In general terms, a lasagna pan is any oven bakeware - tin, stainless, ceramic or stoneware, roaster or roasting pan that could be used to bake a lasagna.
Lasagna is a pasta dish that incorporates long frilly-edged flat and wide noodles into layers, along with meat or vegetable tomato-based pasta sauce, spices and mozzarella cheese. Cottage cheese is also often included in these layers as well. This is a popular dish for special occasions, as well as for a family dinner.
Pan shape is extremely important when it comes to making lasagna. Because of the shape and length of the noodles, a round dish is not ideal unless you break up the noodles and the same applies to an oval one. Though you could build a lasagna in just about anything if the craving hits and you're creative, a square or rectangular pan is better for this popular pasta meal.
The main objective with lasagna is to 'build' as many layers as possible, anywhere from three to five. More (layers) than that would be difficult to serve and expect layers to remain properly stacked for presentation purposes.
Hence, an ideal lasagna pan should have at the very least, a minimum of 2" and preferably up to 4" high sides. So deep and long is what to aim for in a pan. The overall size, of course, depends on whether you're feeding a couple, family or a social group.
Lasagna is an all-time favorite meal entree and every cook has their own secret ingredient or layering style, that makes each one a scrumptious original.
Selecting a pan for a "family size" lasagna is not generally a problem, we usually have at least one 9" x 13" glass or stainless pan or roaster in our bakeware tools. That said, these types of dishes will allow minimal layers.
Since some like to make lasagna for special events to serve several guests, a large and deep roaster is a good choice.
A roasting pan is extremely versatile, so you can use this cookware for many other meal selections, including a turkey or whole chickens. Every kitchen needs at least one size of roasting pan and preferably two or three.
Now that we've covered the ideal shape, you should know that not every pan is suitable for lasagna baking. Foods that are very acidic like tomato sauce can reduce the lifespan of your metal baking pans and quickly wear down non-stick coating, making them more susceptible to rusting and staining.
This can also cause a residue from the pan to mix with the food. Avoiding standard tin and nonstick pans is recommended, especially because of the effects of tomato-based sauces. Since metal pans are best for baking cakes and other meals, that narrows your bakeware options for lasagna.
For a large multi-serving lasagna, rectangular-shaped stainless steel roasters, Pyrex and CorningWare ovenware and ceramic or stoneware baking dishes that are rated for oven baking are ideal.
These will also clean much easier and some can also go directly from freezer-to-oven-to-table, making it easy to prepare meals ahead.
The larger baking pans generally have adequate depth to accommodate lasagna layers. But shopping for a smaller pan for a family of 2-4 takes a little more consideration. Some baking dishes have lower sides and are great for other foods, but a small rectangular dish around the 5" x 8" size is perfect for two people, plus it would also look wonderful on the table.
For easy cleaning, choose a glossy finish and check the underside of ceramic or stoneware dishes to ensure there are no rough unfinished areas that can mar your table. Ease of handling is also important - a pan with handles or a lip style edge would be easier to remove from a hot oven. Read the label to ensure it is designed for those temperatures and to confirm if it's dishwasher safe.
See my Best Lasagna Pans and Bakeware for my pan recommendations and remember that layers are what makes this dish so special. And most of all, enjoy making this delightful family favorite.
The bakeware featured is the Baker's Edge Shaped Lasagna Pan - it's the best. This is huge pan and extremely heavy when filled. But the design makes it a sought after favorite for baking performance, as well as making it easy to serve from. I loved using this pan and of course, it's on my list of pans to buy. Unfortunately, though not impossible, you'll have to be creative to use this pan for other meals or dessert ideas. That said, it's worth every penny as a Lasagna Pan.
For the adventurous cook, although I generally prefer a rectangular pan for my lasagna, I think About's Busy Cooks Guide, Linda Larsen's Crockpot Lasagna Recipe sounds absolutely yummy! Also, check out more lasagna recipes from About Food Experts. Bon appetit!
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