Cottage pie is a classic dish that is tasty and made ahead of time for family dinner moments. Since it is made ahead, it makes one wonder whether can you freeze cottage pie.
The short answer is yes, you can freeze a cottage pie for about 3 months and it will remain as good as new if properly and firmly stored.
In this article, we look at how to freeze cottage pies and ways to defrost them.
What Is Cottage Pie?
A cottage pie is a classic dish that screams family dinner time. So, cottage pie is similar to Shepherd’s pie except that it consists of minced beef, onions, gravy, and vegetables, and is garnished with a layer of mashed potatoes. All these ingredients are placed in a skillet, casserole dish, or baking tray and baked in the oven till the potato layers become golden brown.
How to Freeze Cottage Pie
To answer the question of whether can you freeze cottage pie, here are steps on how to go about it: Before freezing cottage pie, you want to ensure you allow it cool first.
1. Allow It Cool
Immediately after you take a baked cottage pie out of the oven, do not proceed to put it in the freezer. Rather, allow it to cool off completely by ensuring there is proper air circulation or ventilation at room temperature. For the fish pie to cool off, it should take an hour or more, so exercise patience.
2. Divide into Portions
Depending on your servings, you can choose to divide cottage pie into smaller sizes. This way, you get to put smaller portions in the freezer for single servings.
3. Place in an Air-tight Container
The best option for freezing cottage pie is in a glass container, but if you do not have this, make use of a plastic container or a Tupperware container.
Simply spoon cottage pie into containers and close the lid firmly and tightly.
4. Freezer/Ziploc Bag
Another alternative is the freezer/ziplock bag. All you need to do is fill the freezer bag with cottage pie, push excess air out of the bag, and seal the edges to close the bag tightly.
5. Ice Cube Trays
The last option for freezing cottage pie is using ice cube trays. You will need to:
- Spoon cottage pie into the holes of the ice cube tray
- Freeze for 5-6 hows or till frozen
- Pop cottage pie holes out of the tray
- Then transfer to a freezer bag and return to the freezer
6. Record It
Lastly, record today’s date on cottage pie containers or freezer bags before laying it down in the freezer for 3 months.
How Long Can You Freeze Cottage Pie?
You can freeze cottage pie for up to 3 months in the freezer.
We recommend freezing cottage pie only for long periods of time, like months. If you want to store cottage pie for 3–4 days, your refrigerator is advised. You can keep cottage pie in the fridge for 3–4 days without it going bad.
5 Tips for Freezing Cottage Pie
Now that the question, “Can you freeze cottage pie?” has been answered, it is only right that we share some tips to guide you in storing them properly.
TIP 1: Always allow a baked cottage pie to cool completely for an hour before storing it. Do not freeze warm or hot cottage pies.
TIP 2: Make use of quality freezer bags when using this storage method.
TIP 3: Ensure cottage pie does not come in contact with air while in the freezer, as this will lead to spoilage.
TIP 4: Properly seal the freezer bag and close the lids of the containers before freezing them. This helps keep air away from the containers.
TIP 5: Keep cottage pie away from water.
How Do You Defrost Cottage Pie?
To defrost cottage pie efficiently, we recommend you plan ahead of cooking time by transferring cottage pie from the freezer to the fridge overnight. When you wake up the next morning, your frozen cottage pie will have thawed naturally and properly on its own.
Alternatively, you can defrost cottage pie by using the microwave.
- In a safe bowl, put frozen cottage pie and lay it down on the microwave
- Set the microwave to defrost setting
- Give it 20 minutes to properly thaw in the microwave
- Serve and enjoy.
How to Tell If Frozen Cottage Pie Is Bad
The good thing about food products is that you can tell if they are bad by yourself. There are organs such as sight and taste that let you know when things are bad.
Your cottage pie is bad if you observe these signs:
- A sour and rancid smell
- Change in color, texture, and appearance
- Taste for anything distasteful
If you see or observe any of the above following, you must throw out spoilt or
badly frozen cottage pie.
Can You Refreeze Cottage Pie?
Of course, why not? You can refreeze cottage pie only if you defrosted it efficiently using the fridge.
But ideally, we do not recommend refreezing cottage pie, as it most likely will affect the taste of the meat by making it unpleasant to consume.
Does Cottage Pie Freeze Well?
Cottage pie freezes well if it is firmly and properly stored, you have nothing to worry about.
It is one of those dishes you make ahead of time, and as such, it can stay in the freezer for 3 months without going bad or spoiling.
Cottage pie will stay up to 3 months in the freezer without getting bad, provided it is stored properly in containers, freezer bags, or ice cube trays.
I hope you found this article on “Can you freeze cottage Pie?” informative.
You could also check out: Can you freeze previously frozen fish?
Can you freeze cottage pie with mash on top?
Yes, you can. Freezing cottage pie with mash on top is a little tricky. It’s possible to freeze it, but be wary that the mashed potatoes on top will, over time, begin to change color the longer it stays in the freezer.
How do you store cottage pie in the freezer?
The most effective way of storing cottage pie in the freezer is by using glass containers, but alternatively, you can portion cottage pie into a freezer bag and seal it. Place in the freezer for 3 months.
Should I freeze cottage pie before or after baking?
You can freeze cottage pie before and after baking it, both options are freezer-friendly. Be sure to allow the baked cottage pie to cool off completely before freezing.
Can you freeze Shepherds pie once cooked?
The answer is yes, you can freeze shepherd’s pie once it’s cooked. But it is important to allow the shepherd’s pie to cool completely before freezing it.
Can I freeze mashed potatoes?
Yes, you can freeze mashed potatoes – it stays in the freezer for up to 1 month due to their moisture content. Store mashed potatoes in a freezer bag and place them in the freezer.
Is it better to freeze a meat pie before or after baking?
The good news is you can freeze meat pie before or after baking. But for the best taste and texture, it is advised that you freeze before baking, as this has a longer shelf life.