What to Do with Leftover Mac and Cheese: 11 Ideas to Reinvent a Classic
Tube shaped macaroni covered in a cheesy roux is comfort food that warms bellies of all ages.
Macaroni and cheese is a dish that is creamy, salty, savory, and filling.
The chances are after you whip up a batch, you’re family will be licking the pyrex clean and picking up the breadcrumbs.
Your eyes are bigger than your stomach and make enough for a small army.
If you do end up finding yourself with leftovers, reheating the dish can be underwhelming.
Macaroni and cheese is delicious, but the reheat results can be quite dull.
So what’s the answer?
There are so many creative ideas that you can use to transform the refrigerated and frozen noodles into a mouth-watering and delicious concoction.
Whether it’s straight out of the box or a homemade baked casserole, we are packed with ideas that will help you figure out what to do with leftover mac and cheese.
Leftover Mac and Cheese Recipes: 11 Methods to Get the Best Out of This Wonder Dish
If you want to add some excitement to your family dinner or prepare some incredible and easy apps for a party, we’ve got you covered with a leftover mac and cheese recipe.
In this section:
We’ll go over eleven unique and creative ideas for your macaroni and cheese.
1. Fried Leftover Mac and Cheese Balls
Can you ever go wrong with deep frying cheese?
We don’t think so.
Transform your leftovers into the perfect finger food!
These leftover mac and cheese bites are an excellent idea for a party or a game-day snack.
Crisp on the outside and melty deliciousness on the inside.
These balls are so good; they’ll be a hit with the whole family.
The best thing is that they are so easy to make.
Just roll up the cold mac, dunk in a mix of beaten eggs, and then toss in bread crumbs.
Stick them in hot oil and fry until golden brown.
It may be tempting to toss it straight into your mouth, but let it cool for a couple of minutes and then dig in!
2. Leftover Mac and Cheese Soup
When it’s cold outside, there’s nothing better than a creamy and piping hot macaroni and cheddar soup.
Serve it at the dinner table, or indulge while sitting on the couch, binging your favorite shows.
This soup is the centerpiece of a quiet and comfortable day.
All you’ll need to do is prepare some simple ingredients and add some cream, broth, and some more cheese.
You might feel guilty about just how decadent this meal is:
Trust us; it’s worth it.
But if you must, add some broccoli to fortify it. It’s actually pretty good!
Then add some sides for your broccoli cheese soup “mac n cheese” style.
We love Christin’s soup from Spicy Southern Kitchen as a starter for any winter meal.
3. Macaroni and Cheese Muffins
As long as you have muffin cups, you can enjoy this fun dish.
If you have kids, this is the best-packed school lunch, and they’ll be the star of the table.
The mini muffins are also a fun hors d’oeuvres for parties. It’s a fantastic way to turn your leftovers into fun finger food.
The secret tip to pulling off these off is to make them more cheesy than they are saucy. Opt for a sharp cheddar for optimum flavor.
4. Stuffing Topped Mac
A Thanksgiving leftover dream-come-true, stuffing topped macaroni and cheese.
A lot of people aren’t a huge fan of leftovers, but this is so good, you’ll think it was a freshly baked casserole from scratch.
Toss in some turkey leftovers for some mega-leftover madness.
The stuffing is the perfect soft texture that pairs delightfully with the crisp top of macaroni casserole and adds some heartiness to the meal.
It doesn’t matter what kind of stuffing you use, even ones featuring fruits go well with the creamy texture and sharp cheesy flavor.
If you want a solid recipe, our favorite is this one from Foodness Gracious.
5. Chili Mac
Whip up a game-day favorite by throwing some lean ground beef, minced turkey, beans, or soy-meat and some onions and garlic.
Think of this mashup as a comfort food inception.
This is a fun dinner with a delicious flavor.
If you’re a fan of spices like we are, add in some of your favorites like chili powder and cumin.
All the deliciousness is stirred in the one pot. The pasta will suck up all of the flavors as it cooks in the sauce.
There’s a nice consistency of flavor with a cozy and exotic spin on a casserole classic.
6. Macaroni and Cheese Ham Pie
This makes for a hearty dinner or perfect brunch addition.
All you need for this savory pie is some leftover macaroni, cheese, ham, and Original Bisquick mix or some other pie crust mix.
If you want:
You can use bacon instead of ham.
The pie is fantastic, sweet, and savory. Baking is simple and delicious, and you’ll want to make it again and again.
Who doesn’t love pie?
It’s scrumptious and even better when you stuff it with cheese, pasta, and salty meat.
7. Waffled Mac
Macaroni and waffles may sound strange, but it should be at the top of your list of new things to try.
These bite-sized goodies have crispy, crusty edges of cheese with a gooey and soft core.
As you’ll see in this helpful video, these are super easy to make.
All you have to do is fill up a rectangular baking dish and stick it in the refrigerator. Once the pasta and cheese are chilled, it will be more sturdy so that the waffles won’t fall apart.
8. Mac and Cheese Tacos
Whoever had the idea to combine macaroni and cheese and tacos is a genius.
These hybrids will make any mouth happy.
Just take a tortilla and any other vegetables, meat, and condiments that you enjoy and stick it in a hard or soft shell.
You can either use the Mexican version of Velveeta cheese or just add some taco seasoning into the mix.
This recipe is pretty basic, and you can customize your mac and cheese tacos however you wish.
9. Macaroni and Cheese Stuffed Peppers
Old school mac is hard to beat, but everything is better when it is stuffed inside a crisp bell pepper.
These stuffed vegetables are beautiful on the table, and the pepper adds a welcome refreshingness. The contrast in flavor is so good.
Some carnivores may want to add in some ground meat or pulled chicken, but it’s not necessary.
Making these cheesy mac stuffed peppers takes less than 30 minutes and is a fabulous addition to any family dinner.
Need some sides? Check out our side dishes for stuffed peppers to make your leftover meal complete.
10. Mac and Cheese Egg Rolls
These are another excellent snack food.
Whip up this simple crowd-pleaser with some phyllo dough and your leftovers.
You can throw some bacon inside of the dough or skip it altogether. The bacon adds a smoky flavor. This snack is crispy on the outside and stuffed with creamy and cheesy stuffing.
Kids also will love these.
Dip them in sauce or eat them straight up, either way, these are mouth-watering.
We also love these macaroni and cheese egg rolls with pulled pork from The Dude Foods blog.
11. Cornbread Coated Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese Wedges
Did we just mention pulled pork?
Yes, we did!
The tender, smoky meat is the best partner for the creamy and comforting cheesy mac.
You can make these on the stovetop, or you can stick them in an air fryer for easy eating.
The cornbread adds a perfect sweetness, which is a more than welcome addition to this salty and savory combination of pork and cheddar mac.
This is amazing for the day after a summer barbecue.
You can either reheat it the next day or freeze the macaroni and pork together. See how long is pulled pork good for to learn more.
What to Do with Leftover Mac and Cheese: Heat It and Pair It
Leftover cheesy macaroni lasts in the refrigerator for three to five days.
To maximize the shelf life, store it in a shallow, airtight container.
Make sure that you refrigerate it within two hours of cooking. It’s best if you put as much sauce as possible for storage, or else the pasta may become overly mushy when the dish is thawed.
In the freezer, it lasts for one to two months.
How to Reheat the Leftovers
Reheating macaroni isn’t as straightforward as you may think.
Often, the pasta can get rubbery in the oven or microwave, and it can lose all of the creamy deliciousness.
So, let’s go over a few tips for reheating your leftover cheesy mac so you can preserve all of the fantastic flavor and textures of the first time around.
Stir in some milk for some added moisture.
You don’t need much; you just want to put about one tablespoon per cup of leftover mac.
Cover up the dish.
Aluminum foil works best for ovens, but of course, not for the microwave.
The dish usually only takes about twenty to thirty minutes in the oven. In the microwave, it should only take one to three minutes, depending on the power of your appliance.
Cheese drenched macaroni is delicious, but you always want to have some vegetables on your plate.
Try adding some oven-roasted broccoli, some lemon and ginger spinach, or pan-roasted tomatoes and mushrooms. Not only are these healthy, but they are delicious.
For some protein, try throwing some grilled lemon rosemary chicken or broiled steak.
During the summertime, there’s nothing better than a barbeque with cheesy macaroni, coleslaw, pulled barbeque or brisket, and cornbread.
Mmm, we’re so excited just thinking about it.
Best Drinks to Pair
This concoction of cheese-covered pasta is a rich meal.
Since it is greasy and dairy-packed, it’s a wonderful pairing for a craft beer or a fruity and dry white wine.
A classic English ale or an Indian Pale Ale is the best choice for a cold one.
In terms of wine, go with a Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay.
Dry cider is also particularly good with this dish. This is an excellent drink choice, especially during a crisp fall evening.
Whether it’s made from scratch or straight out of a clue box, these leftover macaroni and cheese recipes will be enjoyed by the whole crowd.
And if you eat mac and cheese in your house, you probably eat spaghetti. Check out our list of ideas for what to do with leftover spaghetti.
You can store your leftovers in the freezer or the refrigerator, depending on how long you plan on keeping them.
So try it out!
Once you get a taste of all of these delicious leftover mac and cheese ideas, you’ll find yourself whipping up some extra pasta and roux on purpose, especially if you plan on having a party the next day.
And if you want some delicious mac and cheese sides, check our list to make your meal even better.
You won’t regret your decision.