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DigitalBlue's avatar

Best way to keep macaroni and cheese warm for a party?

Asked by DigitalBlue (6679 points ) August 10th, 2012

I’m having a party tomorrow and expecting somewhere around 20–25 people. It isn’t a dinner party, but I anticipate more of a “buffet” type set up for the food.
We are having pulled pork sandwiches, which I am just going to leave in a crock pot for people to serve themselves. I know that I have some guests that are vegetarians (but not vegan), and I wanted to have a non-meat dish that is hearty but goes well with the pork as a side dish, as well. I was thinking macaroni and cheese -because I have a lot of other preparation to do, and I don’t want to spend all day cooking.

I also want to avoid using my oven/stove very much, since we don’t have central air, and I don’t want it to get hot in here. Normally we just grill when we have gatherings like this, but we’re expecting rain. We always do chips or pitas, plus a veggie tray, as well as a relish plate with olives and pickles and whatnot.

So what is the best way to keep mac n cheese warm for a buffet? Can I toss that in a crock pot after it is cooked just to keep it warm?
Maybe you have better/easier/more suiting ideas than mac n cheese?

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19 Answers

josie's avatar

Why not make pasta salad and then you don’t have to keep it warm at all.

zigmund's avatar

The best way to keep macaroni and cheese warm for a party is a chaffing dish.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

A crock pot should be fine for keeping the mac ‘n’ cheese warm. Just add an extra splash of milk to keep it from drying out. Here in the South, we eat our pulled pork bbq with coleslaw. For the vegetarians in the group, the more choices available, the better.

DigitalBlue's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer I was originally thinking cole slaw or also pasta salad, but I figure that macaroni can be a main dish or a side dish. I think, anyhow.
The pasta drying out (or alternately, becoming mushy) was my big concern with the crock pot. Thanks.

Stupid rain.

creative1's avatar

I also suggest using a chaffing dish you can buy the ones that are disposible buffet dishes that way you don’t have to go to so much expense.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

It’s just a matter of giving anything in a crock pot on a buffet a stir every once in awhile. Another thought is to put the mac ‘n’ cheese into smaller dishes. When one is close to being used up, pop another into the microwave to warm it up. Can you send the rain our way? We could use it.

DigitalBlue's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer that’s a good idea, maybe I will do it that way.
We were(?) having a drought, but we have had torrential rain for weeks now, I’m guessing it is over. I’d be happy to share, I’ve had about enough and so has my basement.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

What you need, dear friend, is a dose of Kardamom. I just sent our resident chef and vegetarian your post. She will help you out.

DigitalBlue's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer I was secretly hoping she would see this, thanks for passing it on. ;)

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@DigitalBlue Do you have any potpourri warmers? They work for keeping stuff warm.

DigitalBlue's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe none big enough for this, no.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@DigitalBlue How about using a bunch of them?

mrrich724's avatar

@zigmund nailed it. A chafing dish will work best.

gailcalled's avatar

I too vote for a hearty pasta salad with yellow, red, and green pepper, celery, pine nuts and a vinaigrette dressing. Mac and cheese is heavy for a hot, muggy day.

If you don’t have a chafing (sp) dish handy, they are a pain to fuss with and you need cans of that gloppy fuel.

mazingerz88's avatar

Get the guest with the warmest personality stand near the mac and cheese tray. : )

Coloma's avatar

I’ll take the mac-n-cheese and cole slaw here. haha
Yes, I’d keep the pasta in either a crock pot, or, microwave it at the last minute and set it out bubbling hot. It should stay hot enough for everyone to serve themselves.

Kardamom's avatar

Thanks @Pied_Pfeffer : ) I don’t really have much to add here. I was going to suggest the crock pot or the disposable chafing dishes (with a foil cover) too. I think either one of those should be just fine.

Boy, am I now jonesing for macaroni and cheese (and rain).

ETpro's avatar

I could come over early and apply my hold-warm technique—eat it.

DigitalBlue's avatar

In case anyone ever needs an answer to this, I used the crock pot and the macaroni and cheese was a huge success. Someone that had to leave briefly actually called to ask if there was enough left over for seconds if she got back in time.
Good to know, because that is one of the simplest recipes that I know. Handy for occasions like this.

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