Good quality stoneware can be frozen to store a range of cooked or uncooked foods including lasagna, pies, casserole or soup. Never move stoneware straight from the freezer to the oven otherwise you could risk breaking it. Always defrost the stoneware in the fridge 24 hours before putting it in a pre-heated oven.
This article will explore all you need to know to safely freeze stoneware, defrost it and reheat it in the oven or microwave
Tips for safely freezing stoneware
Here are my top tips for freezing food safely in stoneware. Stoneware is great for baking but can be equally great for freezing and storing food. After the food has been defrosted in the fridge it can go into the oven to reheat.
1. Check the base of the dish to make sure it is freezer safe
Before freezing a stoneware dish it is best to check to make sure it is marked freezer safe. Good quality stoneware can be frozen and the food will keep well if it is covered. Pampered Chef stoneware is freezer safe but you will have to check the other brands.
2. Leave gap for liquids to expand
Before freezing food in a stoneware dish make sure you leave a half inch gap at the top. This will allow space for the contents to expand including the liquid and stop it from spilling over. Soups, casseroles, spaghetti and lasagna are all great foods for freezing in stoneware.
You can allow the food to cool down in the dish until it has stopped steaming. When you can handle the dish, you can cover the food and freeze it for a later date.
3. Limit the air
It is also important to put enough food in the dish so the dish at least ¾ full. This will minimize the air space and prevent freezer burn. Limiting the space will stop water forming on the top and crystalizing. This can affect the taste of the food when reheated.
4. Cover the dish tightly
The next step when freezing food in stoneware is to cover the dish tightly. Making sure it is as airtight as possible is important. You can use cling wrap or aluminum foil to cover the stoneware dish. The stoneware lid will not fit as tightly as needed when you need to freeze it. It is best to cover it with a tighter covering to prevent water coming in and freezer burn.
5. Label the dish
When freezing a stoneware dish with leftover cooked food or an un-cooked lasagna it is important to label the dish. Label the lid with the date you froze it and the contents or use a freezer safe label. This means that you will know when it is time to eat the food.
It can be tricky to work out what is in the stoneware dish once it is frozen. Always label the dish even if you think you will remember.
6. Do not put very hot stoneware in the freezer
Never put hot stoneware in a freezer. This could cause cracks and breaks as the dish cools too rapidly. Always cool the dish and hot contents on a bench with a tea-towel underneath. Wait for the temperature to reduce so the food is no longer steaming and the dish can be handled.
Once it is cool enough to handle you can cover it with cling film and make sure it is air tight. Find a big enough space in your freezer to fit the dish comfortably and freeze the food.
How to reheat food frozen in stoneware in the oven
Here are the easy steps to reheat food once it has been frozen in stoneware. Following these steps is important to make sure the stoneware does not change temperature too rapidly and breaks.
1. Take the dish out of the freezer and put it in the fridge
Take the dish out of the freezer and put it in the fridge to defrost 24 hours before you want to reheat it in the oven. Make sure the food and the dish has come up to fridge temperature. For most food this will take a day but it could take longer if the stoneware dish is very large.
2. Always preheat the oven
Make sure the oven has reached the desired temperature before putting the stoneware dish inside. Ovens will blast very hot air when heating up which could cause the dish to break. Once the oven has come up to temperature, place the dish inside to bake.
3. Only set the oven to the maximum temperature the dish can take
This is usually between 350 and 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Pampered Chef is top quality stoneware and can handle oven temperatures up to 450 degrees F. Each dish will
have its own rating so check the levels on the brand’s website.
4. Reheat the food in the oven until it is steaming hot
Remove any plastic wrap from the top of the dish and move it from the fridge to the oven. The dish will be able to withstand the temperature change from the fridge to oven. Make sure you heat the food all the way through so that it has reached the desired temperature and is steaming hot.
How to reheat food frozen in stoneware in the microwave
To reheat frozen food in stoneware in the microwave it is important to defrost it in the fridge first. Once the dish has reached fridge temperatures it can be reheated for 2 minutes at a time. Add an additional minute until the food becomes steaming hot.
Why causes stoneware to crack in the oven
Stoneware can crack int eh microwave if it changes temperature too rapidly from frozen to oven temperatures. This can also happen if the dish is cracked or damaged as it will be weakened and
Thermal shock can cause stoneware to crack in the oven. This is where the temperature changes rapidly. This could be from cold to hot or hot to cold. This is why it is important to defrost the food in the fridge before placing it in the oven.
Can you freeze stoneware? | Summary
Stoneware can be frozen and used to reheat food once it has reached fridge temperatures. Check to make sure the stoneware is freezer safe just to be sure before you put it in the freezer. Fill the dish up to allow at least ½ an inch of space for the food to expand. Most stoneware is hardy and can be frozen to store food.