What Are The Best Cheeses For Baked Mac And Cheese
As I mentioned above, the secret to creamy baked mac and cheese is Velveeta cheese! This American cheese just melts smoother than other cheeses and gives the sauce that creamy mouthfeel that we’re all looking for. I’ve found that an equal ratio of cheddar cheese and Velveeta cheese yields the best of both worlds — a smooth, creamy mac and cheese with plenty of rich, sharp cheddar flavor.
If you like a combination of other cheeses, you can feel free to replace some of the cheddar with other good melting cheeses. Try Gruyere, Pepper Jack or Monterey Jack, gouda, smoked gouda, Swiss or mozzarella. The options are endless, so pick your favorites!
Stovetop Mac And Cheese
The most popular approach is to make your mac and cheese entirely on the stovetop.
Most of the stovetop recipes are based on the same basic process:
Thats not to say its simple though. Making a roux is fiddly and time consuming. So why do it?
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.
Read Also: Where To Buy Rao’s Sauce
Deep Dish Casserole Dish
You should prepare your deep dish casserole dish by smothering somebutter all over its base and sides. This is important because it will keep the pasta from sticking to the base and the sides while it cooks inside the oven.
If you do not have a deep dish casserole dish that can fit all of the ingredients, you could always set aside the excess ingredients and repeat the steps once you are done with the first batch.
How To Make It
Im going to walk you through how I make mac and cheese in my own kitchen. If you want to watch me do it, theres a quick recipe video above that shows each step.
Step 1, Warm milk in a saucepan or in the microwave. Warm milk helps to make the whole sauce making process go a bit quicker and according to Julia Child, warm milk prevents a lumpy cheese sauce.
Step 2, Make a roux with butter and flour. Basically a roux is a cooked paste made with butter and flour. When milk is added later in the recipe, its this butter-flour paste that helps the cheese sauce to thicken.
Step 3, Whisk in the milk and thicken the sauce. When the roux is a golden color and smells nutty , I whisk in the warm milk. As the milk heats up with the roux, it thickens and turns silky smooth.
Step 4, Adds spices and the cheese. When the milk is a silky thickened sauce, I whisk in a few spices and the shredded cheese. When the cheese has melted into the sauce, I always taste and check for seasoning. Its likely that some salt needs to be added.
Step 5, Stir in slightly undercooked pasta, add to a baking dish, and bake. As I mentioned above, I undercook my pasta by 2 minutes, drain, and then rinse it of excess starches. This makes sure that my sauce stays creamy while it bakes in the oven. The macaroni and cheese bakes for about 30 minutes.
Recommended Reading: Saffron Road Lemongrass Basil Simmer Sauce
How To Avoid Grainy Cheese Sauce:
- The type of cheddar makes a difference. High quality aged cheddar cheese will give you a stronger taste and smoother texture. More mild and inexpensive cheddar cheeses will have less flavor and almost a grittier taste.
- Use fresh grated cheese. Pre-shredded store-bought cheese will not melt the same as freshly grated cheese, and grating the cheese helps it melt smoothly and evenly in the sauce.
- Bring the cheese to room temperature. I like to grate the cheese very first, before moving forward with the recipe. That allows it to sit at room temperature while I prepare the white sauce.
- Use low heat. In order for the cheese to melt properly and smoothly we want it to have gradual changes in temperature . When its time to add the cheese to the white sauce, remove the sauce from heat and let it cool for a few minutes. It only needs to be warm enough to melt the cheese.
- Dont over-stirthe sauce once the cheese has melted. Add the noodles and quickly assemble in pan and put into the oven.
Quick Mac And Cheese For One
A quick recipe for mac and cheese for one. Easy, cheesy, and oh so good.
Is it lunchtime? Is it dinner time? Are you starving? Do you need a mac and cheese fix? Yes? Well, Ive got just the thing for you: mac and cheese for one.
This homemade macaroni and cheese is just as quick as the kind that comes out of a box, is one thousand times more delicious, and wont leave you with a mass of gross congealed leftovers.
I grew up in a boxed mac and cheese household, and just like when I learned how to make homemade mashed potatoes, when I discovered how easy homemade macaroni and cheese was to make, I had no idea why we hadnt just been making it from scratch all along.
It takes exactly the same amount of time, and if you keep a basic stocked kitchen, cheese and any sort of pasta in your house, YOU HAVE THE INGREDIENTS TO MAKE THIS.
Don’t Miss: Rao’s Sauce Costco
Make The Cheese Sauce
While the macaroni is cooking, make the cheese sauce. It’s really easy but there are a few notes that we’ll go over to ensure your success!
Make a Roux
This homemade mac and cheese sauce starts with a roux. What is a roux? It’s 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 it’s 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!
Making The Perfect Roux
The fundamentals of making a roux are fairly straightforward:
Sounds very simple. And it is, but there are a few things to take note of that will improve your roux.
Measure out equal amounts of butter and flour by weight
Butter is obviously a lot denser and heavier than flour, so if you measure by volume , youll end up with more butter than you need. Also, measuring flour in cups can vary dramatically depending on whether youve scooped it up with the cup, or dropped it into the cup.
Use clarified butter
Most butter is somewhere between 15% and 20% water. But we dont want water mixing with our flour until its coated with fat. The best solution to this is to use clarified butter, but if you dont have any , let your butter simmer gently for a few minutes and most of the water will boil off. Make sure you dont burn it though.
Stir continuously while the roux is coming together to ensure all of the starch molecules get coated with fat.
Cook off the raw flour taste
Dont overcook your roux
Also Check: Where To Buy Rao’s 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.
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.
Read Also: Where To Buy Rao’s Sauce
Homemade Mac And Cheese With Just 4
Yes! We swear, the best mac and cheese recipe is just four, super simple ingredients away. Cooked pastayou can use any kind you love, were partial to cavatappiheavy cream, shredded cheddar cheese and grated parmesan. That’s it. You can add seasoning to taste, but the parmesan is pretty salty and its a good idea to heavily salt the pasta water, so save the seasoning until last to see if it is truly necessary.
Homemade Mac And Cheese
Homemade Mac and Cheese on the Stovetop. This irresistibly cheesy macaroni recipe comes together quick and easy. Not to mention the homemade cheese sauce is thick and creamy. Use your favorite cheese to make this a dish the whole family will love!
Smooth and creamy, this Easy Homemade Mac and Cheese comes together in less than 30 minutes on the stovetop. This is the perfect family dinner! It also doubles as a side dish and pairs wonderfully with BBQ meats, like this smoked pulled pork.
Recommended Reading: What Alfredo Sauce Is Keto Friendly
Best Cheese For Mac And Cheese
A combination of Gruyere and mozzarella cheese. Gruyerefor the most superior flavour with the best melting qualities for creamy sauces such as this theres no contention in my view. And mozzarella for stretch nothing does the cheese pull like a good mozzarella!
But honestly, any cheese that melts well works is excellent with Mac and Cheese, such as cheddar, tasty, Colby, Swiss, Pepper Jack, Emmental.
Best Creamy Crockpot Mac And Cheese
Some days, you just don’t want to deal with standing over the stove stirring and straining but you still want to enjoy hearty, home-cooked flavors. That’s precisely the right time for whipping up a pot of stick-to-your-ribs mac and cheese. This recipe from The Chunky Chef delivers, and it’s also a great go-to when you’re not in the mood for mac that’s topped with all sorts of extras and baked in the oven.
“Macaroni and cheese in a slow cooker?” you might be wondering. But this cooking technique and the dish it produces is doable, dependable and oh-so-delicious. You’ll simply add some tried-and-true ingredients like elbow macaroni, butter, heavy cream, chicken broth and spices and let them simmer in your Crock-pot until all the liquid is absorbed. Then, you’ll stir in shredded cheeses and the secret ingredient that gives this dish its over-the-top creaminess: cream cheese. Don’t be surprised if your dinner guests treat themselves to second helpings.
Read Also: Where To Buy Rao’s Sauce
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.
Cheese Sauce Step By Step
Classic cheese sauce begins with béchamel a simple white sauce made of butter, flour, milk, and a few seasonings. Cheese is then added to the white sauce to create cheese sauce . Here are the three basic steps to make cheese sauce:
It’s that simple, but the trick is knowing how to make the roux, how to add the milk without creating lumps, and how to add the cheese so the sauce turns out smooth and not grainy.
Also Check: Where To Buy Rao’s Sauce
Perfect Mac And Cheese In 5 Steps:
Baked Macaroni And Cheese
Baked macaroni and cheese doesnt have to be complicated with layers of ingredients to be the soul-warming food you crave. This homemade baked macaroni and cheese is my most favorite and has pleased crowds, small families, kids and picky eaters alikegive it a try and youll see why.
Sometimes you buy that glowing yellow macaroni in the box. Your kids like it, but it glows like the kryptonite they used in the old Christoper Reeve Superman movies.
Thats not normal people.
And I hate to break it to you, but theres nothing real in that box either.
I hate feeding it to my kids and I dare say that you hate it too. But I can also guess you dont know many other alternatives. Sure, you can get a box of Velveeta and melt that over some noodles. That works too, but that stuff doesnt even need to be refrigerated. Its mystery cheese.
So if youre looking for the real deal, the old school baked macaroni and cheese the way your grandma might have made itthis is it.
And just so you know, aside from the baking, this easy macaroni and cheese took 15 minutes and only two pans to make. One for boiling the pasta and a good enameled cast iron pan for the sauce and the baking cuts down on dishes. So yes, even you can make this on a week night.
Don’t Miss: Texas Pete Sauce Recipe
Do You Need To Bake Mac And Cheese
Creamy mac and cheese recipes that start with a roux-based sauce , do not need to be baked before serving. A creamy stovetop mac and cheese recipe is designed to go straight from the pot to the plate — no oven necessary. You could also serve this mac and cheese without baking — it will just be really saucy. By contrast, Southern-style mac and cheese recipes must be baked in order to cook the egg and help the dish set.
Creamy Baked Mac And Cheese
The Chunky Chef09/30/2019
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
This baked mac and cheese is a family favorite recipe, loved by both children and adults. It uses a combination of cheeses, layered in the dish as well as melted into a rich and creamy cheese sauce, for the ultimate in cheesy deliciousness! Perfect for a comforting dinner or as a holiday side dish!
BAKED MAC AND CHEESE
Baked mac and cheese. Its nearly the universal comfort food, and there are SO many variations! In fact, I almost didnt post this recipe, as there are SOOOO many mac and cheese recipes available, and most people already have their favorite way of making it.
Of course, theres no right way or wrong way, so Im here sharing the way I like to make my mac and cheese .
Don’t Miss: Where To Buy Rao’s Sauce