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The Best Ramekin Substitutes

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If you don’t own any ramekins (or even know what they are), you are not alone!

Ramekins were more popular a few decades ago, although they are still used in some kitchens today. The small baking dishes are used to cook and serve foods such as French onion soup, crème brulée, custard, soufflé, and so on.

If you are following a recipe that calls for the use of a ramekin but you don’t have any, then what can you do?

What is the best ramekin substitute? Mugs and teacups, baking dishes and muffin tins, small bowls, custard cups and glass jars are all good ramekin substitutes. Just be sure any substitute is oven-safe, or plan to cook and serve in separate dishes.

There are quite a few substitutes you can use for ramekins when you just don’t have one lying around. The substitute you use will slightly depend on what you are cooking, but most of the substitutes can be found in your kitchen already!

In order to help you make the best meals and desserts that call for a ramekin, without needing to rush out and buy a set, we’ved offered a breakdown below of the best ramekin substitutes, how to use them, and which is best for certain recipes!

What Is A Ramekin?

Before you choose the best substitute, it makes sense to know exactly what you are substituting. Understanding what a ramekin is will help you best choose the substitute to use!

Originating from the French ramequin, which describes a molded dish that was used to serve meat baked dishes or cheese, a ramekin is a small bowl used for cooking and serving food.

Ramekins are now used all over to prepare single-serving portions of baked foods, both at home and in restaurants.

Some of the more popular dishes to cook in a ramekin include vanilla custard, crème brulée, and French onion soup. You can make next to any dish in a ramekin if you want a small portion.

You might have heard ramekins referred to as soufflé dishes, the two are the same thing, and it just speaks to the popularity of using these little bowls to make a light and fluffy soufflé!

These small dishes are circular and need to be glazed. While they can be used to hold sauces, they are most commonly used for baking. The cylindrical bowl should measure between 3 to 4 inches in diameter.

Traditionally, ramekins are white ceramic containers, but you can now get them in different colors and patterns to suit your kitchen! You are also able to find ramekins made from different materials, such as steel and glass.

What To Look For In A Ramekin Substitute

Now that you know exactly what a ramekin is, what it is made out of, and how big it should be, you can read on to find out exactly what to look for in a ramekin substitute.


Ramekins are traditionally and most commonly made from ceramic, so it makes sense to find a substitute as close to the real thing as possible.

This will help ensure your food will cook similarly if you are using your ramekin substitute for more than serving.

You might have some small ceramic bowls or mugs in the kitchen that you can use.

If you do not have any other ceramic options at home, you could always choose to use steel, aluminum, cast-iron, or enameled dishes as well. These materials are all typically fine to use, but just make sure that they are oven-safe.

Check that you do not need to adjust the recipe to accommodate for the change in cooking material (or color!).


Ramekins are round, and their substitutes should be round as well. However, if you simply cannot find a round substitute, you could opt for something that has an oval or square shape.

Avoid using a rectangular dish, as this could interfere with the way your food cooks and even ruin it!

A ramekin measures around 3 or 4 inches in diameter, so look for a substitute that is as close in size to this as you can. Anything too large might not cook the recipe properly.


The substitute you choose for your ramekin needs to have a similar depth, without being too shallow or too deep.

The sides should be high enough to prevent a dish like a soufflé or baked goods from being too shallow and burning, but also not so high that it does not cook properly.

Make sure to find a bowl that is of a similar height to your average ramekin, to allow the food to rise properly and cook evenly from all sides.

Best Ramekin Substitutes

Some of the best substitutes for ramekins are items already in your kitchen, making it much easier for you to carry on with your recipe!

Below are some alternatives to ramekins that can be used to make quite a few different dishes and desserts:

1. Mugs

Ceramic mugs are possibly the best substitutes for ramekins, as long as the mug is heat-resistant and can be placed into the oven!

As ramekins are shorter than most mugs, you will need to use one that is on the shorter side, rather than a taller mug. Using a mug that is too tall might lead to uneven cooking and could cause delicious soufflés to collapse!

If you are serving up dessert and want to use something that looks like a ramekin, you can use a white mug to resemble it as close as possible.

Mugs are also great when cooking French onion soup, as they are the perfect vessel to eat soup out of once it has been cooked. Just be sure to use an oven mitt or cloth to grab the handle when removing the hot mug out of the oven.

Your mug should be fine to use to heat up any leftovers in the microwave (but check first that there is no metal hidden along the rim, handle, or in any embellishments!), but it is best to avoid placing mugs in the freezer.

2. Baking Dish

Casserole and baking dishes can be used in place of a ramekin, but you do need to be careful to adjust the recipe to suit the different sizes.

Baking dishes and casserole dishes do tend to be larger than ramekins, so keep this in mind for cooking time.

For desserts that need to rise and which are trickier to cook, you will need to use a smaller baking dish. Do not use anything bigger than 6 to 8 inches in diameter.

Most baking dishes are fine to be placed in the microwave and freezer, but they might be too large to do so.

3. Bowls

Most of us have a good few bowls in the cupboard, and these can be ideal to use in place of ramekins. Once again you will need to make sure that the bowls are oven-proof so they will not crack or break when exposed to heat.

You could also adjust the recipe to make larger servings, instead of single-serving portions, by using slightly larger bowls.

This works well for more savory dishes, and you will need to be careful when increasing portion and serving size for dessert recipes that call for single-serve ramekins.

It is a good idea to butter or line the bowl with oil slightly before baking any food in it, as it most probably won’t have a non-stick property. This just helps you lift food from the bowl easily.

You can choose to use small bowls or slightly larger ones! Just make sure that the bowls can be placed in the freezer or microwave before using them in either. The stamp on the bottom should indicate if this is possible.

4. Custard Cups

If you have some custard cups sitting in the kitchen which you probably don’t use, you could now give them a new purpose as a ramekin substitute.

These small glass bowls are round and can come in different shapes and sizes.

The most common size custard bowls hold around 6 ounces of batter or food. These are most often made from oven-proof material, porcelain, and stoneware, and should be oven-safe.

To use these in place of ramekins, it is best to bake them in a water bath to prevent any burning and to allow delicate items to cook evenly.

It is best to only use custard cups in the oven, and not in the microwave or freezer. Decant your food into freezer-safe or microwave-safe dishes if you need to.

5. Jam Jars

Use up any empty jam jars you might have to substitute ramekins in the kitchen.

Smaller-sized jam jars can be used to bake desserts in the oven. They are one of the cheaper options, and it gives you a way to repurpose some of your waste.

The jars can be used time and time again as long as they do not get damaged or cracked, and if you look after them properly. They are especially good to use for making custard.

Do not use the jam jars in the freezer or microwave, as they might burst or crack.

Ramekin Substitutes – By Recipe

Certain recipes suit some ramekin substitutes better than others. Here are some of the most popular dishes made using ramekins, and what the best substitutes for each are.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t try out some other substitutes, but these seem to work out best for the particular recipe and ingredients, giving you results almost exactly like you would expect to get if you were using a traditional ramekin!

For Crème Brulée: A Pan

Crème brulée is best cooked in a wide, shallow pan. This allows it to cook evenly and gently, and still have the soft, silky texture once it is done.

To bake crème brulée without the help of ramekins, it is best to use a wider dish, made from either glass or ceramic. This will not necessarily give you single portions, but everyone can dish up from the dish.

If you use a dish that is too deep, the crème Brulee could end up either undercooked or overcooked, or both at the same time. 

It is also a good idea to avoid using metal dishes, as they will likely conduct too much heat to the outside of the crème Brulee, which could result in burnt edges.

These shallow pans should be freezer-friendly and microwave-friendly, but make sure to check the stamp first just to be safe.

For Soufflé: A Mug

Soufflé is what ramekins are made for, and it might be difficult finding the perfect substitute. However, sometimes the simplest answer is best!

To make a soufflé at home without using a ramekin, look to your kitchen cupboards and choose a well-sized coffee mug or teacup!

Choose one which is medium-size, or a little smaller, to allow the soufflé to cook how it should, still being soft on the inside.

You need to make sure that the mug or teacup you use is safe to be placed in the oven (they usually have stamps on the bottom indicating this).

You will also need to grease the inside of the mug or teacup with some oil or butter first to make lifting food easier once it has baked. Do not fill the mug or teacup to the top with the soufflé batter, as it might overflow as it rises.

Coffee mugs and teacups can be used in the oven if they are oven-friendly, and in the freezer if freezer-friendly. These can also be placed in the microwave to warm up any leftovers.

For Lava Cakes: A Muffin Pan

Who doesn’t love an oozing, gooey chocolate lava cake? You do not need to rush out and buy ramekins to make yourself this decadent dessert at home!

Instead of using a ramekin, you can simply use a muffin pan to make little lava cakes! Muffin pans can be a bit smaller than ramekins, but just fill in as much batter as you think is right, and help yourself to two servings instead of one!

It is important to either grease or flour the muffin pans before placing the lava cake batter in, as there is a good chance they might stick, and you don’t want the chocolate goodness to ooze out on the pan and not onto your plate!

If you do not want powder dusted around your chocolate lava cake, you could always dust cocoa on the pan.

Muffin tins can be placed in the freezer, but they are quite large. Do not place them in the microwave!

For Pudding: Half-Pint Jars

To feel a little fancy, you could serve up individual portions of pudding to your guests at home. To do this, you could simply use half-pint canning jars.

These glass jars should be fine to withstand low heat in the oven, which is all you need to bake most puddings.

Opt for wide-mouth jars if you can, as these make it much easier to remove the pudding. If the jar comes with a lid, even better! You can use it to store leftover pudding to enjoy another day.

These glass jars should not be placed in the freezer or microwave, and are best used at low temperatures in the oven.

Ramekin Substitutes By Recipe Review [Chart]

Just to make this as easy as possible, here’s a quick summary of our best suggested ramekin substitutes by recipe.

RecipeBest Substitute
Crème BruléeWide and shallow baking dish
SouffléCoffee mugs or teacups
Lava CakeMuffin tin
PuddingHalf-pint canning jars
French Onion SoupCoffee mugs, teacups, or small bowls

We know this is far from every recipe you may want a ramekin for, but with this quick guide, it should be easy to gauge which substitute will work best for your specific dish.

Your bread pudding, for example will probably look best in canning jars or mugs, since it’s sort of between a ‘regular’ pudding and a thicker treat like a crème brulée.

Related Questions

Can I Use Pyrex Dishes Instead of Ramekins?

Glass Pyrex dishes can be used in place of ramekins, as long as they are the right shape and size to suit the recipe and dish you are making.

Alternatively, if you are just making a nice treat for yourself or your family, you can typically use a large pyrex dish instead.

You may need to adjust the baking time and temperature slightly, however, and you will lose a little in terms of presentation. Still, your dish should turn out just fine.

What is the Best Size For a Ramekin?

If you want to buy some ramekins to use at home, it is best to invest in some that hold 6 ounces. This is the most versatile size to use. It works well for a wide range of dishes.

Are All Ramekins Oven-Safe?

Yes, all proper ramekins should be oven-safe if they are sold as ramekins.

They can be made from ceramic, melamine, or porcelain. These are all oven-safe, freezer-safe, and dishwasher-safe materials. Plus, they make it super easy on. you as they serve different purposes in the kitchen!

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