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Get Healthy and Earthy with Terracotta Cookware: A Guide to Safe Usage and Surprising Benefits!

Looking for a healthy way to cook your favourite meals?

Look no further than terracotta cookware, where flavour meets nutrition in the most natural way possible. It’s not just a trendy addition to your kitchen, but also a time-tested method that has been used for centuries. For Keralaites, who see food as more than a basic necessity, terracotta cookware has been an integral part of their culture for centuries. Now it’s gaining popularity in the world of health-conscious cooking.

Terracotta cookware has been used for slow cooking, stewing, and broiling. Its unique ability to retain warmth, moisture, and nutrients makes it a favourite among chefs and health enthusiasts alike. It's not just the nutrients it adds to the food, but also its alkaline nature, which helps maintain the pH level of acidic food. In addition, for women suffering from hormonal imbalances, cooking in earthen cookware can help balance hormones.

Dive into the world of terracotta cookware and see how it could revolutionise your culinary experience.

Benefits of terracotta cookware

Aesthetically pleasing with its natural, earthy tones and textures, terracotta cookware has several benefits that make it a must-have in every kitchen.

One of its greatest advantages is that it retains heat extremely well. Due to its porous nature, it spreads heat throughout the pan, this means your food will be cooked evenly and thoroughly, giving you perfectly cooked dishes every time. This makes it the ideal choice for slow-cooking dishes like stew and curries. Moreover, it’s a natural, non-toxic and chemical-free material that does not leach harmful toxins into your meal. It is a safe option for those who care about the quality of their meal.

The alkaline nature of terracotta counters the acidity in certain foods, further enhancing its aroma and taste. Along with this the terracotta cookware also adds essential nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium and sulphur.

A delicious spread of Goan cuisine served in terracotta cookware, including fish curry, rice, and vegetables.
Savor the Flavors of Goa: A Healthier and Earthier Dining Experience with Terracotta Cookware

But that’s not all -terracotta cooking pots require less oil than other cookware. This is because it can retain moisture and natural oil present in your food, making it a heart-healthy alternative.

The best part is that terracotta cookware is affordable and easily available all over India. With proper maintenance and care, you can reap its benefits for years but even when it comes to the end of its life, you don't have to worry about hurting the planet as it is compostable. Hence, it is a great choice for those who want to reduce their environmental impact.

How to use terracotta cookware safely

So you've got your hands on some gorgeous terracotta cookware and can't wait to whip up some delicious dishes? Well, hold your horses, because there are some essential things to keep in mind when handling these delicate beauties. Firstly, you need to 'season' the cookware before you use it. This means dissolving it in water overnight and giving it a good scrub with a stiff bristle brush to get rid of any clay or dust particles. Once it's squeaky clean, leave it out to dry in the sun and then give it a generous brush with oil to prevent anything from sticking to it.

 person cooking a healthy and earthy meal on a large terracotta pan over a traditional fire stove. The pan is filled with colorful vegetables, and the flames are visible underneath.
Cooking the Traditional Way: Wholesome Meals on a Terracotta Pan Over a Wood Fire Stove

Now, the golden rule with terracotta cookware is to go slow and steady. These pots retain heat incredibly well, but they don't take kindly to sudden temperature changes. So always make sure to heat them gradually and avoid exposing them to high temperatures all of a sudden, as this could lead to nasty cracks.

Another thing to keep in mind is to use utensils that are gentle on your precious pots. Metal utensils can be too harsh and could cause them to break. So instead, opt for wooden or soft material utensils to ensure the longevity of your cookware.

Cleaning and maintenance are also crucial when it comes to these babies. After cooking, it's best to avoid using dishwashing liquid, as it can get stuck in the pores of the terracotta and even leave an unpleasant taste in your food. A good scrub with hot water and a scrubber should do the trick. And don't forget to oil your cookware regularly to prevent it from drying out and cracking.

Lastly, remember to always soak your clay pots in water for 20 minutes before cooking to prevent them from cracking due to sudden temperature changes. With these tips in mind, you'll be able to keep your terracotta cookware safe and sound from damage.

Types of terracotta cookware

Types of terracotta cookware

Here are some of the different types of terracotta cookware that will help elevate your culinary creations:

  • Earthen Pots: These unglazed, porous pots are a classic choice for slow-cooked stews, soups and curries. They are perfect for dishes that require gentle and slow heating. And as a bonus, they add a touch of earthiness to the flavour of the food.

  • Tagines: Transport yourself to the vibrant markets of Morocco with a tagine. With its distinctive cone-shaped lid, this terracotta cooking pot is designed to retain moisture and ensure perfectly tender, juicy dishes. Think couscous, fragrant stews, rice and beans.

  • Pizza Stones: Take your pizza-making skills to the next level with a terracotta pizza stone. Not only do they create a crisp crust, but the porous nature of terracotta allows for even cooking and the retention of natural oils from the toppings.

  • Baking Dishes: From savoury casseroles to sweet desserts, terracotta baking dishes are a versatile addition to any kitchen. The two-part design of a clay baker allows for a crispy top and moist centre for dishes like bread, pudding, and baked vegetables.

  • Grilling Pans: Bring the flavours of the outdoors in with a terracotta grilling pan. These pans are perfect for cooking meats, vegetables, and fish with minimal oil. The non-deformable forged aluminium base ensures even heat distribution for perfect grilling every time.

  • Cazuela: Hailing from Spain, cazuela cooking pots are perfect for preparing hearty soups, stews, and casseroles. The glazed finish of the shallow, round pot adds a pop of colour to your kitchen and the ceramic coating ensures easy cleanup.

  • Micaceous Clay: This unique type of clay has a natural sheen and is often left unglazed to showcase its beauty. Micaceous clay cookware is perfect for slow-cooking and simmering, with the bonus of being a beautiful serving dish for your table.

  • Indian Clay Pots: Also known as Handi, Matka, and Manchatti, these unglazed clay pots are a staple in Indian kitchens. Their porous nature allows for even cooking and the retention of natural flavours. They are also an economical and eco-friendly option for cooking.

Recipes to try

Kerala fish curry is a delicious and flavorful dish from the Indian state of Kerala that can be made in a terracotta pot. Here is a simple recipe to try:


  • 1 lb fish fillets, cut into pieces

  • 1 cup coconut milk

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 2 tomatoes, chopped

  • 2 green chilies, chopped

  • 1 tsp ginger paste

  • 1 tsp garlic paste

  • 1 tsp turmeric powder

  • 2 tsp red chili powder

  • 2 tsp coriander powder

  • 1 tsp cumin powder

  • 1 tsp mustard seeds

  • Curry leaves

  • Salt to taste

  • Oil


  1. Soak the terracotta pot in water for at least an hour before using it.

  2. Heat oil in the terracotta pot and add mustard seeds. Wait until they start to splutter.

  3. Add onions and sauté until they turn golden brown.

  4. Add ginger and garlic paste and sauté for a few seconds.

  5. Add chopped tomatoes, green chillies, curry leaves, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, and cumin powder. Mix well and cook for 5 minutes.

  6. Add the fish pieces to the pot and mix gently so that the fish is coated with the spice mixture.

  7. Add coconut milk and salt to taste. Bring the curry to a boil.

  8. Reduce heat and let the curry simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.

  9. Serve hot with steamed rice or bread.

Cooking Kerala fish curry in a terracotta pot adds a unique flavour and aroma to the dish. The pot retains heat well, so the curry stays warm for a longer time. The terracotta pot also imparts a mild earthy flavour to the dish, making it taste even better.

Biryani is a classic South Asian dish that is beloved for its fragrant blend of spices, tender meat or vegetables, and fluffy basmati rice. It is a perfect dish to make in terracotta cookware for an added depth of flavour.

Steaming hot and aromatic biriyani served in a rustic terracotta pot, showcasing the benefits of using terracotta cookware for healthier and earthier dishes.
Indulge in Delicious and Healthy Biriyani Cooked in Terracotta Pot


  • 500g basmati rice

  • 500g chicken, cut into small pieces

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped

  • 3-4 green chillies, finely chopped

  • 2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt

  • 1 tsp turmeric powder

  • 1 tsp red chilli powder

  • 1 tsp cumin powder

  • 1 tsp coriander powder

  • 1 tsp garam masala

  • Salt to taste

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil or ghee