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Microwaving cold Lasagna is a recipe for disaster. The noodles get all chewy and the sauce becomes dehydrated. So, if you cook a batch and are not ready to dig in right away, the best option is to keep it warm. But, how to keep Lasagna warm without messing up its taste?
The best method to keep lasagna warm doesn’t require any extra hassle. This dish can be kept warm just by using aluminium foil, which will keep the juicy and cheesy texture intact for hours. However, if you want to keep this particular dish warm for a longer period of time you can also go for Thermal Bags, Chafing Dishes or even the simple Hot Pack techniques.
Keeping you Lasagna warm is essential to ensure the highest level of health, nutrition and most importantly taste. In this article, I will talk about all the various techniques you can use to keep your Lasagna warm and moist for a long time. I will also touch on a few safety tips so that you don’t accidentally poison yourself and your peers with stale Lasagna. So, without further ado, let’s dive right into it.
The Best Ways to Keep Your Lasagna Warm
Depending on how much Lasagna you’ve prepared, and how much time you want to keep it warm, the methods to keep it warm will change.
Perhaps, you can also combine some of the listed methods to get your desired result. Some of these techniques will also come in handy if you want to travel with your food. All things considered, you have to analyze and see which ones fit the best for your situation.
1. Aluminium Foil and Towels
This is one of the best ways to keep any food warm. After you have served your family or yourself the food, you have to immediately wrap it up (including the casserole dish) with aluminum foil and towels.
It will trap the steam from the lasagna and reflect it back at it, so the lasagna will stay warm and hold onto its original texture; which is juicy and melty with cheese.
A towel wrapped around the aluminum would also work wonders as it would prevent the heat from escaping from the outer side of the foil. Consequently, the lasagna would stay warm for a longer time.
You can travel using this technique, and it will keep your lasagna warm for up to 3-4 hours. Tip: Keep the lasagna in the same pan you cooked it in, as it is also a heat source.
2. Heat Packs or Hot Water Bottles
If you are traveling for more than 3-4 hours, then you can use this technique without any doubt. The warmth from the food itself is not enough to sustain a long period of time, hence adding an outer source of heat is the required method here. Hot water bottles, heat packs, and even hot bricks are great external sources for keeping your food warm for a longer time.
Pack your lasagna in a steel baking sheet, and cover it with a lid or aluminium foil. Place the heat sources, either under the baking sheet, or to the sides. Wrap all of it with a towel. This method will keep the lasagna warm for more than 8 hours.
Tip: Please do not use any ceramics, glass, or plastics when you are using this because the heat will probably break the container.
3. Lowest Setting of Oven
After baking the lasagna, take it out and put your oven at the lowest temperature. For food safety, you should never lower the temperature to less than 170° Fahrenheit.
If this temperature is too hot for your dish, and can burn it eventually, then keep the oven door slightly open. It will help release some excess heat and would keep the food warm for 2-3 hours.
If the lasagna gets cold after some hours, you can crank up the heat again, or close the door. The lasagna should start reheating instantly. In fact, there is another trick to keep the lasagna hot all day, if you are at home.
Every hour, put your oven at 170-190° Fahrenheit, for 15 minutes, and serve the food when needed. To avoid drying up the dish, use a double boiler technique.
4. Chafing Dishes
Chafing dishes are mainly designed to keep food warm. It will not reheat cold food, nor will cook any food. There are some misconceptions regarding this cooking pot, so you should research it before you invest in one.
However, chafing dishes use Sterno as its fuel, which heats up the pan of water underneath. Then, the hot water and its warm steam keep the food warm.
You have probably seen it while at buffet lunches, as it is a very effective way to keep a large amount of food heated throughout, without it being dried or sticking to the pan.
For Instance, you can put your warm lasagna in your chafing dish, and the steam from the hot water would keep your noodle sheets moist and especially the sauce would not stick to the pan at all.
5. Insulated Thermal Bags and Coolers
Thermal bags are the best choice if you are planning for an outdoor picnic or potluck. These are very easy to travel with and are quite good-looking. The bags will lock the heat of the lasagna inside to keep it warm for 10+ hours maximum.
You can pack your lasagna, in any container, and other food items you wish to take with you, by stacking them on top of each other.
Another method to keep lasagna warm is by keeping it in a cooler. It will keep it safely warm for 6-8 hours, if you follow these steps properly. First, boil a large pot of water and put it into your cooler for 5 minutes.
The water will help to warm up the cooler, so the food doesn’t get cold when it’s kept inside. Next, put your lasagna in the cooler, and wrap an aluminium foil around it.
Things to Consider While Keeping Lasagna Warm
First off, when it comes to keeping food warm for an extended period of time, you should follow some safety protocols with the temperature.
It is recommended to keep your food above 140° Fahrenheit or 60° Celsius because it prevents bacterial growth. Again, the temperatures below these (40-159° F & 4- 59° C) are known as ‘Danger Zone’. So, keep an eye on the temperature to avoid microbial growth which may lead to food poisoning.
Now you might be wondering, how to tell if your lasagna has gone bad or not? It is easy! It will most probably have a different odor, and color. This will be your first sign to understand that you need to throw away your lasagna.
Moreover, you might even see molds forming too. If you have kept your lasagna out at room temperature (90° F) for more than 2 hours, then you should reconsider storing it.
There are plenty of ways to keep your lasagna warm, whether you are travelling or staying at home. I hope the list provided in this article has helped you to understand how to keep lasagna warm and what protocols you should take before and after storing it. Analyze how much food you want to keep warm and for how long; and decide which method works for you the best.
Also, the food safety protocols might alter, depending on the weather of the area you live in. In warm and humid climates keeping your food warm might be more essential. Thank you for reading. And, take care.