The Best Clay Pot For Rustic Slow Cooked Meals

Here are our top picks from clay pots around the world.

clay pot

by Ellen Kinsey |
Updated on

If you are looking for a natural cooking method, let us introduce you to the best clay pots. Cooking with clay pots has been interwoven into the fabric of human history. These ancient culinary tools, formed from clay from the earth, have witnessed the evolution of civilisations and their cuisines. These ancient vessels, used globally since prehistoric times, offer a unique cooking experience that bridges ancient traditions with contemporary cuisine. In this guide, we will walk you through some of the most well-known clay pots from different cultures, from Morrocan tagines and Japanese donabe pots to Romertopf pots from central Europe and how they differ from other pots and pans on the market.

Across the globe, different cultures have embraced these pots to craft dishes that define their culinary identities. In Mexico, the 'olla' is used for simmering beans and stews; in India, the 'handi' slow-cooks fragrant biryanis and curries; and in North Africa, the tagine crafts its namesake dish, a medley of meats and spices. There is something satisfying and hands-on about cooking with a clay pot. However, it is essential to season a new clay pot, usually by soaking it in water for several hours and then allowing it to dry. This process helps to strengthen the pot and prepare it for cooking.

When using a clay pot, always start with a cold oven or stovetop, placing the pot inside and then gradually increasing the heat. This slow heating prevents the pot from cracking due to sudden temperature changes. Most clay pots are compatible with electric and gas stovetops, ovens, and even open flames, but they're not typically suitable for induction cooktops, which will need compatible induction pans. It's also crucial to avoid adding cold liquids to a hot pot or vice versa, as the abrupt temperature shift can cause the pot to crack. After cooking, allow the pot to cool down naturally before cleaning. Even though it may not be as easy as using a cast iron pot the authentic results make it worthwhile.

Best Clay Pots At A Glance

Best Traditional Indian Clay Pot: Clay / Terracotta Cooking Pot (Degchi) – View on Etsy
Best clay pot for the oven: Römertopf The standard Roman Pot – View on Amazon UK
Best for cooking on the stovetop: Casa Moro Moroccan Tagine – View on Amazon UK
Best Traditional Chinese Clay Pot: One Handle Earthen Pot – View on Amazon

With a naturally porous surface, clay pots use a unique method of steaming foods inside the enclosed pot to gently simmer and braise foods of all kinds without adding oil or fats, making it an excellent cookware for low-fat cooking. So, let's take a look at the different types of clay pots to help cultivate a rustic experience in the kitchen. We have selected a range of pots from different cultures and across a range of budgets to help you find the best fit for your culinary desires.

Best Clay Pot

Best for cooking on the stovetop

Handcrafted from pure clay, this Moroccan marvel is a testament to thousands of years of culinary heritage. Ideal for a range of dishes, its flat base ensures compatibility with most stoves. For induction and ceramic hobs, an adapter plate is essential. Perfect for three to five people, this clay pot is the perfect vessel for making a feast.

Customer review: "The Taijine is simply beautiful! Every day I'm happy just to have her in the kitchen. I use it several times a week. It is lovingly made."


  • Made from natural clay soil without additives or glaze
  • Versatile
  • Ideal for cooking a variety of dishes and preserving flavours during stewing


  • Requires an adapter plate for induction and ceramic hobs

Best Traditional Indian Clay Pot

Terracotta Cooking
Price: £29.95+

This traditional, unglazed pot is a kitchen essential. Perfect for simmering, roasting, and baking, it enhances the nutritional value of your food, neutralises the pH level, adds an earthy flavour, and even reduces oil consumption. Perfect for long cooking over low heat.

Customer review: "I love this clay pot! They packaged it so carefully, and it arrived perfectly intact, even though it's delicate, and on time! It cooks beautifully, and it feels really good to not always be using aluminium."


  • Versatile and suitable for various cooking methods
  • Authentic and simple design
  • Made with durable clay
  • Three size options


  • Only for gas stoves on low heat
  • Never clean the clay pots and pans in the dishwasher

Best traditional Chinese clay pot

Perfect for classic dishes like chicken with shiitake mushrooms, its earthenware construction ensures prolonged heat retention. This One Handle Earthen Pot is ideal for intimate meals or as part of a grand feast. Lock in flavours and moisture for a succulent finish.

Customer review: "Perfect porridge pot - providing you are careful not to expose it to extremes of temperature. My last Chinese clay pot lasted 12 years with almost daily use."


  • Retains heat for a long time
  • Locks in moisture
  • Suitable for traditional Chinese clay pot dishes
  • It comes with a handle for easy cooking


  • Limited capacity, mainly suitable for two-person dishes

Best clay pot for the oven

Römertopf The standard Roman Pot
Price: $89.00

While clay and other earthenware cooking dishes have been used for centuries around the world, clay pots were first introduced in 1967 at a trade fair in Hannover, Germany, as the 'Römertopf" which roughly translates to Roman Pot. Designed for healthy, low-fat meals, it ensures vitamins and nutrients are retained. Once in the oven, it takes care of your dish, preventing overcooking or burning. Plus, it's a breeze to clean.

Customer review: "Best for baking bread. Use 3/4 times a week to bake my favourite sourdough. A clay oven for if you don't have one!"


  • Unique design
  • Low-fat cooking without the need for added oils or fats
  • It prevents overcooking and burning
  • Easy to clean and keeps the oven clean from spillages


  • Requires hand washing, not suitable for dishwasher

Best clay pots for small dishes

These Spanish clay pots are similar to tagines in shape, but they have a shallower base. Cazuelas are traditionally used to cook tapas dishes, but they can also be used to cook other dishes, such as rice, eggs, and vegetables. This pack of 6 dishes, with a diameter of 11.5 cm, is perfect for a variety of dishes. The use of clay imparts a unique, delicious taste to your meals, and is extremely heat resistant and glazed inside too.

Customer review: " I use these dishes all the time, they're great for individual shepherd's pies, broccoli cheese and for putting snacks like nuts in them."


  • It comes in a pack of six
  • Suitable for a variety of dishes
  • Clay usage imparts a unique, delicious taste to dishes


  • Not strictly a pot, as doesn't have a lid

Best clay pot for one serving

Pottery has been an important part of Lebanese life and culture since the Phoenician era, and artisans have crafted this terracotta pot in a small workshop in Lebanon's Chouf, Talal Fakhoury. It is entirely non-toxic and natural, made entirely of pottery sand that is extracted from the land and a quartz-like stone that is ground and mixed with it.


  • Crafted with traditional Lebanese pottery techniques
  • Made by skilled craftsmen, ensuring high-quality
  • These pans with a lid are stove-top and oven-safe
  • Comes with a handle


  • They naturally blacken with time
  • As they are handmade, no two products are identical, and imperfections in the finish are to be expected

Best Japanese clay pot

This Japanese clay pot measures 18cm x 5cm and is perfect for stews and rice bowls. Its sturdy construction ensures even heat distribution, letting the flavours of your dish meld perfectly. With a simple decoration on top, this is a beautiful addition to your kitchen arsenal.

Customer review: "Bowl is great quality. I bought for my noodle/rice mad son, who loves using chopsticks to eat with. He loved the design on the bowl. The chopsticks however are very cheap quality and I purchased bespoke one's separately."


  • Made from sturdy clay suitable for open-flame cooking
  • Ensures even heat distribution and gentle cooking
  • Allows flavours to develop due to slow cooling
  • Beautiful design


  • Limited size might not be suitable for larger meals

Best clay pot for design

Traditional vintage style Minoyaki
Price: £50.48+

This vintage Japanese clay pot is a blend of tradition and functionality. Suitable for a range of kitchen tasks, it's a versatile piece of cookware for any kitchen. This casserole dish is made with traditional Japanese techniques in a workshop in Japan and adorned with four different beautiful decoration options and four sizes. You can choose the right one for your space.

Customer review: "Beautiful better than expected, Would buy from again."


  • Crafted with traditional Japanese techniques
  • Versatile
  • Different size and design options
  • Dishwasher, microwave, and oven safe (except induction)


  • Limited to a maximum temperature of 400°C

OUR VERDICT: Best Clay Pots

Our top picks are the Terracotta Cooking Potfrom Etsy and the Casa Moro Tagine. The Terracotta Cooking Pot comes in different sizes at a great value price. The tagine is also excellent value and is made of natural clay without additives or glaze.

FAQs: Clay Pots

How to use a clay pot?

Think of these clay bakers as the original slow cooker. You put everything inside, meat, veggies, starch etc., and then walk away while the pot cooks in the oven for 45 to 90 minutes (depending on the food inside of course).

How do I season a new clay pot?

Before using a new clay pot, it's recommended to season it. Fill the pot with water and let it sit for a few hours. Then, empty the water, fill the pot with rice water (water used to rinse rice), and simmer for about 30 minutes. Let it cool, rinse, and it's ready for use. Always check the manufacturer's instructions for specific seasoning guidelines.

Is it healthy to cook in clay pots?

If you are looking to cook food in the healthiest way, then clay pots are your best bet, provided they are made from 100% natural clay without any additives or glazes. It is safest to choose unglazed primary clay pots for cooking healthy and non-toxic food.

Why choose clay pots over metal or non-stick cookware?

Clay pots offer a unique cooking experience. They retain heat well, ensuring even cooking, and can impart an earthy flavour to the food. Additionally, they are free from harmful chemicals that might be present in some non-stick cookware.

Cooked Beef Stew On Table

Can I use clay pots on any stove or oven?

Most clay pots are versatile and can be used on various heat sources. However, some might require an adapter plate, especially for induction and ceramic hobs. Always check the manufacturer's instructions before use.

How do I clean and maintain my clay pot?

It's best to hand wash clay pots using mild soap and warm water. Avoid sudden temperature changes to prevent cracking. Dry the pot thoroughly before storing it to prevent mould growth.

Do clay pots take longer to heat up?

Yes, clay pots generally take longer to heat up compared to metal pots. However, they retain heat well, ensuring even and prolonged cooking.

Can I use metal utensils with my clay pot?

It's best to use wooden or silicone utensils with clay pots to prevent scratching or damaging the pot's surface.

Does food taste different when cooked in a clay pot?

The porous nature of clay allows for the slow evaporation of steam, which concentrates the flavour of the food. Additionaspecialisingparts an earthy flavour, enhancing the overall taste of the dish.

Ellen Kinsey is a Senior Health & Wellness Product Writer for A Modern Kitchen, specialising in sustainable living and healthy cooking. She lives and breathes all things food, travel and wellness.

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