To freeze a homemade lasagna the right way, ideally, you shouldn’t bake it before freezing. Although you can cook a lasagna first and then freeze it, freezing after baking does not give the best results when you reheat the frozen lasagna later.
Should I Cook Lasagna Before Freezing?
The best lasagna is made when it’s frozen first and baked once thawed.
You should assemble your lasagna noodles, cheese, meat, sauce, vegetables, and other ingredients in your baking dish and freeze it to bake later.
If you cook lasagna and then freeze it, not only are you wasting time by having to wait for it to cool down before freezing, but you will lose out on the freshness of the ingredients if you have to bake them twice.
The Benefits of Freezing Lasagna Before Cooking
The main benefit you get from freezing uncooked lasagna is that this method keeps it from getting mushy. A lasagna that becomes too soft loses its appeal.
Instead of enjoying a fresh lasagna, you will feel like you prepared a leftover meal.
Freezing before cooking allows the lasagna’s cheese, noodle texture, and all the other ingredients to stay firm and fresh when baked in the oven after being removed from the freezer.
It seems unimportant, but the devil’s in the details. Firmer cheese and noodles not only make the lasagna taste and look better but also make it easier to eat.
Can You Bake and Then Freeze Lasagna?
Although you can, it is less than ideal to freeze lasagna once you bake it. The lasagna would need to be reheated or baked again after thawing, which will negatively affect the dish’s quality. Of course, this specifically refers to the times you are preparing a lasagna for the sole purpose of freezing it for later use.
If you’re making and baking a lasagna to eat right away, you may have leftovers that will be perfectly fine to freeze.
For the freshest tasting lasagna, however, you will want to prepare it in a ready-to-bake dish and freeze it for cooking at a later date.
How Long Can You Keep Lasagna in the Freezer?
If you cook the lasagna first and then freeze it, you must keep it in the freezer no longer than a month. Leave it for longer, and it will develop discoloration and dry spots due to freezer burn. Although it will be safe to eat, this lasagna will not be terribly enjoyable to consume.
On the contrary, an uncooked lasagna can last up to 18 months inside the freezer! So when you freeze uncooked lasagna in a freezer-friendly baking dish, you can keep it for those busy days when you want a home-cooked meal but just don’t feel like cooking lasagna from scratch.
Tips for Freezing Lasagna (Cooked & Uncooked)
Regardless of whether your lasagna is baked or not, you’ll want to protect it from direct contact with the cold freezer air. The best way to do this is to cover the top of the baking dish with plastic wrap and then wrap the entire dish in aluminum foil. Wrapping the lasagna in two layers will lock in the flavor and ensure that your lasagna remains fresh.
Another great tip is to use no-boil noodles (Amazon) for your firm pasta layers. This way, you still get that amazing fresh pasta flavor without worrying about it being the pasta becoming too limp.
Instead of the foil, you can also use an airtight lid if one came with your baking dish.
How To Cook Frozen Lasagna (Baked and Unbaked)
Here’s what you need to know to freeze unbaked or previously baked lasagna.
Cooked Frozen Lasagna Baking Instructions
The steps for reheating your cooked frozen lasagna are simple.
The first step is to preheat the oven to between 350 and 375 degrees.
Place the frozen baked lasagna in the oven and cook it for approximately 40 or 45 minutes. Since the lasagna is already baked, it will cook faster than an unbaked lasagna. You’re really just trying to defrost it and reheat it.
Check it after 40 minutes or so in the oven, if it looks ready (with hot bubbling cheese), take the meal out and enjoy!
Unbaked Frozen Lasagna Baking Instructions
If you’ve stored your unbaked lasagna in the freezer, the steps are similar to those for a previously cooked frozen lasagna, except that it will take more time because the ingredients will need to be cooked on top of the time required to thaw.
The first step is to preheat the oven to between 350 and 375 degrees. Cover your lasagna baking dish with aluminum foil to keep it moist while it’s being cooked, then place the baking dish in the oven for approximately one hour.
To brown the top, uncover the lasagna for the last five or ten minutes of baking. When it’s done, take the lasagna out and enjoy the dish!
Baking uncooked frozen lasagna can take some time. Fortunately, there is an easy way to speed up the process.
You can simply take the uncooked lasagna out of the freezer and place it in the fridge overnight to thaw. Once thawed, this will cut the baking time in half.
How To Defrost Lasagna Completely?
You can defrost frozen lasagna directly in the oven if you have time. It will cook and defrost the meal simultaneously, but it’s a time-demanding task. First, it needs to thaw, and second, it needs to be cooked.
Again, leaving the lasagna in the fridge for 8 or 9 hours will thaw it and cut down on the cooking time.
However, if you don’t have that kind of time, you can defrost lasagna in the microwave. Use the microwave’s defrost setting to ensure that the lasagna defrosts evenly. Then, cover the lasagna in foil and move it to the oven. Wait 30 minutes, and you are done.
The Best Ways to Freeze Lasagna Portions
If you’d like to prepare a lasagna but want to freeze it in smaller portions, simply cut the lasagna into pieces, and wrap each lasagna portion in plastic or aluminum foil. Then, place them into an airtight container.
Put everything in the freezer at the ideal temperature (40 degrees or below).
You’ll want to get it into the freezer bag as soon as possible to let the lasagna freeze quickly without getting soggy.
How Do I Freeze Lasagna in Aluminum Pans?
The first thing to do is cool the lasagna. Take it out of the oven and leave it on the kitchen counter to cool (do not leave it out for more than 1 to 2 hours to prevent bacteria from forming).
Wait until the dish is completely cool. You can speed things up by placing the aluminum pan into the fridge for a bit if you like.
Cover the lasagna with a layer of plastic wrap to protect it from freezer burn.
Finally, cover everything with aluminum foil and place it in the freezer.
Can You Freeze the Lasagna Without Boiling The Noodles?
In general, you can’t freeze lasagna without first boiling the noodles because the lasagna noodles require cooking before assembling the ingredients.
An alternative? I recommend using a no-boil lasagna noodles recipe.
In this recipe, the regular lasagna noodles are cooked from the liquid in the added spaghetti sauce and don’t need to be boiled ahead of time.
Can I Freeze Homemade Lasagna in Pyrex Dishes?
A Pyrex dish is perfect for extremely high and low temperatures, making it ideal for frozen homemade lasagna.
A Pyrex dish will work great for both the freezing and the baking processes required to freeze and cook lasagna.
Should I Bake Lasagna Before Freezing – Final Thoughts
Remember that baking lasagna before freezing is not mandatory, and it is actually better to freeze the prepared lasagna and bake it when you’re ready to eat it.
Sometimes, however, life gets hectic, and it just makes sense to have a cooked frozen lasagna ready to heat up in a short amount of time with minimal effort.
If you follow these steps, expect to enjoy freshly cooked lasagna that tastes amazing every time!