I'm a complete cooking newbie. I just made a lasanga from a recipe - or something that looks like a lasanga. However, it will probably only be eaten 3-4 hours from now. What should I do with it in the mean while? Leave it in the oven (after turning it off, of course)? Put it in the fridge? Just lay it on a table?

And how should I re-heat it, if it will be required?


You cannot easily cool and reheat a decent sized lasagna in 3 to 4 hours and get down to 4C for any length of time to make it worthwhile

It was mostly sterile from the baking process. If you leave the oven door closed it will stay clean and warm for a few hours. Simply be re-heated 30 minutes before serving. You could under-cook it slightly to allow for this, but for lasagna is usually improves with more cooking

You could also consider leaving the oven on low, and keeping it hot till serving time. This may degrade some foods, it depends on what's in it. Keep it above 70C (160F)

  • Indeed, by the time it was cool enough to put in the fridge it was almost time to eat it.
    – Oak
    Dec 15 '10 at 7:52
  • 3
    If reheated before serving, I would advise baking it without the cheese layer and topping with cheese at the reheating stage. Melted cheese tastes better than melted-cooled-reheated cheese.
    – rumtscho
    Dec 25 '12 at 19:20

The lasanga will be even better 4 hours from now, but you definitely need to get it cold. Bacteria grow between 40°F and 140°F (often called the "danger zone"), so you need to get it cold now. I wouldn't put hot lasagna directly into the fridge, though, as it will raise the temperature of your fridge. Let it cool for a little while, maybe even let it sit on some ice, then refrigerate.

You can re-heat it all at once, in a low temperature (250°F or so) oven, or cut into individual servings and microwave it.


The correct answer is to wrap it with aluminium foil and stick it in the fridge. This way you will be safe from all bacterial growth. If your lasagna is cool already you could also use cling film for the wrapping. Having said that: If it was me I would just leave it on the table. I always do that, and it has never been a problem.

  • For the re-heating I am not sure. You say your oven is not working. How did you even cook it in the first place? :D Dec 14 '10 at 14:41
  • And if I leave it on the table, should I cover it as well?
    – Oak
    Dec 14 '10 at 14:43
  • clarified my question.
    – Oak
    Dec 14 '10 at 14:44
  • 2
    Bobs answer is more correct than mine. It is unwise to leave hot food out in room temperature. But for me, personally, I do it all the time and I am alive and well. If you do decide to take the risk of leaving it on the table, definitely cover it. Otherwise it will dry out. Dec 14 '10 at 15:08
  • 2
    I usually try to give the safest answer, even if it might be fine for a few hours. I don't want anyone to come back and say "my entire family has food poisoning, my house burned down, and my dog is dead. Thanks a lot!"
    – Bob
    Dec 14 '10 at 15:23

I was a food service specialist. The danger zone is 40°F to 140°F (4°C to 60°C). Food can be kept in the danger zone no more then 4 hours. That being said it would be fine to leave in the oven until your guest arrive with the oven turned off after backing. Reheat at 350 for 1/2 hour before serving. Your lasagna wouldn't be in the danger zone 4 hours.

  • 4 hrs, if I am not mistaken, would be for immediate consumption? So in the case described, the part to be reheated soon should be treated differently from the part you might want to store for a longer time, and which you would want to chill ASAP, probably portioning before chilling. Jan 18 '16 at 19:28

For a 4 hour wait time prior to eating, first leave it at room temp for 30 minutes so you can then put in fridge. Cover tight with foil. Then one hour before eat time reheat in oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150 Celsius) for one hour (because now it is cold, not room temperature). Make sure you have a dish that can take going from cold fridge to hot oven. If it is a dish you can not put in oven while so cold - 1/2 hour at room and 30 minutes at 325°F (160°C).


There's only one way to be completely safe: Eat it now, or give it to someone else so they can eat it now. If your guests aren't due for 3 or 4 hours, make another one that'll just be cooked when they're due to arrive. Your second lasagna will probably taste better than your first anyway.

  • If cooling the bulk is problematic, there is always the possibility of cutting it up into portions as soon as it is sufficiently cool and firm to handle, Jun 25 '18 at 17:16

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