Mac and cheese is great comfort food that can serve as a main or tasty side-dish. The best part about it is that you can go all fancy and spend money on different cheeses if you feel like it. However, if you don’t feel like splurging, you can also make it with ingredients that you have in your pantry. That’s why people prefer it over other snacks. You can also add ingredients to give it a healthy twist.
If you don’t devour it right after you cook it, storing it in the fridge is a great way to ensure you can enjoy that cheesy heaven later on. The only problem is that when you reheat mac and cheese it can easily dry out. The creamy taste that you love goes away and all that’s left is rubbery cheese that tastes awful unless you use the right reheating technique. If you reheat mac and cheese properly, you can retain its taste and flavor for even a week.
So, today I’ll tell you three techniques that’ll help you reheat mac and cheese and get back its creamy delight. You can use any one of these to get great results. I’ll also tell you which one worked best for me.
Pro tip: Always reheat only the portion of mac and cheese that you want to eat. If you keep reheating all the leftovers, it’ll keep losing its flavor.
How to revive leftover mac and cheese?
The best way to revive leftover mac and cheese is to add moisture back to the dish. It tends to dry out as it cools down. We recommend adding 1 tablespoon of cream to each cup of the pasta prior to reheating it. Finally, cover the mac and cheese before reheating it. Covering the dish keeps the moisture from escaping. Then heat it up slowly at a low temperature.
▶ Trick 1: Reheat Mac and Cheese in a Double Boiler
This method takes time and some extra preparation but we think that it is worth it. To get the consistency that mac and cheese had when you first cooked it, you will have to heat it over a boiling water bath. You will need a double boiler for this one. Just add water to the saucepan and add the mac and cheese to the pan overhead.
You can also do the same with a makeshift double boiler. Just add water to a saucepan and place a mixing bowl on it. This method works really well. We misplaced our double boiler and have used this a few times.
- Put the mac and cheese in the bowl/boiler.
- Add some milk and butter and mix it well.
- Cover the pan with a lid and leave it on medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Mix the mac and cheese and leave it for a few more minutes unless it gets to the temperature you like.
▶ Trick 2: Use the Microwave to Reheat Mac and Cheese
To make sure mac and cheese do not end up too oily, I like to reheat it in the microwave. I like this trick better than the pan one because it is simple and I get the creamy taste that I love. Now to be fair, reheating pasta in the microwave does tend to change the texture. However, it is great for lunch or when you are in a hurry.
So here are the steps:
- Take out some mac and cheese in a microwave-safe bowl and add some milk.
- Mix it well and use cling wrap to cover the bowl.
- Place the sealed bowl in the microwave.
- Reheat it on medium power for a minute.
- Mix the mac and cheese again.
- Reheat it for a few more minutes.
The time you set on the microwave depends on how cold your food is. When you stop to mix the mac and cheese, also check the consistency of the cream. You can add more milk to make it creamier.
Pro tip: You can also use heavy cream as a substitute for milk to add flavor. We also have heavy cream substitution ideas for you.
Once it’s reheated, just add the toppings and dressings you like to enjoy the refreshed bowl of mac and cheese. And as soon as you finish the leftovers, you can start planning for the next time you cook it. You will love these mac and cheese recipes that will help you satisfy your craving for the cheese galore. So, whenever you feel like breaking the daily routine and cooking something with a bit of a twist, you can enjoy some great mac and cheese.
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How to reheat mac and cheese in the oven
I like to reheat our macaroni and cheese like this if we are serving a full spread of leftovers. The microwave can get quite busy when you are trying to reheat quite a few foods at once. Reheating leftovers in the oven is nice because you can add multiple dishes to the oven at once.
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
- Transfer the mac and cheese to an oven-safe baking dish.
- Add in a tablespoon of milk or heavy cream for every cup of mac and cheese and stir.
- Cover the mac and cheese with aluminum foil.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes carefully remove the foil, stir the mac and cheese.
- Return the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the dish is heated thoroughly.
How to reheat frozen macaroni and cheese
Macaroni and cheese is a dish that actually freezes quite well. The trick to making frozen mac and cheese taste good is to reheat it properly in an oven. You don’t have to allow the mac and cheese to defrost before heating it up. It can straight from the freezer to the oven if it was frozen in an oven-safe dish.
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
- Cover the pan of mac and cheese with aluminum foil.
- Bake it in the oven for 1 hour.
- Remove from the oven and carefully remove the foil. Stir the mac and cheese. If it isn’t heated through and through, cover it with foil and return it to the oven.
- Bake it for an additional 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and check that it is heated thoroughly.
Even since I came across these techniques, I have never had any problem with reheating mac and cheese. There were times I had to dispose of the leftovers just because they’d turn into a rubbery mess. However, after I discovered how to reheat mac and cheese, it’ll be an understatement to say that it has completely changed my life. Now I can keep the leftovers for up to a week without worrying about how it’ll taste like when I reheat it. So, if you have had to throw away leftovers too, use these techniques and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results.