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How Long Does Mac and Cheese Last in the Fridge

How Long Does Mac and Cheese Last in the Fridge

For most individuals, mac and cheese is a bowl of heaven. Some individuals are purists and prefer making mac and cheese from scratch. 

On the other hand, other people are okay with eating boxed or frozen mac and cheese.

If you’ve ended up with the store-bought mac and cheese at some point, you will start to wonder how long it lasts.

Even if you make mac and cheese from scratch, you will end up with leftovers every now and then.

How long will that leftover mac and cheese last in the fridge?

Can I Leave Mac and Cheese Out Overnight

Sometimes we are so exhausted that we don’t realize that we’ve left that pan of baked mac and cheese out overnight.

Luckily mac and cheese is forgiving, and there are some things you can do before throwing it in the trash.

First, you must determine whether your home is hot or humid. Is the room’s temperature above 90°F?

If you left the mac and cheese sitting at room temperature in a hothouse, discard it immediately. 

Bacteria can multiply rapidly between temperatures of 40°F – 140°F, then the mac and cheese will be full of bacteria. If you eat the mac and cheese, it could lead to food poising.

On the other hand, if your house has air conditioning that keeps the kitchen cool, you can reheat the mac and cheese.

If you are not going to reheat the mac and cheese, refrigerate it or freeze it immediately.

When reheating mac and cheese, use a food-safe infrared thermometer to make sure you reheat it to 160°F or higher.

How To Store Mac and Cheese

It doesn’t you are using boxed mac and cheese or cooking it from scratch; storage is essential.

If you plan on eating the mac and cheese within a few days, the fridge is the best place to store it.

Let it cool down to store your leftover mac and cheese in the fridge.

You do not want to refrigerate steaming hot mac and cheese as it will spoil in no time. 

Place the leftover mac and cheese into an airtight container. Place the mac and cheese at the back of the fridge.

This will ensure the leftover mac and cheese is not exposed to temperature fluctuations every time you open your fridge.

How to Freeze Mac and Cheese

If you do not intend to eat the leftover mac and cheese within a few days, it’s best to freeze it.

To freeze your mac and cheese, place it into an airtight freezer-safe container and freeze it.

If you’ve made stovetop mac and cheese, some individuals suggest separating the cooked pasta and cheese sauce.

However, separating the sauce and pasta noodles is a recipe for disaster.

Once it is thawed, the pasta will literally turn into a pile of mush, and no one enjoys eating mush.

You can only freeze cheese sauce by itself if you make too much sauce.

When you are craving mac and cheese, place it in the fridge to thaw overnight.

You can reheat the mac and cheese in the microwave, oven, or on the stovetop.

How Long Does Mac and Cheese Last in the Fridge

Mac and cheese has a lifespan of 3-5 days when stored in the fridge. 

However, this timeline can differ depending on what ingredients are in the mac and cheese as well as the recipe.

To figure out how long your favorite mac and cheese last in the fridge, it is best to perform an experiment and monitor the food for signs of spoilage over a period of 5 days.

How Long Does Boxed Mac and Cheese Last in the Fridge?

Boxed mac and cheese last longer than homemade mac and cheese. Boxed mac and cheese usually comes with powdered cheese.

Powdered cheese will last longer than fresh cheese. 

Therefore boxed mac and cheese will last for 5-7 days when stored in the fridge. 

How Long Does Baked Mac and Cheese Good Last in the Fridge?

Baked mac and cheese reheats better than stovetop or boxed mac and cheese, Remember to reheat your mac and cheese adequately to avoid having cold spots in the center.

In addition to this, make sure you add fresh cheese to the top of the baked casserole before reheating it in the oven.

Baked mac and cheese has the shortest lifespan. Baked mac and cheese will only last for a mere 2-3 days in the fridge.

How Long Does Frozen Baked Mac and Cheese Last?

Frozen mac and cheese has the longest shelf life. If you are freezing baked mac and cheese, freeze the entire dish.

However, before you bake the mac and cheese, make sure you place it into a freezer-safe baking dish.

In addition to this, let the mac and cheese cool completely before wrapping it tightly with plastic wrap and foil.

The double wrap will prevent the mac and cheese from developing freezer burn.

Even though frozen baked mac and cheese will last indefinitely, it is best to eat it within 2-4 months. 

How To Tell if Mac and Cheese Is Bad

Mac and cheese will let you know when it’s spoiled. You will visibly be able to tell if mac and cheese is bad.

If you notice mold on the mac and cheese, immediately throw it in the trash.

In addition to this, if you smell a rancid potent scent, assume the mac and cheese is bad and toss it in the trash.

If there are no signs of mold or off smells, but the mac and cheese feels slimy when you eat it, throw it away because it is spoiled.

Remember, if you have to question if the mac and cheese is good or bad, discard it.

Final Thoughts

Whether you meal prepped and cooked 5 portions of mac and cheese or made too much mac and cheese, it is essential to know how long mac and cheese last in the fridge.

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