Finding the Best Moroccan Tagine Pot: What to Consider?
Tagine pots (also called tajines or tangines) are essential cookware in Moroccan cuisine. Every Moroccan kitchen has a collection of beautifully displayed Moroccan tagines. Growing up in Morocco, we had in our kitchen at least five Moroccan tagine pots of different sizes, glazed and unglazed, and for different uses and occasions.
Now and even if I live thousands of miles away from Morocco, I probably cook in my tagine pots 2 or 3 times a week. Believe me, once you start cooking in a tagine pot, you will be amazed at the deliciousness you will create, whether you are a beginner or an expert cook.
If you are looking to find the best tagine pot for your kitchen, this guide will show you precisely what to look for and where to look, whether it’s online or in Morocco if you are visiting the country.
Is Buying a Tagine Pot Worth it?
The benefit of buying and cooking in a tagine pot comes from the shape – the cone top – and composition – natural clay – of the tagine pot. Both help condensate the aromatics and slow-cook the ingredients, infusing them with delicious flavors. Because of the slow cooking, the vegetables and meat cooked in a tagine pot will be very fragrant, and deeply infused with herbs and spices flavors. Cooking in natural clay also adds more richness to the flavors and allows the sauce to caramelize, strengthening the flavors even more.
Where to Buy a Tagine Pot?
I recommend buying your tagine pot from sellers who give information about the materials used to make the tagine pot – which is an important point, I’ll come to that later! – and whether the tagine pot was handmade or not.
In fact, not all tagine pots available in the market are worth your money, and some of them can even be toxic. I’ve been approached many times by sellers who manufacture their tagine pots in factories and give no information about the origin or composition of their tagine pots. The composition of your tagine pot is key. Your food should be in contact with clay only and I honestly prefer tagine pots that are made in Morocco as I’m more comfortable with the craftmanship involved.
If you are in Morocco, you can buy your tagine pot in most medinas and souks of Morocco. If you have never been to a souk or medina in Morocco, then I highly recommend checking my Moroccan shopping guide. It will give you all the tools and tips to navigate shopping in Morocco, avoid counterfeits and get beautiful handmade products that will last a lifetime.
If you are shopping for tagine pots online, keep on reading. I will share the links to the tagines I use in my kitchen.
But before that, there are a few things you should keep in mind when searching for the right tagine pot for your family.
How Much Does a Tagine Cost?
A traditional tagine pot handmade in Morocco and 100% natural will cost from $60 to $120 in the US, depending on the size, type, and decorations.
If you are in Morocco then you will probably find a tagine pot for less than $15 in the medina market. It’s a big price difference compared to pricing in the US and other countries, but it’s totally understandable. A handmade clay tagine pot is really heavy and naturally costs more to ship from Morocco than to make. Tagine pots are also very prone to breaking in transit as they are made out of clay, and sellers have to take this into account when pricing their tagine pots as with any other fragile item.
The Difference Between Glazed, Unglazed, and Serving Tagine Pots
Glazed and unglazed tagines are different types of tagines that offer different uses and options. So, depending on what you are planning to do with your tagine (cooking vs. serving only), it’s important to pick the right tagine type for you.
What are Serving Tagines?
Serving tagines are tagine pots that are used only for serving. They cannot be in touch with a heat source. You can either use them to serve your tagine dish – if your regular tagine pot does not fit your table theme for example – or to serve other dishes like pasta, paellas, salads, couscous, etc.
Serving tagine pots are quick to spot. They are shiny with beautiful paintings and bright colors.
What is also very common to do in Morocco is the use of many colorful small tagines to serve side dishes, dips, and sauces. If you’ve been to Morocco, you’ve probably seen these mini tagine pots in every restaurant, cafe, or bar you’ve been in. They are essential in Moroccan table dressing. Here is a set of four colorful small tagines for your dips and side dishes.
What is a Glazed Tagine Pot?
Glazed tagine pots are the most common type of tagine pots. They are used for both cooking and for serving. They are shiny and sometimes have decorations in black. They are the best compromise if you want a tagine pot to use for cooking, but also that looks good on a table. The glazing helps food not to stick to the bottom of the tagine and makes cleaning easier. There are many glazed tagines to choose from in the market and usually, the bigger and more decorated the tagine is, the pricier it will be.
What is an Unglazed Tagine Pot?
Unglazed tagine pots are the rawest kind of Moroccan tagine pots. They are made with clay only and have no paintings or colors. Though these tagine pots are easily available in Morocco, it’s a little bit hard to find them online and they tend to be more expensive.
What Is The Best Size of Tagine to Buy?
The best size for your tagine pot will depend on how many people you will serve.
If only 1-2 people will be eating the tagine as the main dish, I would recommend looking for tagines 5-6 inches in diameter. These tagine pots are the perfect size for one serving and will feed one to two people comfortably.
For more than 2 servings, I recommend getting a tagine that is 12 inches. Tagines bigger than 12 inches are hard to find – even in Morocco. If you are serving more than 4 people, my tip is to make side dishes to complement your menu. This is what we typically do in Morocco. A tagine is always served with a mix of side dishes (salads, dips, marinated olives, etc) so that guests can eat comfortably and have options.
I use two tagine pots in my kitchen almost weekly: If you like glazed tagine pots, here is the 12-inch tagine I use. If you like the rustic feel of an unglazed tagine pot, I recommend this 13-inch unglazed tagine pot. Both are lead-free and handmade in Morocco following traditional tagine craftmanship.
Tagine Seasoning and Caring for Your Tagine Pot
If there is one key thing to remember about using your tagine pot and protecting it in the long run, is that tagine pots don’t like sudden changes in temperatures. That means that you should always cook your tagine on low to medium heat and that you should never never add cold water to your tagine when it’s hot.
Unfortunately, not all tagine recipes online respect these rules. As an example, many online recipes will ask you to add water to your tagine without specifying that water should be added either warm or hot. Adding cold water is in fact very risky as it increases the chances for your tagine to crack. That’s why I recommend this great tagine recipe book to anyone who is new to cooking in a tagine pot. In addition to having the classic – and delicious! – Moroccan tagine recipes, this downloadable recipe book details the steps to make each recipe, explaining what to do, and what not to do to avoid cracking your tagine pot. It’s a bestseller for a reason!
my first tagine and romantic Moroccan date
Thanks to you, I got a beautiful Moroccan tagine pot, cooked your Moroccan chicken tagine and your aphrodisiac orange dessert, and made my husband a romantic Moroccan dinner at home. It was fantastic. I can’t thank you enough
Response from Moroccanzest
aww, thank you! and may I add, you did a good job choosing the right recipes for the occasion 😉
my new tagine
I didn’t know what to do with my new tagine and now I have everything figured out. your site is the only site I always get back to for Moroccan inspiration. thanks for the good tips.
I ordered one of your recommended tagines and seasoned it the way you explained. I soaked it in my sink overnight and in the morning cooked it in the oven. Everything went perfectly. It’s really easy to make and doesn’t take too much time, you don’t have to watch the tagine, just set a timer for the oven. Thanks so much, can’t wait to use it!
thanks so so so much
just made my first tagine dish and I couldn’t believe how delicious it was. the clay pot really makes a difference. thanks so much, I am so grateful I found your blog. will definitely try other recipes.
Response from Moroccanzest
aww, thanks Jaclin!
thank you for the guide
I had no idea shopping in Morocco was that hard! I am lucky I found your guide two days before leaving Morocco. I was able to buy more beautiful things and even get deals. thank you so much!
From design and decor to food and travel, moroccanzest is the space where I share what I loved growing up in Morocco, and more. It’s your destination for everything beautiful, artistic, and made the Moroccan way with love.
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