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Make-Ahead Casseroles | 9 Simple Recipes To Prep Now And Cook Later

Make-ahead casseroles are amazing one-pot wonders that make for the coziest and easiest meals. This post shares 9 delicious recipes that help you save time for when you want something quick, hearty, and healthy!

Make-Ahead Casseroles | 9 Simple Recipes To Prep Now And Cook Later

One of the first make-ahead casseroles I tried was a Sweet Potato Casserole back when Dustin and I were newly dating. It was for Thanksgiving with his family so you can imagine just how nervous I was making it! Luckily, it came out great and since then, I was a FAN. 

I realized they were way easier to make than I had thought. They also turned out to be lifesavers on random days when we’d suddenly have guests or a potluck to attend. 

Needless to say, casseroles are one of THE biggest kitchen best friends you can ever have. Since you can prep them in advance and store them for months in the freezer, you can have a restaurant-ready dish served in no time! 

This post shares 9 of my favorite make-ahead casserole recipes and tips on how to store them properly, make them healthy, and undeniably delicious.

Can You Make A Casserole In Advance?

Yes, you can make a casserole in advance and that’s what makes them so convenient. Make-ahead meals are perfect for family meals or bigger batch recipes that cut weekly cook time significantly. Personally, I think they’re the ultimate lifesavers when I know I’ve got a long day or hectic week ahead. 

If you plan on making a casserole in advance, here’s how to do it:

  1. Assemble your ingredients on a dish.
  2. Tightly seal it with foil.
  3. Wrap it with plastic wrap. 
  4. Pop it in the freezer. 

Your make-ahead casserole should keep well for 4 to 6 months if stored properly.

Make-Ahead Casseroles | 9 Simple Recipes To Prep Now And Cook Later

What Dishes Can Be Prepared Ahead Of Time?

Most meals can actually be prepared in advance with careful planning and proper storage. Some meals like chili even taste better after it sits for a bit. Casseroles, enchiladas, and many meal prep recipes are great for making ahead of time.

From frozen breakfast ideas to mason jar salads, here are some of my fave make-ahead meals:

How Long Can A Casserole Stay In The Fridge Before Cooking?

For short-term storage, you may keep an uncooked casserole in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Make sure to eat it within that time frame for safety and quality. Not to mention, taste!

For longer storage, store your casserole in the freezer for 4 to 6 months (set to 0 degrees F or cooler). Keep in mind that the quality of your ingredients might drop after the 3-month mark.

Confession: I’m the queen of forgetting what is in my freezer so it’s always a good idea to label your prepared dishes. It’s fine to use a sharpie if stored in a freezer bag. Or an oil-based marker if labeling directly on glass.

Make-Ahead Casseroles | 9 Simple Recipes To Prep Now And Cook Later

Do You Cook Casseroles Before Freezing?

This is a great question because food safety becomes an issue here. The general rule is if there is meat in your casserole, you definitely need to cook it completely before freezing. Allow it to cool to room temp and then you’re all set to store it for later use.

However, if it’s vegetarian/vegan (or calls for pre-cooked meat), you can pop it in the freezer without cooking. This actually helps preserve the ingredient’s taste and texture because they stay in their natural form until you’re ready to bake.

What Makes A Make-Ahead Casserole Healthy?

Make-ahead casseroles are easy to make healthy because you have absolute control over the ingredients used. So rather than heating up a store-bought freezer meal (that likely contains weird preservatives and processed ingredients), you can make your casseroles clean and balanced.

What’s so bad about processed ingredients? A lot, unfortunately. Read What Happens When You Stop Eating Processed Food.

When making a high-nutrient and healthy casserole, here are some tips I’ve applied to my make-ahead recipes below: 

  • For more fiber and protein: swap white rice for brown rice or quinoa.
  • For less sodium: use low sodium chicken broth 
  • For a healthy flour alternative: use chickpea flour instead of all-purpose flour
Make-Ahead Casseroles | 9 Simple Recipes To Prep Now And Cook Later

Healthy Make-Ahead Casseroles To Make At Home 627

You’ll find a variety of recipes here! From pasta casserole recipes to vegan casserole recipes and everything in between. All these dishes are easy to make, super delicious, and of course…clean-approved.

Make-Ahead Casseroles | 9 Simple Recipes To Prep Now And Cook Later

1. Sweet Potato Casserole

Y’all know how much I LOVE sweet potatoes, I made a whole post on it. I also decided to turn it into this naturally sweet, dense, and crunchy casserole your whole fam will surely enjoy.

Recipe Notes:

  • Prep Time: 25 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Calories: 203 kcal (serves 12)

Get the recipe.

Make-Ahead Casseroles | 9 Simple Recipes To Prep Now And Cook Later

2. Tuna Noodle Casserole

Yes, I had to start with this classic! From the creamy, savory noodles, to the slightly chewy and crispy toasted parmesan top, there’s a lot to love about this tuna noodle casserole. It’s also easy to prepare and freeze ahead of time if you prefer. Because the tuna is pre-cooked, there’s no huge need to cook this casserole before you freeze it. Just bake when you’re ready.

It’s important to choose a reputable brand of canned tuna. Learn How To Pick The Best Canned Tuna At The Store.

Recipe Notes:

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 35 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Calories: 360 kcal

Get the recipe.

Make-Ahead Casseroles | 9 Simple Recipes To Prep Now And Cook Later

3. Green Bean Casserole

Wow your guests at every potluck or Thanksgiving with this green bean casserole. I make the sauce from scratch using sautéed mushrooms and garlic combined with chickpea flour and some unsweetened almond milk. Sorry canned cream of mushroom, we’re making things healthy!

Recipe Notes:

  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Calories: 221 kcal (serves 6)

Get the recipe.

35 Easy Weeknight Dinners - Make-Ahead Quinoa Casserole

4. Quinoa Make-Ahead Casserole

Choose this option if you want a lot of fiber and protein. This ultra cheesy and satisfying casserole uses quinoa penne pasta, which is gluten-free. Along with other healthy whole foods like cremini mushrooms, yellow onion, garlic, and grape tomatoes.

This quinoa casserole is one of my all-time favorite winter recipes (up there with my Hearty Beef Stew ).

Recipe Notes:

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 40 mins
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Calories: 609 kcal (serves 6)

Get the recipe.

Make-Ahead Casseroles | 9 Simple Recipes To Prep Now And Cook Later

5. Shredded Chicken Enchiladas

If you’re intimidated by the word enchiladas, don’t be! This recipe is shockingly simple to make. Simple ingredients that pack a whole lot of flavor? My kind of casserole. It calls for my 10 Minute Homemade Enchilada Sauce and my homemade corn tortillas. To cut down on time, it’s OK to use store-bought corn tortillas although I would advise against canned enchilada sauce.

Recipe Notes:

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 40 mins
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Calories: 443 kcal (serves 6) 

Get the recipe.

Make-Ahead Casseroles | 9 Simple Recipes To Prep Now And Cook Later

6. Classic Stuffed Peppers

Looking for an easy weeknight meal? This family-approved Classic Stuffed Peppers recipe goes way back from my childhood! They’re hearty, healthy, and perfect for left-overs too!

Recipe Notes:

  • Prep Time: 25 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 mins
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Calories: 490 kcal (serves 6)

Get the recipe.

Make-Ahead Casseroles | 9 Simple Recipes To Prep Now And Cook Later

7. Spicy Quinoa And Black Bean Vegan Enchiladas

Another one of my fave enchilada recipes — and yes, if it isn’t obvious already I LOVE enchiladas, lol. They’re filling, clean, and the real deal. A flavor bomb in every bite. 

Recipe Notes:

  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 35 mins
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Calories: 445 kcal (serves 4) 

Get the recipe.

Make-Ahead Casseroles | 9 Simple Recipes To Prep Now And Cook Later

8. Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Enjoy this creamy butternut squash recipe without the heavy calories. This recipe uses unrefined flour, greek yogurt, and clean ingredients to make the healthiest mac and cheese EVER.

Recipe Notes:

  • Prep Time: 25 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 50 mins
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Calories: 287 kcal

Get the recipe.

Make-Ahead Casseroles | 9 Simple Recipes To Prep Now And Cook Later

9. Sweet Potato Lasagna

The truth is you CAN have lasagna AND still stick to a clean diet. Made with fresh sweet potatoes and cottage cheese, this dish packs a load of flavor and nutritional benefits. 

Recipe Notes:

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 55 mins
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Calories: 425 kcal

Get the recipe.

This post contains affiliate links for products I use regularly and highly recommend.

Lacey Baier

Hey y’all, I’m Lacey Baier and I’m so glad you’re here! I’m a healthy lifestyle influencer and the creator of this clean-eating blog and YouTube channel, A Sweet Pea Chef. My recipes have been published on Food Network, Good Morning America, FoxNews, Tastemade, Fitness Magazine, and much more. I live in Dallas, Texas with my husband and four kiddos. Let’s get started!

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