How to Freeze Chicken Parmesan

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You can freeze chicken parmesan.
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Chicken Parmesan, the classic Italian-American dish of breaded chicken baked in tomato sauce with a bubbly layer of cheese on top, is pretty time-consuming to prepare. It involves multiple stages of pounding and breading the chicken, frying or baking it and then baking again after layering the sauce and cheese. All this means chicken Parmesan is a dish best suited to those days when you have plenty of time to spend in the kitchen. It also means it's worthwhile to prepare extra because freezing chicken Parmesan is easy to do, and having the frozen dish on hand turns it into an easy meal for later. The best way to freeze chicken Parmesan starts at the preparation stage, but freezing already-cooked leftovers is an option as well.

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The Best Way to Freeze Chicken Parmesan

If you know you'll be making chicken Parmesan ahead of time and intend to prepare extra for freezing, it's best to freeze the breaded chicken separately from the sauce. You can freeze the chicken pieces after breading and baking or frying it or freeze the raw breaded chicken pieces (adjust the reheating time as necessary). If you're using homemade tomato sauce, freeze the portion of sauce separately from the chicken. If you're using jarred sauce, there's no need to freeze it if it's unopened. You can freeze the measured portion of cheese if you desire; otherwise, have fresh cheese on hand in the fridge for topping your chicken Parmesan.

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When it's time to cook the frozen portion, you simply reheat the breaded chicken pieces and then add the sauce and cheese until it's hot and bubbly. This method ensures the breading on the chicken doesn't get too soggy. Many cooks find the improved texture of the chicken to be worth taking the extra step to add the sauce and cheese rather than reheating the entire dish in one step. This is a major benefit of planning for extras when you're making chicken Parmesan ahead of time.

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Freezing Chicken Parmesan Leftovers

If you didn't plan ahead to freeze the chicken and sauce portions while making chicken Parmesan ahead of time, it's definitely possible to freeze leftovers of the complete dish. Don't attempt to separate the sauce from the chicken after the dish has already baked and cooled. Soggy breading is inevitable once the sauce and chicken have already been baked together, but the dish should still be very good to eat after freezing and reheating.

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You can improve the leftovers after freezing chicken Parmesan and reheating it by adding a little extra cheese on top near the end of the reheating time. A handful of breadcrumbs mixed with the extra cheese and sprinkled on top of the leftovers for the last 10 minutes of baking can also improve the texture.

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The Best Freezer Containers for Chicken Parmesan

The way to freeze chicken Parmesan depends on your freezer space and personal preferences. If you're freezing the breaded chicken pieces separately from the sauce and cheese, use plastic or reusable silicone freezer bags for individual or family portions of the chicken and squeeze out any extra air or wrap the chicken portions in plastic wrap followed by foil. If you're freezing the sauce, use a glass jar or plastic container with a lid or carefully pour the sauce into a freezer bag.

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For freezing leftovers, you might simply cover the original baking dish with plastic wrap and then foil and place it in the freezer. This does take a lot of space, so it is usually better to transfer the leftover portion to a smaller container. Use a smaller glass or ceramic baking dish or pie dish covered with plastic wrap and then foil. You can place the dish directly in the oven for reheating (after thawing in the refrigerator overnight). Disposable foil containers are also a great option for this, and they come in individual and family sizes. Be sure to place them on top of a baking sheet in the oven, as they can be flimsy.

You can freeze chicken Parmesan – either leftovers or separate chicken, sauce and cheese components – for up to three months.

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