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Soufflé Dishes

Published January 2014

How we tested

Update: April 2014

The top-rated Emile Henry souffle dish is discontinued. As a result, we are promoting our runner-up and Best Buy to the top spot.


When a lofty soufflé emerges from the oven, your sense of pride seems to puff up right along with it. At least that’s how we felt when we tested four 2-quart soufflé dishes priced from about $10 to $47. All were classic round, straight-sided ceramic dishes that looked like large ramekins. Sweet as well as savory cheese soufflés rose reliably in each dish. Differences came down to two factors: the actual (versus stated) capacity of each dish and the thickness of each dish’s walls. Despite stated capacities of 2 quarts, the actual capacities of the dishes we tested ranged from exactly that amount to nearly 2.5 quarts. Some extra room turned out to be a good thing, ensuring that even if we added all the batter to the dish, we’d still have an inch of space left between the top of the batter and the vessel’s rim (we’ve found that leaving this amount of space avoids overflow issues as the soufflé rises). In the dish that was exactly 2 quarts, we ended up needing to discard about 1/3 cup of batter—which had us wondering whether the soufflé would yield the proper number of servings. The largest dish in the lineup, however, was too big and dwarfed our soufflé’s elegant rise. This same dish’s thick walls, which were more than double the width of the thinnest dish in the lineup, insulated the contents so well that they slowed baking by 5 to 7 minutes. With its perfectly straight sides that were not too thick and a capacity of 2 quarts plus 1 cup, our favorite dish allowed us to use all the batter while avoiding any overflow issues, delivering impressive, evenly cooked soufflés that rose as high as 1 3/4 inches above its rim.

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The Results

Winner
Recommended

Design Trifecta 360 Knife Block

Admittedly expensive, this handsome block certainly seemed to live up to its billing as “the last knife block you ever have to buy.” The heaviest model in our testing, this block was ultrastable, and its durable bamboo exterior was a breeze to clean. Well-placed medium-strength magnets made it easy to attach all our knives, and a rotating base gave us quick access to them. One tiny quibble: The blade of our 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a little.

$248.64*
Recommended

Schmidt Brothers Downtown Block

This roomy block completely sheathed our entire winning knife set using just one of its two sides—and quite securely, thanks to long, medium-strength magnet bars. Heavy, with a grippy base, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard made this model extra-safe but also made it a little trickier to insert knives and to clean; the wood block itself showed some minor cosmetic scratching during use.

$141.90*

Schmidt Brothers Midtown Block

This smaller version of the Downtown Block secured all our knives nicely, though the blade of the slicing knife stuck out a bit. With a base lined with grippy material, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard afforded extra protection against contact with blades but made it a little harder to insert knives and to clean; the wood itself got a little scratched during use.

$67.99*
Recommended with Reservations

Swissmar Bamboo Magnetic Knife Block

This small, scratch-resistant model had a stable, rubber-lined base and could hold all our knives, though the blade of the 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a bit. But inch-long gaps between its small magnets made coverage uneven and forced us to find the magnetic hot spots in order to secure the knives. Its acrylic guard made it safer to use but harder to insert knives and to clean.

$49.93*
Not Recommended

Messermeister Walnut Magnet Block

This handsome block was done in by its shape—a tippy, top-heavy quarter-circle that wasn’t tall or broad enough to keep the blades of three knives from poking out. It lacked a nonslip base, and its extra-strong magnets made it unnerving to attach or remove our heavy cleaver. Finally, it got a bit scratched after extensive use.

$129.95*

Epicurean Standing Knife Rack 12"

This magnetic block sheathed all our knives completely, though with a bit of crowding. But it was hard to insert each knife without hitting the block’s decorative slats on way down, and because the block was light and narrow, it wobbled when bumped. Worse, we couldn’t take it apart, so splatters that hit the interior were there to stay. Additionally, the outside stained easily, and when we wiped it down, the unit smelled like wet dog.

$99.95*

Kapoosh Rondelle Knife Block

This model stabilized knives with a mass of stiff, spaghetti-like bristles that shed and nicked easily after extensive use, covering our knives with plastic debris. While all our knives fit securely, several of the blades stuck out, making this unit feel less safe overall. Finally, though the bristles could be removed and cleaned in the dishwasher, their nooks and crannies made this block hard to wash by hand.

$24.99*

Kuhn Rikon Vision Knife Block, Clear

This plastic block required us to aim each knife into the folds of an accordion-pleated insert that was removable for easy cleaning but got nicked easily with repeated use. Because we could only insert the knives vertically, longer knife blades stuck out; a cleaver was too wide to fit. The lightest model in our lineup, this block was dangerously top-heavy when loaded with knives.

$35.88*