A casserole (French: diminutive of casse, from Provençal cassa 'pan'[1]) is a large, deep pan used for oven cooking, as well as the category of foods cooked in it. (To distinguish between the two, the cookware itself can be called a "casserole dish" or "casserole pan".) The same pan is often used both for cooking and serving.

Macaroni casserole with cheese topping
CourseMain course
Place of originGlobal
Serving temperatureHot
Main ingredientsChopped vegetables, starchy binder
VariationsVegetable, chicken, cheese, beef, fish, seafood, mutton, etc
Vegetable casserole


Baked ziti is another popular pasta and ground meat-based casserole
An ad hoc American casserole with ground beef, onions, peppers, mushrooms, herbs, spices, and bread

Baked dishes have existed for thousands of years. Early casserole recipes consisted of rice that was pounded, pressed, and filled with a savoury mixture of meats such as chicken or sweetmeats. Some time around the 1870s this sense of casserole seems to have taken its current sense.[2] Cooking in earthenware containers has always been common in most cultures, but the idea of casserole cooking as a one-dish meal became popular in the United States in the twentieth century, especially in the 1950s when new forms of lightweight metal and glass cookware appeared on the market. By the 1970s casseroles took on a less-than sophisticated image.[3]

American-style casseroleEdit

In the United States, a casserole is typically a baked food with three main components: pieces of meat (such as chicken or ground meat) or fish (such as tuna), various chopped vegetables, and a starchy binder (such as flour, potato or pasta); sometimes, there is also a crunchy or cheesy topping.[4] [5] Liquids are released from the meat and vegetables during cooking, and further liquid in the form of stock, wine, beer, gin, cider, vegetable juice, or even water may be added when the dish is assembled. Casseroles are usually cooked slowly in the oven, often uncovered. They may be served as a main course or side dish, and, conveniently, may be served in the vessel in which they were cooked.

Other cuisinesEdit

Many baked dishes served in the baking dish can be classed as casseroles. Examples include: Lancashire hotpot (English), cassoulet (French), moussaka (Greek), shepherd's pie (UK), timballo (Italian).

In English-speaking Commonwealth countries like the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand, the term casserole is often used to refer to any dish prepared in a casserole-style pan or covered vessel like a Dutch oven. In the UK, the terms casserole and stew tend to be used interchangeably, although technically stews are cooked on a stovetop while casseroles are cooked in an oven.[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Online Etymology Dictionary, Entry: Casserole, retrieved 19 September 2015
  2. ^ An A–Z of Food & Drink, John Ayto, Oxford University Press, 2002, pp. 60–61.
  3. ^ The Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani Lebhar-Friedman, 1999, p. 59.
  4. ^ Yoon, Howard. "Nouveau Casseroles". Kitchen Window, National Public Radio, March 4, 2009. Retrieved 4 December 2009.
  5. ^ Sarah Ramsey. "What is a Casserole?". Wide Open Eats, September 25, 2018. Retrieved April 30, 2020.
  6. ^ Delia Smith. "Slow progress: Delia on casseroles". Delia Online. Retrieved April 30, 2020.

Further readingEdit

  • Wright, C.A. (2011). Bake Until Bubbly: The Ultimate Casserole Cookbook. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. pt19. ISBN 978-0-544-17748-2. – History of the casserole

External linksEdit