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Can I make Mac n cheese in advance?

I am having a huge bbq tomorrow and wanted to serve mac n cheese as a side dish. I would prefer to make it today and then cook tomorrow to crisp the bread crumb topping(actually in this case I'm doing the neelys bacon and potato chip topping yum!) will this effect the taste at all? I feel like I have been told the consistency of the dish will be off. Perhaps the pasta will absorb the sauce overnight making it dry? I'm not sure...... hmmmmmm

asked by singing_baker almost 6 years ago
6 answers 37066 views
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pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added almost 6 years ago

Well Stauffer and MarieCallendar do so you can as we'll.

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added almost 6 years ago

Sure you can. You can even freeze it and then bake. If I refrigerate I bake covered with tin foil for about 40 minutes, until bubbling, and then let it bake uncovered till the top is crispy the way we like it.

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added almost 6 years ago

Yes, the pasta will absorb the sauce, and you just get a stodgy lump! I haven't tried it, but I think you've got a couple of options.... Either make the sauce today, and the topping, and cook the pasta, and put a bit of oil on the pasta to keep it separate, and then combine the parts the next day, and put it in the oven for a bit longer to make up for the fact that the ingredients are cold, or second option would be to make up the components, run the hot cooked pasta under cold running water to stop it cooking, then make the dish up. I think that the pasta being cold will reduce the absorption of the sauce, and your dish will be ready to put straight in the oven.

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Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

added almost 6 years ago

Apologies for the spam -- we're working to track it down.

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added almost 6 years ago

Oh yes. My dad used to make me tons of mac and cheese when he came to visit us. He made enormous batches and divided them into family servings that he froze.
What a lifesaver in those days when my kids were small and I was too tired to cook!

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added almost 6 years ago

I've never had a problem and I do it all the time. I'll make a large batch and only cook up one, leaving the others in the fridge or freezer. Not sure about your particular topping, maybe with potato chips it's best to sprinkle the topping on the next day right before cooking. Otherwise, you may make it soggy from condensation on top. Generally, if you let the sauce and pasta cool a little before mixing together, it will absorb less of the sauce as well.

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