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!).