Cheesy, melty, meaty layers of pasta who can resist a good lasagna?
This popular Italian dish is a world-wide favorite and often prepared in large batches. This is great for big family gatherings, but can also mean lots of leftovers.
Another thing that makes lasagna such a popular dish for big events and catering is that it freezes well.
That means you can prepare bulk portions well in advance, cook family meals beforehand if you know you are going to be tight on time later, and you can keep leftovers without worrying that they will go to waste.
Although lasagna is fairly simple to freeze, there are a few important factors to keep in mind to make sure you get the best tasting product at mealtime.
Here is everything you need to know about freezing lasagna.
Types of Lasagna
Originally an Italian dish, lasagna is made of pasta sheets layered with ground meats, tomato-based sauce, herbs, spices, and loads of cheese.
Lasagna also comes in vegetarian options where the meat is replaced with ingredients such as spinach, feta, mushrooms, and carrots.
Regardless of the type of lasagna, the dish is typically topped with a layer of grated cheese which melts and forms a crisp brown topping when baked.
Can Lasagna Be Frozen?
Yes, lasagna freezes very well. Freezing it is a wonderful way to have ready-made meals on hand when there is no time or energy for cooking. Lasagna can be frozen whether baked or unbaked.
For the best results, prepare all the ingredients, layer them in the baking dish, and then freeze. This way you can bake it when ready to eat but still develop the crisp cheesy topping, freshly baked taste, and firm texture.
Already-baked lasagna will be fine to freeze, especially if you have leftovers, but the texture may be slightly soggy once thawed and reheated.
If you know you are going to freeze the lasagna, it is important to use a freezer-friendly dish that can also be heated in the oven.
A disposable aluminum foil pan is a perfect option since you can freeze, heat, and then discard the dish without worrying about it cracking due to temperature changes or needing dishes that are occupied in the freezer for other food.
Placing a hot lasagna into the freezer is never a good idea.
Not only does this drop the temperature of your freezer which compromises the quality of other stored items, but condensation results in the formation of large ice crystals on freezing. This will cause freezer burn and ruin the texture and flavor of the lasagna.
How To Freeze Lasagna
Step 1: Cool
Whether you are preparing a lasagna specifically for freezing or storing leftovers, let the dish cool down completely before preparing it to go into the freezer.
Step 2: Wrap
Once the lasagna is cooled, wrap it in a double layer of cling film. Wrap the entire dish, making sure there are no open gaps where air can enter.
You need to keep the lasagna free from contact with air and moisture as much as possible. Now wrap the entire top of the fish with a layer of foil.
If you are freezing individual servings, you can either wrap them in cling film, foil, and place them into a resealable freezer bag, or store them in freezer-friendly airtight containers.
Step 3: Label
To avoid piercing the packaging while labeling, write the date and contents on a sticker label or masking tape and stick the label on the foil wrapping before placing the dish in the freezer. This way you can keep track of how long your lasagna has been stored.
Step 4: Freeze
If you are freezing individual portions, or a disposable foil casserole dish, place the wrapped lasagna directly into the freezer.
If you are using a glass or ceramic dish, place the cooled, wrapped lasagna in the refrigerator first. After a few hours, transfer it to the freezer. This will prevent the dish from cracking due to extreme temperature changes.
How To Thaw Frozen Lasagna
To ensure even cooking, it is best to thaw the lasagna before baking. Place the lasagna in the refrigerator to defrost the night before you intend to use it.
When you are ready to cook it, remove the lasagna from the refrigerator and let it warm to room temperature while the oven preheats to 180˚C/350˚F.
Remove the wrapping completely and place a new piece of foil over the top. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until fully baked. Remove the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes or until the top is browned.
Individual portions can be reheated in the same way, however, the time in the oven will be much less due to the smaller size.
Lasagna must be one of the most deliciously comforting dishes out there, and the best part is, it can almost stand as a dish on its own. If you’re in a hurry on a weeknight and there is no need for frills, just heat one dish, and you’re done!
To ensure the best quality preservation of lasagna in the freezer, always make sure it is cooled to room temperature before wrapping and keep it airtight.
Although there are many ways you can reheat the lasagna, the oven is always the best option. After all, lasagna really is all about that delicious crusty cheesy baked topping.
*image by fotek/depositphotos