The Best Way to Reheat Lasagna in Oven
Are you searching for the perfect way to reheat lasagna in oven and get great results?
Most pasta dishes are easy to reheat, but that hulking chunk of leftover lasagna in your fridge? That thing’s a beast! You’ve got towering layers of different fillings to contend with. Thin sheets of noodles that overcook easily and dry out. Sauce that has likely now thickened to a paste-like consistency. And worst of all, a shape that cannot simply be taken apart or stirred in any way. It’s incredibly difficult to reheat evenly.
The fact is, we’ve all been let down by this potentially luscious leftover a time or two—or ten. Honestly, who hasn’t dug in only to discover that the edges of their lasagna are too hot, the noodles are rubbery, and the center is still ice cold?
Yup, you’ve taken on a culinary challenge that sometimes even stumps little Italian nonnes, my friend! But you’re in luck because you’ve come to the right place. My little Italian grandmother was never stumped by this task, and she taught me the secret to reheating lasagne in the oven the right way. The best way. Today, I’m spilling that secret, although I’m sure she wouldn’t mind. Nonna loved to feed everybody. Manga was her mantra in life! But before we heat up and eat up, let’s talk for a moment about the true origins of this beloved Italian dish.
The Origin of Italy’s Most Famous Dish
Some researchers might mention Greece. Some even say England. But most experts agree this spectacular dish was first served in Naples during the Middle Ages, although it was quite different back then than the dish we know and love today. It wasn’t until the 19th century that it took its present shape, and that happened in Bologna. A local chef named Francesco Zambrini popularized the layering of components the way we do it now. Grazie, Francesco!
Lasagna has continued to evolve in many ways. Maybe you’ve got a classic red tomato sauce and cheese version. Or one with layers of savory sausage or beef. Or perhaps even a white one, loaded with spinach or other veggies and smothered in béchamel. But no matter the ingredients, they can be great when you reheat lasagna in oven. And rest assured, the following method works for all of them:
How to Reheat Lasagna in Oven
- Take the lasagna out of the fridge. Uncover it and let it sit on your counter for about 30 minutes to warm up a little. (If you are only heating an individual portion, only take out as much as you are going to reheat.)
- Preheat your oven to 325ºF. (This should take about 30 minutes as well. Be patient! You never want to put your lasagna into a cold oven or it won’t reheat evenly.)
- Next, choose an appropriately-sized casserole dish or pan. You will need at least 1/2” of space from the top of your lasagna to the top of the pan, and deeper is better. (If you don’t have a deep lasagna pan, I cannot say enough about this excellent one by LOVECASA. This pan is perfect for so many things that I promise you, you’ll use it every week! And for reheating a smaller portion, check out this outstanding baking dish by Pyrex.)
- Add a very light coating of olive oil to the bottom and sides of the pan. This will help prevent the lasagna from sticking. (I usually just add a dab and spread it around with a paper towel.)
- Now, sprinkle a little cold water across the bottom of your dish right on top of the olive oil. You don’t want a full layer of water, just droplets (like rain on a windshield).
- Put your lasagna in the prepared pan.
- Next, add even more water. Sprinkle it all over the top of your lasagna (again, like rain on a windshield).
- Now, cover your pan tightly with either foil or a well-fitted lid.
Note: The pan must be tightly covered. And if you are using foil, make sure that the foil is above the lasagna and not sitting on top of it. Crimp well and do not vent. This, combined with the water you added, is the secret to restoring your leftover lasagna to bubbly, cheesy, saucy perfection.
The extra water helps to loosen up the sauce once again. Plus, with the pan tightly covered, the rest of that water will turn into steam. Steam is the key to keeping everything moist when you reheat lasagna in oven. It helps restore your dish’s original textures and allows it to warm up more evenly, too!
- Now, it’s time to reheat lasagna in oven. Put your pan in the middle of your center rack and start timing it. A single portion will take about 30 minutes, and a larger amount will take about 45 minutes.
Tip: This is where many people fail because that timing is subjective. It could be a little different depending on your chosen pan, the size of your lasagna, and your oven, too. To heat up lasagna in oven properly, you’ll need a food thermometer so that you can check the temperature in the middle.
(And trust me, a thermometer is way better than poking it with your finger. Every home needs one! Check out this fantastic thermometer with a probe that you can leave in. I love this style for roasts, too, because you can keep an eye on your temperature reading without having to repeatedly open the oven or the lid.)
- After 25 minutes with a single portion, or after 40 minutes with a larger one, it’s time to check the temperature. When the center of your lasagna reaches 160ºF, it’s ready. If you aren’t there yet, continue to reheat lasagna in oven until you reach temperature.
A final serving tip… Nonna wants you to have extra Parmesan Asiago & Romano cheese on the table too! (And she always means the good stuff!)
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best way to reheat frozen lasagna in the oven?
Reheating frozen lasagna in oven is a recipe for failure! You have to let your lasagna thaw out first, then simply follow the same instructions listed above to reheat lasagna in oven.
Is it okay to reheat lasagna in oven more than once?
No, you should never reheat any leftovers more than once. There are always bacteria present, and as your food warms up a second time, bacteria levels climb and can become unsafe. That can give you food poisoning. Only reheat lasagna in oven once. (And please don’t keep leftovers in the fridge for more than three days for the same reason.)
I have some leftover pasta to heat up, but it’s not lasagna. What’s the best way to do that?
Check out my tutorial for reheating pasta with vodka sauce instead. It works for many different pastas.
Can I reheat lasagna in air fryer?
You could, but don’t expect great results. The air fryer uses very dry heat, and that can easily cause the outer parts to overcook and even get dry and hard before the center gets hot enough. The microwave is also less than ideal because it also tends to overheat the outside before the middle warms up. It may take a little longer, but if you want the best results, always reheat lasagna in oven.