I get so many questions about Moroccan people’s habits for seasoning and curing tagines. How do you season and cure a tagine pot and do you have to do it every time you get a new tagine pot?
Well, tagine seasoning is very important if you want to take care of your tagine and protect it from breaking. It can look intimidating for many but I assure you, it’s so easy and there is nothing too complicated about it.
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 just fine.
Do I need to cure (season) my tagine?
Tagine seasoning, also called tagine cure, should be done to tagine pots intended for cooking, whether they are glazed or unglazed. If you aren’t familiar yet with tagine types, I detail everything in this guide: Finding the right tagine pot for your family.
Tagine seasoning is done once, before the very first use to seal the material (clay) and make it stronger and more durable. After the seasoning is done, your clay tagine pot is ready for lifetime use.
If you just acquired a cooking tagine pot and haven’t done anything to it yet, this article will tell you everything you need to know about seasoning your tagine pot and protecting it from cracking in the long run.
How do you prepare a tagine for the first time?
To cure your tagine pot, you will need to soak it in water for at least a couple of hours (overnight is best). Once it is dry, the seasoning will include brushing the tagine pot with olive oil and cooking it in the oven for some time. The exact steps we follow in Morocco to cure a tagine pot are detailed in the recipe card at the end of this post.
Tagine seasoning takes a few hours, between 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.
How to use your Tagine and care for it
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 and use a good-quality heat diffuser. Otherwise, it’s only a matter of time before your tagine cracks.
When cooking in your tagine, it’s important to check regularly to make sure the ingredients don’t stick to the bottom. This especially applies to unglazed tagines, as they have no coating.
If some ingredients start to stick, unstick them with a wooden spoon and add a little water whenever sauce evaporates. If you are using your tagine with a heat diffuser, the sauce won’t evaporate quickly and your tagine experience will be much more relaxed.
Last but not least, go gentle when cleaning your tagine pot after each use. A soft sponge and your regular liquid soap will do the job perfectly.
If you are not familiar with cooking Moroccan tagines, I highly recommend my friend Azlin’s meatballs tagine recipe. It’s delicious and perfect for tagine first-users.
For other easy and delicious Moroccan recipes, check our Moroccan Recipe Cards collection. If you want to be more efficient in the kitchen, you need them NOW, believe me!
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How to Season Your Clay Tagine Pot
- Pastry brush
- 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
- To preserve your tagine pot in the long run, make sure you always use a heat diffuser
Can you cure your Tagine on the stove?
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!
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
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 Moroccanzest
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.
thank you for the instructions. It worked great!
followed the exact steps and just cooked in my tagine. It did not crack, plus, your tagine chicken recipe turned out DELiCIOUS!!! Thank you twice. You are saving me in this quarantine mess.
I followed all the steps and It worked out! I used my tagine today and I was so worried it would crack, but nothing happened. thank you (and thank you for the chicken tagine recipe too, delicious!)
Response from Moroccanzest
glad everything worked out, Julia! Cheers to delicious tagine dishes -xx