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Are Stoneware Dishes Oven Safe? (Yes! But only up to . . . )

Stoneware refers to a range of ceramic pottery that is fired at high temperatures. You’ll find everything from plates and bowls to larger dishes that look like they would be for baking. So, are stoneware dishes oven safe?

Yes. Stoneware dishes are oven-safe with many brands being safe up to 350° F and some brands being oven-safe up to 450° F. In most cases unless otherwise stated by the manufacturer, avoid using stoneware under the broiler.

These are made from a special kind of clay and are fired at very high temperatures of about 2,192 degrees F.

As a result, these dishes can withstand very high cooking temperatures. Just avoid sudden temperature changes and see if your brand has a high-temperature limit.

However, you still need to be aware of the maximum temperature it can withstand. For some brands that could be as low as 350. But can they go under the broiler?

But we’ll also get into how they’re made and other tips to keep them safe and working properly for years to come.

Just keep reading and we’ll dive into all your questions including the key differences between stoneware, earthenware, and pottery.

How is stoneware made?

Stoneware is made from a specific clay type that is fired at a higher temperature of around 2,192 degrees F. It does not require glazing and will be waterproof and have the appearance of natural stone.

Let’s also define a few terms you may need to know.

  • Earthenware
  • Stoneware
  • Porcelain
  • Ceramic
  • Pottery

These are all terms used to describe similar-looking materials or dishes. But what exactly is the difference between these?

The word ceramic comes from the Greek word Keramos, which means pottery, potter’s clay, or a potter. That being said, ceramic and pottery can be used interchangeably to mean the same thing.

Potters create vessels with clay and other ceramic materials. They are fired at high temperatures to harden them and make them more durable. These pieces can then be decorated or glazed to give it a unique look.

Within the ceramics/pottery category, you have three main types of pieces: earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain. The main differences between each of these are determined by the type of clay used and the temperature the clay is fired, which changes the hardened material’s end result.

  • Earthenware – typically fired as low as 1,112 degrees F and no higher than 2,192 degrees F, which is relatively low when compared to other ceramics. The result is hard by brittle material that is slightly porous. It is usually covered with a glaze before firing for a second time to the vessel can be used to hold water and other liquids.
  • Stoneware – fired at a higher temperature, around 2,192 degrees F. The result is a more durable, denser material with a stone-like quality. It ends up being waterproof, so it does not need to be glazed like earthenware.
  • Porcelain – typically fired as very high temperatures, around 2,192 to 2,642 degrees F. The result is a tough, shiny material that is often white and somewhat translucent.

Stoneware, in particular, is more opaque than other ceramics because of its thicker construction and the clay used. It has a rather stone-like appearance and quality. These dishes tend to be very durable and have many health benefits as well.

What temperature can stoneware withstand?

The maximum temperature that stoneware can withstand is about 450° F (232° C). Beyond this temperature, your stoneware can crack. Also, make sure not to cause sudden heating, cooling, or direct heating elements to avoid damage. 

It can be very easy to make the mistake of thinking that just because something was exposed to extreme temperatures when it was made, it is invincible in the kitchen.

In other words, don’t think that your stoneware can withstand your oven’s highest temperature just because it was fired at over 2,000 degrees.

When it comes to stoneware used in ovens, the most popular dish choice is the pizza stone.

However, without proper care and precautions, your pizza stone can crack and break. Sometimes this may be due to the temperature you are cooking at. Sometimes it can simply be due to improper care.

As a general rule, you want to avoid going above 450 degrees F with your stoneware in the oven. It is best that you actually heat your stone with the oven gradually as sudden and extreme changes in temperature can cause your dishes to crack.

You will also need to be careful the other way as well, exposing your hot dish to something cold. After you have preheated your stoneware, don’t place cold ingredients on the pan or place it directly on the cold countertop.

Finally, you want to be careful with the way you clean it. Allowing too much moisture into the stone, whether it’s water from washing or oils from cooking, can also lead to cracking under extreme temperatures.

How do you know if a dish is oven-safe?

To know if a dish is oven-safe, check the marking on the bottom. These markings often tell you if the dish is microwave or oven-safe as well as if it is dishwasher safe.

Just as we mentioned earlier, don’t assume that a dish is oven safe just because it was exposed to high temperatures during manufacturing.

Once the material has been hardened into earthenware, stoneware, or porcelain, you do need to take care when re-exposing those materials to heat.

Some dishes might not be marked, though. And for these, you’ll need to know what to look for before purchasing or using them in the oven.

  1. Check the brand: any glass bowl or pan made by Pyrex or Corningware can be used in the oven. Read more about Corningware in this recent article. Feldspar porcelain also has oven-safe bowls. Another recent article will tell you that Pfaltzgraff dishes will vary as to the maximum temperature they can endure, as well as if they are even oven safe at all.
  2. Check for a manufacturer’s stamp: this should tell you if the dish is oven safe and may even include the maximum temperature it can endure.
  3. Look for glaze: if the dishes are glazed, it is more than likely not safe to place in the oven. The glaze may crack and often protects the otherwise fragile material underneath.

When in doubt, call the manufacturer or look on their website. And if you can’t find any answers that way, just stick to a dish you know is 100% safe for oven use.

How do you bake with stoneware?

When baking with stoneware, you do need to be careful with extreme temperature changes. You want to try to preheat your dish with your oven and avoid placing your hot dish on a cold countertop or rolling out cold pizza dough on a hot stone.

Stoneware is ideal for baking for many more reasons.

First, it is durable. It is able to withstand up to 450 degrees F in the oven, which is higher than most other oven-safe dishes.

Second, stoneware has the ability to retain heat. This results in even baking and temperature maintenance even when it is removed from the oven.

Finally, it has a natural non-stick surface. There is no need to add oil to the pan to season it or prevent your fries and vegetables from sticking.

Is stoneware more durable than earthenware?

Stoneware is more durable than earthenware since it is fired at a much higher temperature and is made from a special kind of clay. Also, it is waterproof and ideal for storage and presentation. 

Earthenware is fired at a lower temperature than stoneware.

Thus the end result is a bit more brittle. It is porous and cannot hold liquid without the second phase of firing. The vessel or dish is usually covered with a glaze before the second firing to seal it and make it more waterproof.

The most common type of earthenware is terracotta.

Earthenware tends to be a more economical choice when it comes to dinnerware. It also has a more rustic look than stoneware, which is quite popular right now. However, it does tend to chip and crack easier than stoneware does.

Stoneware, on the other hand, is fired at a much higher temperature.

This results in a much harder vessel or dish that is waterproof and does not require glazing. Because it is much more durable, it has always been more suited to kitchen use or storage rather than table presentation.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this article has answered all of your questions about stoneware and whether they are oven safe.

Stoneware is the most durable of all ceramics. There is no need for a glaze as they are naturally waterproof due to the materials used and temperature the vessel is fired at.

However, this doesn’t mean they are invincible. Take care when using your stoneware dish in the oven. Preheat your dish with your oven to avoid exposure to extreme temperatures, and try not to let it soak in water or drop it.

Photo which requires attribution:

Tea Bowl (Chawan) with Oil Spot Pattern LACMA M.73.48.136 by Ashley Van Haeften is licensed under CC2.0

Jeff Campbell