex casserole dish pros
If you avoid major changes in temperature and let it cool on a dry kitchen towel instead of directly on a cold countertop, the tempered glass that Pyrex is made from should last for years without breaking. Also, most Pyrex casserole dishes have a low profile and large surface area that make for a perfectly browned casserole that’s easy to portion. Pyrex baking dishes are also highly economical, costing less than half of what CorningWare does.
Pyrex casserole dish cons
Tempered glass doesn’t look quite as nice as Pyroceram when the casserole is ready to eat, simply because you can see through it. It’s also notably easier to stain Pyrex’s soda-lime glass, although you will be able to clean off any blemishes with a bit of elbow grease. The main knock against Pyrex, though, is that it’s more susceptible to chips and microscopic cracks, in addition to its generally lower resistance to thermal expansion. It also cannot be used under a broiler or on any type of stove, whether gas or electric.
What are the best Pyrex casserole dishes to buy?
Pyrex Basics Casserole Dish 2-Pack
As simple and affordable as they come, this is a good choice if you’re on a budget and willing to take the minor precautions needed to ensure it lasts a long time.
Sold by Amazon
Pyrex Easy Grab Casserole Dish
The protruding handles on this one make it especially easy to remove from the oven and place on the table for serving. The only drawback is it’s only available in a 2-quart size.
Sold by Amazon
How to care for Pyrex and keep it safe
In recent years there’s been a bit of talk about Pyrex casserole dishes shattering when being removed from the oven or left to cool, and that’s not something to ignore. Ultimately, experts agree that it’s not a big danger as long as you take the right precautions. Part of the reason is that Pyrex is still made from tempered glass, which (in the worst-case scenario) breaks into relatively benign chunks instead of dangerous shards.
Nonetheless, that worst-case scenario is easy to avoid if you keep a few pointers in mind.
- Don’t preheat a Pyrex casserole dish. The tempered-glass material depends on the food it contains in order to dissipate heat and prevent dangerous thermal expansion.
- Avoid placing a Pyrex baking dish directly on an oven rack. Instead, put it on top of a room-temperature baking sheet before putting both in the oven.
- Don’t put a hot Pyrex casserole dish directly on a cool, hard surface. The conductive properties of common countertop materials like stone or stainless steel can draw too much heat from focused areas of the Pyrex, which can lead to disaster.
- Inspect your Pyrex baking dishes for flaws when you buy them and before each use. Manufacturing defects like bubbles, bits of sand or what looks like strings of glass mean a new Pyrex dish should be returned for a refund. Similarly, even small cracks and chips can spell doom once a Pyrex dish gets up to temperature.
- Let all Pyrex baking dishes cool before they touch any water. Cold water on a hot glass baking dish is the easiest way to cause destructive thermal expansion.
Can I put a casserole dish in the dishwasher?
Some casserole dishes claim to be dishwasher-safe. While you might get away with it for years without issue, it’s recommended to clean all glass baking dishes by hand in order to avoid chips or cracks from other dishes and utensils that might get jostled around in the dishwasher.
What if I’m still nervous about baking with Pyroceram or tempered glass?
If you’re not convinced that you’ll be able to pay enough attention and keep a CorningWare or Pyrex baking dish from breaking, there is an alternative. A few manufacturers still make baking dishes from borosilicate glass, which is significantly more durable than tempered soda-lime glass and likely more durable than Pyroceram.
OXO Good Grips 3-Quart Baking Dish
This 3-inch-tall borosilicate glass model is as rugged as they come and the perfect size for a large casserole.
Sold by Amazon
This one’s a little deeper than most alternatives, so it’s ideal for smaller meals. Since it’s relatively tall and comes with a borosilicate glass lid, it’s also a lot more versatile than many other choices.
Sold by Amazon
Should you get a CorningWare or Pyrex casserole dish?
If you’re willing to pay careful attention every time you use it, a Pyrex casserole dish makes a great and affordable addition to any kitchen. If you’re OK with spending more upfront and want something you can also potentially use on the stove or under the broiler, CorningWare ceramic-glass cookware is the perfect premium selection.
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.