How to Keep Macaroni & Cheese From Getting Grainy During Reheating

by Jessica Jewell ; Updated September 28, 2017

Increase the moisture when reheating by mixing in a splash of milk, cheese sauce or cream.

Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

Macaroni and cheese is a popular dish in the United States. Whether you have prepared a homemade, gourmet macaroni and cheese or a macaroni and cheese out of a box, reheating can often cause complications when it comes to flavor and texture. The process of reheating can cause the dish to lose moisture, especially when reheating in the oven, which results in a grainy texture. Fortunately, you can avoid this grainy texture with the proper reheating, which you can perform using your stovetop or microwave.

Stovetop Reheating

Put your leftover macaroni and cheese into a heatproof plastic bag and seal it.

Bring a large pot of water to boil.

Put the bag into the boiling water and leave it for 1 to 3 minutes. One portion of pasta will take less time to reheat in the boiling water than several portions. Remove the bag from the water after a few minutes and check to see whether the macaroni and cheese is heated through. If not, reseal the bag and boil it for another minute before checking again.

Microwave Heating Instructions

Put the macaroni and cheese into a microwave-safe baking dish.

Cover the dish with plastic wrap. Leave a small corner exposed or poke through the top of the plastic wrap with a sharp knife so that steam can escape.

Microwave for 90 seconds before checking to see if the macaroni and cheese is warmed through. If not, turn the dish and microwave for an additional minute before checking if the macaroni and cheese is done.


  • Before reheating, drizzle additional cheese sauce, cream or milk over the leftover pasta in order to increase the moisture content and prevent the dish from getting dry.

    If you want to reheat the pasta in the oven, do so on a temperature lower than when you original baked it. Cover the dish tightly with foil and reheat for 20 minutes on no higher than 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

About the Author

Jessica Jewell is a writer, photographer and communications consultant who began writing professionally in 2005. Her chapbook, "Slap Leather," is forthcoming from dancing girl press. Her recent work has appeared in "Nimrod," "Harpur Palate," "Copper Nickel," "Rhino," "wicked alice," "Poetry Midwest" and "Barn Owl Review." Jewell was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She earned her Master of Fine Arts from Kent State University.