How to Freeze a Casserole the Right Way
A casserole is the perfect make-first-eat-later dish. Get tips for how to freeze it for meal planning perfection.
What’s easy to throw together, takes almost no prep time and makes a solid, hearty meal for the whole family? You guessed right—it’s a casserole!
This dish is every cook’s best friend, especially when you’ve had a long day or have too much produce or meat in the refrigerator. You can stash the leftovers for later, too, especially when you know these simple tips for how to freeze casseroles.
1. Avoid freezing dairy-heavy casseroles
Yes, dairy-heavy casseroles are delicious, but cottage cheese, sour cream or creme fraiche won’t hold up in the freezer. Instead, polish this kind of casserole off right away—or store leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 2-3 days. Learn more about freezing food with our helpful guide.
2. Freeze crunchy toppings separately
Crunchy toppings add a lot of texture to a casserole but will get soggy in the freezer. That doesn’t mean you need to skip them, though—just add them on the day you’re eating the casserole, or freeze them separately in a zip-top bag and sprinkle them on after defrosting your main dish.
3. Separate the casserole into smaller portions
If there are only one or two people in the house, or you want to save the leftovers for work/school lunches, cut your casserole into smaller portions instead of freezing the whole dish. If you’re looking for a new recipe, we’ve rounded up our favorite casseroles.
4. Label everything
You’ve taken the casserole out of the freezer, stuck it in the oven and—wait, how long is it supposed to bake for? Stick a label on the casserole with the recipe name, directions for baking and the use-by date. Most casseroles will last in your freezer for up to 3 months.
Find our favorite labels (and containers) on this list of freezer organization tools.
5. Line the dish with parchment paper
We use our favorite 13×9 baking dish for everything, and we definitely don’t want it tied up in the freezer for months. Instead of freezing your casserole directly in the dish, line it with parchment paper before filling it. Pop it into the freezer, let the casserole become solid, then pop the parchment paper out and load everything in a separate container before putting it back into the freezer until you’re ready to bake.
6. Thaw before baking
Before you pop your casserole into the oven, don’t forget to thaw it. The safest way is to let it thaw overnight in the fridge before baking, so make sure to plan ahead.