Mac and cheese is a delicious and comforting dish. But leftovers can easily dry out and lose their appeal. Follow these tips to reheat mac and cheese and bring it back to its original creamy, cheesy goodness.
Reheating in the Oven
The oven provides an effective way to reheat mac and cheese without drying it out.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Transfer mac and cheese to an oven-safe baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until heated through. Check and stir occasionally.
- For baked mac and cheese, bake for 20-25 minutes until hot and bubbly.
- Add a splash of milk or cream if needed to loosen the consistency before serving.
The microwave offers a quick method for reheating mac and cheese. Take care not to overcook.
- Transfer mac and cheese to a microwave-safe bowl.
- Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between sessions, until heated through, about 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in a splash of milk or cream to loosen the consistency.
- For baked mac and cheese, microwave for 1-2 minutes and check frequently.
On the Stovetop
Use the stovetop to gently reheat mac and cheese.
- Transfer mac and cheese to a saucepan over medium-low heat.
- Add a splash of milk or cream. Heat through, stirring frequently.
- For baked mac and cheese, add a few tablespoons of water or cream to prevent sticking.
- Once heated, remove from heat and stir until creamy.
Other Kitchen Appliances
- Slow cooker – Combine mac and cheese in a slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally. The slow, indirect heat prevents the cheese from separating or getting stringy.
- Air fryer – Scoop mac and cheese into a lightly greased air fryer basket. Air fry at 350°F for 4-6 minutes, tossing halfway, until hot. The air fryer will make the exterior crispy.
- Double boiler – Place mac and cheese in the top pan of a double boiler. Place over barely simmering water and heat, stirring often, until warmed through. This gentle steam heating prevents scorching.
How do you prevent mac and cheese from drying out when reheating?
Add a splash of milk or cream before reheating to loosen up the mac and cheese. Stir frequently and reheat at a low temperature to prevent drying out.
What is the best way to reheat baked mac and cheese?
Baked mac and cheese reheats best in a moderate oven (325°F – 350°F) for 15-20 minutes until hot and bubbly. Cover with foil to prevent drying out.
Can you reheat mac and cheese in the microwave?
Yes, microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between sessions, until heated through. Add a splash of milk or water when stirring to loosen up the pasta.
How do you reheat mac and cheese on the stovetop?
Gently reheat over medium-low heat in a saucepan, adding a splash of milk or cream. Stir continuously to prevent burning or drying out. Use a double boiler for extra gentle heating.
Should you add extra cheese when reheating mac and cheese?
Yes, adding some extra shredded cheese or sprinkling breadcrumbs on top helps enhance the flavor and texture when reheating.
How long does leftover mac and cheese last in the fridge?
Properly stored mac and cheese will last 3-5 days refrigerated. Reheat within this time for the best quality.
Can you reheat frozen mac and cheese?
Frozen mac and cheese can be reheated directly from the freezer using a low oven or microwave. Add extra milk or cream once thawed. Increase heating time.
What temperature should you reheat mac and cheese to?
Get mac and cheese piping hot, reaching an internal temperature of 165°F. Check it with a food thermometer for food safety.
Baked Pesto Mac and Cheese – Toss cubes of baked mac and cheese with basil pesto, breadcrumbs, and mozzarella cheese. Bake at 375°F for 15 minutes until hot and crispy on top.
Mac and Cheese Arancini – Mix leftover baked mac and cheese with rice, eggs, cheeses, and herbs. Shape into balls, coat with breadcrumbs, and fry until crispy outside and melty inside.
Buffalo Mac and Cheese – Stir hot sauce and shredded chicken into leftover mac and cheese. Top with crumbled blue cheese before serving.
Taco Mac and Cheese – Combine reheated mac and cheese with taco seasoned ground beef and top with shredded lettuce, salsa, avocado, and cilantro.
Mac and Cheese Quesadillas – Fill tortillas with leftover mac and cheese, beans, peppers, onion and cheese. Grill until crispy.
Mac and Cheese Egg Rolls – Wrap mac and cheese and veggies in egg roll wrappers. Fry until golden brown and crispy. Serve with dipping sauce.
Mac and Cheese Stuffed Peppers – Fill roasted bell peppers with reheated mac and cheese and top with seasoned breadcrumbs. Bake until hot and crispy.
Mac and Cheese Balls – Mix mac and cheese with cheese, herbs and spices. Shape into balls, roll in breadcrumbs and bake or fry until golden.
- Add a little liquid – Milk, cream, or even water can help loosen up mac and cheese that has dried out in the fridge. Start with 1-2 tablespoons and add more as needed.
- Reheat gently – Low and slow is best. Reheat over medium-low heat on the stovetop to prevent scorching or drying out.
- Preheat the oven – Don’t skip preheating if reheating in the oven. This helps prevent overcooking.
- Use a steamer – A bamboo or metal steamer basket over a pot of simmering water can gently reheat mac and cheese without drying it out.
- Sprinkle with extra cheese – Add a handful of shredded extra-sharp cheddar or Parmesan before serving for extra flavor.
- Make it crispy – If you want crispy, baked mac and cheese, coat the top with breadcrumbs or crushed crackers before reheating.
- Add pasta water – For a thinner consistency after reheating, stir in a splash of starchy pasta cooking water.
- Bake in ramekins – For single servings, transfer mac and cheese into small ramekins before reheating for portion control.
- Keep sauce separate – Store cooked pasta and cheese sauce separately, then combine when reheating for best results.
Here are some specific appliance recommendations for reheating mac and cheese:
- Panasonic NN-SN966S – 1200W with Inverter Technology for controlled, even heating
- Toshiba EM131A5C-BS – 1100W with preset reheating programs
- LG LDE4415ST – Electric double oven with convection baking for quick, even heating
- GE JT5000SFSS – 30″ slide-in gas range with true convection oven
- Breville BOV845BSS Smart Oven Pro – 1800W with Element IQ heat control for consistent results
- Cuisinart TOB-260N1 – 0.95 cubic foot capacity, 7 functions
- All-Clad Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Pans – Aluminum core for even heating and heat control
- Anolon Advanced Bronze Nonstick Skillet – Ceramic coating won’t react with cheesy dishes
- Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven – Retains heat well for gentle reheating
Any microwave, oven, or stovetop with good power, adjustable settings, and high quality cookware should work well for reheating leftover mac and cheese. Look for even heat distribution to prevent hot spots.
With the right technique, reheated mac and cheese can taste just as good as the original. Follow these guidelines to enjoy the comforting dish again and again.