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Nov 20, 2012 04:08 AM

Help-Can Make-Ahead Potato Casserole be cooked twice? (Thanksgiving Help!)

Does anyone know if a Make-Ahead dish can be baked once, then rewarmed 2 days later and still taste OK?

I stayed up very late practicing making an America's Test Kitchen Mashed Potatoe Casserole recipe for Thanksgiving, but it took so long (mainly to caramelize onions) that I'm wondering now if I can cook it off Tuesday, taste it to make sure it tastes good, and then warm it up on Thanksgiving? I.e. not make a whole other dish, but use this 'practice' dish as the one I bring for Thanksgiving)

It sounds kinda' not great, but wonder if anyone else has experience baking a casserole one day, then re-warming it 1-2 days later and it still tastes OK. (This is my 2nd practice recipe I tried this week; the first one didn't taste that great, so it would be great not to have to cook it all over again for Thanksgiving.)

Thanks for any advice!

( copyright recipe removed with poster's permission -- The Chowhound Team)

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  1. Perhaps you could put the recipe together through Step 3, take out a small amount and put it into a small baking container, then continue on through step 5 and bake it on Thanksgiving Day.
    Now bake your small serving container and see what it tastes like!

    1 Reply
    1. re: sharhamm

      Thought about that - it's pretty soupy right now, but maybe I will try. Would you recommend cooking for the full time, if I cook just, say, an eighth of the dish as a trial?

    2. No problem reheating it a few days later - the recipe even tells you how to do it. If you didn't like the taste, the problem is in the recipe or your own taste preferences, not the storage time.

      4 Replies
      1. re: greygarious

        Thanks for your response. Actually the recipe is specifically for a make-ahead, so it just calls for assembling, then refrigerating the dish....then actually baking it, first time, 1-2 days later.

        What I'm wondering is, can I bake it one day, then reheat it 2 days later, good enough to serve on Thanksgiving?

        Guess it's a general question re: whether casseroles, once cooked, can be reheated. If so, does anyone know at what temp/for how long? I read that flash reheating is not sufficient for casseroles, since they are so deep, for example. Thanks for any and all replies!

        1. re: wahine88

          You can absolutely reheat cooked casseroles! The only risk is drying out if you overdo it. To avoid that: put the refrigerated cooked dish on a metal cooling rack or a metal sheet pan because the metal will wick away the cold a lot faster than simply leaving the dish on the counter. Once it is cool but no longer really cold (maybe a half hour depending on depth and material of the dish), cover tightly and warm for maybe a half hour on low heat (200-225). Or microwave on very low power, covered. In either case, take the internal temperature after 15 minutes and continue, or not. *IF* it seems on the dry side once reheated, drizzle a little warm milk over it, cover, and let it sit for 10 minutes.

          1. re: greygarious

            Thanks. I didn't know this. Sounds like the key is to reheat slowly. It will be out of the fridge at least 2 hours anyway (drive time) - not sure whether to put it on ice during transport. I didn't know if it would taste the same, reheated.
            Update - I wrote the author of the recipe (Cooks Illustrated) and they seem to think it would be best to bake it first time on Thanksgiving. Now I have to tackle how to practice-cook just an eighth or so of the dish, to see how it tastes. Want to make sure it tastes good before bringing to Thanksgiving! Besides, it is too soupy to transport, as is. I guess I should have used more potatoes, but followed their recipe to a T. Do you know if a soupy consistency to a casserole before baking is OK?

            1. re: wahine88

              IME, you are fretting over this unnecessarily. Just bake it ahead of time, CI is committed to perfection so they are not about to okay anything else. Casseroles became popular because they could be reheated with little or no loss of quality. No ice during travel.