12 Make-Ahead Casserole Recipes for Easy Weeknight Dinners
We're sharing a dozen cozy dishes that the whole family will love. And you'll love that you can prep them ahead and put them in the oven whenever you need an easy dinner.
Casseroles are perfect one-dish meals and can be weeknight lifesavers—but not if you're spending an hour or more assembling them as the clock ticks closer to dinnertime. That's why we love the casseroles in this gallery, which can all be made in advance and then popped into the oven—perhaps with a quick topping added first—when you're ready to eat, making a busy weeknight feel much less harried.
You'll find comfort in familiar classics, like tuna casserole and chicken Tetrazzini. Our recipes for both are straightforward, easy, and reliable. Other recipes here take well-known casserole combos like broccoli and cheddar, spinach and eggs, and sausage and beans, and reinvent them with new and unexpected additions.
What do all of these recipes have in common? Each and every one fits the bill for dinner, though some have that relaxed, any-time-of-day feel to them, like our Jewish-Deli Strata, which takes a bagel with cream cheese and lox as its inspiration, or Cheesy Spinach-Potato Egg Casserole, which works just as well with a fruit salad for brunch as it does alongside a glass of wine and hunk of crusty bread for dinner.
Be sure to read through the recipe fully before you make it, so you know at what point you can stop, cover the casserole and refrigerate or freeze it before proceeding. And it's a good rule of thumb to bring a casserole up to room temperature (or close to it) before putting it into the oven. Then all that's left to do is sit back, relax, and dig in (and congratulate yourself on your fantastic foresight!).
Cheesy Spinach-Potato Egg Casserole
This egg casserole with spinach and potatoes is naturally gluten-free and vegetarian, with fontina cheese, nutmeg, and thyme giving it a nice robust flavor.
Broccoli-Cheddar Hash-Brown Casserole
Here's a riff on a Swiss Rösti, where potatoes are fried and then baked. In this casserole version, you add broccoli, eggs, and a mixture of cheddar, Dijon, yogurt, and scallions. It tastes like a loaded baked potato (complete with crumbled bacon on top!) and has the crispness of hash browns.
A strata is one of the easiest, most reliable brunch dishes you can make, and typically consists of bread, eggs, and cheese. Here, rye bread, smoked salmon and havarti star alongside classic bagel garnishes like capers, red onion, and lemon for a bagels-and-lox-inspired meal.
Sausage and Bean Casserole
Consider this an upgraded version of basic pork and beans, with deep flavor thanks to red wine and thyme. You can make it in two medium-sized shallow baking dishes or eight ramekins, so everyone gets their own individual portion.
Tian Provencal With Polenta
Quick-cooking polenta provides heft to this casserole (it's also a busy cook's dream, a classic shortcut ingredient that doesn’t taste like it). It forms the base layer of this delicious casserole, which also includes leek, eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes and Gruyère, a cheese that always melts beautifully
Sausage-and-Kale Stuffed Shells
Spicy pork sausage (though you could certainly swap in sweet) and hearty kale come together with creamy cheese for a crowd-pleasing meal you can make hours, days, or even weeks ahead of time, if you freeze it.
Hatch Chile Corn Pudding
This Monterey Jack-topped casserole is made with green chiles from New Mexico's Hatch Valley, along the Rio Grande. They're earthy and buttery-tasting, but if you can't find them, Anaheim or Cubanelle peppers can work, too.
Chicken, mushrooms, and pasta unite for a delicious and easy freezer-friendly dinner. You make it using a rotisserie chicken, with the skin removed and meat shredded, which cuts down significantly on your prep time.
Mushroom and Black Bean Tortilla Casserole
Chicken and Spinach Casserole
To prepare this classic ahead of time, make a thick, creamy, and brothy sauce, then toss with cooked elbow pasta, tuna, and peas. Transfer it to a baking dish and top with a panko-Parmesan mixture; then bake whenever you're ready.
Making beef tacos ahead of time might be tricky, yet the casserole version is completely doable. Just cook the meat, veggies and beans, and when it's dinnertime, top with a mixture of tortilla chips and cheese and bake. Serve with radish, jalapeño, olives, sour cream, and cilantro.