Macaroni and cheese is a favorite food for people as a quick, easy, delicious meal. But as convenient as it is, some people might want to have it prepared ahead of time. This information leads to the question of whether or not it’s possible to freeze mac and cheese?
You can freeze mac and cheese the same way you would freeze many other leftovers. Use a properly sealed container to maintain the mac and cheese’s freshness. Doing so ensures your mac and cheese can last for several months in the freezer.
This article will explain the best way to store mac and cheese in the freezer, different styles of making mac and cheese, and how long you can safely store mac and cheese in the freezer. Keep reading.
Freezing Leftover Mac and Cheese
You can easily freeze mac and cheese leftovers no matter how they were originally prepared. The key to successfully freezing macaroni and cheese is to place it in an airtight container. This can be a glass or plastic freezer-safe dish or a freezer bag.
If you’re using a container, find a container that you can fill almost to the top with the mac and cheese so that there is as little room for air as possible. This will help prevent freezer burn. If using a freezer bag, simply push out as much of the air as you can before sealing.
Before freezing mac and cheese, you also need to make sure that the pasta and cheese sauce has cooled completely. Freezing mac and cheese before it’s completely cooled will cause the moisture coming from the warm dish to freeze creating ice crystals.
These ice crystals will ruin the taste and texture of your frozen mac and cheese once thawed and reheated.
Once you’ve gotten your leftover mac and cheese boxed or bagged, simply write the date on the container and put it in the freezer.
Freezing Homemade Mac and Cheese (Tips)
If you’re making your own homemade mac and cheese from scratch, there are a few more things you’ll want to consider and some tips for prepping and freezing the dish for later meals.
Cook Your Pasta Al Dente
Cook your pasta al dente, meaning that it’s slightly undercooked and chewier. This will help the pasta hold up better when frozen. Also when you heat it up after thawing it won’t get as mushy.
After you’ve cooked your pasta, let it cool before putting it into properly sealed containers or ziplock bags. When you’re ready to serve your pasta, just thaw it and bake or reheat.
Store Some Extra Cheese Sauce Separately
Store some extra cheese sauce in its own container. It is good to have a little extra sauce on hand in the freezer. That way, if you think your mac and cheese is too dry, you can defrost the sauce and add it to the noodles.
Besides, who doesn’t like some extra sauce on their mac and cheese, anyway?
Save Baking The Mac and Cheese Dish Until Later
Another neat trick to prevent dryness in your mac and cheese and improve the overall taste and quality is to save the baking until you remove the mac and cheese from the freezer and let it thaw. You could also wait to add any breadcrumbs or cheese topping until then to contribute to its freshness.
Once it’s thawed, add any additional ingredients (breadcrumbs, bacon, etc.) then bake it until the top turns a golden, crispy brown.
Will Frozen Mac and Cheese Taste As Good as Fresh?
One question that people may have when it comes to freezing mac and cheese is whether or not it will taste as good as if they made it right before eating.
Frozen mac and cheese will taste as good as fresh if you use the right cooking strategies and freeze it properly in a proper container or freezer bag. Also, you want to make sure your mac and cheese doesn’t get overcooked or dry when you reheat it.
How Long Can You Keep Frozen Mac And Cheese?
Now that you know you can freeze mac and cheese and have it ready for an easy meal any time of the week, you may wonder how long you can safely store mac and cheese in the freezer?
You can store frozen mac and cheese for about three months. Most home cooks and experts agree that freezing mac and cheese for this period will ensure its optimal taste and texture. You can safely keep the mac and cheese for much longer if you like, however, often for up to a year.
Factors you should consider when freezing mac and cheese is how you’ll prepare the dish once thawed. Are you going to just heat it up and eat it or will you want to add ingredients and bake it? Both ways will taste great, it’s just a matter of preference.
Use Airtight Containers for the Mac and Cheese To Preserve Its Quality
You want to ensure that you are properly storing your mac and cheese when you put it in the freezer. Make sure your container is as air-tight as possible. Some people even use multiple layers of plastic and aluminum foil to ensure maximum freshness.
Avoid Baking Your Mac and Cheese Before Freezing
The cooking method you choose can help determine how long the mac and cheese will stay fresh in your freezer. If you fully bake the mac and cheese before freezing, the dish may dry out faster than if you bake it after it thaws.
While you can freeze already baked macaroni and cheese, however, if you’re prepping the dish for a future meal it will be best to wait. For instance, you can boil the macaroni noodles, combine them with the cheese sauce then freeze the dish.
When you’re ready you can simply thaw the dish in the fridge overnight, and bake it. It will taste great and your family will love it!
Also, adding more cheese sauce before freezing can help ensure the pasta doesn’t dry out as quickly.
Add Ingredients to the Mac and Cheese Only After It Thaws
Another great way to make your mac and cheese taste good after freezing is to add ingredients after thawing. In addition to cheese or breadcrumbs, there are plenty of other options you could add later to make the mac and cheese taste fresh, like meats, vegetables, fresh herbs, or other fun additions.
Why Should I Freeze Mac and Cheese?
You should freeze mac and cheese if you want to prepare it ahead of time for your family and friends. Freezing your dish is also a great way to save money and prevent food waste.
Cook Mac and Cheese Ahead of Time for Family and Friends
Mac and cheese is a fantastic meal for hosting a large family or friends. It may be beneficial to prepare the dish ahead of time and freeze it depending on when you are serving it and how much time you have to spend in the kitchen later.
Save Money by Making a Large Batch of Mac and Cheese
You may want to make a larger batch of mac and cheese to get the average cost down on ingredients. If you believe you can save money by making a larger batch but cannot eat everything in a couple of days, then freezing would be a great option when you make mac and cheese.
Reduce Food Waste By Freezing Mac and Cheese
If you have many of the necessary ingredients for mac and cheese that you feel will expire before using them, then making a large batch of mac and cheese to freeze is a great way to reduce waste. Or, if you cannot eat the amount you made, you could freeze the leftover portions.
Can You Freeze Mac and Cheese – Summary
You can freeze mac and cheese just like other foods you cook in larger batches. Freezing your mac and cheese dish allows you to have a quick and convenient meal for any occasion.
There are simple ways to make your macaroni and cheese taste better if you plan to freeze it, like not overcooking the noodles, adding more sauce, and saving the baking until after the dish has thawed.
Using these methods will ensure your frozen mac and cheese tastes just as delicious as if it was prepared that day.