Tagine Seasoning: How to Season and Cure a Tagine Pot

Last Updated on May 9, 2024 by Safaa (founder of moroccanzest)
tagine pot

Tagine Seasoning: How to Season and Cure a Tagine Pot

I get many questions about Moroccan tagine seasoning, curing techniques, and tagine cooking. How do we season and cure a tagine pot in Morocco? How often should seasoning be done to seal a tagine pot efficiently? How to cook with a tagine safely and durably?

Tagine seasoning is essential if you want to care for your tagine and protect it from breaking. It can look intimidating for many, but I assure you, it’s really easy, and there is nothing complicated about it.

Even if I grew up in Morocco surrounded by tagines, I was pretty apprehensive the first time I seasoned a tagine pot. But trust me, everything will go just fine once you follow the steps thoroughly. Tagine cooking will have no mysteries for you!

Do I Need to Cure (Season) My Tagine?

Tagine seasoning, or tagine cure, is recommended for all tagine types intended for cooking, whether glazed or unglazed. If you aren’t familiar with tagine types, I detail everything in this guide: Finding the right tagine pot for your family.

Tagine seasoning is done once only, before the very first use. The objective of seasoning is to seal the material (clay) and make it stronger and more durable. Once the seasoning is done, your clay tagine pot is ready for a lifetime of use, and you don’t have to re-season it again. As I will explain later, seasoning is also very easy and doesn’t require special tools.

a selection of tagine pots from morocco
Glazed, unglazed, and decorative tagine pots

How do you Prepare and Season a Tagine for the First time?

To cure your tagine pot, soak it in water for at least a couple of hours. Once it is dry, season it by brushing it with olive oil and baking it in the oven.

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!


Unglazed Morocan tagine pot

How to Season Your Clay Tagine Pot

Steps to season a clay tagine pot before the first use
Total Time 5 hours

Equipment

  • Pastry brush
  • Oven

Ingredients
  

  • 1-3 tbsp Olive oil adjust the quantity according to your tagine size

Instructions
 

  • 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

Using and Caring for Your Tagine Pot

  • Make sure your tagine never gets sudden changes in temperatures (low-to-medium heat, using warm water, etc.)
  • Make sure that you are following recipes that respect your tagine pot: not all tagine recipes incorporate the steps that preserve you tagine in the long run, or that will avoid breaking or cracking. If you are new to tagine cooking, I recommend getting this traditional tagine ebook.
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Oiling the outside of a glazed top

April 15, 2022

Hello. I recently returned from Morocco and had rugs and tagines shipped to me in the U.S. Mine are glazed but decoratively painted. The inside of the bottom is glazed while the inside of the conical top is unglazed. Mine also have an interesting added diffuser on them. It’s a thin strip of metal, probably tin or aluminum, around the edge of the base which has pieces coming from that connecting what looks like it’s own diffuser on the bottom? Have you ever seen one like this? I’m happy to send you a picture if you’re interested. I just want to make sure my steps will be to soak it, dry it and then oil it, completely. Thanks!

J.L.

Response from Moroccanzest

Hi, thank you for sending the pictures over email! Your tagine has its own diffuser which is great! This is a new generation of tagines that is getting more and more popular. It works great and it is very practical. And yes, seasoning is still very important for the entire tagine (base and lid). The steps are the same, just make sure you always dry the metal part completely, after seasoning, and anytime you wash your tagine, to avoid rusting. I saw in your email that you can’t wait to make recipes, if you still haven’t received recipes from your friend, I highly recommend this ebook: the recipes are easy, traditional, and just delicious:

https://www.littlemoroccanthings.com/product/moroccan-tagine-pot-recipes/

I hope this helps. if you have any other questions, I’m here. -xx

Simple and clear instructions but I have a question

April 30, 2021

I am in the UK and love cooking in my tagine but it is too small for a family. It has taken me a long time to get a traditional tagine big enough which has arrived in only 2 pieces… several have been very badly packed and arrived in 1000! I now have a lovely one which is soaking in the bath as we speak. But I have a question, the last one I brought arrived with a crack in the dish/bowl it goes straight through but feels ok ish. I was sent a replacement (the one in the bath!) but what can I do with the broken one, do you think if I seasoned it it might be strengthened or should I just throw it away? it seems such a waste.

thanks Demelza

PS cant wait to try your recipe cards!

Demelza Richards

Response from Moroccanzest

Hi Demelza, aww thanks! There is actually a method you can try for the broken tagine. It can work if the crack is not too profound. Just add the following step to the seasoning process: Before putting the tagine in the oven, try to fill the crack gap with date’s paste, massaging it multiple times. After you take your tagine from the oven and it’s completely cooled off, clean the date residue with water, dry and brush the tagine with olive oil. You can check this video, it’s in Moroccan but it shows how you can fill in the crack: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8K-GN69Rpb4

hope it works and let me know how it goes -xx

Questions

December 11, 2020

I purchased my sister an unglazed tagine for Christmas and decided to get the seasoning part out of the way before gifting it. I have soaked it overnight and am now wondering how long it should dry before beginning the seasoning. I also have some anxiety about placing it it my cold oven, as the oven will preheat rapidly, bringing the temp to 300 degrees. Should I set the oven to a much lower temp first and gradually inch it up, or will it be safe to just put it in, and let it preheat as it always does. I’m so excited to get it ready for my sister, and I don’t want to break it before she even gets it :)! By the way, I LOVE your website! It is so informative and will definitely be the go to website I share with my sister. Awaiting further instructions.

Connie

Response from Moroccanzest

aww, thanks, Connie! I’m sure your sister will love her tagine! For drying your tagine pot (lid and base), let it dry until the surface of the tagine doesn’t look very wet. and that’s completely fine if you end up with a few wet patches on the surface. In general, 3-4 hours would do. You can also put the tagine in a sunny spot in your house to accelerate the process.

About the oven part, it shouldn’t be a problem as 300F is still a low temperature, but you can go gradually, setting the temperature to 150F then 300F. -xx

first tagine cracked, second one did not

June 24, 2020

I was so happy with my first tagine but it broke in the middle of a recipe and I didn’t know if it was the heat, the tagine quality … So with the new tagine pot, I followed ALL your recommendations and purchased the ebook you mention and everything went perfectly for my first recipe. I came here to see if I have to season the tagine again or if I’m all good. The ebook mentions using olive oil after some uses, what do you think?

sarah bechtel

Response from Moroccanzest

Hi sarah, a lot of things could’ve been the reason why your first tagine cracked. it could be a temperature chock or a recipe that doesn’t ”respect” tagine particularities. The recipe ebook must have helped you as it details every step in the cooking process.

About the olive oil, you don’t have to do it, but it’s a good thing to do after a good number of tagine uses. I do it every 10 to 15 uses of my tagine pot but it’s really up to you. It has nothing to do with seasoning so no need to soak your tagine or put it in the oven. Brushing with olive oil and waiting for absorption is enough. -xx

Can you cure your Tagine on the stove?

May 22, 2020

Hi Safa,

Thanks for the article! Do you know if it’s possible to cure your tagine on the stove? We just purchased an unglazed tagine but we don’t have an oven. Thank you!

Becky

Response from Moroccanzest

Hi Becky! I don’t think that would work. The whole tagine pot should be immersed in the heat and a stove wouldn’t allow that. Some parts would be in contact with the ambient air and the difference in temperatures may make it crack, plus the handling of the hot tagine can be dangerous for you. If possible, you can do the oven part in a friend or relative’s house, it’s much safer for you and your tagine. -xx

Last Updated on May 9, 2024 by Safaa (founder of moroccanzest)

Safaa, founder of moroccanzest

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. Learn more about me here.