How to use a tagine pot? If there is one thing I get asked about a lot it’s this question! How to cook in a Moroccan tagine pot and if it’s easy and effortless to integrate tagine cooking into one’s cooking routine.
Well, absolutely yes! And I highly encourage you to do so. Honestly, I can’t imagine a cooking routine that doesn’t include using tagine pot cookware.
And I’m not only saying this because I am of Moroccan origins, or because I grew up eating tagine dishes very regularly. It’s MOSTLY because these little clay tagine pots are magical! They can create amazing tastes and flavors that you will be craving more and more. Plus, it’s one of the healthiest cookware out there thanks to its composition (clay) and slow cooking that allows vitamins and nutrients preservation.
Last but not least, Moroccan tagine pots are really easy to use once you know how to use and cook in them. Which I will detail here, based on my experience with tagines in Morocco and outside Morocco.
Cooking vs. Serving Tagines
A very important thing to know is that not all tagine pots available in the market are made for cooking. In fact, many of them are only for serving-purposes, meaning you can’t use them on the stove.
It can get a little tricky here as many sellers claim their serving tagines pot are compatible with cooking too, while it’s not the case. If you are unsure, ask your seller again, especially if your tagine pot is heavily and beautifully decorated.
The general rule of thumb is if a tagine pot is pretty basic or have small embellishments, it’s more likely to be a cooking tagine. Otherwise, you need to double-check.
Seasoning a Tagine Pot
Seasoning tagine pots (also called curing a tagine pot) is one of the first things to do when you plan on using your tagine pot for cooking. Yet, it’s highly overlooked resulting in fragile tagine pots that can easily crack and break.
Seasoning a tagine pot consists of preparing your tagine base and lid to the future uses by sealing and strengthening their material. This is done through a series of simple steps which include soaking the tagine pot, brushing it with oil, and cooking it in a low-heated oven for a couple of hours.
Seasoning is mandatory, and most cooking tagine pots in the market are sold unseasoned. If you haven’t seasoned your tagine pot yet, make sure you check my tagine pot seasoning and cure guide.
Using a Heat Diffuser with your Tagine
Another important thing to remember is that clay tagines are really sensitive to heat. So you should use your tagine pot on a low-to-medium heat and ALWAYS use a good-quality heat diffuser. Otherwise, it’s only a matter of time before your tagine cracks.
Using tagines on Gas or Electric Stoves
You can perfectly use your tagine pot on your Gas or Electric stove if your tagine pot is a cooking tagine, AND if you use your tagine pot on a heat diffuser on low-to-medium heat.
When cooking in your tagine pot, it’s important to check regularly to make sure the ingredients don’t stick to the bottom.
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.
TAGINE COOKING STEPS
Here are the steps to use your tagine pot and create Morocco famous & delicious meatballs tagine. You can replicate the same steps with other Moroccan tagine recipes. However, each recipe has its own particularities and I highly encourage you to get a real Moroccan cooking book to create authentic tagine recipes.
Here is my favorite tagine cookbook, affordable and perfect for tagine-pot-beginners, and for anyone looking for those delicious and traditional Moroccan tagine recipes. You’ve come this far, that cookbook will save you a lot of time and prevent many unsuccessful recipes.
STEP 1: Prepare the base layer
The first step is to place a layer of onions (depending on the recipes they are either cut in cubes or rings). You can also add garlic and cooking oil in this step and lightly cook everything for a couple of minutes.
STEP 2: Add the crushed tomatoes and spices
Once the onions become slightly transparent, add the crushed tomatoes and spices (paprika powder, pepper powder, cumin powder, and salt), mix well and let cook on a slow heat for 15 to 20 minutes checking occasionally that nothing sticks at the bottom of your tagine pot.
STEP 3: Add the meatballs to the cooking sauce
Prepare your meatballs by mixing minced meat with spices and herbs (coriander, parsley, paprika powder, pepper powder, cumin powder, and salt). Form small meatballs and gently add them to the sauce cooking in your tagine. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes or until your meatballs are cooked to your taste.
STEP 4: Crack a few eggs on top of the meatballs
Once everything is cooked to your taste, crack one or two eggs on top of the meatballs and let cook for a couple of minutes. Decorate with fresh coriander and parsley.
Serve hot with fresh bread. Enjoy ♡
I always get asked about how to actively protect a tagine pot from cracking and burning, which is very common especially with some online recipes that don’t respect tagine pot particularities. The answer is that you should always be careful with your tagine pot, and avoid sudden changes in temperatures when cooking and cleaning your tagine.
If you want to avoid breaking or burning your tagine pot, I highly recommend you check this Moroccan tagine cookbook. Each recipe integrates the right steps to protect your tagine pot from cracking. Plus, all recipes are 100% from Morocco!
How to clean my tagine
thank you, I followed your recommendations, got the tagine cookbook you mentioned, and made my first tagine recipe. It was INCREDIBLE! thank you! now, how can I clean my tagine? can I use soap?
Response from Moroccanzest
Hi Maria, so glad your first tagine recipe was a success! now for cleaning, just soak your tagine in water for a few minutes and use your regular soap, water, and a scrub brush. cheers to your next tagine recipes! -xx
thanks so much for the tips!
so glad I found your article, you detail everything and a lot of valuable information that we can’t find elsewhere.