How Long You Really Need To Let Casseroles Rest

Casseroles feel like they've been part of culinary history forever. That's probably because they pretty much have. According to MasterClass, casseroles were likely invented in Greece before they made their way into Latin cuisines during medieval times. It was around the 18th century that they came to be known by the name "casseroles" by English speakers, but they began gaining popularity among home chefs in the 20th century.

There is nothing more comforting than a properly executed casserole. Casseroles are hearty, warm, and often reminiscent of childhood. They come in all different forms, and there is a casserole to fit just about any food preference. In casserole-style cooking, there are very few rules. You can throw just about anything into a casserole dish. Still, one rule should be followed, regardless of whether you are baking a classic baked ziti or serving up a plantain-based Pastelón for dinner. You have to let a casserole rest.

Letting a casserole rest will ensure the perfect slice

Before cutting into a casserole, let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes. According to AllRecipes, casseroles that come straight from the oven need time to settle. That's because the liquid — whether it be juices from meat, broth, or cream — is bubbling at the top of the dish. If you wait 15 to 20 minutes, the liquid will have time to settle down, reabsorb into the rice or noodles, and solidify a bit. The rest time will ensure a perfectly firm serving that holds together nicely on a plate.

If you cut a casserole too early, the juices will run, and the resulting slices won't be neat and tidy. Instead, the entire dish will appear soupy. It won't impact the taste of the food, but a runny casserole certainly isn't as appetizing as one that proudly holds together.

Letting a casserole rest also allows the inside to cool

Letting a casserole rest will ensure firmer, more uniform slices when you finally get around to serving your dish, but there is another reason that waiting before cutting into the comfort food is a good idea. Letting a casserole dish sit at room temperature for a bit guarantees it isn't too hot to eat when you cut into it.

According to The Kitchn, casseroles, because of the way they are cooked, often come out of the oven extremely hot. They are baked for a long time and, therefore, the compact vessel retains a lot of heat, they explain. In most cases, casseroles are too hot to comfortably eat directly after removing them from the oven. Letting a casserole sit for 15 to 20 minutes gives the food adequate time to cool down enough to be comfortably hot. Your tongue will thank you.