Monday, December 31, 2018

How Do You Make Mac & Cheese?

There's a place not too close to me that makes the best macaroni and cheese. It's creamy. Oh, sooo creamy. And the top has the nicest little crunch to it. It's just delish. And it doesn't seem like it would be hard to replicate. But have I been able to do that? Partly.

First I tried what I thought would work. It was average, but didn't get high marks for creaminess. So I hit the web and stumbled upon a chef's forum with a discussion about mac and cheese. They insisted that Velveeta was the key.

Velveeta? I could do that. So I bought Velveeta and followed the instructions carefully. It was okay. But it wasn't as good as the creamy mac and cheese that was so special.

Then I read that some people add cream to their mac and cheese. It was worth a try. Once again, not quite as creamy as I would like and I suspected I wasn't using the right cheeses.

Are you beginning to think I've been makng way too much mac and cheese in my quest?

So here's where I am. I definitely have the basics, but I still haven't quite nailed the recipe. In this version, I use cream cheese to impart creaminess. Sheila will be happy to know that I have decided Irish Kerrygold Dubliner has the best taste for mac & cheese. So here's the recipe, still being tweaked, but I'm getting close!

And here's the best news of all. You know how everyone makes a roux first? Hah! It's not necessary. You can actually dump everything except the cheese into the milk and you get the same result!

Creamy Mac & Cheese

16 ounces cooked macaroni
5 cups 2% milk
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
pepper to taste
6 tablespoons flour
5 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons dried mustard
1 teaspoon paprika
12 ounces (1 1/2 blocks) shredded Kerrygold Dubliner
6 ounces cream cheese, cut into small chunks

3 slices toasted bread
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Cook the macaroni. Shred the Kerrygold Dubliner. Preheat oven to 375.

Pour milk, salt, pepper, flour, butter, mustard, and paprika into a pot and stir while bringing to a boil. Add the cheeses and stir until melted. Pour over the macaroni and stir to coat thoroughly. Pour into a 9 x 13 casserole dish.

Place toasted bread and Parmesan into a food processor. Spin until fine. Add salt to taste. Sprinkle over the top of the mac and cheese. Bake 20 minutes or until it's hot and bubbling on the sides.

Mix everything except the cheeses!

It all melts together.

Sprinkle with topping.

Almost there!


  1. My favorite mac and cheese is the baked version. I have tried so many recipes and now I will try this one!
    Have a lovely New Year's Day!

  2. Happy new year to all the cooks here.

  3. Try making a bechamel/white sauce-I think that makes the difference. Slowly add your cheese to that.

  4. We're big mac & cheese fans, too, at home or at two local bistros that serve a great plate. Our home version comes from Laura Washburn's French Country Cooking, very much in the Julia style; it calls for Beaufort, rarely available here, so we use the similarly-nutty Gruyere and are in heaven. It's also great to set some aside, unbaked, and freeze to bake and relish another day!

  5. Krista, what do you think is missing? Flavor? Texture? Other?
    Half Kerrygold and half Gruyere sounds tasty.

    Happy new year to you all!

  6. I am also in the search for the perfect mac and cheese recipe. It has been elusive. People have told me of the Velveeta melting perfectly and the evaporated milk helping the dish to be creamy, but it did not quite get me where I wanted to go. Of course, I am happy to eat the results regardless. Your recipe will be on my next attempt. We are currently trying to eat a little lighter in order to make up for Thanksgiving and Christmas season. New Year's does not necessitate heavy things thank goodness.