How long is mac and cheese good for in the fridge?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question “How long is mac and cheese good for in the fridge?”, discuss how to tell if mac and cheese has gone bad, and how to store mac and cheese.

How long is mac and cheese good for in the fridge?

In the fridge, the mac and cheese are good for a maximum of 3 to 5 days. It is better to store the mac and cheese in an airtight container before refrigerating them so that they do not get spoiled due to the moisture of the refrigeration temperature, and they are not masked by the aroma of other food items stored in the fridge.

The shelf life of mac and cheese

The unopened package of mac and cheese has a best-by date labeled on it. If stored properly and sealed, the package can stay good to use even after a year beyond its best-by date.

Cooked mac and cheese should be consumed within 3-5 days when refrigerated in an airtight container. To extend the shelf life of cooked mac and cheese, it is better to freeze it in an airtight container rather than refrigerating it.

Here is a quick review of the shelf life of mac and cheese:

   Mac and cheese                                    SHELF LIFE
        Pantry         Fridge           Freezer 
Cooked           —–3-5 daysMore than 2 months
Dry mix Best-by + 3 months          —–Best-by + 6 months
Frozen           —–          —–Best-by + 3 months 

If you cooked the mac and cheese and placed it at room temperature, then it will be no longer good to use after 2 hours. Because at room temperature (40-140 Fahrenheit), the bacteria will found a substrate to avidly grow on and the mac and cheese will get spoiled. It will be better for you to discard that mac and cheese.

Does mac and cheese go bad?

Mac and cheese has a relatively long shelf life if they are stored properly. But improper storage of the dry mix or the cooked mac and cheese can make it go bad as the ingredients keep on deteriorating over time, and the quality is compromised making it inedible after a certain time.

Other FAQs about Mac and Cheese which you may be interested in.

Can you cook Mac and Cheese without milk?

What happens If you eat expired Kraft Mac and Cheese?

How to tell if mac and cheese has gone bad?

It is quite an easy task to tell if mac and cheese has gone bad because there are very clear indications of bad mac and cheese:

Dry mix of mac and cheese

If you suspect any kind of moisture inside the package of dry mac and cheese, this means that the mac and cheese has spoiled and it is no more a good idea to use them. It is very important to ensure that the package is sealed well so that no moisture can seep into the package. Once opened, try to use the dry mix within few days to avoid it going bad. 

Cooked mac and cheese

Cooked mac and cheese can be kept refrigerated for 3-5 days, but if the duration of storage prolongs or if the storage conditions are not proper, it can go bad. To determine if the cooked mac and cheese has gone bad, consider:

  • Odor

If you suspect bad odor dominating over the original essence of mac and cheese this means that it has gone bad. Don’t use such a mac and cheese that is giving off a nasty smell.

  • Texture

Fresh and good mac and cheese can be a bit mushy but it can not be slimy or clumped. So if you notice anything that is not exactly according to the particular texture of mac and cheese, this means that it has gone bad and you’d better through it away.

  • Microbial growth

Microbial growth is the most important parameter to determine if the mac and cheese have gone bad or not. If you observe mold growing on the mac and cheese, do not consume such mac and cheese because it is obvious that there will be certain bacteria growing along with the molds that can not be observed by the naked eye but can cause severe health issues. Moreover, the molds if ingested along the spoiled food will produce mycotoxins (poisonous substances) inside the body leading to severe health issues that range from acute poisoning to long-term issues such as immunodeficiency and cancer.

How to store mac and cheese?

To store mac and cheese, proper storage conditions are to be maintained. To store dry mix, make sure to keep the sealed package in the pantry where there is no direct source of heat or light and where the moisture is not present but the area is dry.

To store cooked mac and cheese, cool them a bit so that the extra heat is eliminated to avoid sudden temperature variation as you will need to refrigerate or freeze it. Transfer the cooked mac and cheese to an airtight container to prevent it from any kind of moisture and place the container in the refrigerator for three to five days. For long term storage, you can keep the container in the freezer.

Conclusion:

In this brief guide, we answered the question “How long is mac and cheese good for in the fridge?”, discussed how to tell if mac and cheese has gone bad, and how to store mac and cheese.

References: 

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.