Freezing a Moussaka

by Joshua McCarron

Moussaka is a traditional Greek dish that is assembled in layers, similar to lasagne, but with different ingredients. Moussaka is constructed in a casserole dish by layering ingredients like minced lamb or beef, sliced eggplant and potato and a rich white sauce, or bechamel. Feta and/or Parmesan cheese can be part of a moussaka. It is a dish that freezes well, so it's possible to prepare more than one and save them for later if a moussaka craving strikes.

Freeze Before Baking

To freeze moussaka before you bake it, just assemble it in a casserole dish as you would if you were placing it the oven, only place it in the freezer instead. The exact layering order of moussaka may vary according to the cook, but potatoes or cooked eggplant slices on the bottom, then seasoned meat, cooked eggplant slices, more meat and white sauce on the top is standard. A disposable aluminum foil casserole with a tight-fitting lid makes a useful vehicle for freezing moussaka, but as long as the dish stands up to the freezer and it is airtight to prevent freezer burn, it should work.

Freeze After Baking

If you want to save time the next time you want to eat moussaka, freeze it after it has already been baked. For this method, assemble and bake the moussaka according to your instructions, then leave it to cool completely to room temperature. Next, slide it into the fridge until it's cold, then transfer it to the freezer. Ensure the casserole dish is airtight, so the quality of the moussaka is not affected. When you want to serve it, you will only have to heat it through.

Freezing Timeline

If you freeze food in a safe, airtight container it will theoretically remain unspoiled for as long as you want to leave it in the freezer. However, the idea of eating a moussaka that you put in the freezer a couple years ago might not be appealing, so take the time to label the dish when you put it in the freezer. Mark the date and whether it is cooked or uncooked, just so you don't forget when it comes time to bake it. Aim for a maximum timeline of about a month in the freezer, and eat it before that time elapses.

Thawing It Safely

When you remove the moussaka from the freezer, thaw it safely. It was safe in the freezer, but as it thaws and reaches 40 degrees Fahrenheit, the bacteria issue becomes a reality. Bacteria multiply quickly at temperatures between 40 F and 140 F, so thaw moussaka in a fridge that is at or below 40 F. You can also thaw food safely in cold running water that is below 70 F, but that scenario probably isn't ideal for moussaka. Just transfer the casserole dish from the freezer to the fridge to sit overnight. Follow the cooking directions from the recipe for uncooked moussaka. Previously cooked moussaka should be reheated until the interior registers 165 degrees F.

About the Author

Joshua McCarron has been writing both online and offline since 1995. He has been employed as a copywriter since 2005 and in that position has written numerous blogs, online articles, websites, sales letters and news releases. McCarron graduated from York University in Toronto with a bachelor's degree in English.