I get so many questions about Moroccan people’s habits for seasoning tagines. Do they really season every tagine pot they buy? Well, yes, they do. It’s primordial and I highly recommend you do too if you just acquired a clay tagine pot.
Tagines seasoning can be very intimidating for many. I know people who traveled to Morocco and decided not to buy a Moroccan tagine pot (even if it’s SOO inexpensive there) thinking the seasoning and curing would be complicated and overwhelming.
And to be honest, even if I grew up in Morocco surrounded by tagines, the first time I seasoned a tagine pot I was intimidated too! But trust me, once you follow the steps thoroughly (and they are pretty easy), everything will go great.
There are three main types of Moroccan tagines: glazed and unglazed tagines for cooking, and tagines for decoration purposes. If you aren’t familiar with these types, I detail everything in my guide: how to choose the right tagine pot for your family.
If you just acquired an unglazed tagine pot and haven’t done anything to it yet, this article will tell you everything you need to know about seasoning it, using it and protecting it from cracking.
How to Season and Use Your Tagine Pot
There are a few things to keep in mind when cooking in a clay tagine pot.
The first thing to remember is that clay tagines are really sensitive to heat. So always use your tagine pot on low heat with a heat diffuser, otherwise, it’s only a matter of time before it cracks.
When cooking in your tagine, it’s important to check regularly to make sure the ingredients don’t stick to the bottom. Unglazed clay tagine pots have no coating, which is why they are 100% natural and safe, but that’s also why they need a little more of your attention. If ingredients start to stick, try to unstick them with a wooden spoon and add a little water whenever sauce evaporates.
Last but not least, never go harsh when washing your tagine pot after each use. Use a soft sponge, water and natural liquid soap.
These are the basics to effectively take care of your tagine pot and preserve it. There is still the most important part: tagine seasoning.
Seasoning tagine pots is done once, before the first use. It is meant to seal the clay pot and make it more durable. It takes a few hours (7h to 24h) but it’s mainly a passive time, meaning you won’t be doing anything most of the time.
It’s important to follow the steps, hours and temperatures. Once you are done, you will be able to use your tagine pot immediately.
If you are not familiar with cooking Moroccan tagines yet, I highly highly recommend my friend Azlin’s meatballs tagine recipe. It’s delicious and perfect for tagine first-users.
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How to Season Your Clay Tagine Pot
- 1-3 tbsp Olive oil adjust the quantity according to your tagine size
- Soak your tagine pot, lid and base, in water at least 2 hours (overnight is best). If your tagine pot is quite big, you can soak it in your kitchen sink or bathtub
- Drain the water and let your tagine dry at air temperature
- Brush the entire tagine pot with olive oil, lid included
- Place your tagine pot in a cold oven and turn the heat up to 150°C (300°F). Leave for a couple of hours
- Turn the heat off and leave your tagine cool completely inside the oven. Don't take it out
- Take your tagine out of the oven and brush the interior (base and lid) with olive oil
- Let the oil soak at least an hour
- You're done! You can start using your tagine pot
I wait for your monthly recipe email eagerly and I really love all you share with us. I don’t have a tagine pot but I am now intrigued. The meatball tagine dish looks delicious too. thanks so much for sharing your family kitchen secrets
does it work with other oils?
Thank you for the detailed steps. Can I season my tagine pot using coconut oil instead of olive oil? thank you
Response from Moroccan Zest
Hi Paul, in Morocco everyone uses olive oil. I can’t guarantee what the result would be with coconut oil. it may not seal the tagine properly. So to avoid any surprises (especially knowing how hard it can be to find a good tagine pot), I’d recommend sticking to olive oil.