Nothing warms the heart and nourishes the soul quite like a heaping bowl of mac and cheese. It’s one of the most beloved comfort foods for a reason. But if you made a sizable batch, can you freeze mac and cheese?
The short answer is yes, you can freeze mac and cheese. This goes for leftovers, homemade, and store-bought mac and cheese.
Just like most cheesy pasta dishes like lasagna and pasta casseroles, mac and cheese keep so well in the freezer. The catch? You have to prep the dish well prior to freezing, of course!
Image used under Creative Commons from Gail
If you don’t, the pasta will turn soggy and the dish will taste off. In some cases, defrosted mac and cheese would secrete a watery liquid that makes the dish unpalatable.
You see, mac and cheese is made with several dairy products. And dairy products are known for their notoriously short shelf life. To prevent flavor or texture changes, you have to protect the dish from freezer burn and moisture loss. Also, the temperature should stay even throughout the length of the storage period.
When kept in the fridge, mac and cheese will keep fresh for about 2 to 4 days. But when kept in the freezer, it will keep for about 6 months or more. However, it’s best to consume frozen mac and cheese quickly for optimal taste! Check out our step-by-step guide on how can you freeze mac and cheese for later use:
Image used under Creative Commons from Vancouver Bites!
How to Freeze Mac and Cheese?
When it comes to freezing homemade mac and cheese, it’s best to leave the dish to cool on the countertop prior to prepping. Don’t stick the still-warm mac and cheese in the fridge to cool! Ice crystals from the steam could ruin the texture of the pasta once it’s been defrosted.
Once the mac and cheese have been cooled, get a muffin tin and scoop ample amount of the dish into each buttered section using a spoon or a spatula. Using a muffin tin helps separate the dish into single serve portions. This way, you don’t have to defrost the whole dish when you’re just craving for a scoop-full.
Cover the muffin tin with cling wrap or aluminum foil then stick in the freezer. Leave the mac and cheese to freeze for 3 to 4 hours. Then, take out the muffin tray from the freezer, scoop the frozen mac and cheese and place gently in a large container with an airtight lid. Close the lid, add the label and stick in the freezer once again.
If you don’t have a muffin tin, use small heavy-duty plastic bags. Just spoon the dish into each plastic bag, squeeze the air out then reseal the bag. Get a marker and label each portion with the storage date. Stick in the freezer and you’re done! One thing to remember, lay the plastic bag flatly in the freezer to save space.
Image used under Creative Commons from Stephanie
How to Defrost and Reheat Mac and Cheese?
To defrost frozen mac and cheese, transfer a portion of the dish from the freezer to the fridge. Leave the mac and cheese to thaw overnight. If the mac and cheese became dry after defrosting, add a little milk prior to reheating.
As for reheating mac and cheese, there are many ways to do it. You can use the oven to bake the mac and cheese, the microwave or even the oven-toaster. Just add your favorite trimmings on a plate of defrosted mac and cheese before you reheat it for a few minutes and you got yourself a filling snack!
Do you love mac and cheese? Now that you know how can you freeze mac and cheese, you can make this beloved comfort food in advance and store it in the freezer! This way, you can whip up a quick snack whenever you’re craving for this cheesy, gooey dish.