In this article, we will answer the question “How long does Mac and Cheese last?”, and how to tell If Mac and Cheese has gone bad?
How long does Mac and Cheese last?
The following table shows the estimated shelf-life of different types of Mac and Cheese under different storage conditions.
|In the pantry||In the fridge||In the freezer|
|Cooked Mac and Cheese||3-5 days||2+ months|
|Mac and Cheese dry mix||3 months past the Best-by date||6 months past the Best-by date|
|Frozen Mac and Cheese||3 months past the Best-by date|
How to store mac and cheese?
- If your homemade Mac and Cheese are to be consumed within a few days, It can be kept in the fridge. Before refrigerating, let the Mac and Cheese come down to room temperature.
- If you will not be consuming your Mac and Cheese within a week, freezing it is a good option.
- Boxed dry-mix of Mac and Cheese should be stored in a cool, dark, and dry place. A pantry or a kitchen cabinet works fine. For extended storage time, put in the freezer.
- Frozen Mac and Cheese always goes in the freezer.
How to freeze Mac and Cheese?
Freezing macaroni and sauce separately is not a good idea. Because pasta will become mushy losing its integrity and shape after thawing. Store the Mac and Cheese in a freezer bag. Squeeze out the air from the bag and chuck it into the freezer. If you prepared some extra sauce, that can go in the freezer for weeks.
How to tell If Mac and Cheese has gone bad?
- If the dry mix of Mac and Cheese develops wet clumps or becomes moldy, it has spoiled.
- As long as the cooked Mac and Cheese is concerned, if anything is off about the texture, appearance, and smell of Mac and Cheese, throw it out.
How to make the best Mac and Cheese?
- 1 lb. dried elbow pasta
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 2 1/2 cups half and half
- 4 cups grated medium sharp cheddar cheese divided (measured after grating)
- 2 cups grated Gruyere cheese divided (measured after grating)
- 1/2 Tbsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. paprika
- Preheat the oven at 325℉ for 15-20 minutes. Grease a 9-by-13 baking tray with butter or vegetable oil.
- In a large pot, add plenty of water. Add salt. When the water comes to a rolling boil, add dry pasta. Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta water. Do not rinse the pasta. Toss it with some olive oil to keep it from sticking.
- Grate the cheese and divide it into 3 portions. Separate 3 cups for the sauce, 1 1/2 cups for the inner layer, and 1 1/2 cups for the topping.
- In a large saucepan, melt butter. Add the flour and whisk it well until combined in butter or until the mixture is homogenous and sandy. Cook the butter with flour for about 1 minute.
- Then pour some milk while whisking the mixture continuously. When the mixture is creamy, add the rest of the milk while whisking.
- Keep whisking and heating the mixture on medium heat until it becomes thick and creamy like a condensed soup.
- Now remove the mixture from the heat. Finish off with spices and grated cheese. Whisk the cheese in while the mixture is still hot so that it melts and the sauce is smooth.
- In a separate bowl, mix the sauce with pasta. Pour half of this pasta mixture into the greased baking tray. Sprinkle with 1 ½ cup of grated cheese. Top with the rest of the pasta mixture.
- Top off the pasta mixture with the remaining 1 ½ cup of grated cheese. Slide the tray in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese has turned golden and is bubbling.
Mac and Cheese variations
- Top off your Mac and Cheese with crispy and crumbled bacon. Toss it in the pasta mixture if you like.
- If you do not have an oven, you can make Mac and Cheese on the stovetop. Once the sauce is ready, add cheese. Do not thicken it too much. Add the pasta to it. Toss and serve warm.
- Use the following variations for toppings
- 1 cup of panko with 2 Tbsp of melted butter
- 1 cup of crushed Ritz crackers with 2 Tbsp of butter work
In this article, we answered the question “How long does Mac and Cheese last?”, and how to tell If Mac and Cheese has gone bad?