There really isn’t much better than mac and cheese. It’s the ultimate comfort food.
An excellent balance of two of the best foods ever invented: pasta and cheese. Whether you prefer a tasty home-made recipe or the convenience of store-bought mac and cheese, there is an option for everyone.
You’re lactose intolerant or vegan? No worries, there’s an endless amount of recipes that exclude cheese from the recipe with yummy alternatives.
When your food is as tasty as mac and cheese is, it becomes a real shame when you have to throw out the leftovers. But there’s no need, mac and cheese is easily freezable.
Whether it be a homemade recipe, leftovers, or store-bought mixture, you can freeze the mixture to extend its shelf life. Due to its high dairy content, the freezing process can be tricky.
But as long as you’re careful and follow this simple guide, you’ll have a frozen supply of mac and cheese ready whenever you want it.
How to freeze mac and cheese
So you are stood in the kitchen, stomach full of yummy mac and cheese, and the leftovers sat on your countertop. You don’t want the food to go to waste, but you don’t know how to go about freezing it.
As long as you are careful, the freezing process will run smoothly, the importance lies in the preparation.
Mac and cheese can be difficult to freeze. The majority of this recipe consists of cheese and milk which are both dairy products and notoriously difficult to freeze. Due to this, you have to be extremely careful when prepping the recipe for freezing to ensure you end up with something you can eat in the end. Otherwise, you are likely to end up with an inedible soggy mess.
The most common type of mac and cheese you will look to freeze is homemade. To begin the freezing process, you must allow the recipe to cool thoroughly on the countertop before you do anything else. Once the mixture you have two choices: you can either freeze the mixture in bulk or you can separate it into servings before freezing.
If you decide to freeze the recipe into single-serve portions, you will need a muffin tin. You should butter the tin, as if you were going to use it to bake, and fill each compartment with mac and cheese until full.
You should then lay the muffin tin flat in the freezer for between 3-4 hours. This will allow the mac and cheese portions to freeze within their individual compartments. Once frozen you can scoop each section out, and place it in a large air-tight container.
Label the container with the date of storage and return to the freezer. When you want to eat some mac and cheese you can simply take out a single portion to defrost rather than having to defrost the entire amount.
Alternatively, you can freeze the container in one portion. To do this, simply wait until the mixture has cooled completely then transfer to an airtight, freezer-friendly container.
Remember to leave 2-inches at the top of the container so that there is room for the mixture to expand, then seal, label, and place in the freezer for future use.
If you do not have an airtight container to hand, a resealable freezer bag will do the job just as well.
How to defrost mac and cheese
So the time has come for you to eat the mac and cheese you froze months ago. In the fridge, mac and cheese will have a shelf life of only a few days. In the freezer, you can enjoy mac and cheese for up to 6 months.
The freezing process is a bit more complex, but the defrosting process is very simple.
All you have to do is transfer a portion from the freezer into the fridge. If you decided to freeze in individual portions you can simply take a portion out of the tub and place it in a separate container in the fridge.
If you froze one large batch, you can easily move the container from the freezer straight into the fridge. You should leave the mac and cheese to thaw overnight to ensure it has defrosted thoroughly.
Once your mac and cheese has defrosted, the final step is reheating. You have a few options for how to do this, but you should remember to always add milk to the mixture before you reheat.
From there you can either bake the mixture in an oven-friendly dish, reheat over low heat on the hob, or place in the microwave if you want it quickly. Simply add your favorite toppings to the defrosted mixture then reheat for an easy, yummy meal.
Factors to consider
There are some factors that you should consider before you decide to freeze your mac and cheese.
Firstly, you should consider the style of mac and cheese you are freezing. After homemade mac and cheese, Kraft mac cheese is one of the most popular recipes. If you have made this recipe but have leftovers, you might be wondering if you can freeze them.
The answer is yes. Kraft mac cheese is made with powdered milk, so as long as you avoid adding extra milk during the cooking process, you can easily freeze this recipe. If you decide to freeze Kraft mac and cheese, it is recommended that you reheat it on the hob after freezing for the best crunchy taste.
You should also consider switching out products if you intend to freeze the mac and cheese recipe. A common way to increase shelf life is by replacing dairy milk with milk powder or milk alternatives.
You should also consider adding a small amount of cream cheese to your sauce, this will increase the fat content of the mixture and make it less likely to split during the freezing process.
Alternatively, you could choose to freeze uncooked mac and cheese. As the recipe hasn’t been cooked, and the ingredients haven’t been combined, this is the best way to ensure a high-quality meal.
So yes, you can freeze mac and cheese.
The high dairy content does make the process difficult, but as long as you are careful and follow this guide, freezing your leftover mac and cheese will seem simple.