How To Reheat Macaroni And Cheese Without Drying It Out

Your mac and cheese can be just as delicious the next day. Try these reheating tips to enjoy your cheesy noodles more than once.

Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food. There's something so satisfying about that combination of pasta and ooey, gooey cheese. Whether you opt for a boxed version or macaroni and cheese from scratch, it's a rich dish, which almost always results in leftovers.

Baked Smokin’ Macaroni and Cheese
Beth Dreiling Hontzas; Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine

Reheating Made Right

This classic recipe tends to lose something when you heat it up the next day. Namely, the moisture. Reheated macaroni and cheese has an unfortunate tendency to become hard and dry if you don't reheat it the right way. It's so disappointing. We went to Chef Michael Zentner of The Drifter in Charleston, South Carolina, to find out how to reheat macaroni and cheese without drying it out.

Reheat in the Microwave

According to Zentner, the microwave method is best for reheating small batches of macaroni and cheese.

  1. Store leftovers right. Zentner likes to keep leftover foods in glass containers with lids. This is particularly convenient since it allows you to reheat right in the container.
  2. Add one tablespoon of milk per cup of macaroni and cheese.
  3. Reheat at 50 percent power, stirring every minute or so.
  4. When the mac and cheese has reached its desired temperature, add a touch of butter to bring it back to life.

How-To On the Stovetop

Zentner says the stovetop is best for reheating stirred mac and cheese recipes.

  1. Add one tablespoon of milk per cup of macaroni and cheese to a saucepan.
  2. Heat over medium heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon.
  3. Heat to the desired temperature and add a touch of butter and extra cheese to finish the dish.

Use the Oven to Reheat

Zentner says the oven is great for reheating large batches of mac and cheese. He also notes that this method works best for recipes that are baked, rather than stirred.

  1. Break up any clumps of the leftovers in a mixing bowl and add one tablespoon of milk per cup of macaroni and cheese.
  2. Add a little bit of extra cheese, and then fill a casserole dish with the mixture.
  3. Top with a little bit more cheese and a breadcrumb topping (Zentner adds Goldfish crackers and Espelette pepper to his breadcrumb mixture to bring some extra punch to mac).
  4. Bake at 350°F until bubbling and delicious.

Insider Tip to Reheating

Regardless of whether you choose to reheat your macaroni and cheese in the microwave, on the stovetop, or in the oven, Zentner says to be careful of overheating, which he explains, "will cause the fats to separate and make things greasy."

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