A classic casserole is a delicious dish made of meat, stuffing vegetables, and sauces, but there are many versions of it, including a vegetarian alternative.
Given how loved and versatile this dish is, it’s common to make a casserole in big containers and it would be a waste to throw away the leftovers, that’s why we made this guide on how to reheat a casserole.
What is the best way to reheat casserole? Usually, the best way is to reheat it through the same method you used to cook it, which is the oven, but you can also use the microwave or the stovetop, as long as you add some water or olive oil to the mix.
The Best Ways To Reheat Casserole
A casserole is one of those dishes you can prepare in advance, make a great amount of it and store it for later because if you store it well and know how to reheat it, it will remain delicious for several days after you first made it.
When reheating a casserole you need to keep in mind that you’re not trying to cook it again, you’re warming it up just enough for it to be pleasant to eat.
Why are we stressing this point? Because a common mistake is reheating a frozen casserole at extremely high temperatures or for a longer time than necessary, and ultimately spoiling it.
By reading below, you will learn about all the different ways in which you can reheat a casserole. There are some differences between each method, but one thing they all have in common is the prerequisite that your casserole needs to be stored and defrosted properly.
Nowadays, every oven and microwave has a defrost option, but if you’re not sure how to use it, then we recommend using the old school method and taking the casserole out of the freezer a few hours in advance or even the night before.
If your casserole was in the fridge (mind you, don’t forget the casserole in the fridge for more than a couple of days — freeze it instead) you can take it out just 30 minutes before and let it rest at the room temperature.
If you’re planning to make several meals out of it, it would be useful to cut it into small portions before freezing it.
Your casserole is defrosted, portioned, and ready to be reheated? Here are the 3 best ways to reheat a casserole from the fridge or freezer.
How to reheat casserole in the oven
The oven remains the best way to warm up a refrigerated casserole because most of the time it’s the method the casserole was originally cooked with and it prevents common mistakes like cold spots or burning the bottom.
First of all, you need to prepare the casserole for reheating. In order to do that, you need to take into consideration the type of casserole you have at hand.
Reheating an egg casserole, meat casserole, potato casserole or any type of casserole that could easily lose moisture requires a piece of foil to cover the top of the container.
Instead, if you’re reheating a casserole that contains ingredients like bread, it’s better to leave it uncovered in order to prevent the ingredients from becoming soggy.
Here are the steps to reheat a casserole in the oven:
- Take out your casserole from the fridge at least 20 minutes in advance. To reheat a frozen casserole, you either need to defrost it or take it out a few hours in advance.
- If you need, divide your casserole into smaller portions or prepare only the part you need. Place these portions into oven-resistant containers, if they aren’t already.
- Pre-heating the oven at 350 degrees is commonly agreed upon, but we believe that just 250 degrees are enough because it allows you to control the cooking process and prevent burnings.
- Place the casserole inside and cover the top with aluminum foil, if necessary.
- If you’re familiar with your oven presets, choose the one that goes best with the type of casserole you’re reheating. Otherwise, the good old Conventional Heating preset (two lines, one at the top, one at the bottom) works for everything.
- The reheating process should take 20-30 minutes, but it’s better to check the casserole every 5-10 minutes. You can also turn down the temperature a little (not below 200-180 degrees) for the last 10 minutes of reheating.
- Take out the casserole and let it rest for a few minutes before serving it. Remember not to remove the hot foil with bare hands.
The only problem with reheating a casserole in the oven is that it’s not convenient if you just need to reheat a small portion of it. In that case, it would be better to use the microwave for easier and quicker preparation.
How to reheat casserole in the microwave
If you’re reheating breakfast casserole, chances are your portions are not going to be very large. In this case, the oven might not be the solution for you, because casserole is usually stored in the container it was made with, which is too large for your breakfast needs.
That’s why the microwave is perfect if you need to reheat a casserole without drying it out.
Another advantage of the microwave is that modern microwaves have really improved their Defrost options, so you can safely defrost a frozen casserole and warm it up, all in a matter of minutes and using the same appliance.
Here are the steps to reheat a casserole in the microwave:
- Take out your casserole from the fridge at least 20 minutes in advance. For a frozen casserole, make use of the Defrost option of your microwave, but make sure to follow the instructions to not risk spoiling the casserole. If you’re not confident with quick microwave defrosting, take out your casserole from the freezer a few hours in advance.
- If needed, divide your casserole into smaller portions and store away those you don’t need. Place the amount of casserole you’re going to reheat into a heating-resistant container. Remember that metal, crumpled aluminum, and some types of plastic and styrofoam don’t go into the microwave, so check the labels.
- Make sure the casserole is distributed evenly in the container. Unless you have an inverter microwave, chances are you’re going to get a few cold spots if you don’t distribute the casserole well enough.
- If you need to cover your container, do not use plastic or other unsafe materials. Rather, use another container of the same type or a ceramic plate to cover the top.
- Most microwaves these days are very smart and have auto-cooking programs that take all the guessing out from reheating. In any case, you can set your microwave to High for the first 2-3 minutes, then you can turn down the heat as you see fit.
- Reheating a casserole in the microwave is very quick, so after 2-3 minutes, check your casserole and turn the pieces around. If you feel that it’s not warm enough, add another 30 seconds and proceed like this until it’s ready.
- In order to reheat casserole without overcooking it, don’t leave it in the microwave for a long time without breaks and without checking on it. You risk burning some ingredients (especially cheese).
- Take out the casserole and serve it.
The only problem with reheating a casserole in the microwave is the space. Of course, a small microwave will not fit a whole baking pan or casserole, but depending on your microwave model you might struggle even with smaller portions.
If you wish to reheat just a part of your casserole but you’re worried about space, you can try to reheat your casserole in a large skillet.
How to reheat casserole in a skillet
Reheating casserole in a skillet is a great way to make sure everything goes according to plan. Skillets are versatile since you can choose the right size for the amount of casserole you want to reheat.
On top of that, reheating something on the stovetop requires you to be there at all times, so it’s very hard to mess it up.
If you have a portion of casserole that is too small for the oven, but too big for the microwave, the skillet can be the solution for you.
Here are the steps to reheat a casserole in a skillet:
- Take out your casserole from the fridge at least 20 minutes in advance. To reheat frozen casserole, you either need to defrost it or take it out a few hours in advance.
- Use a cooking spray or add a spoon of water or olive oil to a nonstick pan and heat it on medium heat until it begins to boil. It’s better to choose a pan with a lid, so you can cover your casserole when needed.
- Place the amount of casserole you need into the pan and distribute it evenly.
- You can move the pieces around every now and then. The combination of water and the lid will ensure your casserole stays moisturized.
- If the olive oil is completely absorbed by the casserole or if the water evaporates, you risk burning the bottom of the casserole. Add more oil or water as you see fit to ensure you don’t overcook it.
- Reheating casserole in a skillet is very quick, so keep stirring for a few minutes until it’s warm enough to serve.
Along with the oven, the skillet is the safest way to reheat a casserole, however, it does require a little cooking skill and a little patience, as you need to be present throughout the whole process.
Can you reheat casserole?
Yes, you can, in fact, a large baking pan of casserole can make it for more than a few meals if you store and reheat it properly.
You can choose your preferred method for reheating a casserole between the oven, the microwave, and the stovetop. Each one fits different needs, for example, if you want to reheat a large quantity of casserole, the oven is your best pick.
For a small amount or a single portion, you can either choose the microwave or the skillet. Both methods are quick and do not require great effort. They’re great ways to reheat a breakfast casserole.
The ingredients of the casserole do play a role as well: a casserole made of ingredients that lose moisture easily like eggs, potatoes, or meat should be reheated with the aid of a foil (oven), a ceramic plate (microwave), or a lid (skillet).
You should also be careful to reheat the casserole without overcooking it because some ingredients like cheese could burn or release a lot of fat oil when overcooked.
Follow our step-by-step guide on how to reheat casserole and you can be sure to enjoy your delicious casserole for many days to come!