Are you a fan of tuna noodle casserole?
It’s a classic comfort food that’s easy to make and perfect for leftovers.
But how long can you keep it in the fridge before it goes bad?
In this article, we’ll explore the shelf life of tuna noodle casserole and give you tips on how to store it properly.
Whether you’re meal prepping for the week or just trying to make the most of your leftovers, read on to find out how long you can enjoy this delicious dish.
How Long Does Tuna Noodle Casserole Last In The Fridge?
The shelf life of tuna noodle casserole largely depends on how it’s stored. According to experts, cooked tuna casserole can last for about 2-4 days in the fridge when stored in an airtight container. It’s important to note that the expiration date of your tuna casserole will depend on various factors, including how fresh the ingredients were when you made it and how well it was stored.
To ensure that your tuna noodle casserole stays fresh for as long as possible, it’s recommended to store it in an airtight container or resealable bag. This will prevent bacteria from reaching the casserole and keep odors from intermingling in your fridge. It’s also important to remember that even with proper storage, there is still a looming expiration date on your tuna casserole.
If you notice any signs of spoilage, such as atypical aromas or the presence of mold, it’s best to dispose of the casserole. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to consuming food that may have gone bad.
The Shelf Life Of Tuna Noodle Casserole
The shelf life of tuna noodle casserole can be extended up to three months if it’s frozen. However, if you choose to freeze your casserole, it’s important to remember to thaw it for 24 to 32 hours first, then let it stand for 30 minutes at room temperature before baking. This will ensure that the casserole is evenly heated and won’t result in any foodborne illnesses.
When storing the casserole in the fridge, it’s recommended to use an airtight container or resealable bag instead of simply covering the casserole dish with cling wrap. A tight seal will prevent bacteria from reaching the casserole and keep odors from intermingling in your fridge.
If you’re wondering how to reheat leftover casserole that’s been resting in the fridge, the process is simple. While temperature and cook times can vary based on the size and structure of your tuna casserole, it’s recommended to pull the casserole out of the fridge half an hour before reheating. Then, cover the aluminum foil-covered casserole with a lid and bake it in a 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven for 30 minutes or until fully heated.
It’s important to note that while tuna noodle casserole can be frozen and stay fresh for up to three months, the top may not get as crispy as the first time, and the noodles may soften. Therefore, it’s recommended to consume frozen tuna noodle casserole as soon as possible after thawing.
Factors That Affect The Shelf Life Of Tuna Noodle Casserole
When storing tuna noodle casserole in the fridge, there are several factors that can impact its shelf life. One of the most important factors is the presence of other perishable ingredients in the recipe, such as mayo, pasta, or eggs. Tuna fish with mayo can remain good for 3 to 4 days, while tuna with any type of pasta is good for only 4 days. Tuna with egg can last for up to 5 days.
Another factor that can affect the shelf life of tuna noodle casserole is the container in which it is stored. Whether you use a plastic or glass container, it’s important to ensure that it is rigid enough to be airtight. If the container is not rigid enough, it will not create a tight seal, which can result in varying temperatures and cause the tuna casserole to spoil more quickly.
It’s also important to note that the freshness of the ingredients used in your tuna noodle casserole can impact its shelf life. If you use fresh ingredients and store your casserole properly, it will last longer than if you use older or expired ingredients.
How To Store Tuna Noodle Casserole Properly
To store tuna noodle casserole properly, it’s important to follow a few key steps. First, let the casserole cool before storing it in an airtight container or resealable bag. This will prevent condensation from forming and keep the casserole fresh for longer.
If you have leftover casserole that you want to freeze, it’s recommended to freeze it without the noodles and then cook the noodles on the day of serving and add them together before baking. This will ensure the best texture consistency of the noodles. Cook the noodles to slightly under where you want them cooked, drain and mix into the rest of the mixture before freezing. Then thaw and bake.
Alternatively, you can make the full recipe including the noodles and bake it before freezing. However, this method has a higher risk of the finished casserole being overcooked or being somewhat dried out.
When freezing tuna noodle casserole, it’s important to flash-freeze the leftovers for a few hours in the original baking dish or a smaller one. Then prepare it for long-term freezer storage by covering the untouched portion of the casserole with aluminum foil and freezing it in the baking pan for several hours. Once it’s solid, remove it from the pan, place it in a freezer bag, and return it to the freezer.
To reheat leftover casserole that’s been resting in the fridge, simply pull it out of the fridge half an hour before reheating. Cover the aluminum foil-covered casserole in a 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven for 30 minutes or until fully heated. Check that the internal temperature on any tuna casserole reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit before serving it.
Signs That Tuna Noodle Casserole Has Gone Bad
There are several signs that your tuna noodle casserole may have gone bad. The first thing to check is the expiration date. If the casserole has been stored properly but is past its expiration date, it’s best to err on the side of caution and throw it out.
Another sign of spoilage is if the casserole has an unusual aroma. If it smells sour, rancid, or just off in any way, it may be a sign that bacteria has started to grow and the casserole should be discarded.
Visual cues can also indicate whether your tuna noodle casserole has gone bad. If you notice any mold on the surface of the casserole or if it appears discolored, especially if it has a greenish tint, it’s best not to eat it.
Finally, if you’re still unsure whether your tuna noodle casserole is safe to eat, you can taste a small amount. If it tastes off or has an unusual texture, it’s best to discard it. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to consuming food that may have gone bad.
Tips On Reheating Tuna Noodle Casserole Safely
When it comes to reheating tuna noodle casserole, there are several methods to choose from. The most popular options are using the oven or the microwave. However, it’s important to remember that reheating tuna casserole can be tricky, as it can easily dry out or become overcooked if not done correctly. Here are some tips on how to safely reheat your tuna noodle casserole:
1. Use the oven for best results: While the microwave is a quicker option, using the oven will result in a more evenly heated dish. Preheat the oven to 350°F and place the casserole in an oven-safe dish. Cover it with aluminum foil and bake for approximately 20-30 minutes or until heated through.
2. Add moisture: To prevent your casserole from drying out, consider adding some extra moisture before reheating. You can add a splash of milk or chicken stock to the casserole before putting it in the oven, or place a small microwave-safe cup filled with water next to your casserole when reheating in the microwave.
3. Cover with foil: Whether you’re using the oven or microwave, covering your casserole with foil will help it steam and prevent it from drying out.
4. Cut into smaller pieces: To ensure more even cooking, consider cutting your casserole serving into smaller pieces before reheating.
5. Let it sit out: Before reheating your tuna noodle casserole, let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. This will help promote even heating and protect your bakeware.
6. Check for cold spots: When reheating in the microwave, be sure to check for cold spots by stirring or flipping halfway through.
By following these tips, you can safely reheat your tuna noodle casserole without compromising its texture or flavor. Just remember to always use caution when consuming leftovers and dispose of any food that shows signs of spoilage.