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Can You Freeze Cottage Pie?

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By Ross Young

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Cottage pie is one of those awesome make-ahead dishes that provide you with delicious, filling meals throughout the week when you don’t have time to spend in the kitchen. But how do you preserve your cottage pie for several weeks or months from now? Can you freeze cottage pie?

Cottage pie can be frozen for up to 3 months. You will need to cook each component part of the pie and assemble it before allowing it to cool. You can then portion it up and place it in the freezer for several months. 

Does Cottage Pie Freeze Well? Yes

Can You Refreeze Cottage Pie? Yes

How to Freeze Cottage Pie

You can freeze cottage pie whole or in portions; it’s entirely up to you. Once you have cooked it for the required time, the freezing process is nice and easy, as we introduce below: 

  1. Cool
    As soon as your cottage pie is cooked, remove it from the oven and allow it to stand at room temperature. Depending on the size of the pie, it might take an hour or so to cool, as it will be piping hot when you remove it from the oven! 
  2. Split Into Portions
    This step is optional, but unless you plan to reheat your cottage pie all in one go, we’d advise you to split it into portion sizes at this stage. You can add a portion into suitably sized Tupperware containers or something similar. 
  3. Cover
    If your containers have a lid, attach it firmly. If they don’t, use some tin foil to cover the containers well, so your cottage pie is protected from freezer burn. 
  4. Label and Freeze
    Mark today’s date, as well as the use-by date on the lid of your container before placing it in the freezer. Remember, you can freeze cottage pie for around three months.

3 Tips for Freezing Cottage Pie

Now you know how to freeze it, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing cottage pie to have the best results:

Freeze Any Type of Pie
Although the instructions above are relevant to cottage pie, you can freeze most types of homemade pies in the same way (fish pie or shepherd’s pie, for instance). 

Top with Cheese Before Reheating
Grating some cheese on top of your cottage pie is a delicious way of enhancing the recipe, but you should do this once the pie has been defrosted. Allow it to bake for around half the designated time and then add the cheese, which gives it sufficient time to melt into the creamy mash topping. Delicious! 

Always Reheat from Chilled
Although you might be tempted to reheat your cottage pie straight from frozen to save yourself some time, it’s much better to reheat it from chilled. Reheating it from frozen will cause it to heat unevenly, so be sure to allow it sufficient time to thaw in advance.

How Long Can You Freeze Cottage Pie?

You can freeze cottage pie for around three months. It will also keep for 3-4 days after you have initially cooked it in the fridge, so you don’t necessarily have to freeze it straight away if you don’t want to.

But remember, the fresher your cottage pie is when you freeze it, the tastier it will be when you’re ready to enjoy it in the future! 

You Can Freeze Cottage Pie for up to 3 Months

How Do You Defrost Cottage Pie?

The best way to defrost cottage pie is to place it in the fridge overnight. This is the case if you’re defrosting portions or a whole pie.

However, if you’ve forgotten to take your portion of cottage pie out of the freezer in advance, you can always defrost it in the microwave. Simply place your frozen pie on a microwave-safe tray and thaw it on your microwave’s defrost setting.

Once it has thawed completely, you can continue reheating it in any way that you choose (although the oven is the best method!).

Can You Refreeze Cottage Pie?

If you have defrosted cottage pie in the fridge, it’s technically safe to refreeze it. However, we recommend freezing cottage pie only once, as you don’t want to risk spoiling the meat.

It’s much better to split your cottage pie into individual portion sizes before freezing it, as this ensures you don’t need to worry about freezing leftovers for a second time.

Does Cottage Pie Freeze Well?

Cottage pie freezes extremely well. It’s for this reason that it’s such a popular make-ahead-of-time dish, as you can leave it in the freezer for several months without worrying about it losing its taste or texture.

Providing you have wrapped it well and keep your freezer at a suitable temperature, you should encounter absolutely no issues when freezing cottage pie. 

Related FAQs

If you’ve still got questions about freezing cottage pie or pie in general, then these may help:

Should You Cook Cottage Pie Before Freezing?

Yes, every component of a cottage pie should be cooked before you freeze it. This will make the reheating process in future far more straightforward. Once cooked, it’s vital that you allow it to cool before freezing it.

Can You Freeze Cottage Pie in a Pyrex Dish?

We would actually recommend freezing cottage pie in the dish you plan to reheat it in. This means you can grab it from the freezer, defrost it and then heat it through in the same dish. A pyrex dish would work well here.

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