How to freeze your favorite casserole

Casseroles can be frozen in different sizes to provide meals suitable for different numbers of people.

Frozen casserole in aluminum foil | Photo by Jeannie Nichols

Frozen casserole in aluminum foil | Photo by Jeannie Nichols

Freezing casseroles is easy and economical. Always start with the best quality ingredients so that you end up with a high-quality casserole.

Casserole ingredients can be frozen or a casserole can be frozen after it is cooked. A casserole made from defrosted ingredients will produce a better quality meal than reheating a frozen casserole that was cooked previously.

Not all ingredients can be frozen so make sure you choose a recipe that includes foods that freeze well. Here is a list of some common foods that might be used in casseroles that do not freeze well:

  • Vegetables with high water content like cucumbers and lettuce
  • Mayonnaise, salad dressing and cream
  • Milk-based sauces

You can freeze casseroles in a pan but you must remember that the pan will be out of use for other recipes while it is in the freezer. If you want to be able to keep your pan available for other meals, Michigan State University Extension suggests trying the method outlined below.

How to freeze a casserole without a pan in six easy steps:

  1. Line your pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil.
  2. Leave extra foil hanging over all edges so that you can pull it completely over the top later.
  3. Place the food in the pan and then put the pan in the freezer, uncovered.
  4. When the casserole is frozen lift it out of the pan, using the foil wrap as handles.
  5. Tightly wrap the casserole with the foil that was hanging over the edges.
  6. Label the frozen casserole, that is now in the shape of your pan. On the label, include what kind of casserole it is, how to cook it and the date it was frozen. Then place it back in the freezer.

Use frozen casseroles within two to three months. When you want to use your frozen casserole simply peel off the foil and then place it in the same size pan as you had originally frozen it. Place it in the refrigerator about one day before baking it. A casserole can be baked frozen but plan on double the time to bake it using an oven set to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Preheat your oven and bake the casserole covered loosely with some foil. Keep an eye on the casserole and take the foil off if the casserole needs to brown or dry out a bit before taking it out of the oven. Always cook casseroles to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. 

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