Food & Recipes

How to Reheat Mac and Cheese and Maintain Its Melty, Creamy Perfection

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Every parent needs to know how to reheat mac and cheese, right? In fact, it’s probably a good idea that everyone knows how to reheat this comfort food dish. But with so many different twists on this classic meal, it can be difficult to know how to reheat macaroni and cheese to maintain all its creamy goodness.

The happy news? We asked two expert chefs to weigh in on everything from how to reheat mac and cheese without drying it out to how to reheat frozen mac and cheese. So, get ready, because you’re about to learn easy cooking tricks for how to turn your leftover goodness into something great.

How to Reheat Mac and Cheese in the Oven

If there is one method that stands the test of time when it comes to reheating food, it’s the oven. Since the oven can handle larger amounts of food and heats evenly, many people don’t mind the long wait time to reheat leftovers. In fact, chef Claudia Sidoti from HelloFresh says the oven is the best method for reheating mac and cheese. Here, she explains how to reheat macaroni and cheese in the oven in six steps.  

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place your macaroni and cheese in an oven-proof dish. Sidoti says glass is ideal.
  3. Stir in milk for added moisture. Add about one tablespoon of milk per one cup of macaroni and cheese. Skip this step if you are reheating a mac and cheese with a crumb topping.
  4. Cover the mac and cheese with aluminum foil.
  5. Bake until the mac and cheese is heated through. Typically, about 20-30 minutes.
  6. After about 20 minutes, remove foil, and cook for an additional 10 minutes until the cheese is starting to brown. For an added topping, add cheese on top before you pop the mac and cheese back in the oven for 10 minutes. 

How to Reheat Mac and Cheese in the Microwave

Let’s be honest; if you’re reheating leftover mac and cheese from a box, the microwave is not going to make it any worse. But if you’re trying to reheat homemade mac and cheese so it tastes like it just came out of the oven, then you better know how to reheat mac and cheese in the microwave. Lazarus Lynch, host of Food Network’s Comfort Nation and Chopped U shares his method to reheat mac and cheese in the microwave. 

  1. Put the mac and cheese in a microwave-safe bowl. 
  2. Add milk. If you want to reheat mac and cheese without drying it out, the secret to getting back is to add a bit of milk when you reheat it. The amount needed will depend on your leftovers. Start by stirring in one tablespoon of milk.
  3. Cover the mac and cheese with plastic wrap and leave partially open to release excess steam.
  4. Heat the mac and cheese on medium power for one minute for a single serving, or 90 seconds for a larger portion. 
  5. Stir. Then heat in 30-60 second intervals until it reaches the desired temperature.
  6. Add toppings if desired and enjoy.

How to Reheat Baked Mac and Cheese

There’s nothing quite like baked mac and cheese right out of the oven, especially when it’s homemade. And since it looks more like a hearty meal, you can serve it alone or with a side salad. If you like the baked version of this classic, you should know how to reheat homemade mac and cheese. Lynch recommends these three cooking steps for baked perfection. 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place mac and cheese in a lightly oiled or buttered baking dish and cover with aluminum foil.
  3. Bake until mac and cheese is hot, about 20 minutes.

How to Reheat Frozen Mac and Cheese

Homemade mac and cheese is not something you want to toss in the garbage once dinner is over. That’s why knowing how to reheat frozen macaroni and cheese should top your list of methods to learn. With that said, you need to allow plenty of time to reheat mac and cheese from the freezer. Here are the steps Sidoti recommends to reheat frozen mac and cheese. 

  1. Remove the mac and cheese from the freezer.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  3. Cook the pan of macaroni and cheese for one hour to one hour 30 minutes (or until the macaroni and cheese is heated through). 
  4. Start checking the temperature at the one hour mark.
  5. Your macaroni and cheese is done when it is thoroughly heated through and has a nice creamy texture.

How to Reheat Mac and Cheese Casserole

You can turn just about anything into a casserole. And if you’re a macaroni and cheese connoisseur, there’s a good chance you’ll give the casserole method a try. So, when you’re dealing with leftovers, what is the best way to reheat them? Fortunately, you don’t have to learn a new method to reheat mac and cheese casserole. Just use the steps from the oven method, and you will have tasty leftovers in no time. 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place your macaroni and cheese in an oven-proof dish. Sidoti says glass is ideal.
  3. Stir in milk for added moisture. Add about one tablespoon of milk per one cup of macaroni and cheese. Skip this step if you are reheating a mac and cheese with a crumb topping.
  4. Cover the mac and cheese with aluminum foil.
  5. Bake until the mac and cheese is heated through. Typically, about 20-30 minutes.
  6. After about 20 minutes, remove foil, and cook for an additional 10 minutes until the cheese is starting to brown. For an added topping, add cheese on top before you pop the mac and cheese back in the oven for 10 minutes. 

How to Reheat Mac and Cheese on the Stove

If the stovetop is your preferred method to reheat leftovers — especially if you want to reheat Kraft Mac and Cheese — then Lynch recommends this simple five-step method for how to reheat mac and cheese. 

  1. Place the mac and cheese into a saucepan.
  2. Add a splash of milk or cream.
  3. Set saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until completely hot throughout (about 10 minutes).
  4. Add a tablespoon more of milk or cream to loosen the cheese sauce. Add more liquid, a tablespoon at a time, if additional is needed.
  5. Adjust the taste with salt.

Sure, mac and cheese if perfect on its own. But if you’re looking to dress up your dinner, why not add some additional toppings before you reheat your meal? What makes mac and cheese so versatile is the fact that you can put just about anything in it! Cut up hot dogs, extra cheese, bread crumbs, bacon bits, veggies (peas are a favorite), tuna, or ground beef and add it to the mix. 

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