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Food & Recipes

How to Reheat Mac and Cheese and Give It a Creamy Second Life


Macaroni and cheese is probably one of the easiest dishes to make: just boil a few cups of water, throw in some noodles, strain, then mix in powdered cheese (if you like the boxed variety), milk, and butter, and you’ve got yourself a meal in just 10 minutes. But what if you don’t finish it all? It’s time to learn how to reheat mac and cheese.

Reheating day-old boxed mac and cheese can be tough, as the end result might be either too dry or come out an oily mess. Thankfully, there’s a trick to reheating leftover mac and cheese that will both heat it quickly and return it to its creamy consistency… and all it takes is some milk and a microwave.

How to Reheat Mac and Cheese

1. First, grab a microwave-safe bowl. Put however much mac and cheese you plan on eating into the bowl. Remember, mac and cheese gets less and less appetizing the more you reheat it, so only take out what you’re going to use.

2. Add milk. The biggest secret to reviving leftover mac and cheese is to add a little bit of milk when you reheat it. Start by adding just one tablespoon of milk per cup of noodles. The amount of milk needed to make it the creamiest leftover mac and cheese you’ve ever eaten will solely depend on how much you’re planning to eat, but the idea stays the same. Don’t worry if it looks a little funky at first, as it takes the milk a second to work its magic. If you’d like to add more texture and flavor to the dish, just substitute half-and-half or cream.

3. Cover with plastic wrap. Once you’ve added your milk, cover your leftover mac-and-cheese masterpiece with plastic wrap, leaving one corner slightly open to release steam. If you feel weird or uncomfortable about putting plastic wrap in the microwave, an inverted plate will also work. (Just make sure you use an oven mitt when you take it out to avoid burning yourself.)

4. Heat it up — slowly! Heating your dish up too quickly will result in an oily pile of cheese and noodles. If you’re heating up a single serving, set the timer for one minute. Once that minute is up, take it out and stir your mac and cheese. Then, put it back in the microwave and continue to heat it in 30- to 60-second intervals until its temperature is to your liking.

Tip: If you’re still unimpressed with your leftover mac and cheese, add a few toppings. You’d be surprised what a few chopped jalapeños and some crumbled bacon can do!

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