Can You Freeze Mac and Cheese? How?

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Quick Answer: Can You Freeze Mac and Cheese

Yes, you can freeze a delicious bowl of macaroni and cheese to preserve and eat later, for up to even 6 months! The only pre-requisite is that the mac and cheese is prepared really well for it to hold up well in the freezer. Because the dish consists of dairy products, it is really important that you freeze it properly following the right method and technique.

This comprehensive, detailed step-by-step guide has been put together to ensure you are armed with everything you need to know about freezing mac and cheese!

Taking from time-tested experience and hours’ worth of intensive research, this guide covers how to-s, dos and don’ts, and more so you can successfully freeze mac and cheese at home! 

Let’s get right into it! For the first method we will discuss freezing cooked mac and cheese.

How to Freeze Mac and Cheese

How to Freeze Mac and Cheese

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

This method is highly recommended if you have cooked a fair quantity of mac and cheese to be had over a period of time, or even at a later date.

Additionally, I always recommend freezing any foodstuff in serving portions, as it lets you defrost and use only as much of it as you need, at a time, without having to go into the hassle of refreezing.

Materials

  • Sturdy spoons

Tools

  • Multiple small airtight heavy-duty resealable freezer bags

Instructions

    Allow the mac and cheese to cool down – Always remember that before freezing any food that has been freshly prepared, it is mandatory that you allow it to cool down. Otherwise, they will simply not freeze well.

    Spoon mac and cheese according to serving portions into each freezer bag – Decide on the serving portions, and make sure your freezer bags are appropriately sized.

    Once your mac and cheese has cooled down enough, spoon them into the freezer bags as per serving portions. Remember to not fill the bags to the brim, and leave at least half to one inch of headspace.

    Seal securely, label and freeze – Once the mac and cheese are packed inside, squeeze out all the air possible from the freezer bags, and seal them very tightly and securely, making them totally airtight and watertight.

    Label the bags with the storage date so that you do not end up keeping the mac and cheese in the freezer for too long. They are ready to freeze!

    Using small and several airtight freezer bags is just one method for freezing mac and cheese in serving portions. You can also, as we will properly get into in the next section, use a muffin tin.

Freezing Mac and Cheese in Serving Portions Using Muffin Tin

Time Taken: 7-8 hours 

What You Need:

  • Butter brush
  • Sturdy spoon or spatula
  • Muffin tin
  • Cling film / aluminum foil
  • Large, rigid airtight freezer-safe container

Whichever of these two methods you choose from, know that serving in portions is the best way to go about it.

So, if you are going with one of these two methods, rest assured that your mac ‘n’ cheese will freeze fine for up to 6 months.

Allow the mac and cheese to cool down

Again, ensure your dish cools down. Leave it on the countertop for a couple of hours.

Spoon mac and cheese according to serving portions into buttered muffin tin

Decide on the serving portions. Using a muffin tin is very helpful as it also helps you freeze in portions. Spoon the mac and cheese into the buttered section of the muffin tin as per serving portions.

Cover the muffin tin with foil or film, and flash-freeze

You can use cling film or tinfoil, whichever is available, to cover the muffin tin securely. Make sure no part is exposed.

Then place it in the freezer to flash-freeze for at least a few hours. This ensures better preservation during the actual freezing process.

Transfer into airtight container

Once frozen, carefully scoop out the mac and cheese from the muffin tin, and gently place inside a large, rigid airtight container.

Seal securely, label and freeze

Once the mac and cheese is packed inside, snap the lid on tightly, and seal the container securely, making it totally airtight and watertight.

Label the bags with the storage date so that you do not end up keeping the mac and cheese in the freezer for too long. It is ready to freeze!

Freezing Leftover Mac and Cheese

Time Taken: 15-20 minutes 

What You Need:

  • Airtight freezer-safe container with a tight-fitting lid
  • Sturdy spoon 
  • Cling film / tin foil

The reason I am talking about this separately is to remind you that leftover cooked mac and cheese will not survive in the freezer as long as the freshly cooked macaroni and cheese we have discussed about so far.

It is my advice that freeze leftover mac and cheese only when absolutely necessary. 

Does it freeze well though? Yep, they freeze just fine. Just follow these instructions carefully and use it up at the earliest since freezing.

Spoon the mac and cheese carefully into a freezer-safe container

A couple of things to note here. Because you are freezing leftover mac and cheese, I am going to go ahead and assume there isn’t all that much. So, you can freeze all of it together in one container.

About the container, it is mandatory that you choose one that is rigid and freezer-safe, and is appropriately sized in the sense that it is not so big that there will still be space left after keeping the mac and cheese, but not so small that the noodles are packed in it.

Once you have found the right container, use a sturdy spoon to put your leftover mac and cheese inside.

Cover the top with cling film or tinfoil

Once your mac and cheese is inside, just top them off with a layer of either cling film or tinfoil, whichever is available.

Seal securely, label and freeze

Snap the lid back on tightly, making the container totally airtight and watertight. Label the container with storage date, and it is ready to be kept in the freezer!

Remember to use it up within 2 to 3 months.

Freezing Uncooked Mac and Cheese in Portions

Time Taken: 1-2 hours 

What You Need:

  • Sturdy spoon
  • Small, rounded oven and freezer-safe dishes
  • Plastic wrap

Freezing uncooked pasta for whatever reason is also a great idea as they will freeze the best, and for the longest time. There is little preparation involved, and the process is easy and very simple.

Mix your ingredients together and divide serving portions-wise into the dishes

After mixing all the necessary ingredients together in a large bowl, divide them serving portions wise into small, rounded, oven and freezer-safe bowls or dishes.

Make sure to not fill the dishes to the brim, leave around half an inch of headspace.

Wrap each dish individually carefully with plastic wrap

You might need quite a bit of plastic wrap, depending on the amount of mac and cheese you are freezing. Pull along the edges of the wrap to make it tight, firm and secure along the ends.

Be sure to wrap each dish very tightly and carefully so there is no space for any air. This is essential for your dishes to freeze well. If you want, you can double-layer for extra protection.

Label and freeze

Before putting in the freezer, mark and label each dish with the storage date so that you do not forget about them and end up keeping them in the freezer indefinitely.

Next, arrange the small dishes carefully in a flat and open area in your freezer. Your mac and cheese is ready to freeze, but should ideally be consumed within not more than 3 months.

If all of these different methods are a little confusing, here is a visual guide that should also help you understand how to best freeze your mac and cheese at home with no hassles:

Freezing Uncooked Mac and Cheese in a Casserole

Time Taken: 1-2 hours 

What You Need:

  • Large oven and freezer-safe casserole dish
  • Sturdy spoon or spatula
  • Aluminum foil

The last method is a great, hassle-free method for freezing uncooked mac and cheese in portions, but what if you don’t need to freeze the uncooked M&C in portions because you will use all of the dish in one occasion later on? 

What if you do not have the space in your freezer to accommodate too many small dishes of mac and cheese freezing individually? Don’t worry, this method is for you. It is also very simple and does not require too much preparation.

Pour the pasta mixture into a large casserole dish

Choose the dish you are using carefully: it must be sized appropriately, and be oven and freezer-safe.

When pouring and mixing the ingredients, try to distribute it in a more or less even layer, so that it can freeze, as well as cook consistently. 

Cover the casserole dish with a large aluminum foil

Measure, if necessary, but tear off and use a sufficiently big piece of aluminum foil to tightly and securely cover all of the large casserole dish containing the macaroni.

Tuck the edges of the tinfoil around the dish so that it gets sealed very tightly, and is entirely airtight and watertight. This is, again, very important for making sure your mac and cheese keeps well in the freezer for a good amount of time.

Label and freeze

Label the casserole dish with the storage date to be safe. Then, place it in a flat and free space in your freezer. Your uncooked macaroni and cheese casserole is good to freeze for up to 3 months!

How to Freeze Noodles

Time Taken: 30-40 minutes 

What You Need:

  • Olive oil 
  • Sturdy spoons 
  • Multiple small airtight heavy-duty resealable freezer bags

Freezing noodles of any kind is also very easy! There are a number of different methods, but in this one I discuss how you can freeze freshly cooked noodles in serving portions!

In this case, it is most recommended that you freeze the noodles and the sauce separately, and then reincorporate them after thawing. This ensures better preservation in the freezer.

Additionally, I always recommend freezing any foodstuff in serving portions, as it lets you defrost and use only as much of it as you need, at a time, without having to go into the hassle of refreezing.

Allow the noodles to cool down

Always remember that before freezing any food that has been freshly prepared, it is mandatory that you allow it to cool down. Otherwise, they will simply not freeze well.

Toss the noodles well in some olive oil

This prevents them from clumping together when freezing.

Spoon noodles according to serving portions into each freezer bag

Decide on the serving portions, and make sure your freezer bags are appropriately sized. 

Once your noodles are cooled and tossed in olive oil, spoon them into the freezer bags as per serving portions. Remember to not fill the bags to the brim, and leave at least half to one inch of headspace.

Seal securely, label and freeze

Once the noodles are packed inside, squeeze out all the air possible from the freezer bags, and seal them very tightly and securely, making them totally airtight and watertight.

Label the bags with the storage date so that you do not end up keeping the noodles in the freezer for too long. They are ready to freeze!

How Long Can You Freeze Mac and Cheese?

Mac and cheese, if kept correctly, can actually be preserved for an extended period of time. It is recommended that you consume the pasta within 4 to maximum 6 months for optimum flavor.

The longer you keep the macaroni and cheese in the freezer, the more it is going to lose its texture, consistency, flavor, and taste as the ingredients will start to lose moisture, separate, and get spoilt. So, make plans to eat it up accordingly. 

Whatever you do, by no means keep your mac and cheese in the freezer for beyond 6 months.

How to Store Frozen Mac and Cheese?

Mac and cheese can be kept in freezer storage in airtight freezer bags, as prescribed in the methods above, whether homemade or store-bought, leftover or freshly-made, all together or separately in individual serving portions. You can also freeze uncooked macaroni and cheese either in portions in small dishes as discussed, or together in one large casserole dish. Do make sure that all these materials are freezer and oven-safe first before using them.

Other freezer storage tips include ensuring that the temperature in the freezer remains consistent when the mac and cheese is freezing, and that the sealing has been done securely and carefully.

Remember that your mac and cheese may not hold up well in the freezer even beyond a couple of weeks if the storage is not done properly, following all the given instructions correctly and meticulously and making sure you use the best quality materials.

How to Defrost Frozen Mac and Cheese?

To defrost frozen mac and cheese, you can transfer a portion of the dish from the freezer to the fridge. Leave the mac and cheese to thaw overnight. If the mac and cheese became dry after defrosting, just add a little milk prior to reheating.

When it comes to reheating mac and cheese, there are many ways to do it. You can use the oven to bake the mac and cheese, the microwave or even the oven-toaster as well. Just add your favorite trimmings on a plate of thawed mac and cheese before you reheat it for a few minutes and you will have a plate of absolutely delicious mac and cheese to snack on!

Can You Re-freeze Frozen Mac and Cheese?

It is never a good idea to refreeze mac and cheese. It can suffer significantly with regard to its texture, flavor, taste, and appearance. Therefore, it is best to avoid refreezing macaroni and cheese and just enjoy it well the first time around.

Even for freezing, freezing in portions, is the most recommended as it lets you defrost and use only as much of it as you need, at a time, without having to go into the hassle of refreezing. 

Try your best to use up the entire amount of mac and cheese that you have thawed at one go without having any leftovers. In case you do end up with some, it is best to discard them as the chances are that they are simply not fit or safe for consumption anymore.

Also remember that you must use up the mac and cheese mandatorily within a maximum of six months of freezing. Keeping it in the freezer for beyond that would pose challenges to its flavor as well as even taste.

Does Mac and Cheese Freeze Well?

While it largely depends on the kind of ingredients involved, on a general note, yes, macaroni and cheese freezes fine. If prepped carefully following the right methods, it can even be kept in freezer storage for up to five to even six months. 

That said, do note that the longer you keep mac and cheese in freezer storage, the greater are its chances of slowly getting mushier and poorer with regard to their texture, and even taste and flavor. So, freeze the mac and cheese accordingly, with plans to consume it by the earliest.

This is why I always recommend labelling the containers or freezer bags with the date, so that you do not end up forgetting about the pasta and keeping it in the freezer for an extended period of time beyond the recommended period!

FAQs

How long does mac and cheese last in the refrigerator?

Mac and cheese, unfortunately, does not have too great a shelf life when kept in the fridge: around 2 to 4 days. So, if you have plans of finishing it up before then, there is obviously no need to freeze.

However, to store and preserve macaroni and cheese for longer periods of time, I strongly recommend freezing it as the best alternative.

Should I remove the plastic or tinfoil coverings when reheating thawed macaroni and cheese?

Yes, absolutely. Remove the foil or plastic wrap carefully and then reheat. Make sure you use a microwave-safe container or bowl too.

What kind of macaroni and cheese freezes best?

Note that the creamier versions of mac and cheese are the ones that freeze the best. This is because they have more amounts of the pasta ‘sauce,’ or the liquid that would basically help to keep the mac and cheese moist when defrosting and reheating.

Can I freeze vegan mac and cheese?

Yes, absolutely, why not? Follow the same instructions given here carefully to properly preserve your vegan macaroni and cheese in the freezer.

How do I make frozen and thawed mac and cheese tastier?

You can add flavor enhancers such as Dijon, paprika, or nutmeg to bring out the flavor of your mac and cheese after it has been frozen, thawed and reheated.

If you are reheating it on the stovetop, add a bit of fresh milk, butter, and even more shredded cheese to refresh the sauce. You can also mix in some chopped up veggies, capers or shredded chicken for more variety.

Why is my frozen mac and cheese mushy after thawing?

Chances are, it is because of the dairy in the dish. Sometimes they can separate during the freezing, and thawing process. However, it is not something to worry about; if you recombine the ingredients while reheating, your mac and cheese will taste great anyway.

Bottom Line

We hope this comprehensive, step-by-step guide covering the best methods to freeze macaroni and cheese successfully at the safety and ease of your home has helped you!

For any further questions you may have regarding freezing mac and cheese, please do let us know by reaching out to us!

If you have any other tips and tricks you have discovered about freezing macaroni and cheese, feel free to reach out and let us know; we will add them to this guide so they can help more people!

If this guide has helped you, please do share it with your friends and family so that they can also use it.

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About Judy Taylor

Judy has been fascinated with food and drinks since her teenage years. She loves experimenting with various cuisines, her favorite being pairing food with wine and drinks. She travels 7-8 months a year across the globe, exploring local food and culture. Her dream is to open a small Mexican outlet on a beach someday.

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