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Casserole Q & A

Take a peek into questions often asked and how the Betty Crocker® Kitchens answers them.

Casserole Q & A

Is it better to bake casseroles covered or uncovered?

It’s best to follow the recipe since there is no one rule for when to cover. Generally, casseroles with grains, rice or pasta that will cook during the baking process are usually covered, for at least part of the time. Casseroles made of cooked ingredients are usually baked uncovered. If you like a crisper, browner top, be sure the casserole is uncovered for at least part of the bake time.

I want to make and freeze an egg-based casserole about one month ahead, then defrost and reheat it? Can I freeze a casserole with eggs in it?

Yes, you can. Raw eggs are fairly stable in the freezer, especially when beaten or mixed with other ingredients. Check to see what else is in the casserole, though. Hard-cooked eggs, potatoes, rice and pasta don’t freeze particularly well because they break down and lose their texture.

Should I freeze casseroles before they are baked or after baking?

Both! You can actually do either, but follow these tips:

  • Be sure you cool the casserole before freezing.
  • If the casserole has a topping, freeze without the topping. Then, add the topping the last 10 to 20 minutes of the bake time.
  • Thaw the casserole overnight in the refrigerator before baking.
  • You’ll want to increase the bake time. Start with 15 minutes longer than the suggested bake time, then check to see if more time is needed. The center of the casserole should reach 160ºF.
  • Use within three months. Although the casserole still will be safe to eat, after three months as more moisture is lost, the texture and flavor will deteriorate.

My recipe calls for a 13x9-inch baking dish. It’s currently being used for something else. Can I use a smaller 8x8-inch dish or a casserole dish?

Having a variety of baking dishes, baking pans and casserole dishes will help with meal planning by allowing you to make several items and then refrigerate or freeze. Don’t use a smaller dish, but rather use one of a similar size. Take a quick look at this chart to see how easy it is to interchange dishes and pans.

Casserole Size

Substitution

Cup Equivalent

1-quart casserole

9-inch pie plate or 9-inch round pan

4 cups

1 1/2-quart casserole

9-inch square pan or baking dish or 9x5-inch loaf pan

6 cups

2-quart casserole

11x7- or 8-inch square baking dish

8 cups

2 1/2- to 3-quart casserole

13x9-inch baking dish

10 cups


Can I use instant rice in place of regular rice or wild rice in a casserole?

Maybe, maybe not! If the recipe calls for cooked rice, go ahead and substitute an equal amount of cooked instant rice for the cooked regular or wild rice. However, you should not make an equal substitution if the recipe calls for uncooked rice. The amounts of liquid and rice and the cooking time will all be different.

Should I grease the casserole dish? What should I use?

For easier release and cleanup, grease the casserole. For the quickest cleanup, line the casserole with heavy-duty foil and then grease the foil with shortening, oil or cooking spray before filling and baking or use non-stick foil.

Some casseroles have bread crumbs on top and others have no topping. Why is this, and can I top my casserole with something besides bread crumbs?

Breads crumbs on top of a casserole do a couple of things: they provide taste and texture, and they can help prevent excess moisture loss during baking. Many toppings can be sprinkled on top of a casserole. Try one of these in place of bread crumbs: cracker crumbs tossed with melted butter, crushed tortilla chips, slightly crushed potato chips, canned French-fried onions, spoonfuls of mashed potatoes, cooked bacon pieces or chopped nuts.

Must Try Casseroles!

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