CasseroleWhat’s a casserole? The word is used today to refer to both a container and the food that’s cooked in it. The Oxford English Dictionary notes that it comes from a French word meaning “an open-mouthed pan.” The first English use of the word that the lexicographers found was in 1706.


The ingredients in a casserole vary widely, but the dish is a cooked one that’s served hot. It frequently appears at dinner parties because one casserole can usually serve many diners.


Casseroles commonly contain animal and vegetable products, making them extremely perishable. They should be handled in accordance with the following guidelines:


  1. Cook a casserole to a high enough temperature to kill most pathogens. (Follow the cooking instructions carefully.)
  2. Try to keep the casserole hot (above 140ºF) while it’s on the table or buffet.
  3. Don’t keep casserole ingredients out at room temperature for more than 2 hours, including preparation time.
  4. Refrigerate leftovers in a shallow container and, if a lot is left, put the leftovers in two or three containers. That way, the contents will cool faster and be in the “danger zone” for a shorter time. The range that food scientists call the “danger zone” refers to 40ºF to 140ºF, the temperatures in which pathogens grow.
  5. Reheat leftovers only once to avoid having the product go through the “danger zone” many times.


For shelf life information on other types of prepared foods, click the links below:



Casseroles Shelf Life
Meat-Based Casseroles3-4 days4 months
Boyer, Renee, and Julie McKinney. "Food Storage Guidelines for Consumers." Virginia Cooperative Extension (2009): n. pag. Web. 7 Dec 2009.

Specific Casseroles Products


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