In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Can I freeze cooked lasagna? We will tell you what is the best way to freeze lasagna and discuss whether reheated lasagna tastes good or not.
Can I freeze cooked lasagna?
Perhaps the most important question is whether you can freeze cooked lasagna. While lasagna freezes very well, baking, freezing, thawing, and re-making inevitably affect the quality of the ingredients.
It is true that one of the best things about lasagna is that it freezes very well. A baked lasagna frozen and then baked will still be good. But it is at the margins where quality is affected. That crunchy caramelized crust that appears on top of a baked lasagna is possibly one of its most appealing qualities.
Unfortunately when you bake freeze then cook again the crust will not be new and will sizzle like it would if it was only frozen and then baked once.
When you cook something, you fundamentally alter it. Proteins, fats, starches, and sugars change in one way or another. Starches like pasta absorb liquid. Proteins denature fats, they liquefy and sugars caramelize.
Giving someone a baked and then frozen lasagna is like giving them leftovers. At the same time, giving them a raw lasagna is giving them a fresh meal. Your effort, baking it, is the same, but the result is very different!
If you are making lasagna knowing that you are going to freeze it, there are a few things you could do differently than if you were just making lasagna to bake right away, starting with your choice of noodles.
Simply layer dry noodles along with your other ingredients. In fact, they are much easier and more convenient to use than regular noodles, even if you are not freezing your lasagna. But when preparing lasagna for the freezer they are a must. (Note: fresh pasta sheets will work well too). A béchamel might survive the freezing process marginally better than ricotta or cottage cheese.
How do you freeze unbaked lasagna?
To freeze unbaked lasagna, you have to assemble it as you would before putting it in the oven, preferably store it in a glass container suitable for freezing and store it for up to three months in a refrigerator’s freezer compartment.
Freezing homemade lasagna is a practical and convenient way to use when needed for a tasty dinner. Freezing food is a widespread practice, but at the same time, you have to be careful with the preparation. If you want to guarantee the quality of the final product, you have to be careful at every step from the choice of raw materials to the preparation process.
The best way to freeze lasagna
The preparation of lasagna must be done using only fresh ingredients that can be frozen both before and after cooking in the oven. Indeed it should be emphasized that once thawed lasagna it cannot be refrozen as the risk of bacterial contamination increases.
Lasagna shouldn’t be frozen if it was made with previously defrosted sausage, minced beef, only fresh meat should be used. You shouldn’t freeze a lasagna whose ingredients have been frozen and defrosted more than once: as they lose quality, consistency, and flavor.
Once you have prepared the lasagna, regardless of the fresh ingredients you use, whether it is with tomato, with béchamel, with mushrooms or vegetables, choose the container that is suitable for the freezer. There must be a snowflake design on the container to make sure the pan or dish is suitable for freezing.
Aluminum containers are not recommended for long-term storage, because the lasagna could acquire a metal aftertaste. If you do not have an ovenproof dish with dual functionality: cooking in the oven and storage in the freezer, you can use two separate containers for the two phases.
If you want to freeze cooked lasagna, it must be entirely cold before you can place it in the freezer, just leave it aside for at least an hour to cool. After cooking and cooling, the pan containing the lasagna must be covered on the surface, do not use aluminum.
The latter could interfere with the preparation; you can use a transparent film that can be placed in the freezer. Wrap the entire pan well, not just the top; there must be no gaps through which air can pass.
It is advisable to freeze in single portions so that you will thaw what you need. Remember that lasagna can be kept up to three months, both those prepared with vegetables and those with meat.
Does reheated lasagna taste good?
Without a doubt, lasagna is the dish that gives the best result after being reheated. This is due to the fact that when it is heated, the sauce that is used in its preparation dissolves, but when all that fat is cooled again, it solidifies again adhering to the ingredients and catching the flavors of the sauce.
The more meat and the more shredded it is, the greater this phenomenon will occur. That’s why reheated lasagna, cannelloni, or spaghetti bolognese are so wonderful.
In addition to this, this also favors the consistency of the sauces, since in these processes they also gain body. It is due to the fact that every time the protein is heated and cooled it releases collagen, thickening the sauce. Of course, this process should not be abused as the meat ends up becoming fibrous!
Here are our final tips for freezing and reheating a lasagna:
- Always label containers indicating the date of preparation.
- Divide the lasagna into portions after cooling them to defrost what you need.
- If you need to heat the single portions, wrap the lasagna in cling film and put it in the microwave at maximum power for 3 minutes.
- Pierce the cling film with a knife to allow the steam to escape.
- Add some parmesan when reheating it, to make it even more delicious!
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