Ramekins have become a regular part of many baking procedures. They’re the go-to containers for cooking desserts and soups in the oven. And because they’re readily available and durable, it’s normal to dwell on them solely for cooking purposes. But you may not have ramekins in your kitchen and need to prepare some crème Brulee or soufflé.
Should you abandon the recipe because these kitchen tools aren’t available? Ramekins are in their basest functional form, containers, and you can pick another type to suit your need. But before selecting the nearest cup to use as a ramekin, first, understand why these kitchen items have become so dependable in our numerous baking activities.
What is a Ramekin?
In simpler terms, a ramekin is a circular ceramic container used primarily for baking foods. Its name came from the French term ‘ramequin,’ which describes its design and shape. In its original design, a ramekin needs to measure between three to four inches in diameter. It was usually produced in white color, but more designs and shades are available for the container. And it was initially used as a serving dish for meats, cheese, and baked recipes.
Today ramekins are used as holding containers for single-portion servings of desserts and other foods. And its ceramic material allows the food to be cooked in the oven. The containers are renowned for their durability and heat-retention capacity. Plus, it’s no longer made from ceramic alone but also steel and glass. And they’re commonly employed in many popular dishes, including custards, crème Brulee, and soufflés- the latter being why they’re also called ‘soufflé dishes.’
Ramekins need to be glazed before use so the food doesn’t stick to the sides as it cooks. And they’re used to hold baked goods, sauces, puddings, soups, and warm desserts. The containers are perfect for preparing single-portion foods, making it easy to allocate servings to guests straightforwardly. And you can also use ramekins to make poached eggs, ramen, mac and cheese, rice, warm dips, hot desserts, and many more.
When you can’t find ramekins to use for your recipe, other materials can take their place. But before choosing one, it’s best to decide how you plan on using the container. As such, certain factors must be considered when selecting a replacement for ramekins in your kitchen. And these options include;
Most times, ramekins are made from ceramic since this material holds well in high-heat cooking situations. So, when picking a substitute, consider looking for one of the same materials as well. This way, the cooking time will remain roughly the same as with a typical ramekin. But other materials to choose from include aluminum, cast-iron, steel, glass, and enamel containers.
A typical ramekin comes in a circular form, so the substitute should be just as round. But if you don’t have such, find something close in shape, like an oval or square shape. These shapes allow the food to stay in the same cooking space allocated if the design were round. And ensure to avoid rectangular-shaped containers, as they’ll influence how the food cooks.
Size and Depth
Traditional ramekins measure about three to four inches in diameter. So, to ensure the food cooks as evenly as it would in the original container, look for a substitute that’s close to its diameter size. And if your recipe calls for a ramekin with a specific depth, it’s best to find a container that fits the criteria. This way, the food or dessert will cook in the container without getting burned or spilling out.
With these factors on hand, take a look at these convenient substitutes for replacing ramekin in your cooking methods.
Mugs are made of ceramics, so the material makes them quite similar to ramekins. Their sizes are also ideal, as they’re circular, plus the material is also heat-resistant. Mugs are perfect replacements for ramekins in all recipes, and the white types can even be served to look like the real deal. And you can use them for regular dishes that require ramekins like soufflés, crème brulee, custards and puddings.
But when picking mugs, choose one that’s not too tall so the recipe can cook evenly. And make sure the cup is oven or microwave friendly, so you don’t end up with a mess in the kitchen. And mugs can grow quite hot after cooking with them, so handle with oven mitts or a kitchen towel.
These containers are regularly used for similar recipes, so they work as helpful substitutes for ramekins. And when choosing a baking or casserole dish, use one that’s no larger than six to eight inches in diameter. Baking dishes are also microwave friendly, so they’re ideal for recipes that are cooked in mannequins. But they’re larger, so consider the size when calculating the cooking time.
Regardless, it’s best to use smaller baking dishes as ramekin replacements. At this size, they’ll be perfect in ovens and to be put in freezers as well.
This substitute is perfect for making lava cakes and similar desserts that need ramekins to form the structure. Muffin tins are initially designed to mold muffin batter, so they’ll work for cakes and similar desserts and recipes. A typical muffin pan is made of metal, so they work well in freezers. Plus, the spaces on the pan are roughly the same size as ramekins, so you’ll get even cooking in lava cakes.
But never use muffin tins in the microwave, or you’ll cause a fire accident. And most muffin pans tend to have more minor grooves than ramekins, but they make perfect half servings. You’ll also have to grease the tins as needed for ramekins, so the dessert doesn’t stick.
For a cheaper alternative to ramekins, you can also consider jam jars. You probably never imagined the empty glass containers would be helpful for anything other than pickling, but they are. Jam jars are perfect for fluid desserts like custards and pudding. And they’re cheaper, as you may not need to buy some but use empty ones from your kitchen.
Of course, it helps to ensure that the jars aren’t cracked, or you’ll make a mess. Also, these substitutes can last long, so long as they’re kept in good condition. Jam jars can also be found in sizes close to ramekins’, so you can replicate the cooking process without fear of contrasting dimensions.
A typical food bowl in the kitchen can also work in place of ramekins for your baking needs. And so long as they’re oven-proof, they’ll help cook the recipe without fear of breaking or cracking. The best bowls for replacing ramekins are earthenware and ceramic, as they’re closer material-wise. And you can choose from bowls of similar sizes to more giant bowls for bigger portions.
Like ramekins, you’ll need to grease the bowls with butter or oil so the food doesn’t stick. And this move helps the dessert or baked food to lift as opposed to using it plain. Plus, bowls also work for cold desserts, especially if they’re freezer-friendly. And you can confirm if they are by checking the label at the bottom.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I use Mason jars instead of ramekins?
Yes, you can. Mason jars or canning jars are made of glass and can withstand low heat in an oven. Plus, they’re great for cooking custards, pot pies, and puddings.
Can you bake crème brulee in aluminum cups?
Yes, you can. Aluminum cups also come in disposable types and, like ramekins, can be used to make crème Brulee. These containers are coated with a glossy finish on the outside that allows them to withstand heat. And their straight sides offer a shape that lets the dessert cook as conveniently as it would in a ramekin.
Are coffee mugs oven-safe?
Yes, they are. All coffee mugs can be used in the oven, including the stoneware types. Other oven-safe materials for coffee mugs include porcelain and glass coffee mugs. But it’s always best to confirm if they can be used in the oven. And you can check by observing the label at the bottom of the cup.
Ramekins are a handy kitchen tool for cooking and cooling soups, desserts, and soufflés. And they’re renowned for making the best crème Brulee textures when you need them. But you may not always have these helpful containers in your pantry so that a substitute can be of great help. And these suggestions will help prepare the recipe as conveniently as you would with ramekins.