3 Clay cooking pots, each filled with different curries and placed on a wooden table.

Great Tips On How To Care For Your Clay Cooking Pot

Clay pots really are an all rounder kitchen addition with the bonus of being both something used for presentation but also the preparation of your food. When you like me and don’t have access to a money tree or Jack’s beanstalk then we have to rely on street savvy smarts to jimmy the system.

No, I don’t mean tricking anyone, I just mean learning to economize to use your wits and gain some bits. Bits of knowledge that is, like how to use crockery with a duo purpose and a clay pot is one of those Zen duo crockery pieces. So, if you are lucky enough to have one too then read on to learn more on how to care for your clay cooking pot investment. Let’s get straight to it!

How to care for your clay cooking pot

Season your pot before use

How to cure clay pots for cooking? Rub it with a light layer of cooking oil (olive or canola) and bake it in a preheated oven for 30 minutes, that is how to prepare a clay pot for cooking. This will help prevent the pot from absorbing flavors from your food and make it more non-stick.

Avoid using metal utensils

Metal can scratch the surface of the pot and affect its ability to retain heat. Use wooden or plastic utensils instead.

Don’t put your pot in the dishwasher

The detergent and high temperatures can damage the clay. Wash it by hand using warm water and a bar of very mild soap (depending on the food cooked, soap may not be necessary and should be avoided essentially).

Don’t soak your pot in water

As far as possible, try not to soak your clay pot in water unnecessarily. Soaking can cause the clay to crack and break down over time. If you need to clean your pot, scrub it with a soft brush and warm water – see guide below for more details.

Don’t store your pot in direct sunlight

Clay is a natural material that can fade or discolor over time when exposed to sunlight. Store your pot in a cool, dark place when not in use.

A home guide on how to clean clay pots after cooking.

Types of clay pots for cooking

There are two main types of clay pots for cooking: unglazed and glazed. Unglazed clay pots are made from natural clay that has been fired but not coated with a protective glaze. These clay pots are typically less expensive than glazed pots and have a more rustic appearance. They need to be seasoned before use (see above) and should be washed by hand.

Glazed clay pots are made from natural clay that has been fired and then coated with a protective glaze. These pots are more expensive compared to unglazed pots, but they don’t need to be seasoned before use and can be washed in the dishwasher. Which type of pot you choose is a matter of personal preference and both types of pots will provide excellent results when used properly.

How to use a clay pot for cooking purposes

When using a clay pot for the first time, it’s important to preheat the pot slowly so that it doesn’t crack from the sudden change in temperature. Place the empty pot on the stove (gas) over low heat and gradually increase the heat to medium-low, allowing the pot to slowly adjust to the new temperature.

Once the pot is heated, add your ingredients and cook according to your recipe. When cooking with a clay pot, it is important to remember that the pot will continue to cook food even after it’s been removed from the heat source – one of the many benefits of cooking with clay pots. This is because the thick walls of the pot take longer to cool down. As a result, it’s best to remove the pot from the heat source a few minutes before your recipe is finished cooking to prevent overcooking.

When your food is cooked, allow the pot to cool completely before washing it. Never place a hot clay pot in cold water as this can cause the pot to crack – then it is useless and you might as well get rid of it. Clay pots are an excellent way to cook slow-cooked recipes such as stews, curries, and soups.

When used properly, they can help you create flavorful, perfectly cooked dishes. With a little care and attention, your clay pot will last for years.

A woman wearing gloves holding a clay cooking pot with a cooked meal ready to be served.

Can clay pots be used on a gas stove?

Yes, clay pots can be used on gas stoves. In fact, they work well on most types of stovetops, including induction. However, just be sure to place the pot on a heat diffuser or trivet [1] to protect your stovetop and clay pot from scratches.

Do clay pots break with heat?

Clay pots are very durable and can withstand high temperatures. After all, all clay pots have been put through very high heat thresholds to produce the utensil you and I can enjoy today as part of our kitchen utensil. However, if they are heated too quickly or placed on a heat source that is too high, they can crack.

Can I place my clay pot in the oven?

Yes, you can put a clay pot in the oven. In fact, this is my personal preference for cooking with clay pots. Just be sure not to place it directly on the oven racks as this can cause scratching. Instead, place the pot on a baking sheet or heat diffuser to protect your oven.

Can I put a clay pot in a microwave?

No, you should not put a clay pot in the microwave as some clay pots may contain traces of lead, and this could lead to potential issues with how microwaves transmit radiation waves.

The only time you should place a clay cooking pot in a microwave, is when it has a convectional oven included, or if the clay pot is sold as “microwave safe”.

Can I clean a clay pot in a dishwasher?

Ideally, you would not want to place a clay pot in a dishwasher. However, if you need to, then you may do so with a glazed clay cooking pot. It is not advisable to wash an unglazed clay pot in a dishwasher. Rather follow the guideline above in order to preserve your clay pot.

How to clean clay pots after cooking

Can clay pots be washed? Yes, they can – and they should. It’s important to clean your clay pots after each use to prevent the build-up of bacteria [2]. If you use your pot regularly, you may need to clean it weekly.

How to clean clay pots with baking soda

You will need:

-1/2 cup baking soda
-1 gallon (3.8 L) of water

Instructions:

  1. Add the baking soda to a large bucket or bowl filled with water.
  2. Stir the mixture until the baking soda is dissolved.
  3. Submerge your clay pot in the mixture and let it soak for 30 minutes.
  4. Scrub the pot with a non-abrasive sponge or brush to remove any stains or dirt.
  5. Rinse the pot well with clean water and allow it to air dry.

How to clean clay pots with vinegar

You will need:

-1 cup vinegar
-1 gallon (3.8 L) of water

Instructions:

  1. Add the vinegar to a large bucket or bowl filled with water.
  2. Stir the mixture until the vinegar is dissolved.
  3. Submerge your clay pot in the mixture and let it soak for 30 minutes.
  4. Scrub the pot with a non-abrasive sponge or brush to remove any stains or dirt.
  5. Rinse the pot well with clean water and allow it to air dry.
A woman using a soft cloth to clean a brown clay dish.

How to store clay pots after cooking

After cleaning your clay pot, it’s important to store it properly to prevent damage. Store your pot in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. If you have more than one pot, stack them upside down on top of each other to prevent scratching. You can also wrap your pots in towels or sheets to protect them from dust and dirt.

When not in use, it’s a good idea to keep your clay pots covered to prevent them from drying out. If your pot does start to dry out, you can rehydrate it by soaking it in water for a few hours, or giving it a soft layer of olive oil.

With proper care and cleaning, your clay pot will last for many years – mine certainly do 🙂 These pots are an excellent investment for any home cook. Not only are they durable and easy to care for, but they also add a touch of beauty to your kitchen.

Benefits of cooking with clay pots

  1. Clay pots help to retain moisture, making them perfect for slow-cooking meats and vegetables. The porous nature of clay also allows it to absorb flavors, giving your food a deeper taste.
  2. Another advantage of cooking with clay is that it evenly distributes heat. This means that your food will cook evenly, without hot spots.
  3. Clay pots are also very versatile. They can be used on the stovetop, in the oven, or even over an open flame. Clay pots are an excellent choice for any home cook. With proper care, they will last for many years and provide you with delicious, healthy meals.
  4. If you’re looking for a healthy and eco-friendly cooking option, clay pots are a great choice. Made from natural materials, they don’t contain any harmful chemicals.
  5. Additionally, they can be recycled or reused once they reach the end of their lifespan.

I frequently use clay pots when preparing an Indian curry meal from scratch.

Downside of cooking with clay pots

  1. A disadvantage of cooking in a clay pot is that they’re not suitable for all types of cooking [3]. For example, you shouldn’t use a clay pot for frying or sautéing. Clay pots can leach metals (lead) into your food. This is more likely to happen if the pot is unglazed (raw clay) or if it’s cracked or chipped. To avoid this, make sure to only use clay pots that are lead-free and in good condition.
  2. Another downside of cooking with clay is that it can be difficult to control the temperature. This means that there’s a greater risk of overcooking or burning your food.
  3. Clay pots are fragile and can break easily if dropped. They should be handled with care to avoid damage.
  4. Another downside of clay pots is that they can be expensive. However, they last for many years, so they are a good investment for serious cooks.
3 cracked clay cooking pots that are beyond repair, and can no longer be used to cooking purposes.
Credit: Canva

Before you go…

So, there you have it… all you need to know on how to care for your clay cooking pot. Of all the pots and pans in your kitchen, your clay cooking pot is likely the most special. That is not to say you should ask it out on a date ha-ha not only is it a beautiful piece to your stovetop, but it also has some unique properties that set it apart from other pots and pans.

Be sure to use this information to get the most out of your investment in these beautiful pieces of cookware. And don’t forget to enjoy the wonderful flavors that can only come from clay pot cooking! Have you cooked with a clay pot before? What are some of your favorite recipes? Let us know in the comments below.

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Charlene Gallant

Charlene is a lover of good food. She enjoys nothing more than cooking up a storm in the kitchen and sharing her favourite recipes with her readers. She also enjoys reading a good book.

2 thoughts on “Great Tips On How To Care For Your Clay Cooking Pot”

  1. I have a large clay cooking pot by Reston Lloyd. Would it harm the pot to put a loaf pan in the pot and bake bread in the loaf pan?

    1. Hi there Connie,

      Thank you for your question. I assume you are referring to baking the bread inside the clay pot, but not inside an oven? If so, I have not done this personally, so I would be very curious to know how effective this would be.

      Reston Lloyd is a great brand – perhaps that will work in your favor.

      Let us know how it goes.

      Charlie

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