How long does mac and cheese last in the fridge?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “How long does mac and cheese last in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of mac and cheese in different conditions. Moreover, we are going to discuss the proper way to store mac and cheese and different ways to spot bad mac and cheese.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

How long does mac and cheese last in the fridge?

The cooked mac and cheese lasts for about 3-5 days in the fridge if stored properly at or below 40°F in an air-tight container or plastic zipper bag.

You can read how to make fried mac and cheese balls here.

How long does cooked mac and cheese last at room temperature?

Cooked mac and cheese lasts for about 2 hours when left at room temperature. The bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between 40°F and 140°F so if mac and cheese is kept out for more than 2 hours, there is a great chance that bacteria and other microbes will find their way to it and will spoil it. 

How long does mac and cheese last in the freezer?

Cooked mac and cheese lasts for about 1-2 months in the freezer if stored properly in an air-tight container, plastic freezer bag, or heavy-duty freezer container. 

Thus storing mac and cheese properly in the freezer will increase its shelf life considerably owing to the cool temperature of the freezer that halts the bacterial growth on the mac and cheese.

How long does cooked mac and cheese last after being frozen and thawed?

Frozen cooked mac and cheese that is thawed in the refrigerator can stay there for 3-4 days before reheating but the mac and cheese that is thawed in the microwave or a bowl of water should be reheated and consumed immediately. 

Can I refrigerate the reheated mac and cheese?

So once you have reheated the mac and cheese, you should never refrigerate it. As when you reheat the cooked mac and cheese, its temperature rises more than 40°F and we know that bacteria grows at a faster rate between 40°F and 140°F. So the bacteria will find their way to your mac and cheese and you should never refrigerate the reheated mac and cheese.

How long does mac and cheese dry mix last?

Mac and cheese dry mix lasts for about 3 months past the “best by” date if it is stored properly in a cool, dry, and dark corner of the pantry away from direct sunlight and heat.

If you freeze mac and cheese dry mix in the freezer in a double plastic freezer bag (to ensure that moisture won’t reach it) then it lasts for 6 months past the “best by” date.

How to store mac and cheese properly?

  1. The cooked mac and cheese should be stored in an air-tight container or plastic zipper bag in the refrigerator. 
  2. You should always store your cooked mac and cheese at 40°F or below. Bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40°F and 140°F, therefore it is always advised to store mac and cheese at a lower temperature to preserve its freshness and quality for a long time.
  3. You should never store the hot cooked mac and cheese directly in the air-tight container in the bag, or the moisture built-up inside the container due to steam emitted from hot mac and cheese will provide a suitable environment for bacteria and microbes to grow in it. Therefore it is advised to thoroughly cool the mac and cheese before storing it in an air-tight container. 
  4. Never leave your cooked mac and cheese on the kitchen counter for more than 2 hours or else the bacteria and other microbes will contaminate it.
  5. Always store your mac and cheese dry mix in a cool, dry, and dark corner of your pantry away from direct sunlight and heat.
  6. Never store your mac and cheese dry mix in a humid environment because if moisture somehow finds its way to your mac and cheese dry mix, it will mess up its quality.

How to spot bad mac and cheese?

You can tell if your mac and cheese has gone bad by considering its appearance, texture, and smell.

  1. If you see mold or organic growth on your mac and cheese (either in dry mac and cheese mix or cooked mac and cheese) then it is an indication of mac and cheese that has gone bad. 
  2. If you notice that cooked mac and cheese has a slimy or gooey texture, then it is an indication that your mac and cheese has gone bad. 
  3. If you notice some off-smell (rotten or putrid smell) while taking a sniff test of cooked mac and cheese then it means that your mac and cheese have gone bad and you should discard it.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “How long does mac and cheese last in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of mac and cheese in different conditions. Moreover, we discussed the proper way to store mac and cheese and different ways to spot bad mac and cheese.

Citations

https://www.stilltasty.com/fooditems/index/17611

https://www.doesitgobad.com/does-mac-and-cheese-go-bad/#:~:text=If%20you%20refrigerate%20it%2C%20it,For%20longer%20storage%2C%20freeze%20it.

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Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.

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