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Freezing Mac and Cheese

c
chowmel Dec 12, 2010 04:54 PM

When I make mac and cheese I always bake two and freeze one. When reheated, its never as creamy as I'd like - good but not creamy. Should I freeze it unbaked instead ? or maybe make it extra creamy before baking ?

  1. j
    JudiAU Dec 2, 2011 10:51 AM

    Mac and cheese is not a great frozen dish. You have have to use pretty nasty cheese to get it to survive the process.

    If you must freeze it, freeze the sauce in ice cube trays. Reheat gently with some extra milk and cheese. Taste for salt. Fold in fresh pasta and bake if you like. I always keep these cubes on hands for the kids. It isn't as good as freshly prepared but they don't mind.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JudiAU
      p
      petitgateau Dec 2, 2011 05:28 PM

      What if you just freeze the sauce and cook up the pasta and reheat the defrostede sauce at the same time, then bake?

    2. l
      ldkelley Dec 2, 2011 10:26 AM

      Reviving a really old thread here, but I wanted to report back that I made and froze 5 pounds (uncooked) mac and cheese for a wedding a few weeks ago. I used two of the tips from here (canned alfredo sauce and make it extra soupy) and it worked like a charm. The entire full size steam pan was picked clean.

      1. jnk Dec 14, 2010 05:33 AM

        I tend to make mine witha little more sauce (because you can never have enough cheese) and I've got a FoodSaver which vaccum seals the pkg. After throwing it into a pot of boiling water for about 20 minutes I've got creamy mac and cheese to serve. I always make enough for two nights.

        1. c
          cheesecake17 Dec 13, 2010 07:39 AM

          I use the NY times recipe- uses raw pasta and a cottage cheese/cheddar/milk mixture that's not cooked. The whole thing is cooked together in the oven. I've frozen it successfully after it's been baked. I start off heating it up as is, but if it looks a little bit dry, I add some milk to the sides of the pan.

          1. maplesugar Dec 12, 2010 07:15 PM

            I'm all for saving time at Christmas - there's enough to do without adding cheese sauce to the list/having it take up valuable burner space.

            I'd freeze it unbaked as Cheryl suggests, and just add a little more sauce than usual to account for the pasta absorbing some in the process.

            1. r
              rafjel Dec 12, 2010 06:39 PM

              I have only frozen baked mac and cheese once, and I did find it to be less creamy, but in a good way. The recipe I was using had a large sauce-to-pasta ratio, so I liked that it wasn't as noticeable after being reheated. So I would just suggest upping the sauce a bit, maybe by 1/4?

              1. Cherylptw Dec 12, 2010 05:12 PM

                I do both sometimes; freeze it unbaked is how the manufacturer's sell it so that it comes out creamy when baked so you may want to try that and see how it works for you

                9 Replies
                1. re: Cherylptw
                  pikawicca Dec 12, 2010 05:21 PM

                  Since you can make a great sauce for mac and cheese while the pasta cooks, I can't see any reason to freeze it. The cheese just becomes grainy and unpleasant.

                  1. re: pikawicca
                    c
                    chowmel Dec 12, 2010 06:14 PM

                    In case I'm making it (and much else) for xmas eve and need to do it ahead of time. In other cases it just makes life easier to have some prepped foods for the family. And no - the cheese is not grainy and unpleasant - thank you - when reheated.

                    1. re: chowmel
                      j
                      jaykayen Dec 12, 2010 06:18 PM

                      ? You complain that it is not creamy enough if you freeze it, and then you say it is not grainy and unpleasant.

                      But clearly, the sauce is suffering from being reheated.

                      1. re: jaykayen
                        c
                        chowmel Dec 13, 2010 06:03 PM

                        'not creamy' and 'grainy and unpleasant' are not hte same to me I guess. I think the suggestions to freeze uncooked and use a higher ratio of sauce to pasta may be my answer.

                      2. re: chowmel
                        Jay F Dec 2, 2011 05:49 PM

                        if you must freeze mac and cheese, do what I do when I freeze lasagne. Line your baking dish with clingfilm, then put your macaroni and cheese mixture in, wrap it completely in the clingfilm, then freeze it. When it's frozen, lift the entire thing out of the baking dish and keep it in the freezer until you need it.

                        When you want to serve it, remove it from the freezer, unwrap it, and put it in the baking dish to be baked for the first time.

                        1. re: Jay F
                          n
                          nyurbiz Dec 9, 2011 09:01 AM

                          I like part of the idea. Freeze, then move to a vacuum bag. You then have the option to either remove from bag and reheat in the original baking dish, or leave in bag and submerge in hot or boiling water.

                          1. re: nyurbiz
                            Jay F Dec 9, 2011 04:58 PM

                            I put a butter/crouton crust on top of my mac & cheese before I bake it. Wouldn't work as well en boilant.

                      3. re: pikawicca
                        Cherylptw Dec 12, 2010 07:34 PM

                        If you don't know how to make the sauce right, it comes out grainy....I don't have this problem.

                        1. re: Cherylptw
                          pikawicca Dec 13, 2010 06:12 PM

                          Mine isn't grainy, thank you very much. I've never encountered a frozen and thawed cheese sauce that wasn't, however. This is why I never freeze cheese sauce.

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