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.