Last Updated on January 24, 2023 by Lauren Beck
Mac and cheese is a classic comfort food that is loved by many. But what makes this dish truly special is the cheese. The right cheese can take this dish to the next level, adding depth and complexity to the flavors.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the 8 best cheeses to use for mac and cheese, the worst types of cheese to avoid, tips and tricks for making the perfect mac and cheese, and more.
8 Best Cheeses to Use for Mac and Cheese
- Cheddar: A classic choice, cheddar cheese is sharp, tangy, and has a smooth texture. It is a great choice for adding depth and richness to the dish.
- Gouda: A semi-hard cheese that is nutty, buttery, and has a slightly sweet taste. Gouda is a great choice for adding a unique and complex flavor to the dish.
- Gruyere: A semi-hard cheese that is nutty and slightly sweet. It is perfect for adding a rich and creamy texture to the dish.
- Brie: A soft cheese that is creamy and buttery. Brie is perfect for adding a rich and decadent flavor to the dish.
- Parmesan: A hard cheese that is nutty and slightly salty. Parmesan is perfect for adding a sharp and savory flavor to the dish.
- Blue Cheese: A tangy and pungent cheese that can add a bold and unique flavor to the dish.
- Pecorino Romano: A hard and salty cheese that is perfect for adding a sharp and nutty flavor to the dish.
- Mozzarella: A soft cheese that is creamy and stretchy. Mozzarella is perfect for adding a smooth and creamy texture to the dish.
Worst Types of Cheese for Mac and Cheese
- American Cheese: While American Cheese may melt well, it doesn’t have much flavor and can leave the mac and cheese feeling greasy.
- Processed Cheese: Processed cheese is not a good option for mac and cheese as it doesn’t have much flavor and can give the dish a plastic-like texture.
- Cream Cheese: While cream cheese can add a creamy texture, it can also make the dish overly heavy and greasy.
- Feta: Feta is a salty cheese that can overpower the dish and make it too salty.
- String Cheese: String cheese is not a good option for mac and cheese as it doesn’t melt well and doesn’t have much flavor.
How To Make Mac and Cheese Perfectly?
To make mac and cheese , you will need the following ingredients:
- 8 oz of pasta (elbows, shells, or cavatappi)
- 4 tbsp of butter
- 4 tbsp of all-purpose flour
- 3 cups of whole milk
- 8 oz of grated cheese (cheddar, gouda, gruyere, etc)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: breadcrumbs for topping
- Cook pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Once melted, add in the flour and stir until a paste forms. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until it begins to turn golden.
- Gradually add in the milk, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens.
- Once thickened, add in the grated cheese and stir until the cheese is fully melted and the sauce is smooth.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and stir until the pasta is fully coated.
- Optional: top with breadcrumbs and bake in a preheated oven at 350°F for 10-15 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are golden and crispy.
- Serve hot and enjoy!
Tips and Tricks
Use a combination of cheeses: Using a combination of different cheeses can add depth and complexity to the dish’s flavors.
- Experiment with different pasta types: Different types can add a unique texture to the dish.
- Add in some spices: Spices such as nutmeg, cayenne pepper, or smoked paprika can add depth and complexity to the flavors.
- Add in some vegetables: Adding in some vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, or cauliflower can add some nutrition and a pop of color to the dish.
- Add in some protein: Adding in some protein such as bacon, chicken, or shrimp can make the dish more filling and satisfying.
How to Choose a Cheese for Making Mac and Cheese?
When choosing a cheese for making mac and cheese, it’s important to consider the flavor and texture of the cheese. Sharp and tangy cheeses such as cheddar or gouda can add depth and richness to the dish. Creamy and buttery cheeses such as brie or mozzarella can add a smooth and decadent texture. Nutty and slightly sweet cheeses such as gruyere or gouda can add a unique and complex flavor.
How Do You Keep Mac and Cheese Creamy?
One way to keep mac and cheese creamy is by using a roux (a mixture of butter and flour) to thicken the sauce. Using whole milk can also add a richness and creaminess to the dish. Adding in a small amount of cream cheese or sour cream can also help keep the dish creamy.
Why Add Egg to Mac and Cheese?
Adding an egg to mac and cheese can help bind the ingredients together and create a more cohesive dish. It can also add a richness and creaminess to the dish.
What Gives Mac and Cheese More Flavor?
Adding in spices such as nutmeg, cayenne pepper, or smoked paprika can add depth and complexity to the flavors. Using a combination of different cheeses can also add a variety of flavors to the dish.
Should I Add Milk to My Mac and Cheese?
Adding milk can help create a creamier and smoother sauce for the mac and cheese. Whole milk is often recommended as it adds a richness and creaminess to the dish.
Why Do You Put Butter in Mac and Cheese?
Butter is often used in mac and cheese to create a roux (a mixture of butter and flour) which helps thicken the sauce and make it creamy. Butter can also be used to sauté vegetables or protein to add depth and complexity to the flavors.
Mac and cheese is a classic comfort food that is loved by many. The right cheese can take this dish to the next level, adding depth and complexity to the flavors. The 8 best cheeses to use for mac and cheese are Cheddar, Gouda, Gruyere, Brie, Parmesan, Blue Cheese, Pecorino Romano, and Mozzarella. It’s important to avoid worst types of cheese like American Cheese, Processed Cheese, Cream Cheese, Feta, and String Cheese. For a perfect mac and cheese it’s important to use a combination of cheeses, cook the pasta al dente, use a roux, use whole milk and bake it. Tips and Tricks like experimenting with different types of pasta, adding spices, vegetables and protein can make the dish more delicious. Always consider the cheese’s flavor and texture when choosing, and use the appropriate quantity to achieve the desired result.