Mac & Cheese Storage Guide: Freezing and Reheating
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The essential guide on storing your leftovers is packed with tips and tricks on how to reheat and freeze mac and cheese – and keep it tasting like fresh.
Refreshing macaroni and cheese is something of an art. Luckily, this handy guide is going to talk you through how best to handle your leftovers and how to enjoy them as though they were fresh. This also makes mac and cheese a great option for meal-prepping or having easy-to-make comfort food ready to thaw whenever you need it.
Table of contents
How long does mac and cheese last in the fridge
In the fridge, when properly stored in an airtight container, your macaroni and cheese can last for about 3-5 days. Once cooked, let it cool almost completely before placing it in the refrigerator. Keeping it at room temperature for too long can cause bacteria to grow and will decrease the shelf life.
How to freeze mac and cheese
If you want to keep your leftovers beyond a few days in the fridge, you can freeze them. To do so, make sure your cooked macaroni and cheese has cooled to room temperature. Then transfer it to an air-tight container or wrap it tightly with plastic and aluminum foil to avoid freezer burn. Using a container specifically designed for freezing will help a lot here! Macaroni and cheese can be stored in the freezer for 2-3 months. Label the container clearly with the date so you know if it’s still safe to eat!
I always find it helpful to portion it out into individual portions in smaller containers so you can reheat mac and cheese in smaller servings.
How to reheat mac and cheese
To reheat mac and cheese from frozen, it’s best to let it thaw in the refrigerator for several hours up to a whole night – depending on the portion size. Once it’s thawed, then you can reheat it
Reheating Mac and Cheese: There are three easy ways to reheat mac and cheese: in the microwave, in the oven, or on the stovetop:
- Using a Microwave: For quick reheating, the microwave is your best friend. In short 30-60 second bursts, reheat the mac and cheese, stirring in between each burst until it’s completely heated through. If the pasta is still a little dry, a splash of milk can thin the sauce yet keep it creamy.
- In the Oven: If you want to maintain that oven-fresh flavor and crunch, transfer the portion of mac and cheese into a baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at a low temperature until heated through. As with the microwave, add a splash of milk if it’s a little dry to make it creamy.
- On The Stovetop: Add your leftover mac and cheese to a pot. Heat it slowly while stirring to prevent sticking or burning. If your pasta seems dry, add some milk to loosen the sauce and make the dish creamy again.
Milk is perhaps the most important ingredient when it comes to refreshing your leftover mac and cheese – especially if it’s lost some of its creaminess in the fridge or freezer.
For baked mac and cheese, you have two options:
- Oven: For the best results that keep a baked texture (think crispy top, creamy interior) the oven is the best option. Preheat the oven to around 350°F/175°C. Transfer the baked mac and cheese to an oven-safe dish, cover with aluminum foil and bake until heated through.
- Microwave: This isn’t the best option for maintaining a baked texture – but it’s not impossible. Transfer a portion to a microwave-safe container, heat in short, 30-second bursts, checking the temperature until it’s heated through.
Mac and cheese recipes
Now you know how to store your mac and cheese, why not try one of my delicious mac and cheese recipes:
If you try any of these tips, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!