How To Fix Mac And Cheese

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The Biggest Mistakes You’re Making With Mac And Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese Recipe | How to Make Mac and Cheese

Creamy yet crunchy. Smooth yet chewy. Utterly cheesy. Mac and cheese is the one of the simplest and most satisfying comfort foods of all time. For anyone who grew up making macaroni and cheese out of a box , there comes a time when you might feel ready to take a big leap forward: making macaroni and cheese from scratch.

“I’ve got this,” you think to yourself. “Pasta, cheese, milk. Three ingredients. How difficult can it be?”

Warning! It’s precisely this overconfidence in one’s mac-and-cheese making abilities combined with an underestimation of mac and cheese itself that leads to so many disastrous outcomes. It’s stunning the ease with which you can produce a flabby, mushy, bland, and grainy mess, simply by failing to use the right ingredients, ignoring techniques, and overlooking essential details. To save you from such humiliation and a potential mac-and-cheese meltdown we’ve compiled a list of expert advice to follow and fatal mistakes to avoid.

Add Flour Or Cornstarch

Cheese sauces all begin with a béchamel sauce, which is simply combining melted butter and flour to create a roux, letting it cook, and then adding milk to the mixture. An easy way to thicken your cheese sauce is to add more flour or cornstarch to your béchamel base.

To thicken your béchamel sauce, create a slurry by combining a couple of teaspoons of flour or cornstarch with cold water. Stir this mixture into your cheese sauce on the stove, letting it come almost to a boil so it can thicken. If your sauce is still runny, you can slowly add more slurry until it reaches your desired consistency.

Macaroni And Cheese Is Too Dry

Why is my macaroni and cheese so dry? I mix 3 tablespoons of flour and 1 stick of butter in a saucepan and let it melt. Then I add 1.5 cans Carnation milk, 2 cups cheese, and 1-8oz package of cream cheese, stir and add to macaroni. Please tell me what I am doing wrong.

Best Answer

What do you mean by dry? Too much pasta and too little sauce?Or next day sauce “gone”? The too much too little scenario is easy, decrease or increase as needed. Next day sauce “gone” means the pasta absorbed it, reserve some of the cheese sauce for a refresher for left overs, or rejuvenate with regular milk.

Best Answer

I think the simple solution is more plain milk or water in your recipe. Might back off a tablespoon of the flour too, which just thickens it to glop. The starch in the macaroni without any flour should thicken it fine if you’re baking it. If you want a more creamy sauce, less flour, more regular milk. A “classic” southern baked mac n cheese has an egg it, which makes for a very rich, dish, but the texture is almost more like a custard with the egg.

Read Also: Does Kraft Mac And Cheese Have Lactose

Switch Out The Cheese

Instead of using the powdered cheese packet that comes with a box of mac and cheese, take an extra five minutes to make a homemade cheese sauce, like we do in our Best-Ever Macaroni and Cheese recipe. You can use any type of cheese, but we prefer sharp Cheddar. Alternatively, stick with the standard powdered cheese-butter-milk combination, but bolster the sauce with a few slices of American cheese or a handful of shredded Cheddar to make it extra cheesy.

Stovetop Mac And Cheese Option

Creamy Mac and Cheese

I love the golden brown edges and top that baking the macaroni and cheese creates, but you dont need to bake it if you dont want to. For a stovetop mac and cheese, simply add the pasta to the cheese sauce and then let it sit, covered for a few minutes. This time gives the pasta a chance to absorb some of the sauce. You can also take a look at this easy macaroni and cheese recipe made on the stovetop.

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Making Terrible Cheese Choices For Your Mac And Cheese

Mac and cheese is a marriage between two much-loved ingredients: pasta and cheese. For the union to succeed, both partners have to be simpatico. This can only happen if you choose the right cheese.

Right away, you can eliminate Velveeta. Although a fervent minority is partial to its undeniable creaminess, in the words of the FDA, it isn’t a cheese, but a “cheese product.” That said, dissing “Liquid Gold” doesn’t mean you should run out and invest in an exorbitantly priced Wyke Farms Cheddar. In a HuffPost article, cheese guru warned against using insanely expensive, refined, or unusual cheeses, the qualities of which will be lost when you melt them.

Instead of limiting yourself to a single cheese, opt for a carefully selected blend of cheeses that you can layer. Chef Danyelle Hudgins points out that successful mac and cheese “needs loads of flavor and depth. Using different cheeses allows you to taste layers of flavor combos.”

Kitchn food editor Kelli Foster explains that some cheeses melt more easily and have a creamier texture and milder flavor. Popular choices in this camp included fontina, gouda, gruyère, and Monterey jack. Others are sharper and more pungent such as cheddar, Parmesan, and even Roquefort. The trick is to find a balanced mix of simple but good-quality cheeses. Author of American Cheeses identifies three schools of thought on mac and cheese in all schools, the common denominator is cheddar.

Tip #: Make A Solid Roux

If your cheese sauce is built on a strong foundation, theres a good chance itll remain creamy and smooth until the very end.

Adding a starchy, thickening agent to a cheese sauce can help retain its quality. And thats where a roux comes in. A roux can be made in many different ways, but it usually begins by cooking equal parts melted butter and flour into a smooth paste.

This quick and easy how-to video is a lifesaver if youre new to making a roux or if you dont feel super confident with it yet. This is definitely a great resource to have bookmarked for future reference.

Pro tip: Its better not to use any types of oil or cornstarch during the roux-making process, as it can cause lumps and clumps.

Also Check: Where To Buy Philadelphia Lactose Free Cream Cheese

Use A Starch Thickener

Thickening agents such as cornstarch and flour are pantry staples and are usually found in every kitchen. Using them to thicken sauces is a very common method for a variety of dishes.

You can use either of the two depending on your preference and whats available to you. The process is fairly easy and will give you the desired results within minutes.

How to thicken cheese sauce using cornstarch or flour:

  • Mix 1-2 teaspoons of cornstarch or flour to about half a cup of cold water.
  • Whisk it properly to make sure there are no lumps.
  • Slowly mix it into your cheese sauce one teaspoon at a time.
  • Do not rush the process and do not add the mixture all at once.
  • Allow the sauce to simmer for a few minutes so that there is no excess starchy flavor to the mac and cheese.
  • Check the thickness of the sauce to see if it is at your desired consistency. If you feel that it is still a bit runny, you can try adding more of the cornstarch or flour.
  • Add Your Favorite Cheese To The Cheese Powder

    Easy 3-Ingredient Mac and Cheese Recipe (One Pot)

    All boxed mac and cheeses come with a packet of cheese powder, but if you’re a serious cheese enthusiast, then those small, salty packets aren’t likely to hit the spot on their own. But if you add some actual cheese to the powder, both the flavor and texture will get a very welcome boost.

    Food blogger and recipe developer Ashley Schuering of Confessions of a Grocery Addict says that her cheese of choice for this process is a slice of American cheese. “I know it’s processed, but so is the neon orange cheese powder, so what’s the harm? It will give the mac a bit of cheese pull, which makes it feel almost like the real thing,” says Schuering.

    If American cheese isn’t your thing or you want to add even more depth of flavor, feel free to sub in other cheeses like cheddar, gruyère, fontina, smoked gouda, or pepper jack.

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    Microwave Kraft Mac & Cheese

    Learning to make your Kraft mac & cheese in the microwave is the perfect thing when you are in a hurry, or looking to make a quick and easy lunch at work.

    Plus, when you know how to make mac & cheese in the microwave, even the kids can make lunch or dinner with a little supervision.

    There are lots of good reasons why you should learn to make kraft mac & cheese in the microwave, and we are going to walk you through a very easy step-by-step process of how to do this.

    Slightly Undercook The Pasta For The Perfect Al Dente Bite

    One of the most common complaints that we heard from our expert sources was that the cooking instructions provided on mac and cheese boxes overestimate the amount of time required to boil the pasta, and following those directions can result in mushy, less-than-appealing mac and cheese.

    “Undercook the pasta from the time listed on the box by 2 to 3 minutes to ensure some texture,” says Jim Mumford, cookbook author and recipe developer of Jim Cooks Food Good.

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    Swap Out Regular Milk For Tangy Kefir

    According to editor Alicia Harper of ProbioticReviewGirl, replacing cow’s milk with kefir delivers on both the health and the flavor front.

    “Fermented organic kefir is packed with lactobacillus probiotic bacteria, and studies have shown this particular strain to have a wide range of digestive health benefits. Also, adding kefir to your boxed mac and cheese can add an extra thickness and a great sour taste,” says Harper.

    Tip #: Try Grating Your Own Cheese

    How To Make One

    Sometimes extra preservatives are added to pre-grated cheeses. These powders can throw the balance off and cause the sauce to curdle more easily.

    The solution is to buy blocks of cheese and just add in one extra step. Grate the cheese yourself and youll never have to worry about this issue.

    Pro Tip: Get your cheese out of the fridge an hour ahead of making your cheese sauce. Ultra-cold cheese being added to a piping hot saucepan will increase the likelihood that curdling will occur.

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    Easy Stovetop Mac And Cheese

    Easy Stovetop Mac and Cheese is the easiest and most delicious Mac and cheese ever! Ready in just 15 minutes, this is an amazing weeknight dinner for busy families!

    Easy Stovetop Mac and Cheese is the easiest and most delicious Mac and cheese ever! Ready in just 15 minutes, this is an amazing weeknight dinner for busy families!

    Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food. Is it because we have fond memories of the Blue Box as a kid? Possibly. Is it the irresistible cheesiness? Most definitely. While the Blue Box was great back in the day, our tastes have matured to move away from the store-bought mac and cheese. If youve never had made-from-scratch mac and cheese, you are in for a serious treat. We know parents and kids will agree that the real cheddar cheese in this creamy sauce just cant be beat.

    Give It The Tuna Casserole Treatment

    Box instructions would have you drain and toss the cooked noods with cheese powder, milk, and optional butter. But for a much better mac, youre going to ignore those directives. The trick to upgrading boxed mac is to work with the flavor packet, which can veer a little chemically. The ingredients in Macella Hazans fettuccine col sugo di tonno con aglio e panna do just that.

    The cream and canned tuna introduce velvety, briny elements that actuallyand shockingly?complement the sharp tang of powdered cheese. And the result tastes like a deconstructed tuna casserole: creamy, salty sauce coating chewy pasta, with flaked tuna for texture . Parsley and freshly ground black pepper keep it from tasting like the punchline of a joke about the 1950s.

    So, while your noodles are cooking, add the following to a bowl large enough to fit all of the mac, using a fork or whisk to combine until no large clumps remain:

    • The flavor packet from your box of mac and cheese
    • 2-ish Tbsp. chopped parsley
    • Half a clove of raw garlic, finely minced you can amp this up to a whole clove if youre a certified Garlic Girl
    • A large handful of freshly Microplaned or grated Parmesan or any hard, salty cheese
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 can oil-packed tuna, drained
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

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    Choosing The Wrong Cheese

    With pasta and cheese being the two main ingredients in Mac and cheese, both should perfectly complement each other. And this is possible only if you choose and use the right cheese.

    You can immediately strike off Velveeta from your list of cheeses despite its undeniable creaminess. The FDA says it isnt cheese but is only a cheese product.

    The FDA issued Kraft a warning letter saying some versions of Kraft Singles Pasteurized Process Cheese Food and Velveeta spread were misbranded because they were falsely represented as cheese foods. Those items are now identified as cheese products.

    How to fix it:

    The solution to this problem is using a carefully selected blend of cheeses you can layer and not use a single cheese. Remember, Mac and cheese tastes best with multiple layers, and depth and different cheeses help you create these flavor combination layers.

    Cheese options that quickly and easily melt and have a creamier texture and mild flavor include Gouda, Monterey jack, gruyere, and fontina. The other cheeses with a sharper and pungent taste include Parmesan, cheddar, and Roquefort.

    You need to find the perfect mix of straightforward but good-quality cheeses for your macaroni and cheese.

    Do You Need To Refrigerate Cheese Sauce

    How To Make The Best Baked Mac And Cheese

    If you wish, you can make your cheese sauce ahead of time and refrigerate it for later use.Heres what you need to know.

    • If you are going to refrigerate your cheese sauce, you should do so within two hours of making it.
    • When you keep cheese sauce in your fridge, it should be in a covered container.
    • When you reheat your sauce, do so slowly over low heat, stirring continuously.

    Recommended Reading: How Many Calories In Cheddar Cheese

    Stick With The Stovetop

    All too often, baked macaroni and cheese takes on more of a casserole feel than the creaminess you’re looking for here. To prevent that, cook it entirely on your stovetop rather than finishing it in the oven. The sauce won’t get overly thick and clumpy on the stovetop, meaning the end result will be creamy and silky smooth just what you’re after.

    Tricks To Making The Creamiest Mac And Cheese Ever

    There’s nothing like a warm, gooey bowl of delicious mac and cheese, am I right? Mac and cheese is a comfort food if there ever was one, but if you don’t make it right, you’ll end up with a less-than-comforting bowl of dried out, not-cheesy-at-all noodles. Worse yet, you might end up with a gritty, mealy mess. That doesn’t mean you should turn to that familiar blue box whenever a craving arrives homemade mac and cheese is the best, by far . To make the creamiest mac and cheese ever, you just have to do a couple of things differently than you might do them now. In fact, it’s probably a lot less complicated than you might think. Armed with these tricks and ideas and a little know-how, you’ll be well on your way to the creamiest mac and cheese ever. But be careful who you tell once word gets out that you’ve mastered this dish, you’ll have more dinner guests than you can handle!

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    How To Reheat Mac And Cheese In The Oven

    Popping your mac and cheese in the oven is perfect for when you have a lot of it to reheat, like a whole casserole. It also spreads the heat evenly so you wont burn that perfectly gooey mac and cheese.

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Place your mac and cheese in a glass casserole.
  • Pour over whole milk or the same kind of milk you added to your cheese sauce and gently mix it in with your mac and cheese. Use one tablespoon of milk per cup of pasta. If your mac and cheese has a breadcrumb topping, you can skip this step.
  • Cover the dish with foil and leave the mac and cheese in the oven for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the foil cover and return the mac and cheese in the over for another 10 minutes.
  • Enjoy a warm bowl of creamy goodness!
  • If you made your mac and cheese in advance, its best to save the toppings for later so you can still add milk before reheating. This is because mac and cheese can dry out in the fridge. Adding milk brings back that creaminess to the dish.

    How To Make Kraft Mac And Cheese In The Microwave

    Baked Macaroni and Cheese

    Learning how to make Kraft mac and cheese in the microwave is very easy and can come in handy when you are hungry but dont have a stovetop to make your mac and cheese.

    Preparing mac and cheese in the microwave only takes a few minutes, and then you can enjoy your tasty dish.

    Check out the step-by-step instructions below on how you can easily make your box of Kraft mac and cheese in the microwave.

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