Lasagna is a delicious Italian dish that is enjoyed the world over. It is a layered dish with sheets of pasta, a tasty beef ragu, a rich bechamel sauce, and melted cheese on top.
There are variations and you could have a chicken lasagna, a seafood lasagna, a vegetarian lasagna, or even a vegan lasagna made with vegan cheese and soy or almond milk in the bechamel sauce.
However, what do you do if you have made a big dish of lasagna and have leftovers or if you want to make it in advance so that you don’t have to bother making it after a hard day at work? Can you freeze it? The simple answer is yes, and you can freeze it either cooked or uncooked. In this article, we will tell you how to do this and how to defrost it.
How To Freeze Uncooked Lasagne
It is, of course, up to you if you freeze your lasagna cooked or uncooked but we think that freezing uncooked lasagna has the edge. It tastes just a little more flavorsome and fresher when you come to eat it. This is the way to freeze uncooked lasagna:
1. Build the lasagna.
You will probably brown the meat and make a bechamel sauce so be sure that the components have cooled down completely before you put the lasagna in the freezer. If you don’t, the lasagna sheets will probably become soggy. In addition, it will bring up the temperature in the freezer and other food may start to defrost and even spoil as it refreezes.
2. Wrap the dish in aluminum foil.
Make sure that you are using a freezer-safe and an oven-safe dish so that you don’t have to remove the lasagna at any time until you come to eat it. Ensure that the dish is wrapped tightly so that air doesn’t get in. If air does get in, it could cause freezer burn which will ruin the taste and texture of your lasagna.
3. Put the dish in a freezer bag.
This provides extra protection against freezer burn but make sure that you squeeze out all the air from the bag. Put a label on the bag with the date and the contents.
Ensure that you put the dish on a flat surface in the freezer so that the layers stay intact.
How To Freeze Cooked Lasagna
If you have cooked lasagna and have leftovers, you can freeze them. We recommend that you only freeze cooked lasagna if you have leftovers and don’t want to throw them away. The lasagna will still be tasty but not quite as good as if you freeze an uncooked lasagna. This is the way to freeze cooked lasagna:
1. Cool down the lasagna.
You can transfer the lasagna to a cold dish to speed up the process. You don’t want to leave meat lasagna at room temperature for longer than two hours as after this time bacteria can start to develop, and you could become sick eating it. The same goes for dairy so be careful as there will be bechamel sauce and cheese in your lasagna. However, don’t put the lasagna in the freezer while it is still warm as it could bring up the temperature, and, in addition, the lasagna sheets may go mushy.
2. Portion the lasagna.
If you have a lot of leftovers, you may want to divide them into meal-size portions so that you only defrost as much as you need for one sitting. It is a good idea to put the portions into individual airtight containers as the lasagna could become a mess in freezer bags. Put a label on the containers with the date and contents.
Tips For Freezing Lasagna
- Make sure that the lasagna is airtight so that freezer burn doesn’t occur.
- It is better to freeze lasagna uncooked as it will taste fresher. This is because it will not have had as many structural changes as cooked lasagna. However, if you have leftover cooked lasagna, you can still freeze it.
- If you have frozen the lasagna uncooked, you can cook it from frozen. If you have frozen cooked lasagna, it is better to defrost it slowly in the fridge. This will help it to keep its taste and texture.
- Be aware of cooking times. It will take twice as long to cook a frozen lasagna compared to a defrosted one. So, you will have to plan ahead to make sure you have enough time to cook your lasagna.
For How Long Can You Freeze Lasagna?
Lasagna, whether it is cooked or uncooked, lasts for around three months in the freezer. After this time, it will still be safe to eat but it will start to lose taste and texture, especially if it is cooked.
How Do You Defrost Lasagne?
You can cook both cooked and uncooked lasagna from frozen but cooked lasagna is better if it is defrosted slowly in the fridge. This is because it has already gone through structural changes and will go through even more if it is cooked from frozen. If you thaw the lasagna in the fridge, it will take around 10 hours to defrost depending on the size. One thing you shouldn’t do is defrost lasagna at room temperature because there is meat and dairy in it. Both are susceptible to bacteria forming which can lead to food poisoning.
Can You Refreeze Lasagne?
We recommend that you refreeze lasagna just once. This is because ice crystals can be formed when food is frozen and if you freeze twice, the food can start to go soggy. It is better to refreeze lasagna that was uncooked when you first put it in the freezer rather than cooked. This is because cooked lasagna has already gone through changes, and it will probably lose a lot of texture if you refreeze it. Remember to keep the lasagna in the fridge before refreezing, not at room temperature as that is an open invitation for bacteria to form.
Is It A Good Idea To Freeze Lasagna?
Yes, lasagna is an excellent dish to freeze, especially if it is uncooked. It is a great dish to have on hand for a midweek family meal.
Recipe For Beef Lasagne
In case you haven’t got a recipe for lasagna we are giving you one here which will freeze perfectly.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 chopped onion
- 1 chopped garlic clove
- 1-pound minced beef
- 14-ounce can of chopped tomatoes
- 4 tablespoons tomato puree
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- Salt and pepper
- 1-ounce butter
- ½ ounce plain flour
- ½ pint milk
- 6-ounce lasagna slices
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese sliced
- 2 ounces of grated parmesan cheese
- Heat the oil and fry the onion and garlic until they are soft but not brown.
- Stir in the beef and fry until browned.
- Add the can of tomatoes, tomato puree, oregano, and salt and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Make the bechamel sauce by melting the butter and stirring in the flour to make a roux. Add the milk and stir until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper.
- Some lasagna sheets don’t need pre-cooking, while others do. If they do, cook the lasagna in boiling salted water until just tender. Rinse them under cold water.
- Spoon alternate layers of the meat sauce, lasagna sheets, and bechamel sauce into an ovenproof and freezer-proof dish. Make sure that the top layer is bechamel sauce.
- Cover with mozzarella and parmesan.
If you want to freeze the lasagna uncooked, now is the time to do it after you have made sure that it is cold. If you want to cook it before freezing, put the dish in the oven and cook it at 375 F for 20 minutes. Make sure it is bubbling on top.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hopefully, you now know all there is to know about freezing lasagne but in case you are still curious about freezing lasagna or lasagna in general, we have answered a few questions here.
It will keep for up to 5 days. Leave it in the dish it was cooked in and cover it with aluminum foil.
Yes, you can freeze lasagna made with fresh pasta as well as lasagna made with dried pasta. You won’t notice the difference when it is defrosted.
Yes, you can freeze most store-bought lasagnas. To make sure, check the packaging as it should say if it is suitable for freezing.
Yes, you can freeze vegan lasagna and you can do it in the same way as meat lasagna. A good vegan lasagna would include eggplant, zucchini, red pepper, chestnut mushrooms, and spinach. Alternatively, you could use lentils or beans.