To Bake Or Not To Bake:
You dont have to bake the mac and cheese in this recipe. Everything gets fully cooked and is essentially ready to eat after the cheese and noodles are added. However, I love the extra gooeyness that comes when the cheese is baked and I think baking it adds a level of sophistication you just dont get without.
Secret #: Upgrade Your Breadcrumb Topping With Garlic And Parm
Next, we tackled the great debate over traditional breadcrumbs vs. panko . With its light and airy texture and supreme crunch, panko won over our hearts. But we didn’t stop there. We were inspired by Macaroni and Cheese with Garlic Bread Crumbs to cook the panko in butter with garlic until lightly toasted. This recipe for macaroni and cheese taught us to fold some Parmesan cheese into the breadcrumbs, which adds another layer of flavor to the crunchy topping.
Making Instant Pot Mac And Cheese Ahead Of Time
Some recipes are great, and even better, when made ahead but mac and cheese just isnt one of them.
As the pasta sits, it absorbs more and more of the sauce, making the mac and cheese dry, and the noodles mushy.
In my opinion, this is a recipe that just tastes the best when made right before you eat it.
Don’t Miss: Where Can I Buy Brick Cheese
Variations Of Crock Pot Mac And Cheese
- Pasta Shapes to mimic the classic recipe, I normally use elbow pasta. But any short-cut pasta works just as well! Medium shells, penne, rotini, etc. Just note that different pastas will have slightly different cook times, so use the recipe times as an approximate.
- Cooking Liquids like I mentioned above, I prefer the taste and consistency of chicken broth, evaporated milk and heavy cream. However, feel free to test out different proportions of those liquids, or try out different liquids. Just note that I can only vouch for this recipe as written.
- Cheeses As with most mac and cheese recipes, the types of cheese called for are not the only ones you can use. Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, Colby, Gruyere, sharp cheddar any and all!
- Seasonings feel free to add in additional seasonings that you love in your mac and cheese.
How To Make The Creamiest Cheese Sauce
Aside from ensuring you have a nice creamy bechamel to start, the best way I have found to make my cheese sauce super creamy is toadd cream cheese and sour cream to the mix.
Cream cheese doesnt bring a ton of flavor, but it does bring a lovely, smooth decadence to your sauce.
And sour cream also adds a touch of tang that can balance out the rich sauce.
You May Like: How Long Does Babybel Cheese Last Unrefrigerated
Raclette Is Made For Melty Mac Cheese
The very name “raclette” is used to describe the famous dish of gooey cheese, scraped onto a waiting mound of bread or potatoes, as well as the cheese itself.
Made with cow’s milk from the grasslands of the French and Swiss Alps, raclette is similar in texture to Gruyere cheese, with a distinctive aroma. Like Gruyere, raclette does not separate when melted, making it a great cooking cheese and one that would lend a nutty and refined flavor to any mac and cheese recipe.
The Best Types Of Cheese
1. Sharp Cheddar
The king of all cheeses when it comes to coating your noodles. With a fairly low melting point, cheddar keeps things smooth. It’s also got the classic taste you’re looking for and expecting with mac and cheese. Sharp cheddar is ideal because its flavor is strongest, but the most important to thing to remember is to always buy cheddar in a block and grate your own! Pre-shredded simply doesn’t work, which we will explain more in a bit.
Gouda is a seriously underrated cheese when it comes to cooking! It melts beautifully and gives your mac a sophisticated taste without being too pretentious .
Despite it being a hard cheese, Gruyère still melts nicely. Its saltiness helps cut through all the heavy fats, and the nutty flavor is so special.
4. Cream Cheese
We’re no strangers to cream cheese here in the Delish test kitchen, so it wasn’t a huge surprise when we confirmed that it’s perfect in mac & cheese. It melts down easily and helps keep the sauce smooth with just the right amount of salt and tang. It works exceptionally well in a slow-cooker mac & cheese!
We use brie in our mac when we are feeling extra fancy. The creaminess is excellent for coating your noodles, and it creates the most decadent mac and cheese. Just be sure to remove the rind first!
You can even go crazy and make brie mac & cheese right inside your wheel of brie!
6. Goat Cheese
Recommended Reading: Laughing Cow Cheese Refrigerate
Macaroni And Cheese Blends
Understanding what cheeses to select for a creamy mac and cheese can be overwhelming. Yet and however, Im going to give you a cheat sheet.
Read on for cheese blends that work well together to give you a smooth and delicious macaroni and cheese:
- Gruyère, Fontina, White Cheddar, Smoked Gouda
- Sharp Cheddar, Goat Cheese, Havarti
- Sharp Cheddar, Gruyère
The Best Cheese For Mac And Cheese
Sharp Cheddar is my first choice for flavor however you can certainly use your favorite cheeses. Mix it up and use a bit of gruyere, or even pepper jack for a little kick. If you have bits of cheese leftover, you can combine them all together in this easy homemade cheese sauce.
This recipe has a special ingredient that is a little bit unconventional but makes it extra yummy AND it is optional. The addition of cheddar cheese soup makes the sauce a little bit extra velvety and just adds a little something. I think its much better than Mac and cheese with Velveeta! Give it a try! .
Don’t Miss: Alessi Balsamic Reduction
Five Cheese Baked Macaroni And Cheese
My Five Cheese Baked Macaroni and Cheese is another recipe that my daughter can sniff out. Without fail, her nose hones in on it when its baking. More often than not, shes asked for it instead of dessert. Which- Ill admit- is weird. But once you taste it, youll realize why. This is the richest, creamiest, slightly indulgent macaroni and cheese you will ever enjoy.
*I originally published this recipe in November 2019. Its updated to make the mac and cheese creamier and add weight measurements.*
Don’t Forget To Season
Like so many other foods, forgetting to season your mac and cheese can make it fall flat. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We season in 3 steps in our recipe: the topping, the sauce, and while cooking the macaroni. Plus, parmesan brings a natural saltiness to both the topping and the cheese sauce.
We’re not going for any gimmicks here, Our Favorite Macaroni and Cheese doesn’t need bacon, lobster, or truffles to make it special. It’s the perfect combination of creamy, cheesy, and crispy with just the right amount of kick from the mustard powder. Life is too short to eat mac and cheese from a box, so go ahead and make this recipe your go-to comfort dish this fall.
How To Assemble And Prepare Mac And Cheese For Smoking
You have the cheese sauce, now you need to decide what to add to it and mix.
The first step is the pasta. Follow the instructions on the pasta package, but drain the pasta 2 minutes before the instructions suggest. The pasta will continue to cook slightly on the Traeger. If you follow the exact directions on the box, you could end up with mushy noodles.
You can also add additional toppings to mac and cheese before baking, for extra flavor or texture.
Cooking Tips For Crock Pot Mac And Cheese
Ive tested this recipe more times than Id like to admit, and through all those trials and errors, Ive come up with a few helpful tips.
- Spray the crockpot. I know it might sound weird, but it really helps keep the pasta from sticking too much to the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Use the right liquids. For most of my attempts, I was using regular, whole milk, and every time it would thicken way too much and sort of seize up on me. Ive found that a mixture of chicken broth, evaporated milk, with a little heavy cream for richness, yields the best creamy sauce.
- Grate your own cheeses. I know I know. Its SO tempting to open a bag of pre-shredded cheese from the store and Ive done it on occasion. But most commercial pre-shredded cheeses are coated in cellulose, which essentially keeps the cheese from all clumping together in the bag. Ever noticed how bags of pre-shredded cheese that are coming up on their expiration date usually have clumps of cheese stuck together inside? Its because the cellulose is just about gone from the cheese. That coating prevents the cheese from truly melting down into a gloriously gooey cheese sauce, and can leave your sauce a bit on the gritty side.
You May Like: Lemon Tree Dwelling
Cheddar Is The Best Cheese For Mac And Cheese And Heres Why:
The key to achieving a creamy mac and cheese from scratch is using a great melting cheese to anchor the mac and cheese sauce. And the best melting cheese for mac and cheese isin our humble opinioncheddar! Its got that classic milky sharpness and straw-colored hue that we expect our mac and cheese to have, and theres just nothing else quite like it. Once you master this stovetop mac and cheese recipe, though, you could certainly play around with other cheeses.
We wanted to share a truly simple mac and cheese recipeone thats almost as easy as that little blue boxbut you can look at it as a great jumping off point for experimentation. If you want to get fancy, try subbing some shredded Gruyére or raclette for half of the cheddar.
How Do I Make Five Cheese Baked Macaroni And Cheese
To make macaroni and cheese, first start with straight-up, uncomplicated cheeses and a streamlined cooking process. I guarantee youll reap the rewards. I use extra sharp cheddar, American, gouda, smoked gruyere, and chevre. The smoked gruyere is a favorite of ours, but you can totally use plain gruyere.
Remove a 1/2 cup of each of these cheeses from the bulk of the cheese. Youre going to use this to top the 5 cheese baked macaroni and cheese just before baking.
In addition to a pound of large elbow macaroni, youll need evaporated milk, unsalted butter, an egg, seasoned salt, granulated garlic, granulated onion powder, ground mustard, paprika, black pepper, and cayenne pepper, and that five cheese blend.
You May Like: Philly Cheese Steak Pizza Dominos Ingredients
Dont Forget To Season
Like so many other foods, forgetting to season your mac and cheese can make it fall flat. But dont worry, weve got you covered. We season in 3 steps in our recipe: the topping, the sauce, and while cooking the macaroni. Plus, parmesan brings a natural saltiness to both the topping and the cheese sauce.
Were not going for any gimmicks here, Our Favorite Macaroni and Cheese doesnt need bacon, lobster, or truffles to make it special. Its the perfect combination of creamy, cheesy, and crispy with just the right amount of kick from the mustard powder. Life is too short to eat mac and cheese from a box, so go ahead and make this recipe your go-to comfort dish this fall.
What Kind Of Cheese Is Best For Macaroni And Cheese
The cheese you use for your mac and cheese are ultimately going to be up to your preference. However, science says that you should probably use cheddar. In fact, 76% of the recipes we sampled used cheddar in some form . If you do use cheddar, our math says that it should be 63% of the total amount of cheese used. Gruyère is also a good cheese to use as it appeared in 28% of the recipes, and should be used as 44% of the total cheese blend.
Sidenote: Yes, we know that adds up to 107%, but the math to normalize it is more than were willing to do on Saturday afternoon.
You will never, ever know how much time went into making this chart.
Furthermore, different cheeses have different reasons for being used. Cheddar, while great at adding flavour and colour, does not melt very well and wont really contribute to the gooeyness of the dish. Conversely, mozzarella wont add much flavour to your baked mac and cheese, but it will melt wonderfully well and make your mac and cheese stringy. A good rule of thumb is to use a melting cheese and a flavourful cheese, and then add spices to your preference.
You May Like: Are Blue Diamond Almonds Keto
How Long To Bake Mac And Cheese
There is only one rule that you need to remember when baking mac and cheese: dont bake it too long otherwise youll bake away the sauce leaving you with a dry mixture.
Baking it at around 20 minutes at 375 degrees F guarantees you that same stretchy cheesy baked mac and cheese with all the heart-melting sauce. Or you can also bake it at 30 minutes at 350 F
Although weve tried a couple of Mac and Cheese recipes, nothing compares to this one which has a smooth silky sauce that permeates every inch of elbow macaroni there is.
Youd fall head over heels with the brimming Southern flavors of what this baked mac and cheese has to offer. Its got a note of heat and smokiness. Youd need a bigger a spoon, for sure!
This would be delightful at any time. Oh, especially during these cold winter months. So dont wait for special occasions to whip up a pan of this.
Heck, you could even make this on the daily. You can also explore different southern comfort food ideas to prepare every day! Go ahead, take a bite, nobodys looking.
What Makes Mac And Cheese Better
There are four easy things you can do to make box mac and cheese better: salt the water, cook the pasta for less time than the directions say, replace half of the butter with American cheese, and make the sauce in a separate pan.
How do restaurants keep pasta from sticking?
How to prevent pasta noodles from sticking together
Don’t Miss: Unrefrigerated String Cheese
Theres No Replacing Homemade
This should surprise no one, but theres absolutely no way that these boxed macs can replace the real deal. Sure, these were great tasty options to have as a quick meal or to serve to hungry kiddos, but they really dont hold a candle to our favorite from-scratch recipes made with our Test Kitchens favorite macaroni brands.
Creamy Mac And Cheese Recipe
July 23, 2021 by CourtneyThis content contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
After years of searching, I finally found the best creamy mac and cheese recipe around. Super cheddary, rich, and easily made on the stove top in under 30 minutes This is going to be making many more appearances on our family table.
Note: This recipe was updated in 2021 with new photos, tips, and a recipe thats EVEN MORE CREAMY. However, if you made and loved the original, weve still included it as well!
If youve got a pulse, I assume you love creamy mac and cheese. The question of Why we love it is a real nature vs nurture debate.
The Nature side says that all people are born with an instinctual drive to consume melted cheese, the highest form being Creamy Homemade Mac and Cheese.
While the Nurture side would argue that this love addiction is likely inherited from our parents pushing boxed mac and cheese on us like street peddlers from the time that we could hold a fork. To their credit, we loved every bite.
Also Check: Philly Cheese Steak Pizza Recipe Dominos
More Macaroni And Cheese Recipes
This recipe is really creamy and decadent, but here are a few other macaroni and cheese recipes you might enjoy.
- Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese with Goat Cheese and Fontina is super rich and decadent. Not your average comfort food
- Macaroni and Cheese with Shaved Truffle for when you are feeling very fancy. This indulgent recipe really hits the spot, especially in winter
- Southern Mac and Cheese a shortcut recipe using store bought or homemade pimento cheese whisked into hot pasta. Easy and delicious!
- Baked Mac and Cheese This recipe uses two different cheddar cheeses for a nuanced flavor. Really tasty, topped with panko
Kraft Deluxe White Cheddar & Garlic Herbs
As a mac and cheese staple, you had to expect to see a Kraft product again but were more excited about this one. The Kraft Deluxe White Cheddar and Garlic Herbs is putting an elevated twist on the classic box meal. The white cheddar has a sharper taste than the original, which will likely appeal to everyone who grew up on Kraft but has since managed to refine their taste. The herb flavoring, while not very strong, lends a different, unexpected flavor to the dish thats overall pretty good.
Its still your classic Kraft recipe though: the cheap noodles, the powder, the suspiciously long list of ingredients. None of these traits are what many consumers today are looking for. Instead of buying the cheapest food possible, people want healthy, natural food that aligns with the ethos of clean eating and that could be exactly where Kraft has gone wrong. If you are willing to let your oh-so-high standards slip, though, this mac and cheese may just be your perfect excuse.
You May Like: Where Is Velveeta Cheese In Grocery Store
Read Also: Hazen Meats