Overfilling your casserole dish is a recipe for disaster

Whether you love making an easy egg casserole for breakfast or a vegetable tortellini casserole, there’s no simpler path to a hearty dinner than stuffing a casserole and throwing it in the oven. Best of all, leftover casserole can be just as delicious, but if you’re thinking of filling your bakeware to the top so you can feast for days, think again. Filling your dish to capacity is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.

The most obvious downside is the overflow factor: a very full casserole dish can not only take longer to cook, but can also spill onto the racks and bottom of your oven. Even if you manage to cook your overstuffed casserole evenly in a reasonable amount of time, disaster can strike when it’s time to serve it. Using a spoon or knife to remove food from the dish without it spilling over the sides is almost impossible. Whether you’re working with a deeper or more shallow casserole dish, you should only fill it ¾ full, maximum.

The material of the dish doesn’t matter either: whether it’s glass, cast iron or ceramic, no material is necessarily better for handling too much food at once. If you’re still tempted, know why a casserole dish can easily overflow and how an overfilled dish can make your recipe much less practical.

Read more: 8 Baking Sheet Mistakes You Want to Avoid

Overfilled pans can be bad news for baking and cleanup

Woman wiping the oven with a blue towel – AvokadoStudio/Shutterstock

An overfilled casserole dish can take longer to cook because the ingredients won’t be evenly exposed to heat to help them cook properly. You might end up with burnt edges and an undercooked center. Making an oversized casserole dish is tempting if you’re feeding a crowd, but everyone will have to sit and twiddle their thumbs while you’re busy opening and closing the oven door over and over, checking to see if the dish is finally done. .

Additionally, many foods increase in volume when cooked, especially pasta, rice, and grains, three popular ingredients in savory stews. Even if you fill your dish to the top without overflowing, food needs extra room to rise, and if there isn’t any, overflowing is almost guaranteed. Casseroles that contain thinner sauces or additional toppings are also particularly likely to boil over. Spills can stick to the bottom of your oven and be very difficult to remove, even with extra scrubbing. Overflows can also leave dried residue on the outside of your baking dish, which can be just as difficult to remove.

Conversely, it is also possible to not fill a casserole dish sufficiently. Cooking a shallow casserole dish doesn’t have as many pitfalls as an overfilled casserole dish, but it can easily overcook and end up drying out. To keep casseroles as easy and convenient as they should be, fill your baking dish about ¾ full.

Mindful preparation ensures easier casseroles

Casserole potato gratin

Potatoes au gratin in casserole dishes – Tatiana Volgutova/Getty Images

If you really need a few extra servings of casserole, simply double your recipe and cook it in two dishes. Yes, you will have to clean an extra dish, but it will be a breeze compared to cleaning the entire interior of your oven. Besides filling your baking dish properly, there are a few other tips you can follow for easy casserole recipes for breakfast, dinner, and everything in between. For example, if your dishes often end up with burnt residue, or if you are preparing a delicate recipe like an extra-large frittata, line your casserole dish with parchment paper before pouring in your ingredients. Cleanup will be a breeze and your casserole can be served and sliced ​​into perfectly intact pieces.

Try as you might, it is possible to accidentally overfill your casserole dish, especially if you use one with a different size than the recipe calls for. To protect your oven, place your dish on a baking sheet to catch any residual spills or drips. You can also place a baking sheet or a long, flat piece of foil along the bottom rack of your oven to catch any spills.

Once your casserole dish is out of the oven, give your meal time to rest. It can be difficult to be patient, but just 15 minutes allows all the ingredients, including the most flavorful components, to meld properly for crisper slices and an easier casserole eating experience.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.

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