Make and re-heat mac and cheese or make now/bake later?

I need to make three batches of Martha's mac and cheese, and I'm wondering if I can prep it all the way through (i.e., topping and all) and just bake it later in the day or if I'm better off baking it now and re-heating later. If I do bake it later, do you think there's any need to refrigerate it in the meantime? Any advice is appreciated. Here's a link to the recipe: http://www.marthastewart...

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7 Comments

amysarah October 31, 2014
I've often made mac and cheese earlier in the day, refrigerated and baked before dinner. You can make the topping ahead too - just hold it in the fridge and sprinkle on on top just before baking. It all works fine. Just give it an extra few minutes in the oven, if cold from the fridge.
 
Jocelyn G. October 31, 2014
I put the topping on and stuck it in the fridge. The mac and cheese part had pretty well solidified (and there's a layer of extra cheese in between), so hopefully it won't get soggy. I have one more batch to go, so I'll leave the topping off this last one.
 
amysarah October 31, 2014
I'm sure it will be fine - the cheese probably is like a layer of waterproofing!
 
Pegeen October 31, 2014
I'd suggest making and freezing your batches ahead, but without the topping. (You could make the topping ahead and refrigerate it you're ready to bake.) Before baking, bring the frozen casseroles to room temp, add the topping, then bake. If you don't defrost first, and start to bake from frozen state, you'll need to add quite a few minutes of cooking time, and the topping will get burnt.
 
Pegeen October 31, 2014
I should clarify my post above: If you freeze the casseroles (without topping), before baking, defrost the frozen casseroles in the fridge, then give them 30-45 minutes after they're out of the fridge to come to room temp. Then add topping and bake.
 
Jocelyn G. October 31, 2014
I'm baking them this afternoon, so no time to freeze.
 
Nancy October 31, 2014
bake now or later - your choice. but yes DO refrigerate between prep & bake or bake & reheat if it's more than one hour. bacteria love room temp - it lets them thrive.
 
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