Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Feb 26, 2011 06:58 AM

Make Ahead Bechamel/Mac and Cheese?

Hi everyone, I'm making mac and cheese for a a baby shower tomorrow. My day tomorrow will be crazy, so I was wondering if I can make the cheese sauce ahead today and refrigerate it? Will it break? Or should I just make the whole thing today and bake it tomorrow? I don't want the pasta to absorb too much liquid and get gooey.

Any info is much appreciated!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I think you can make the cheese sauce (I'm assuming it's a bechamel?) and al dente pasta (even shy of al dente) the day before and store separately.
    I would store the cheese sauce covered with plastic wrap that touches the top of the sauce to prevent skin from forming.
    Reheat the sauce a bit at a time in the micro or use a double boiler. It helps to prevent separation. Stir to smooth it out and combine, then pour over pasta and bake.
    good luck!

    1. Personally, I prefer preparing, assembling and baking at the last minute. Yet, when time is tight, I cook the pasta, make the bechamel, grate the cheese, and make the bread crumbs in advance. Right before baking, I reheat the bechamel, add the cheese, add the pasta, transfer to a baking dish, cover with with buttered bread crumbs and then bake.

      1. Are you making a baked or a stovetop mac and cheese? My go-to recipe is a baked one and I regularly make it ahead of time. Whether I bake it immediately or am baking it after a spell in the fridge, I pour some extra milk over the top just before putting it in the oven, then sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top.

        Sorry, can't help if this is a stovetop mac and cheese question.

        1. We make this Southern Living mac-n-cheese

          This week I prepared a batch and baked half the same day, and refrigerated the other half (elbow mac in the sauce with shredded cheese on top in a covered pyrex bowl) and baked it last night. It was just as good as the first portion.