Types of Traditional African Cooking Pots

Updated April 17, 2017

Traditional African cooking pots are an important part of African culture. Different types of pots are prevalent in different parts of the continent. The pots are so important that they have been synonymous with the food cooked in them; so much so that the food and the cooking pot often share the same name.


The potjie is a deep, round, cast iron pot with three legs. European explorers brought these cast iron pots to Africa during expeditions. Potjies spread throughout Africa but are particularly tied to South African culture and cooking.


A tagine is a distinctive, ceramic pot. The shallow pot also doubles as a serving dish. It gets its distinctive appearance from a long cone-shaped lid. The tagine is traditionally used in North Africa and is said to have originated in Morocco.


A calabash is typically used for holding and serving food. It is a dried gourd, hollowed and cut into a bowl shape. The calabash is such an African icon that Johannesburg's Soccer City Stadium was renovated to resemble one in 2010.

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Michael Signal began writing professionally in 2010, with his work appearing on eHow. He has expert knowledge in aviation, computer hardware and software, elementary education and interpersonal communication. He has been an aircraft mechanic, business-to-business salesman and teacher. He holds a master's degree in education from Lesley University.