How Long Can Mac and Cheese Stay in the Fridge – Food Safety Facts

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If you love mac and cheese as much as I do, you may ponder, “How long can mac and cheese stay in the fridge?” If that’s you, stay tuned. In this post, we’ll be discussing the ins and outs of how to properly store mac n cheese in the fridge to keep it fresh for as long as possible.

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How Long Can Mac And Cheese Stay In The Fridge – Food Safety Facts

Table of Contents

How Long Can I Keep Baked Mac & Cheese in the Refrigerator or Freezer?

Macaroni and cheese will last for different amounts of time in the fridge and freezer. Let’s start by exploring how long it lasts in the fridge.

How Long Can Cooked Mac and Cheese Stay in the Fridge?

Cooked macaroni and cheese can stay in the refrigerator for anywhere from 3-4 days.

Remember that mac and cheese contains dairy, noodles, and a plethora of other ingredients. As such, it is important that you don’t consume mac and cheese that has gone much past that amount of time.

Know that if your mac n cheese has sat at room temperature for a substantial amount of time, that it may go rancid faster than it would have otherwise. For most types of food, this amount of time is the equivalent of two hours. Thus, if your mac and cheese sits at room temperature for more than two hours, it is no longer safe for consumption and should not be refrigerated.

How Long Does Mac and Cheese Last in the Freezer?

Cooked macaroni noodles with cheese can be frozen for up to 3 months at best quality. This is a convenient way to store leftovers without the threat of them spoiling. Having said that, you’ll want to let your cooked macaroni and cheese cool before you allow the macaroni and cheese to freeze. This will yield the best results and prevent bacteria from forming.

Remember that when storing your cooked macaroni noodles in the refrigerator that storage conditions are key. This means that the container you choose for your macaroni food storage must be conducive to the freezer. Check the container for the freezer-safe label, which often appears as a snowflake.

Oftentimes, glass, plastics, and silicone can be freezer-friendly. However, this isn’t always true. To know for sure, always check the packaging or the details online before making a final purchase.

Though cooked macaroni and cheese lasts in the freezer up to 3 months at best quality, that isn’t to say that it won’t be fine to eat after that. In fact, cooked macaroni and cheese will last indefinitely when frozen. Just know that the taste and general flavor of the sauce will generally be a little less than desirable. In most cases, though, the cooked macaroni and cheese will still prove safe for eating after being frozen.

How Long Can Mac and Cheese Stay in the Fridge

When Can I Put Cooked Macaroni and Cheese in the Refrigerator?

If you’ve ever tried to store cooked macaroni and cheese before, you know the conundrum of whether or not to put it in the fridge while it is piping hot. The answer to this is an emphatic no. If you place your cooked macaroni and cheese leftovers into the fridge while it is still very hot, there are a few things that can happen.

First and foremost, it can breed bacteria at a faster rate than normal. This means that you may not be able to keep your cooked macaroni and cheese as long as you may have expected.

Instead, it is much better to wait until your macaroni noodles have cooled down to room temperature. But don’t wait too long! Remember that macaroni and cheese that has sat out for longer than two hours is susceptible to spoilage. Thus, it is best to wait 30 minutes to one hour before transferring a hot pot or pan of cooked macaroni and cheese into the refrigerator.

This is true of both fresh cooked macaroni and cheese and macaroni and cheese leftovers as well.

Mac N Cheese in Fridge

Although we’ve already given you quite a bit of information about how to keep cooked macaroni and cheese in the fridge, I know you may still have questions. Don’t worry. That’s what we’re here for! Check out the following sections on storage conditions and times for different kinds of cooked macaroni and cheese.

How Long Can Kraft Mac and Cheese Stay in the Fridge?

Believe it or not, Kraft Mac and Cheese stays good in the fridge for 5-7 days.

Surprised? Don’t be.

Because Kraft Mac and Cheese is made from powdered cheese rather than liquid milk, it can keep for a bit longer than your average made-from-scratch mac n cheese might. Having said that, you’ll want to be sure to throw out your Kraft mac after a week in the refrigerator, as neglecting to do so may cause the dish to produce an off odor, foul taste, and off consistency.

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

I recommend keeping your Velveeta mac and cheese for no longer than a week. You probably should consume it closer to 4-5 days, though, to be safe.

Because Velveeta cheese is notorious for having a ridiculously long shelf life, you may or may not be able to keep mac and cheese made with Velveeta for a long time. It really depends on the other ingredients in the cooked macaroni and cheese, as some ingredients, such as added milk or butter, will spoil faster than others.

How Long Does Annie’s Mac and Cheese Last in the Fridge

If you love Annie’s mac and cheese, don’t keep it in your refrigerator for longer than 3-4 days. Unlike some of the other processed macaroni and cheese mixes mentioned in the post, Annie’s touts its products with no added preservatives.

Though this is totally awesome health-wise, it does mean you’ll need to be a bit more careful when it comes to storage. Treat storage conditions for Annie’s cooked macaroni and cheese leftovers like you would homemade mac and cheese. Do not consume Annie’s Mac and Cheese after 4 days have passed.

How Long Can Mac And Cheese Stay In The Fridge – Food Safety Facts

How Long Can You Keep Mac and Cheese in the Fridge Before Baking?

If you’re looking to refrigerate your mac and cheese prior to baking, you may wonder how long you can do so before it spoils. That’s a good question. Generally speaking, you should be able to get away with storing food like homemade mac and cheese in the fridge for about two days max. After that, you risk the noodles becoming soggy and your dairy ingredients growing rancid.

How to Store Homemade Mac and Cheese

When storing homemade mac and cheese, you want to make sure you’ve got the right storage conditions to keep it as fresh as possible. One of the best ways to do this is to store your macaroni and cheese in a shallow airtight container. By “shallow” I mean something that is about 3 inches in depth.

Remember also that when storing cooked macaroni, you’ll always want to ensure that the food is room temperature before placing it in the refrigerator. Doing it this way helps prevent the growth of mold and slows the rate at which bacteria is produced.

Not only this, but placing a piping hot glass dish full of delicious macaroni and cheese may spell trouble in terms of shattering. Never place a hot glass dish directly into the refrigerator without letting it cool off first. The rapid fluctuations in temperature can cause the glass to explode! This will undoubtedly ruin the hard work you’ve put into your homemade cooked macaroni.

How Do You Know When Mac and Cheese Goes Bad?

Macaroni and cheese that has gone bad will produce an off odor. This odor will smell pungent and potentially sour, unlike its normal, pleasantly cheesy smell.

In addition to smell comes the appearance of the dish. Do you notice an unappetizing slime on top? How about the presence of mold? All of these factors should clue you in on the fact that the cooked macaroni is beginning to spoil.

Lastly, you can often tell by the flavor of the dish whether or not your cooked macaroni has gone bad. Although we prefer that you notice that it’s spoiled prior to tasting it, it may be that the flavor of the pasta is what tips you off. If you notice the taste is low quality, be sure not to continue eating the cooked macaroni. Throw it out and make some up fresh instead.

Can Eating Old Macaroni and Cheese Make You Sick?

Yes, eating old cooked macaroni can make you very sick.

The reason I never recommend you eat old cooked macaroni that is past its shelf life is that it contains dairy ingredients that spoil quickly. From the cheese to the milk and even the butter, dairy ingredients are known for going rancid quickly. As a result, this could deliver quite a punch to your health.

If you think you’ve eaten old food but aren’t noticing any ill symptoms, you’re in luck. However, if you begin to notice any of the following symptoms after having consumed old food, be sure to call your doctor for tailored advice.

  • Low-grade fever
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Bloody stools

How Long Can Mac and Cheese Stay in the Fridge? Not Very Long!

The answer to how long can mac and cheese leftovers stay in the fridge is about 3-4 days. Some types of macaroni and cheese are heavily processed and as such can last a little longer in the refrigerator. Macaroni and cheese products like Kraft Mac and Cheese or Velveeta mac and cheese are examples of cooked macaroni that will last about one week in the refrigerator.

Otherwise, you should only keep homemade macaroni chilled for no longer than 3-4 days before pitching it.

I hope that helps answer the question, “How long can mac and cheese stay in the fridge?” See you next time!

FAQs

Does mac and cheese go bad?

Yes, macaroni and cheese definitely goes bad. This is typically due to the amount of dairy ingredients within the dish. Mac and cheese that is boxed and unopened, however, will last until the date printed on the box.

How long do you keep food in your fridge?

How long to keep food in your fridge depends heavily on what it is. Average cooked food containing no preservatives will usually last 1-3 days. However, foods that are heavily processed may last longer.

How long is macaroni good for in the fridge?

Macaroni and cheese typically lasts in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Macaroni that is processed, such as Kraft cooked macaroni and cheese may last a bit longer.

 How long does cooked cheese last in the fridge?

Keep cooked cheese in the fridge no longer than 3-4 days. Even then, be sure to sniff it and observe the consistency to ensure that it is safe for consumption.

By Anna

Hey, I’m Anna; writer, editor and amateur cook extraordinaire! Food has been my life and my passion for the most of my life – it’s crazy to think I didn’t pursue a career in cooking. I’m obsessed! However, keeping cooking as an obsessive hobby has worked for me – my passion grows as the years pass by – maybe I wouldn’t say the same if it was also my day job! I hope you find cooking inspiration, entertainment and “stop and think interesting tid-bits” throughout my writing – and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got anything you want to share. Food feeds the soul – so get eating! Author Pinterest Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Tumblr Reddit Quora

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