Macaroni and cheese is a dish that many people enjoy.
There are vegan macaroni and cheese recipes for those who do not consume dairy products, as well.
If you’re willing to put forth the effort to make your mac & cheese, it’s helpful to cook plenty of it so you can eat one batch now and have more for later.
You can freeze mac and cheese, but they’re better left to eat within six months for best quality.
One way to prevent Mac and Cheese from condensing in the freezer is to bring your dish up to room temperature prior.
To be successful when reheating pasta + dairy dishes from the freezer, you must set them up correctly.
Follow these steps to ensure that your mac and cheddar are properly frozen.
This article will provide detailed instructions and answers to all your questions regarding freezing macaroni cheese.
How to Freeze Mac and Cheese?
Mac and cheese can be frozen to preserve it for up to 6 months at 0 degrees.
However, freezing mac and cheese is not recommended if you plan to eat it within the next few days or weeks.
If this is your intention, then preparation of mac & cheese should be reserved until the day before serving.
Mac and cheese can freeze well if handled correctly.
To be successful when reheating pasta + dairy dishes from the freezer, you must set them up correctly.
You can make tasty batches of this famous comfort dish ahead, but it’s worth considering your motivation for freezing it in the first place.
If you feel like preparing a big batch that will last more than several days (freezing will extend its shelf-life to 6 months), then go for it.
However, if you want to freeze mac and cheese to have on hand later for a last-minute meal, then you’ll need to prepare it fresh or have some stored in your freezer that was prepared ahead of time.
The second decision you’ll need to make is how much macaroni and cheese you want to prepare.
This will help you determine how much of every ingredient you need to buy, which can be a helpful way to save some money while making a delicious meal at the same time.
When it comes down to it, the amount of mac & cheese that each serving consists of will impact your final cost.
We recommend going with the mac and cheese recipes that yield eight servings.
This is a nice middle ground between making too much or not enough.
The cooking method you use for preparing your pasta + dairy dish will impact how easy it’ll be to freeze and reheat later.
Some methods are more suited to freezing than others.
We recommend preparing your mac and cheese in the Crock-Pot® Slow Cooker for the best results.
This method is relatively simple, works great when frozen, and it’s ideal for saving time and effort in the kitchen.
In some cases, it may depend on whether you plan or deal with too many food items.
There are some basic steps you can follow to make your mac and cheddar freeze well:
- Make the macaroni and cheese recipe using ingredients that you have on hand.
- Boil the pasta separately, drain it well, then toss it with the cheesy mixture.
- Allow your cheddar to cool completely before freezing by refrigerating overnight in a covered container or within two hours in an ice bath.
- Mix in the pasta and cheese mixture with a spatula or spoon. Make sure that all of your cheese is well distributed throughout the macaroni.
- Use an ice cube tray to freeze mac and cheese individual servings <– This is the best way to freeze it.
How to Freeze Cooked Mac and Cheese?
If you’re freezing a smaller portion of your mac & cheese that was originally prepared for eating immediately, then try these best practices to prevent the quality of your food from deteriorating:
Mix in the pasta and make sure it is well mixed with the rest of the cheesy sauce.
Ensure there are no pockets of cheese or noodles.
Followed by storing it in a freezer-safe container and place back into the freezer.
Make sure everything is portioned out evenly so that you’ll be able to defrost only as much mac & cheese as you intend to eat at that time.
If you’re dealing with large portions, it’s best to transfer the food into sandwich bags and mark the bag with its contents.
You can also use freezer-safe containers as long as they are tightly sealed before putting them in the freezer.
Use a permanent marker on any white container so that you’ll know exactly what is inside.
If you have extra mac & cheese leftover, then try and freeze it in manageable portions.
It’s best to let the dish completely cool before storing it in an airtight container.
You can use labeled sandwich bags for individually portioned servings or store them directly into your freezer container of choice.
When separating larger batches that are still warm, make sure that you use a large spoon to mix the dish before placing it in the freezer.
Try and do this quickly so as not to let them sit for long periods.
This will help prevent any unwanted ice crystals from forming on your food.
How to Freeze Cooked Cheese and Mac and Cheese in Single Portion Sizes
If you plan to reheat your mac and cheddar for just one person, muffin tins will work well.
Use butter to grease each muffin groove. Then, fill the muffins with macaroni.
Be sure to pack it securely. The better your pasta freezes, the more you squash it.
Frozen mac and cheese is great for quick fix-ups. To freeze, cover the tin as needed with aluminum foil.
If you’re making a full tray, wrap the entire thing in aluminum.
Now you can take the frozen food from your freezer and put it into a safe container for the freezer.
You can use any combination of the following depending on how convenient it is for you.
- Wrap each portion individually in aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or plastic wrap. Place them in the freezer if you have enough space.
- Layer the mac & cheese portions in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag. Ensure to press out all air and seal the bag tightly before placing it flat into your freezer.
- Individual servings can be placed in Tupperware containers. They should be single-layered.
Can You Freeze Mac & Cheese Before You Bake it?
It is common to freeze mac and cheese before baking it. This can often lead to a slightly higher quality serving.
The sauce will be creamier and less likely to become too soft.
It is also less likely to develop a grainy texture that can sometimes accompany frozen dairy.
It has a slight advantage over overcooking it and then freezing it, but you still need to take careful steps to ensure it freezes well.
- Cook the macaroni and cheese according to the recipe, except stop at the point when you put it in an oven.
- If you want your mac and cheese to be ready for the oven, it is best to transfer your frozen mac and cheese into a freezer-safe baking dish before placing it in the freezer.
- If you plan to reheat the mac & cheese on the stovetop after freezing, then transfer them into freezer-safe containers and place them directly into your freezer.
- Always cover your frozen, unbaked mac & cheese dish with a lid or aluminum foil for best results.
- Avoid using plastic wrap or bags as these tend to degrade at freezing temperatures.
- It’s best to let the mac and cheese thaw in your refrigerator before cooking.
- Mac and cheese will freeze well for about 18 months if you stored it properly inside an airtight freezer-safe container or wrapped with aluminum foil.
- Don’t forget to label each container, so you will know how long it has been in the freezer.
Is it Possible to Freeze Cheese Sauce for Mac & Cheese?
Yes, you can freeze cheese sauce for mac and cheddar to ensure your pasta cooks perfectly when you are ready to serve it.
It is the cheese sauce that takes the longest time.
You can make it ahead of time even if you don’t want to mix it with your macaroni.
Use high-fat dairy products and freeze them in single meal portions.
Even if the milk separates slightly, you can still whisk it together while making macaroni.
Make cheese sauce according to your recipe, then let it cool down.
Put as much cheese sauce as you need in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag.
To protect the sauce, seal the bag tightly at 95%, let it settle on your counter for 30 minutes, and store it in your freezer for up to six months.
Tips on Making Frozen Mac n Cheese Taste Better?
Our best tip for making homemade mac and cheese more freeze-proof is to use dry milk in place of regular dairy.
Flavor enhancers like Dijon, paprika, or nutmeg can be added to cheeses after being frozen.
To make it even more interesting, add some butter, fresh milk, or shredded cheese to the sauce when you are reheating it on the stovetop.
You can also add chopped veggies, capers, or chicken if you wish.
First, bake your frozen meal instead of using the microwave.
Oven baking enhances the flavor. Before baking, sprinkle some cheese on top.
You can add some tomatoes, bacon bits, or broccoli to the macaroni once it is cooked.
Is it Possible to Refreeze Frozen Mac & Cheese?
Refrozen frozen macaroni or cheese can be made, but it must be done carefully and fully understand that they will be less soft, smoother, and likely to have a less cheesy taste than the original.
First, only refreeze it if it is store-bought macaroni that has been stored properly and not frozen by you.
It’s best to use portioned-out portions of the pre-made variety to ensure it will heat equally and remain as tasty as when first created.
Don’t refreeze homemade macaroni with cheese sauce unless they have been prepared the right way.
If you want to refreeze your homemade macaroni and cheese, first, make sure it is of great quality and properly frozen.
Be aware that some of the texture will be lost after thawing, but there should still be a good consistency left.
Leave it in the fridge until completely thawed before eating. The macaroni and cheese still taste good after being frozen.
It can become dry or a bit rubbery if reheated again too often, so eat as soon as possible once it’s thawed.
With all the information you’ve just been given, it is easy to see how to freeze mac and cheese without compromising its quality.
You can also make a meal that tastes delicious while staying healthy by baking your frozen macaroni in the oven instead of microwaving or boiling.
It’s a healthier way to enjoy homemade pasta.
Instead of spending money on mac and cheese at the grocery store, you can save your money by making it yourself.
In addition to saving money, you know exactly what is in your food with homemade meals.