I want to assemble a lasagna with cooked noodles and freeze to be thawed out and cooked for Christmas. I am concerned that taste will be compromised because of not being completely freshly made. I am stressing about this because it's for such a special occasion but I'd love to free up time for that day, if possible. Anyone have any thoughts about your experience with final taste results?
I have done this, and it seems to come out fine.
Note, though, usually I will cook a lasagna almost all the way without a layer of cheese on top, and just put the top cheese layer on to melt in the last little bit of oven time. For this reason I freeze the unbaked lasagna without the top layer of cheese. I just mention this in case the freezer might do some harm to a top cheese layer (don't know if it will, just that I didn't try that experiment).
I make lasagna ahead of time quite often. I have actually made them two weeks early and frozen. I have frozen both "cooked" lasagna and "uncooked" lasagna and they both turn out great for reheating.
I placed quotes around cooked and uncooked for this reason. Everything in my lasagna at the assembly stage is basically cooked already. The meat was cooked and added to the sauce, the noodles are cooked. So what we are doing after assembling and putting in the oven is more like heating( aka melting the cheeses). This said, my favorite technique with the best results for us are to assemble the lasagna as you normally would, and instead of putting in the oven you will put it directly into your freezer. Make sure there is no heat left in the ingredients you are assembling with. If there is just place in fridge until residual heat is gone. Wrap tightly to prevent any flavor transfers from other items. I always have sauce and cheese layer on top. 24 hours before you want to bake it you will need to take it out and place in fridge. You dont want the inside frozen and the outside to burn. Before you cook it, spray the foil you are going to cover it with in the oven with cooking spray or oil it lightly to prevent any cheese on the top layer from sticking, so you can easily remove it to brown during the last 20 min of cooking.