Tips For The Most Delicious Homemade Mac N Cheese
As tempting as it is, this mac and cheese will be way better if you shred the cheese yourself. Pre-shredded cheese often has add ins that help the shreds not stick to one another but make it less likely to melt well.
Always, always salt your water when you boil pasta . This will make sure your mac and cheese has plenty of flavor. And we like flavor.
As much as I like a classic, unadulterated mac and cheese every now and then, sometimes I wanna mix it up. Some of my favorite add ins include:
What Is The Best Cheese To Use For Macaroni And Cheese
This is really a matter of personal preference. I use a combination of sharp cheddar and Colby or Colby-Jack, which are flavorful cheeses that melt nicely. You can stick with just cheddar, or you can mix it up and use a combination that includes Gruyere, Pepper Jack or Monterey Jack, gouda, smoked gouda, Swiss or mozzarella. The options are endless, so pick your favorites!
How To Bake It
The key to baking this oven mac and cheese is to keep the casserole dish in the middle of the oven and remove once the cheese on the top is bubbly and just a little browned.
- Stir in the cooked macaroni and pour the mixture into the greased casserole dish. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese.
- Bake until the cheese on top is fully melted and slightly browned.
Once baked you can serve nearly anything with this mac and cheese, or simply top with crispy crumbled bacon. Try adding a cold, crisp spinach strawberry salad, some roasted cauliflower, or even some crispy carrot fries!
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How To Make Mac And Cheese With Cream Cheese
Essentially, the dish starts with a bechamel sauce. Then we melt all 3 cheeses into the sauce, creating a smooth creamy texture. This way, every inch of the pasta has a coating of flavor.
This creamy baked mac n cheese is filling enough to be a main dish, but it also makes a delicious side for holiday gatherings and potluck dinners.
Is Cooking Cream And Heavy Cream The Same
Cooking cream, which is sometimes labeled as culinary cream, is stabilized to withstand high cooking temperatures without curdling or breaking. It contains less butterfat than heavy cream, but its lighter and more liquid than heavy cream. Its the ideal cream to use when you need to simmer or bring a dish to a boil.
Difference Between Sour Cream And Cream Cheese
Sour cream and cream cheese are two dairy products that are very popular with bakers and chefs alike. They are quite similar in color, texture and origin, and many shoppers often confuse one for another. However, the two products have many differences, and the confusion between the two can lead to unexpected cooking results. Despite these differences, both products taste great when used properly. This article will discuss the difference between sour cream and cream cheese.
|Made from fermented milk cream||Made from a fermented and heated mixture of milk and milk cream|
|Slightly sour smooth and spreadable||Mild-tasting and tangy very thick texture|
|Contains 14-18% fat|
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How To Make Sour Cream At Home
It is quite easy to make sour cream at home. To make it, you need to pour high-quality cream into a jar. Then, you should add cultured buttermilk to it. Keep the jar at room temperature for 1-2 days. After 2 days, add the salt and refrigerate it. You may refrigerate the it for a few hours or days. Enjoy eating it once it hardens and becomes thicker.
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Whats The Best Cheese To Use
Whether youre making the best cheese sauce for veggies, fries or mac and cheese, you cant go wrong with classic flavors like Sharp Cheddar,White Cheddar Cheese or Monterey Jack Cheese.
Other options include:
- Pepper Jack cheese
- Or a blend of one of the above cheeses along with mozzarella cheese for extra gooey cheesiness.
How To Freeze Sour Cream
In addition to freezing sour cream to keep it from going to waste, you can always buy a few extra containers when theyre on sale and keep them in your freezer for later.
If your sour cream is three weeks past its sell-by date, whether opened or unopened, do not put it in your freezer. Instead, throw it away immediately, because its already a lost cause.
After ensuring that your sour cream is still fresh, spoon the sour cream into a bowl, and whip it with a spatula or whisk, ensuring that the moisture is distributed equally.
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Cook Your Noodles In Milk Instead Of Water
Cooking your noodles in milk instead of water makes your resulting mac and cheese creamier. According to The Kitchn, cooking your noodles in milk instead of water makes the sauce creamy before you even add the cheese sauce. The starches in the noodles get released as you cook them, helping to thicken the mixture from the start. That will ultimately help with the resulting creaminess.
How To Make This Recipe Gluten Free
Since theres no flour in this recipe, with just a few swaps you can really easily make it gluten free! Gluten free mac and cheese that is insanely tasty can be done.
First, swap the noodles for gluten free noodles. I love Banza chickpea noodles, but any will do!
Second, swap the Panko bread crumbs for gluten free breadcrumbs, which are becoming easier and easier to find.
Thats it! Your easy macaroni and cheese is now gluten free.
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This Mega Creamy Million Dollar Macaroni And Cheese Casserole Is The Only Macaroni Cheese Recipe You Will Ever Want To Make
Make this Macaroni and Cheese Casserole for guests or family and they will love you forever! The homemade sauce itself is rich and crazy creamy and the casserole is stuffed with a hidden layer of provolone cheese and sour cream that melts when baked for a ridiculous amount of velvety creamy, cheesy gooey goodness. A million dollar worthy goodness.
Tips For The Best Mac And Cheese:
- Grate the cheese yourself . Packaged grated cheese contains additives that prevent it from clumping and the cheese sauce wont be as creamy.
- The bacon can also be cooked and refrigerated a day ahead of time. Warm it in the micro for a few seconds before adding to this dish to help re-crisp it.
- Precooked bacon or bacon bits can also be used in this recipe.
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What Is The Best Cheese For Mac And Cheese
I recommend using two types of cheddar cheeses to give it the best flavor: sharp cheddar cheese and white cheddar cheese. I like the Cabot block cheeses, because they have such great flavor and make an epic homemade mac and cheese! Other yummy cheeses you can use include:
- Mild Cheddar or Sharp Cheddar
- White Cheddar
Why Make Mac And Cheese From Scratch
If you are waffling on making your own homemade mac and cheese versus a box, let me share why I think homemade is better:
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More Moist And Flavorful Batters And Doughs
Sure, most folks love to dip their pierogi in sour cream, but how about folding the sour cream right into the dough? Turns out the fatty dairy product helps keep the dough tender and flaky as it friesit’s a trick we use in our sweet cheese pierogi, not to mention these filled with spinach-artichoke dip and all the flavors of Philly cheesesteak. The same principle also applies to sweeter preparations, like the dough for our sour cherry-filled kringle.
Of course, sour cream can be used to enhance more than texture. It adds body and fermented flavor to these extra-flaky buttermilk biscuits and all five of our cornbread variations. We even throw it into sweet potato pancakes to offset the sweetness with some sour tang.
Can I Freeze Sour Cream In Its Original Container
Some do choose to store the sour cream in its original container. Thats fine if you ensure that the lid is closed tightly. However, you may decide to divide your sour cream into smaller air-tight bowls that keep out moisture or use several plastic zipper freezer bags. If using freezer bags, squeeze out any extra air and ensure theyre completely sealed. This way, you can easily take out and thaw smaller portions.
Some find that another easy way to freeze sour cream is to pour it into an ice cube tray. For longer storage, once the sour cream is frozen, you can move the cubes to a freezer bag. You can then easily grab one or two cubes and add them to your dish.
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Can You Freeze Sour Cream
Yes, you can freeze sour cream for up to 6 months. Thats great news for anyone who has bought sour cream with the best of intentions, yet ended up having to throw it out because it went bad in the refrigerator.
Fortunately, if you take the proper precautions and follow appropriate steps, you can safely freeze and thaw sour cream. Its important to note that the sour creams texture will change since the moisture separates as the sour cream freezes.
Once you take the sour cream out of the freezer and it begins to thaw, its texture and consistency may look somewhat like cottage cheese. Although it will still taste the same, its texture wont be appealing as a dip or topping on foods like baked potatoes or tacos.
Therefore, be sure to use your thawed sour cream in cooked or baked foods only. After you thaw frozen sour cream, you can use it to add a nice creaminess to casseroles, soups, and some baked goods.
Reheating On The Stove
To reheat it on the stovetop, I put it in a pan with a splash of half and half and reheat on medium low heat, stirring frequently but gently so I dont break up the pasta.
I dont recommend reheating in the oven, because it will just dry out even more than it has in the fridge.
If you have questions about this post or recipe, dont hesitate to get in touch. You can leave a comment on the post and I will get back to you within about 24 hours.
If your question is more urgent, please shoot me an email, and I will respond within 4 hours, unless Im asleep.
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Cook Your Pasta Past Al Dente
Make sure you cook your noodles appropriately when making mac and cheese, especially if you want it to be the creamiest it can possibly be. You need to make sure that you cook the pasta youre using al dente, which is Italian for to the tooth, because if you undercook it, your sauce can get gritty from the extra starch. You also may want to adjust the flour in the roux to accommodate how youre planning to cook your noodles. Using less flour in the roux might help to offset the undercooked noodles.
Give Cottage Cheese A Try
When you’re considering which cheeses to use for your extra creamy mac and cheese, you might want to consider adding in some cottage cheese. It’ll make the sauce extra creamy and extra cheesy without complicating the overall flavor profile too much. Again, you’ll want some with a tiny bit of fat if possible for the creamiest, richest sauce, but if you can’t swing cottage cheese with fat, the fat-free kind will work as well.
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Gather & Measure The Ingredients
This easy mac and cheese recipe is super fast-paced once you start cooking, so it’s important to have all the ingredients measured and ready to go! As you can see there are only eight, common ingredients in this recipe that most of us have on hand at all times! We will discuss the ingredients and possible substitutions later in this post .
Whats In Southern Macaroni And Cheese
Most baked macaroni and cheese recipes stick to butter, milk, and cheese, but this southern version takes things to the next level with the addition of sour cream. Theres also a little salt in this recipe, plus a few eggs to bind everything together.
For the cheese, we used a shredded sharp cheddar, but youre welcome to play around with the type of cheese you use to suit your tastes. As for the pasta, we prefer classic elbow macaroni, but any short and sturdy pasta should work .
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Tips For The Best Baked Macaroni And Cheese Recipe
- Boil the pasta in very well-salted water. The salt in the water seasons the noodles, adding flavor to the dish.
- Cook the pasta just until it’s al dente — almost tender, but still firm to the bite. You don’t want to completely cook the noodles until they’re tender, because they will continue baking in the oven.
- Allow the cheese, butter, milk, sour cream and eggs to come to room temperature before adding them to the recipe. They will blend together smoothly if they’re not cold.
- Start with blocks of cheese that you grate yourself at home, rather than using bags of pre-shredded cheese from the store. The pre-shredded cheese includes stabilizers and other ingredients to prevent the cheese from clumping, which inhibits its ability to melt smoothly in the dish.
- If you prefer a crispier, darker brown top on your mac and cheese, place the dish under the broiler during the final minute or two of baking. Just be sure to keep a close eye on it so that the bread crumb topping doesn’t burn.
- Cooking for a smaller family? Cut all of the ingredients in half and bake the casserole in an 8-inch square dish.
Shred Your Own Cheese
I recommend using blocks of cheese that you shred yourself. I know, I know, but it makes a big difference. Pre-shredded cheese has starch on it to keep it from clumping and is dryer than actual blocks of whole cheese.
If you do end up using pre-shredded cheese in this recipe, you may need to add a little splash of whole milk. The added starch from pre-shredded cheese will thicken the recipe, so you may need something else to loosen it again. You will know at the end if you want to add a little milk to yours or not!
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Creamier Sauces For Meat
If you’ve ever added cream to finish a sauce or round out your braising liquid, then this tip won’t surprise you. But unlike the milky sweetness you’ll get from heavy cream, sour cream also packs a more acidic punch. It’s a crucial ingredient in many meat-heavy Eastern European dishesthink hearty onion and mushroom-packed beef stroganoff and chicken paprikash . Then again, you don’t need meat to be the star to make a great sour cream saucejust ask this chile and onion-packed creamed corn.
Make The Cheese Sauce
While the macaroni is cooking, make the cheese sauce. Its really easy but there are a few notes that well go over to ensure your success!
Make a Roux
This homemade mac and cheese sauce starts with a roux. What is a roux? Its a mixture of fat and flour that is used to create thick sauces. Start by melting the butter and then adding the dry ingredients .
Use a whisk to combine the ingredients until the mixture is homogenous . Let it cook for about 60 seconds before moving on!
Add wet ingredients.
After the roux has cooked for 60 seconds, add the milk and whisk the mixture really well. Add the sour cream or Greek yogurt and whisk again. At this point the mixture will be fairly runny. Cook over medium heat whisking every 10-15 seconds until the sauce starts to thicken.
Do NOT let this mixture boil! If you do you may end up with a mac and cheese sauce that is too thick. Once the sauce has thickened enough to stick to a spatula, turn the heat to low. Then its time for the next step
Add the cheese & whisk until smooth
Add the cheese and whisk until the sauce is smooth and all the cheese is melted. This will take 1-2 minutes over low heat. At this point it is important to taste the cheese sauce and adjust the salt/garlic according to your tastes!
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How To Make Loaded Mac And Cheese:
Shred the cheese then set it aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil then add a generous pinch of salt. This helps season every layer of this dish. Cook macaroni according to the package directions for al dente then drain and set aside.
Using the same pot melt butter over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the top stirring until smooth then cook 1 minute.
Gradually add the milk a little at a time, blending before adding more then season with salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium low and cook 1 minute whisking constantly as the sauce starts to thicken.
Reduce the heat to low then add the grated cheese a handful at a time, letting the cheese melt before adding more. Stir a couple minutes until the sauce is smooth and velvety.
Fold in the sour cream and the drained macaroni then add half of the bacon. Garnish with the remaining bacon and sliced green onions then serve right away.