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Best tagines |

Best tagines

It’s easy to forget that tagines were relatively little-known in the UK ‘till fairly recently. In 2001, we felt it necessary to tell you what a tagine is on these very pages: 


“Tagine is both the Moroccan word for stew and the name of the pot in which it is cooked – a ‘tagine slaoui’. This principle is old hat in France, where for years pedantic cooks have insisted on cooking casseroles in a casserole, a daube in a daubière, and a marmite in a marmite.”

Nowadays, most British food buffs are au fait with this classic cookware, which has benefited from the patronage of Nigel Slater, Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson and countless other culinary celebs.

As we’ll see in this article, the materials used to make tagines have diversified beyond traditional ceramics. Their form, however, remains consistent: a dished base to hold the ingredients, and a fluted cone lid that traps the steam from cooking food.

This is the whole point of tagines: the steam collects in the cone of the lid, cools, then drips back down onto the bubbling ingredients. Sheer juiciness ensues.

This effect lends itself well to all sorts of meals – particularly couscous, stews and yes, tagines. Consider this specialised cooker alongside it’s ornamental value, and there you have a recipe for greatly enhancing what comes out of your kitchen. 

With these advantages in mind, let’s get to grips with ten of the best tagines available online today – from traditional ceramic models to innovative northern European newcomers.

One thing before we start: it should go without saying that you must always wear oven gloves when handling a hot tagine. We’re aiming for perfectly cooked meals; not perfectly cooked hands.

SCANPAN – Impact Tagine with Ceramic Lid

Best for: contemporary form and flawless function
Diameter: 28cm​
Colours: White
Materials: stainless steel, ceramic  

Although the tagine’s spiritual home is undoubtedly northern Africa, its development has in-fact been a collaborative effort between different peoples through the ages – from ancient Rome to modern-day France.

The Danish manufacturer SCANPAN may well have written the next chapter in the tagine’s tale, in the form of the Impact Tagine. Quite unlike any other tagine we’ve tested, it combines a stainless steel base with its more-traditional ceramic lid. It proved to be our favourite tagine to cook with, offering excellent results and superb ease-of-use – thanks in-particular to the handles on either side (remember your oven gloves).

An outstanding 21st Century update for a classic item of cookware.

£129 | Amara | Buy it now

Le Creuset – Cast Iron Stoneware Tagine

Best for: completing your cookware set
Diameter and capacity: 27cm, 2.1L
Colours: Cerise (pictured), almond, cassis, teal, volcanic, satin black
Materials: cast iron, stoneware

Le Creuset’s tagine is a unique twist on the traditional tagine blueprint, comprising a heavy cast iron base, and a stoneware funnel lid in one of a several vivid colours. Having tried out a few recipes with this tagine, we’re thoroughly impressed. Easy-to-clean, relatively-easy-to-handle, and suitable for use either on the hob or in the oven, it’s as practical as it is attractive.

Owing to its relatively deep base, this tagine is more capacious than it might seem at first glance, with room to cater for up to four diners of ordinary appetite.

£145.08 | Amazon | Buy it now 

Emile Henry – Tagine

Best for: your best buy under £100
Diameter and capacity: 27cm, 2L OR 32cm, 3.5L
Colours: Red, charcoal, terracotta, blue flame
Materials: ceramic  

This gorgeous Emile Henry tagine, made entirely from exceptionally heat-resistant “flame ceramic”, is quietly innovative, with subtle curves and a deep base amounting to an aesthetic quite unlike any of our other tagines. Small wonder the EH monogram is so proudly marked out on the lid.

More solid-feeling and arguably better-looking than other tagines in its price range, this model is in our eyes the best tagine you can buy without breaking the £100 mark.

From £74 | Amara | Buy it now

Castleton Home – Calisto Terracotta Round Tagine

Best for: minimalist Iberian style   
Diameter and capacity: 27cm, 2L OR 32cm, 3.5L
Colours: Red, charcoal, terracotta, blue flame
Materials: ceramic 

Castleton Home’s Calisto tagine is manufactured in Portugal, and we could well imagine it blending in with the whitewashed walls and terracotta tiles of the Alentejo, or some other sleepy region of the Iberian Peninsula. Its matte finish and terracotta trim are easy-on-the-eye, and it cooks food just as it should – trapping in steam to ensure its contents are moist and evenly heated.

Unlike the metal-bottomed tagines featured in this article, the Calisto is for use in the oven only – so don’t go using it on the hob.

£46.99 | Wayfair | Buy it now

LEON – Terracotta Tagine

Best for: great design for a mid-range price
Diameter: 27.5cm
Colours: Red
Materials: terracotta

In-between serving commuters their morning coffees and penning trendy cookbooks, LEON has somehow found the time to design a stylish cookware range for John Lewis, including this rather lovely tagine.

Its glazed red finish and steep sides make it distinctive without altogether breaking the mould – ideal if you like your traditionalism laced with a modern edge. Every inch as stylish as we’d expect a LEON product to be, this tagine is a fine ornament as well as a useful tool.

Handily, it’s microwave and dishwasher safe – so reheating leftovers and washing after use is a doddle.

£65 | John Lewis | Buy it now

Amazing Cookware – Terracotta Tagine in ‘Pearlescent Green’

Best for: a dinner-party talking point
Diameter: 27.5cm
Colours: Green
Materials: Ceramic

Just looking at Amazing Cookware’s ‘Pearlescent Green’ tagine feels uncannily akin to eating a whole packet of sour sweets in one ill-advised mouthful. Its lime paintjob is certainly a conversation-starter.

On closer inspection, this tagine’s merits are inarguable. Handles on opposite sides of the base and a knobbed end to the lid make handling it (with gloves!) far more comfortable than handling most of the other tagines we’ve featured, and its ceramic material will stand up to hobs, ovens, microwaves, barbecues, and just about any other kitchen-appropriate heat source you care to subject it to.

£53.74 | Amazon | Buy it now

Beka Cookware – Beka Tagine

Best for: complementing cutting-edge kitchen interiors
Diameter and capacity: 28cm, 2.3L
Colours: Black white
Materials: Cast iron, ceramic

If bucolic style is not your thing, the Beka Tagine could be the one for you. It looks positively extra-terrestrial.

Despite its cutting-edge looks, this tagine’s materials are time-honoured: a cast-iron base and a ceramic lid, much like Le Creuset’s version, albeit lighter.

Suitable for hobs and ovens, this would make an effective choice for those seeking to marry traditional cooking methods with a contemporary kitchen design. It’s also relatively reasonably priced.

£82.44 | Amazon | Buy it now

Etnico Arredo – Moroccan Clay Tagine

Best for: going back to basics
Diameter: 30cm​
Colours: Clay
Materials: Clay

Etnico Arredo’s Moroccan Clay Tagine has a pleasingly handmade feel that’s absent in some of the more extravagant tagines we’ve encountered. It has a human touch.

Primarily built for oven-cooking, it can also be used on the stove-top – but only when used with a heat diffuser underneath it.

Some of us are looking for novel features in our cookware; but others prefer a traditional design. If you fall into the latter camp, this tagine would make a good bet.

£33.32 | Amazon | Buy it now

Marocstore – Traditional Moroccan Tagine

Best for: a decorative take on a traditional tagine
Diameter: 30cm​
Colours: Clay
Materials: Earthenware

Ornate yet uncomplicated, rustic yet refined, this Moroccan made tagine offers excellent function and traditional style at a price that won’t break the bank. It’s built for both ovens and stove-tops, and so enables you to cook however you prefer (we’d tend towards cooking on the hob if you’ll need to check or add to the ingredients often; or slow-cooking in the oven if not much attention is required).

At 30cm in diameter, this tagine is particularly wide – which makes it great for making an interior design statement, but not-so-great for cooking in close quarters.

£22.95 | Amazon | Buy it now

Lakeland – Traditional Moroccan Tagine

Best for: rustic style with a glazed finish
Diameter and capacity: 32cm, 2.2L
Colours: Multicoloured
Materials: Glazed terracotta

Lakeland has a knack for applying a glossy finish to traditional designs, without dulling their charm. Their take on a traditional Moroccan cuisine is a case in point, made with beautiful glazed terracotta that’s just about rough-around-the-edges enough to maintain a bucolic air.

At 32cm across the diameter, this tagine is a voluble presence in the kitchen – perfect for cooking generous portions and serving as a dinner party centrepiece.

£21.99 | Lakeland | Buy it now

Verdict:

Although it arguably loses points for lacking a traditional north African aesthetic, we’re naming the SCANPAN Impact Tagine our ES Best Top Pick. It’s a contemporary rendering of the very best things a tagine can offer: principally that iconic, fluted lid design, and the capability to cook sumptuously moist meals. If you’re a stickler for traditional style, you might look at Marocstore’s or Lakeland’s tagine instead.

ES Best product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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