Mac & Cheese is an ingrained part of popular world culture. Whether it’s obtained from a box of pre-arranged ingredients or made from scratch with wholesome home goodness, mac and cheese is an important staple in the western world. So much so that it is considered a comfort food in the United States and elsewhere.
We all love mac and cheese and having prepared ready to eat mac and cheese would be perfect for us all. Which brings us to the question, can you freeze mac and cheese? The simple answer to the question is yes.
Reasons For Freezing
Maybe you whipped up a batch that was too large. Maybe you’re strapped for time and you want to prepare and store your meals for the upcoming week or two. Maybe it’s your kids’ favorite snack and you’re just exhausted with making a new batch every day and you’re looking for a better option. Or you could be a restaurateur that’s looking for a thrifty option that could save you some time and money.
Whatever the reason is, if you just want the option of ready to go portions of mac & cheese, freezing is the perfect option for you. Follow the guidelines below for perfectly frozen mac and cheese that delights with each bite.
How To Freeze Mac & Cheese
The ingredients that are used in mac and cheese – pasta, cheese and milk – make it a perfect candidate for freezing. Whether it’s baked macaroni and cheese or the ‘out of the box’ kind that was prepared in a saucepan, frozen mac and cheese maintains its taste and texture after freezing.
It is always best to freeze your mac and cheese in individual portions. This makes it easy to thaw and reheat the exact amounts that you need for serving.
For mac and cheese that was prepared in a saucepan (the non-baked version), follow the guidelines below for freezing.
Once prepared, allow your mac and cheese to cool for a few minutes. Never freeze warm or hot mac and cheese. This will cause it to become soggy.
Transfer the cooled macaroni and cheese to freezer bags or an air tight freezable container.
Remove excess air from the freezer bag or seal the airtight container. If you own a vacuum sealer, use this to achieve a perfect airtight seal for your freezer bag.
Flatten the freezer bags for efficient storage.Place the mac and cheese in the freezer. If you used freezer bags, stack these one on top of the other to the back of your freezer.
The freezing process for baked macaroni and cheese is a simple one as well. Follow the guidelines below for baked mac and cheese that was prepared in a casserole dish or baking pan:
Remove the baked mac and cheese casserole from the oven and allow it to cool thoroughly. This should take approximately 20 minutes to a half an hour.
Cut the cooled casserole into serving size portions and place them into microwave-friendly containers. Freezer bags can be used but are not recommended as a first choice. Using microwave friendly containers allow for mess free re-heating of the portions.
Stack the microwaveable containers in your freezer and remove portions for thawing as needed.
The Thawing Process
Whether baked or frozen directly from a saucepan, the mac and cheese should be allowed to defrost in the refrigerator for approximately 24 hours prior to use.
During freezing, the mac and cheese can dry out. If this happens, you can simply add milk and cheese to moisten the dish during the reheating process.
For mac and cheese that was prepared in a saucepan and then frozen, it’s best to reheat this in a pot on your stove and not in a microwave. This maintains the texture of the dish better.
Cooking expert Dr. Gourmet says it is safe to keep frozen mac and cheese for up to two months.