How To Make Homemade Roux For A Creamy Sauce
To make a simple and flavorful roux, start by melting a stick of butter in a medium saucepan.
Whisk in the salt and pepper. A very important step is to continue stirring for a good 2-3 minutes until roux turns a bit darker in color. It becomes richer and even more fabulous.
Slowly whisk in the milk until mixture is thick and creamy. This step will take a couple minutes over medium heat.
Stir in cheese until creamy and cheese is melted through. I prefer a finely shredded mild cheddar. It melts quickly and has a perfect cheddar flavor.
The Ultimate Macaroni And Cheese
When one thinks about their favorite comfort food, I would argue that macaroni and cheese likely falls at the top for many. Everything about it oozes comfort. Tender pasta enveloped in a creamy and cheesy sauce, sometimes topped with a thick layer of extra cheese or breadcrumbs. Some are baked to a bubbling oblivion, while others are simply finished on the stove top. However you make it, one thing is certain. Its absolutely divine!
Well, let me say this: most recipes out there are delicious, while others may fall flat. Its a dish that requires a few key steps to yield the creamiest and dreamiest results. When I set out to make the ultimate macaroni and cheese recipe, I thought of one person and one person alone that could help me in this feat.
Can I Bake This Recipe
At this point of stovetop mac and cheese, you can choose to transfer to a 9 x 13 inch baking dish, top with more cheese and other toppings of choice, bake at 350 degrees F. for 20-25 minutes for a baked mac and cheese. This is another fantastic option. Adding buttered bread crumbs and bacon is another winning option before baking to add a nice crunch. Try adding cooked beef or chicken for more dinner options too.
Recommended Reading: What Color Is Cheddar Cheese
What Can I Add To Mac And Cheese For Flavor
I love adding seasonings to the roux to amp up my mac and cheese. This one has smoked paprika for yep a smoky note. And I love how dry mustard powder helps emphasize the cheesy flavor. Some readers like to add a hefty pinch of onion powder, others love a bit of nutmeg. If you like heat, adding jalapeños is delicious .
You can also tweak the flavor by varying the cheeses. Readers report using smoked cheese for tons of sultry goodness Other readers have added mozzarella or jack for some stretchy goodness, creamy havarti, parmesan , or prefer to go with extra-sharp cheddar.
How To Make Macaroni And Cheese
This recipe has 3 main parts:
Lets start with the pasta!
I like to use elbow macaroni for this recipe, because its traditional and I love the way the little hole in the middle fills up with creamy cheese sauce. YUM!
But you can use whatever type of pasta you like. Just be sure to boil it in lots of well-salted water , and undercook it slightly. Drain the noodles one minute before the directions on the box say. This will help your final product to be extra-creamy and delish!
Toss the macaroni in a little bit of butter while its still hot, to keep it from sticking together while you prepare the other components.
- Extra-sharp Cheddar
To me, these 3 cheeses, along with the spices in the cream sauce, combine for the perfect balance. But you can feel free to sub in any of your favorites!
I also think these would be great choices:
- American Cheese
Just to name a few!
Whatever you decide to use, do yourself a favor and grate it yourself. Dont buy the pre-shredded stuff! It contains additives that prevent it from melting smoothly. Its so much creamier when you take a few extra minutes to shred your own cheese. I run mine through the food processor and its done in seconds.
THE CREAMY SAUCE
Once your noodles are boiled and your cheese is shredded, its time to start the sauce.
Once the flour and butter are combined, whisk in a little of the milk.
Now you have whats called a bechamel sauce .
Can I Freeze Macaroni And Cheese
I get asked that a lot and my answer is always no. As the pasta and cheese sauce sit, it will thicken and when you thaw it and bake it, the creamy consistency is just gone. Its thick and gloppy. Plus if you freeze it and its still a bit warm, water crystals will form and then thaw into your dish and could make it separate when you bake it. Besides, its so fast to make, theres not really a reason to freeze your macaroni and cheese.
Can I Make Kraft Macaroni And Cheese Without Milk Or Butter
This is almost dairy-free, which is why many people want to make it without milk or butter.
However, you still have dairy in the cheese powder as whey, which is milk protein, milk fat, and cheese culture.
If you want to skip dairy altogether, you would have to use artificial cheese or a natural, vegan cheese substitute.
If you just want to make it without milk or butter, you can use more water.
The problem with that is it wont have a very creamy consistency.
If you thin it out even more, it may be less cheesy.
If you add more shreds, it will be too clumpy and stiff like a starchy ball.
Even if you arent vegan, but you love macaroni and cheese and cant consume milk, here is that variation.
How To Make The Ultimate Macaroni And Cheese
The components of a great macaroni and cheese are simple. Youll need the following ingredients to get started:
Depending on the type you make, you may be adding other ingredients, but these are the critical 4 that every great macaroni and cheese recipe will include.
There are two basic ways to prepare this classic comfort: you can bake it, or you can make it directly on the stovetop. Both are equally delicious, yet a few things set them apart.
Lindsay’s Tips For The Best Macaroni And Cheese
Both of these macaroni and cheese recipes seem simple, but there are definitely a few tips that you catch on to after making as much macaroni and cheese as Lindsay has. These two methods come with their own set of recommendations:
How To Make Mac And Cheese Sauce
Step 1: Make Roux by this point, you already know the ins and outs of a roux and how to make it , so were going to skip to step 2.
Step 2: Whisk in Milk slowly add milk to the roux, whisking constantly so it doesnt burn. Continue to whisk for around 4-6 minutes, or until things begin to thicken.
Dont rush this process. we PROMISE things will thicken!
Step 3: Remove from Heat once things are thick, turn the heat off.
Step 4: Whisk in Shredded Cheese then, add shredded cheese, garlic, hot sauce, salt, and pepper and whisk until the cheese melts.
Give your cheese sauce a taste and add more hot sauce, as desired.
Step 5: Enjoy! mix mac and cheese sauce with macaroni noodles and serve immediately.
Scroll Through The Step
For round two I made the white sauce separately from the cream cheese base. I mixed the cream cheese, sugar and eggs together for a simple cheesecake-style batter, then combined the two with the cooked pasta.
Tossing blueberries into the mix added lot of flavor and moisture, and also gave the eye a cue that this was dessert. This is more important than you can imagine. We eat with our eyes, right?
The blueberries could be switched out for another fruit, and cinnamon, lemon zest or other flavors could be added to change up the flavor. I definitely recommend putting berries or chocolate chips or anything to make it look like a dessert.
I really like this dish. Dessert Macaroni and Cheese might seem strange at first, but give it a try and let me know what you think.
If you love this dish as much as I do, please give it a 5 star review.
How To Make Single
In under 20 minutes, youll have rich cheesy mac and cheese for one, portion-controlled and so good you could cry. And if you are feeling extra hungry or want to make it for two or more, the recipe sizes up with just a slightly longer cooking time .
The Macaroni And Cheese Queen
My friend Lindsay prepares delicious recipes that she shares on her YouTube channel, The Hunger Diaries. Shes absolutely perfected macaroni and cheese, featuring 12 different versions of the classic comfort food alone on her site! What I love most about her YouTube channel is that she shares step-by-step tutorials for how she makes her recipes, and not only includes the things that worked well, but also shares tips to make it even better. Her videos are informative and fun, and if you dont already, you should go follow her!
That said, Lindsay and I got together to make two very different yet equally delicious recipes recently. Read on to learn more about these two cooking methods for the unbeatably cheesy dish, along with tips and tricks from Lindsay herself for how to make the Ultimate Macaroni and Cheese.
How To Freeze Cooked Macaroni And Cheese
Step 1: Cool Completely
Leaving your warm mac and cheese at room temperature for too long places it at risk for harmful bacterial growth. The safest way to cool your warm mac and cheese dish is by placing it in an ice bath.
Pour ice water into a flat pan or dish which is wider than the mac and cheese serving dish. Fill it only one-third of the way with water and a few ice cubes. Place your macaroni dish in the ice bath so that the base is surrounded by the ice water and cools down quickly.
Leave the dish in the ice bath for at least 5 minutes, until cool to touch or near room temperature. Dont ever place mac and cheese that is still warm in the freezer. The steam forms ice-crystals which will ruin the texture of the dish once thawed.
Step 2: Portion
If you are freezing the dish in its entirety, skip this step and go straight to step 3. Portion the mac and cheese into individual servings so that you do not have to defrost the entire batch at once and can take out just as much as you need at a time.
Step 3: Wrap and Seal
For smaller portions, scoop each portion into a resealable freezer bag. Lie the bag flat and press out all the air before sealing.
If you are freezing an entire casserole, make sure the dish you have baked your macaroni and cheese in is freezer-friendly. Cover the whole dish twice with cling film, making sure that all the corners are well-sealed and that no gaps are left open where air can enter.
Step 4: Foil Wrap
Step 5: Label and Freeze
How To Make The Creamiest Macaroni And Cheese
Youre only looking at six ingredients . Itcan even be made in under 30 minutes .
I love that you can keep this as a quick stovetop mac and cheese or slide it into the oven to get bubbly and browned. I love it both ways.
Were going to call this our basic mac and cheese not because it isnt incredibly delicious, but because its the perfect base for other variations. Take a look below for some suggestions.
To make our go-to macaroni and cheese, you will need the following:
Tips For The Best Macaroni And Cheese Youll Ever Eat
Feel like you may still need some help? If you have time, jump over to this post for the juicy details: 18 Secrets to the Richest, Creamiest Mac and Cheese Youll Ever Eat or focus on these tips:
Never stop stirring your milk once it hits the pan. If your skillet is too hot or you walk away and for a minute you could scorch the white sauce and it will curdle. It doesnt really hurt the taste, but it will look sort of clumpy. Some readers have called it grainy. It only takes 5 minutes. Just hang out and stir until that sauce is thick enough to coat the back of your spoon.
Use good cheese in your baked macaroni and cheese. That means avoiding bagged, pre-shredded cheeses because they contain cellulose that can in some cases cause your cheese not to melt as it should. -And speaking of cheese, you have so many options! My favorite is sharp cheddar and Swiss.
Do taste as you go. Taste your cheese sauce before you add your pasta. Is it bland? That can be because of the cheese you used or even the kind of salt you seasoned with. If it doesnt have enough flavor, add a pinch more salt, stir it in and taste it again until it suits you.
-Feel free to add more pasta if you want to. Some people say that this recipe doesnt have enough noodles in it, but Ive never had that problem. And yes, you should cook your pasta before adding it to the cheese sauce.
How To Measure Pasta For This Recipe
Sometimes a reader or two has had an issue with how much pasta this recipe needs. This recipe is written by volume and sometimes people think that since a cup is 8 ounces that they can simply use 12-16 ounces of pasta or go by the weight of the dry pasta written on the box.
Youll end up with problems if you do this. Please follow the volume instructions and measure your pasta dry in a measuring cup meant for dry items . Small pastas like ditalini or little wagon wheels can go up to about 2 cups and be fine in the recipe, and large ones like bow tie or cellentani can as well. If you will stick to elbow pasta until you get the hang of things youll be better off.
Ive made this recipe with every pasta shape on the market and if you will measure in cups, your recipe will be just right.
How To Make Kraft Macaroni And Cheese Without Milk
Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is a favorite, addictive, warm, and cheesy comfort food for millions of people.
The internet is covered with recipes for it, but milk isnt always something that agrees with everyone.
The milk aisle is full of many different kinds of milk and milk substitutes to suit nearly everyones needs.
Here, youll learn how to make Kraft macaroni and cheese without milk step by step.
Find Tons Of Other Dreamy Cheesy Meals In Ree’s Bestselling Cookbooks
And stir together until its all melted. Go ahead and turn off the heat.
Now its time for seasoning! Add about 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt If youre sensitive to salt, start really low and work your way upand remember that the cheese imparts quite a bit of salt to the mix.
BUTand this is importantbe careful not to UNDERSALT the mac & cheese. It really needs ample salt to put the flavor over the top.
*I also use paprika, cayenne pepper, even ground thyme every now and then. Play with different ground spices and see what you like best.
And finally, add plenty of black pepper, of the Black Dust variety. Honestly, I love freshly ground pepperbut not in homemade Mac & Cheese. For me, it has to be the powdery stuff.
Now THATs what Im talkin about.
And guess what? You can just steam some fresh broccoli and spoon some of this over the top. Kids from all over the land will show up at your doorstep.
Did you know a single serving of broccoli is positively loaded with Vitamin C?
Now just dump in the drained, not-fully-cooked macaroni!
And stir the mixture together.
I use a little less than the full amount of cooked macaroni, because I love it extra creamy and coated. Just add it according to how you like it.
Now, you can either dish it up as it is right now, which makes for an ultra-creamy love fest
OR you can pour the macaroni into a buttered baking dish. This is a 2-quart dish, but a 9 x 13 pan would work just fine.
Kinda like this.