How To Cure a Tagine

We receive quite a few questions about tagine curing and cooking. Not only the “how” questions but the “why” as well. Below, I am including a step by step directions on how to cure a tagine at home without any special equipment and just little space.

HOW TO CURE A TAGINE?
It is necessary that it is seasoned before initial use. Please follow these simple instructions below for maximum results:

1. WATER: The new tagine needs to be first submerged in water for at least 1 hour. If you can’t submerge it, place it in a clean sink bowl and slowly fill the base of the tagine with water until it stops absorbing it. Place the tagine lid on top (as shown) and fill it as well. Let stand for 30 minutes to allow full absorption of water into the clay. Empty excess water and set to dry for 5 minutes.

Step 1. Soaking in Water

Step 1. Soaking in Water

2. OLIVE OIL: All you need is 3 table spoons of olive oil, 2 for the base and one for the lid. Spread the olive oil throughout the base and lid with your hand as shown. 

How to cure a Moroccan tagine

Step 2. Rubbing with Olive Oil

3: HEAT: While the tagine is still wet with the oil applied to it, place it in the oven as shown in the first or second photos, and set temperature at 350 F and leave for 45 minutes. The evaporation of moisture creates a vaccum effect to pull the olive oil into the clay which glazes and seals it. Then leave the tagine cool down in the turned off oven.
The last photo shows a cured tagine ready for use.
 

Step 3. Heat Curing in the Oven

Step 3. Heat Curing in the Oven

WHY CURE A TAGINE?
Curing clay pots is as cultural as the cooking itself. If you look up curing clay pots, you will find a variety of processes using a multitude of ingredients ranging from spinach to buttermilk to mustard oil. In order to strengthen (less susceptible to thermal shock) your cooking tagine and get optimum taste that tagine lovers seek at every use, it is necessary to use the process explained above. The use of olive oil has a dual effect. It is as important for sealing clay as it is for flavoring Moroccan cooking. 

TAGINE CLEANING
It is recommended that you hand wash your tagine, as it has not been tested for dishwashers. Do not leave submerged in soapy water. 

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39 Responses to “How To Cure a Tagine”

  1. Jenny S. Says:

    Thank you for this post. The step by step photos are very useful.
    J.

  2. Renegade Says:

    I found how to cure a tagine very interesting, I have always done mine about the same way except I submerge mine in water longer. any where from a half a day to sometimes as long as over night and let dry a bit longer, and always use grape seed oil instead of olive oil. I guess I just spend more time and more money. doing it my way due to the price of grape seed oil. and i don’t even know how i got started doing it the way I do? is there any advantage in doing it with olive oil ?

    • itagine Says:

      thank you for your input. we used to recommend submerging in water overnight to avoid under-soaking. we elected to show it this way as we were looking for a way that is practical and convenient to most kitchens, small or large. as far as olive oil, the only reason we would use it instead of grape seed oil is flavor. it really adds an authentic scent to the dish. i hope this answers your question.

  3. Gail Says:

    Do you recommend that the tagine be cured before each use or just when new? Thank you.

    • itagine Says:

      Normally you should only cure it once, however, since most people do not use their tagine often, we suggest to re-cure it after 6 months of no use.

  4. christelle Says:

    hello
    we live in a very dry climate here, and at a high altitude. Does this change the way we’ll take care of our unglazed tagine. I plan to use it 2 times a month. Thanks

    • itagine Says:

      Hi Christelle. The altitude should not affect how you care for your tagine. The Rifi tagines, for example, come from high altitude area in the Moroccan Rif mountains. I hope this answers your question. Cheers.

  5. christelle Says:

    Thanks for your answer. Some people seem to soak their tagine before each use. Is this better?

  6. barbara degroot Says:

    I decided I better buy a difuser after I received my tagine cooker. I cured the vessel and then it sat for about a month. The directions I received with my tagine, which I lost stated something about what I would need to do to the tagine when it has not been used in several weeks. Do you have an idea of what that might be? Thank you for your help!

  7. David Says:

    When applying the olive oil, should it only be done on the inside of the tagine or should it be all surfaces?

  8. barbara degroot Says:

    A woman on the Martha Stuart show shared how to cook foods using a tagine. I found youe website in the next hour and placed my order. Only once I got the tagine, a friend from Morocco suggested I get a difuser which I have. She said tagines were sold everywhere back home for 1/4 of the price I paid. I sure hope this does not have lead.

    How can I be sue my hand-made bell-shaped tagine I received from your company last month, November 2009 does not contain lead?

    I believe I can use soap and water to clean the tagine. Is this correct?
    I am wondering why I cannot use soap and water on pizza stones and pampered chef stoneware.

    The shape of the tagine is beautiful and I am anxious to use it once I know it is lead free.

    Thank you.

    • itagine Says:

      Hi Barbara. Thank you for your order. Your tagine meets FDA standards and is foodsafe, unlike the tagines sold in Morocco, ours are glazed using FDA certified glazing imported from Europe. You can purchase a lead testing kit ($6.95) at any hardware store and test it yourself if you need to. You can use soap and water to clean your tagine but do not submerge it soapy water.
      Enjoy you tagine!

  9. Matty B Says:

    Hi there,
    We have just returned from a fabulous trip in Morocco, armed with our new favorite addition to our kitchen, a beautiful tagine from the high Atlas ! Your ‘curing’ instructions have been a tremendous help and we look forward to many authentic moroccan meals to remind us of our trip!
    We have heard some reports of the glazing of tagines cotaining high levels of lead, do you know if this is simply isolated to highly decorated (painted) tagines? or is it a risk associated with all glazing? We are a little apprehensive to use on a regular basis as it was bought from a berber store and finding out further info specificly about our tagine may be difficult. Any advice woould be greatly appreciated. Shukran.

    • itagine Says:

      Hi Matty. Glad you enjoyed your trip to Morocco. Most of the tagines sold in Morocco do not meet FDA standards for lead content. Are you able to email us a photo of your tagine so that we can confirm to you either way. You can also purchase a lead testing kit from any hardware store (about $6.95) and confirm it yourself for peace of mind. Let me know if we can be of any assistance.

      Curing instructions: https://itagine.wordpress.com/2008/02/15/how-to-cure-a-tagine/

  10. Daniel Says:

    I have had my tagine now for about four months and I’ve used it frequently. I haven’t used it with a difuser, I just use a low heat and it works wonderfully. The meals I’ve whipped up have been wonderful, and the brothers from my masjid agree. It cured easily, cleans easily, and is perfect for cooking goat (long simmers on low heat). Just have to say thank you!

  11. Mary Harrington Says:

    Hello,

    As soon as I read in Paula Wolfert’s new book about a tagine made of micaceous clay (Souss) I ordered one from you.

    Are any of the other unglazed tagines, etc. you offer made from clay with mica? I can see the sparkles in the photo of the Souss tagine but not the others.

    Thanks to Paula Wolfert, I have tried other micaceous earthen cookware (La Chamba from Columbia) and I am really pleased by the sensuous process of cooking in them as well as the superb flavor imparted to the food cooked in them.

    I recently discovered that the Native Americans in the southern part of California, where I live, also make unglazed micaceous earthenware both for cooking and storage of dry foods and water.

    Also, is it necessary to use a flame-tamer or diffuser with the Souss tagine on a gas range? I wouldn’t want to chance breaking it, but generally I start out with the lowest flame for 10 minutes and gradually turn it up ever 5-10 minutes or so. Thanks in advance.

    FWIW, I went to Fez 30 years ago (via Tangiers) by bus and it was the most memorable adventure ever. The people we met were very generous and hospitable, the country is breathtaking gorgeous and the cuisine IMO is one of the best in the world. In Paris one of my favorite comfort foods was couscous and it still is but I have to make it myself here in Los Angeles. I’ve got my eye on your clay couscousiere!

    • itagine Says:

      Thank you Mary. We love Souss tagines and we cannot keep enough in stock as it comes from a remote area south of Agadir. We will have them for 2-3 months and then on backorder for 4-6 months at a time.
      To answer your question, the Souss tagine is the only one made with micaceous clay. The ourika tagine clay also has minute traces of mica.
      Paula Wolfert knows her clay cookware and we are forever grateful to her for sharing her knowledge and keeping the subject alive.
      It is not necessary to use a diffuser. Try keeping the heat on low and not turn it up. The heat will accumulate within just 10 minutes and slow cooking is the key to a successful tagine.
      We appreciate your thoughts and your business.

  12. Lyn Farmer Says:

    Dear Friends,
    I’ve been a tagines.com customer for several years now and have both cooking and serving tagines, and I love the small condiment tagines. Now I have two tagras from you – should these also be cured like my unglazed tagines? Also, should the cazuela be cured even though it is glazed and I would assume, non-absorbant?

    Many thanks for the wonderful products.

    • itagine Says:

      Hi Lyn. We appreciate your business and you continue to support tagines.com. Our customers are very special to us.
      To answer your question, you should cure the tagras as well. We also recommend curing all of our clay pots if for no other reason that the flavor infused by applying olive oil.
      Thank you for being a loyal customer!

  13. Paul Says:

    I’m planning to make a tagine in my pottery class but I’m not clear weather or not I’m supposed to glaze the inside. Seems like I see both variations.

  14. Sami Says:

    You are quite right. There are both options available in the market. It is really a personal choice. I suggest glazing it so that you can use it for serving other foods as well and not just cooking in it.
    Cheers
    Sami

  15. Jere M Says:

    WE just returned after 30 days in Tunisia and Morocco. Bought a cooking tajine (according to the shop keeper in Marackech) but it is glazed inside and out except for the bottom which is flat and natural.
    He very clearly showed us the difference between serving tajines and cooking tajines.
    Do I have a cooking tajine and is it necessary to cure mine before using it?

    • itagine Says:

      Since it is flat and unglazed in the bottom, we can confidently say you have a cooking tagine. If you send us a photo to tagines@gmail.com, we will confirm to you 100% if it is.

  16. Nick Says:

    Just purchased a glazed tagine… really excited!… since it’s glazed do I still need to season it as above?

  17. Nora Parsons Says:

    Just got one of your tagines for my birthday! Yeah!!! I soaked it last night but didn’t have time to finish the seasoning. Should I resoak before I add the oil and heat? Thanks!

    • Sami Says:

      Happy Birthday Nora!
      You don’t need to soak it overnight, just fill it with water for a 10 minutes and drain it before you proceed with the seasoning.

  18. Gail Gutradt Says:

    Can i use a pottery tajine on an electric stove? Would this work with a diffuser? I have hesitated to purchase a clay tajine because i was not sure how to work with it on an electric burner.

    I have a wonderful micaceous clay bean pot from Taos Pueblo that i bought twenty years ago. If i actually wished to cook with it, would you suggest soaking and oiling it as you do with a tajine?

    Thank you for this wonderful website!

    • itagine Says:

      You can absolutely use a pottery tagine on an electric stove top. Using a diffuser is even better as it spreads heat evenly. Micaceous clay is great. We suggest you cure it as well before use if it has not been used for long periods of time, and by the way, you are most welcome!

  19. Elan Mottley Says:

    Hello i just bought a tagine and i was wondering if a diffuser is essential?
    Thanks

  20. Steve Says:

    See a lot of recipes for lamb and chicken and some duck. Wondering if there is a cookbook dedicated to wild game cooked in a tagine. I know you can just sub the wild game meat for the chicken/lamb, etc. I actually have a fresh deer neck that I am going to use in my tagine as one of my first experiments! Duck later.

    • itagine Says:

      Hi Steve. Sorry for the late response. We are not aware of a cookbook that focuses on game.
      How was your deer neck tagine? You care to share the recipe?

  21. Judith Kunert Says:

    Hello. In step 2 of curing tagine, do I need to spread oil on the outer part (base and lid) part of the tagine? Thanks. Judy

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