How to Reheat Mac and Cheese – The Best Ways

Have you ever been in a situation where all of a sudden your kids want mac and cheese for dinner? Unfortunately, you’re not sure how to reheat it, but Google is no help.

If this sounds like you, then read on, my friend.

In this post, I’ll show you step-by-step instructions on how to reheat mac and cheese so that it’s as good as new.

What is Mac and Cheese?

what is mac and cheese

Macaroni & cheese is one of America’s most popular dishes.

It usually consists of pasta, cheese, and milk.

Some people use Velveeta which is a processed cheese product, rather than actual cheddar cheese.

It’s not clear where Macaroni & Cheese originated, but there are many theories.

One says that it was brought to America by English immigrants called the dish “macaroni pie”.

Another theory is that a chef named James K. Mills invented mac and cheese at his restaurant, Delmonico’s, in Manhattan during 1894.

Some people have tried to make healthier versions of this dish by using whole wheat pasta or organic vegetables, but most Americans still prefer their Mac & Cheese creamy and full flavor.

Can You Eat Mac and Cheese the Next Day?

This might be the most common question we get, so here’s the deal.

The answer is not a definite yes or no.

Leftover Mac and Cheese can be eaten for up to two days after being made if appropriately refrigerated in an airtight container.

Whether or not you should eat it after two days depends on the age, taste, and type of cheese.

If you’re wondering how to tell if your Mac and Cheese is terrible, here are a few ways:

  • The dish has an unusual smell or color that wasn’t there when it was initially made – either way, don’t eat it.
  • It’s begun to mold – this is another good indicator that its time for disposal.
  • If you open up the container and find stringy bits in with the macaroni noodles, this might also suggest spoilage.

How to Store Leftover and Cooked Mac and Cheese?

Do you often find yourself with leftover mac and cheese?

Or do you make a dish of mac and cheese only to have leftovers the next day? Either way, you don’t have to worry.

Follow these steps for storing mac and cheese leftovers:

Ensure the dish is no longer hot when it comes time to store because this will cause bacteria growth that will make your food unsafe.

To cool down a container of macaroni and cheese, place in an ice bath or stir in some cold milk until cooled off.

Then cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil so that air cannot get into the container overnight.

Store at room temperature (60 degrees F) if used within one day of cooking; refrigerate if using within three to five days; freeze if using after this time.

Leftover mac and cheese can be turned into a quick lunch by heating it again for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees F in the oven or until heated through.

Do not reheat food that has been sitting out on your kitchen counter for two hours or longer as bacteria growth increases exponentially while food is left at room temperature.

How to Reheat Mac and Cheese in an Oven?

Using ovens for reheating is a great way to add additional flavor without adding oil or butter.

  • Place your mac and cheese in an oven-safe container, such as a casserole dish.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you are using glassware that can’t be heated up this high, lower it down to 325 Instead.

Please make sure not to place any other items on top of the food to get too hot and potentially crack from sudden temperature changes.

  • Cook for 20 minutes at 350 F (or 25 minutes at 325 F), occasionally stirring until all pieces have been evenly warmed through. Do not overcook by cooking over 45 minutes total.
  • If it doesn’t seem like the food is getting warm enough, try adding a little hot water to help speed up the process.

This can also be done when cooking in an oven as well for added flavor.

The best thing about these methods is they don’t require any additional fats, which means no extra calories from oil or butter.

Just make sure to keep stirring throughout heating time, so all pieces are evenly warmed through.

If desired, add milk or cream to the dish for extra creaminess.

How to Reheat Mac and Cheese on a Stove?

If your kitchen is short on space, a stovetop is the best way to reheat mac and cheese.

However, if done wrong, you can burn the mac and cheese.

Here are some tips for reheating your leftover Mac & Cheese on a stove:

  • Ensure that you use a non-stick pot to avoid any food from sticking or burning onto it.
  • Take the time to read the instructions on how long you need to heat your leftovers – different types of pasta will require different amounts of heating time, so make sure yours is heated until hot.
  • Anything else could mean soggy noodles.
  • Spray oil into the pan before adding in cold mac and cheese – this prevents it from clumping together when they meet each other in the pan. This also helps keep them crispy by not letting too much steam form around them while they cook.
  • Consider adding a few other ingredients to the pan, such as bacon, bread crumbs, and cheese if you have them on hand.

It could give your leftovers some extra flavor that they may be missing after reheating it.

Here are the steps to Reheat Mac and Cheese on the stove:

  • Bring a pan to medium-high heat – making sure it’s not too hot so that it will burn your macaroni.
  • Add in cold pasta, stirring until all of them have been coated with oil from the pan.
  • Cover pot with lid or aluminum foil and let simmer for 10 – 15 minutes.

The time varies depending on how long you cooked them initially – make sure they are heated through before serving.

How to Reheat Mac and Cheese in the Microwave?

When it comes to heating macaroni and cheese in the microwave, most people make one of these mistakes:

  • Microwaving for too long.
  • Using the wrong container to reheat.
  • Using too much water in the macaroni noodles.
  • Choosing an inadequate power setting on their microwave.

None of those are good ideas.

The result will either be gummy and overcooked pasta, burnt edges from using a metal container that reflects microwaves, or mushy noodles with no texture from cooking them for too long at a low power level.

Here are our favorite tricks for reheat macaroni and cheese in the microwave:

  • Use a glass or microwavable ceramic bowl.
  • Start with just enough water to cover your pasta (about an inch), add dry milk powder or shredded cheese to the water and stir until it dissolves.
  • Cook at medium power level, which is usually around 70%.

To reheat leftover macaroni and cheese:

  • Place the leftovers in a microwave-safe bowl.
  • Mix one tablespoon of milk into the dish and cover with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap, leaving an opening for steam to escape.
  • Place the covered mac and cheese in a microwave-safe dish on medium power, and heat for 1 minute until it’s hot.

Once the mac and cheese are heated through, verify that it’s at the desired hotness before serving.

Conclusion

Mac and cheese is classic comfort food.

It’s also one of the easiest dishes to reheat, which makes it perfect for busy weeknights or anytime you need an easy dinner option that tastes like Mom made it.

Consider trying these methods in your kitchen next time you want macaroni and cheese but don’t have enough time to make fresh noodles from scratch.

Then, you’ll be able to enjoy all the cheesy goodness without putting too much time and effort into it.

How to Reheat Mac and Cheese - The Best Ways

How to Reheat Mac and Cheese - The Best Ways
Prep Time 10 minutes
Active Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Instructions

  1. Place your mac and cheese in an oven-safe container, such as a casserole dish.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. If you are using glassware that can’t be heated up this high, lower it down to 325 Instead.
  4. Cook for 20 minutes at 350 F (or 25 minutes at 325 F), occasionally stirring until all pieces have been evenly warmed through. Do not overcook by cooking over 45 minutes total.
  5. If it doesn’t seem like the food is getting warm enough, try adding a little hot water to help speed up the process.

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