If you grew up in the United States then you are probably all too familiar with one of the most famous little blue boxes around – that of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. Personally, it was one of my favorite things to eat when I was a kid. While I still love mac n’ cheese, my pallet is a bit more refined now you could say and I tend to prefer the real stuff rather than the boxed version.
Don’t get me wrong, though. That blue box is still one of my go-to backup dinners. But there isn’t anything like a warm and gooey bowl of macaroni and cheese made with real cheese sauce, right? Especially if you get a bit creative with your mac n cheese recipe and maybe add some bacon, bread crumbs, or other tasty extras.
When macaroni and cheese is freshly made, whether it’s straight out of the skillet or the oven, it’s one of the best comfort foods outs there. But, the next day or two it’s not quite as great. However, if you do it right, you can get it darn near its peak tastiness.
Here’s how to reheat mac and cheese in a few different ways.
Is it Ok to Reheat Mac and Cheese?
Yes! It’s actually totally more than ok to reheat mac and cheese, that is if it hasn’t spoiled.
If you reheat leftover macaroni the right way, it’s not only safe to eat, but you can make it pretty much just as tasty as when it’s freshly made.
However, many Americans aren’t too excited about eating leftovers. Kitchen Cabinet Kings surveyed over 1,000 people and they found that 40% of Americans (2 out of 5), hated eating leftovers. Crazy, right? I’m not sure why that is, maybe they’re not doing it right?
Well, if you’re one of those that isn’t a fan of leftovers, maybe trying out different ways of reheating mac and cheese can make you hate leftovers a little bit less – well, leftover mac and cheese anyway!
How to Reheat Mac and Cheese in the Oven
The oven is usually my go-to when it comes to reheating most foods. There was even a time in my life (for quite a few years actually) where I didn’t own a microwave! While I might use a microwave frequently now, I still think that for most things, reheating food in the oven gives you a better result, leftover mac and cheese included.
Although this approach takes a little longer than using the microwave or the stove, the flawless process ensures a satisfactory result every time. It’s also better for larger portions. It may not be worth it if you’re only reheating a single serving. But, anyway, follow these simple instructions to reheat mac & cheese in the oven.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the macaroni and cheese in a glass casserole dish that can be used in the oven.
- Pour one tablespoon of milk per cup of macaroni on top of the mac and gently stir it in for a more uniform distribution. Note: If your meal includes a bread crumb topping, omit the milk and keep the mac and cheese as is.
- To lock in moisture, cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake the pasta in the preheated oven.
- Bake the macaroni and cheese for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Take the baked macaroni out of the oven one last time and dive into a dish of gooey bliss.
How to Reheat Mac and Cheese on the Stove
If you don’t have an oven, or you don’t have quite the time for reheating mac and cheese in the oven, then the stove is my next preferred method of reheating it and it’s also pretty easy.
However, there is a downside to doing it this way. You have to give it a bit more TLC when making it, otherwise, you may end up with a burnt and dried-out mess of pasta.
It’s sad to not only waste the food but cleaning up a scorched pot or pan isn’t fun either. To prevent this, just pay attention and follow these few steps.
- In a saucepan or nonstick skillet, combine the macaroni and cheese.
- Pour in one tablespoon of milk into the pan.
- Reheat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, and adding extra milk as required to keep the mac wet (much higher and you’ll end up with the charred mess stated before).
- Remove the skillet from the heat when the mac n cheese is nice and hot (around 10 minutes), and promptly serve your creamy comfort meal. Enjoy!
How to Reheat Mac and Cheese in the Microwave
Don’t get me wrong, if it sounded like I was hating on reheating mac and cheese in the microwave, I certainly was not.
I’ve used this method a countless number of times when I was short on time, or even just feeling a bit lazy. But don’t just go and place the mac and cheese in the microwave when doing it this way.
For the best results, make sure to keep in mind a few of the tips in the directions below.
- Fill a microwave-safe container halfway with mac and cheese.
- Gently fold whole milk or the same sort of milk you used in your cheese sauce into your mac and cheese. For each cup of pasta, use one tablespoon of milk.
- Cover the macaroni and cheese with a microwave-safe wrap or lid, leaving one corner slightly ajar to let steam escape.
- Heat your macaroni and cheese in the microwave for 1 minute on medium.
- Stir the macaroni and cheese after removing it from the microwave. Check to see whether it’s hot enough. If you believe it needs further reheating, heat it for 30 seconds at a time until it reaches the temperature you want.
- Bon appetit!
Reheating Baked Mac and Cheese
If you’re reheating mac and cheese, one of the rules that I like to follow (not obligatory though!) is to reheat it the same way it was cooked. So, if it was baked, then for the best results, you should also bake it to reheat it, and so on. But, feel free to mix and match of course!
While cooking mac and cheese is most common on the stovetop, baking is a super tasty way to cook it too. But, when it comes to reheating baked mac and cheese, there is no doubt that the best way to reheat it is also in the oven. And all you need to do is pretty much just pop it back into the oven. Here is how you do it.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Put the macaroni and cheese in a baking dish that’s been lightly buttered then cover it with foil.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!
Reheating Frozen Mac and Cheese
If you happened to make a big batch and decided to freeze and you still have it hanging around your freezer, you should make sure to eat it sooner rather than later!
The longer it sits in the freezer, the more likely it won’t taste as good when you reheat it. Since it’s frozen it will take a bit longer to reheat than the other methods, but it will be worth it! Here is how you do it.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove the frozen mac and cheese from the freezer and set it in an uncovered baking pan.
- Put it in the oven and bake for one to one and a half hours.
- Take it out of the oven at the one-hour mark to check if it’s fully cooked through. To ensure that the bottom half is also heated, use a spoon.
- Check again every 15 minutes until it’s cooked through fully and then serve and enjoy!