HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
What's your latest food project? Get great advice

Mac n Cheese recipe that looks like Krafts Mac N Cheese

ellaf Feb 6, 2011 11:58 AM

I would like to make a home made mac and cheese that has the same texture, color as the bought stuff for when we have kids over. I make a terrific Martha Stewart mac n cheese, but the kids think it looks "funny". Does anyone have any ideas, maybe orange cheese as a starter? I want to use real cheese, no Velveeta, and I want it to taste good.

  1. King of Northern Blvd Feb 6, 2011 12:16 PM

    I think Alton has a recipe for Stove top mac and cheese that is supposed to mimic Kraft.

    1. u
      ursalita Feb 6, 2011 12:17 PM

      I think this is a good one: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al... .

      I make it for my kids but they still prefer the box (Annies).

      1. e
        escondido123 Feb 6, 2011 12:18 PM

        I know someone will come forth with the Alton Brown recipe, but here's my thoughts. Kraft mac n cheese in the blue box is one of my childhood favorites. As an adult, I make great 4 Cheese Pasta that is my absolute favorite, but when I want Kraft I want it just as it is. There are a few things that make it what it is: pretty low quality elbow macaroni that is very small, cooks too quickly and has almost no flavor--a "cheese" powder that contains chemicals we cannot purchase in the grocery store--and a dayglo orange that is almost impossible to reproduce.

        For the sake of your sanity, and the happiness of the kids, I say just continue to make what we always called Kraft Dinner. Whether you serve them this, or some "healthy" pasta containing lots of cheese, it will make little difference in the long run. Knock yourself out on food when people will appreciate it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: escondido123
          david t. Feb 7, 2011 09:41 AM

          I agree. They are too young to appreciate good food. Make your martha stewart version for the adults (and that rare and special child that knows good food), and the kraft box for the rest of the kids. I think you'll be kicking yourself by slaving over a good dish with real cheese, and the kids don't even care.

        2. j
          jvanderh Feb 6, 2011 06:12 PM

          I'd go with a simple cheese sauce- start with a roux, add milk and cheddar cheese. Maybe you could even find a cheese powder that's just dehydrated cheese (might make it more orange). Toss over boiled elbow noodles.

          1. srsone Feb 6, 2011 06:18 PM

            only problem is the blue box doesnt taste the same as it used to...

            so if u use a good cheddar as the base the color should be close...u might need a little mustard powder..for taste....

            3 Replies
            1. re: srsone
              escondido123 Feb 6, 2011 07:10 PM

              I agree the blue box doesn't taste the same but it's the closest you will get to it. All believe all other attempts are futile......children know.

              1. re: escondido123
                srsone Feb 6, 2011 07:34 PM

                my 3 yo will eat any kind of mac and cheese so far...
                but the kraft cheddar explosion seems to be her fave so far...

                i agree the kids will know...if they know the blue box...just the different shape pasta will let them know...

                and i cant find my other favorite box anymore...called golden grain mac and cheese....

              2. re: srsone
                imtopher Mar 15, 2012 10:45 AM

                I think the reason the blue box doesn't taste like it used to is because they've changed the cooking instructions (to make it "healthier", I think). Somewhere hidden on the box (at least in the US) are the old instructions with all of the buttery, salty goodness you remember.

              3. chowser Feb 7, 2011 04:20 AM

                I like Alton Brown's stove top one. Use extra sharp cheddar for more cheese flavor, and get the orange one. And, I can make it in the same amount of time as the boxed stuff.


                1. greygarious Feb 7, 2011 06:43 AM

                  Some supermarkets sell orange cheese powder. I get it online from Barry Farm. Blend it into the milk you'll be using to make your cheese sauce with better quality cheeses, and use a bit of Velveeta or cold pack cheese food too. Adjust the amounts of these additions to come close to the taste and color of the blue box stuff. The creamier texture and added flavor from the real cheese should win the kids over.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: greygarious
                    srsone Feb 7, 2011 09:24 AM

                    ive never seen orange cheese powder in any of mine...ill have to keep an eye out....

                    do they have oreo creme filling in a tube?

                    1. re: srsone
                      greygarious Feb 7, 2011 10:25 AM

                      Ironically, I saw it in the fancy cheese case at one of the Market Baskets I shop at in Massachusetts. I did not notice it the next time but since there are four MBs within a 5-mile radius of my home it might not have been that store. Inventory varies slightly from store to store. They don't have Oreo filling....but they sell Crisco and sugar, for a DIY version ;-D

                  2. m
                    mahlzeit_yumyum Mar 15, 2012 03:38 PM

                    I grew up eating eating the from-the-box mac and cheese (my mom wasn't familiar with American cooking) so for me it was the "real" mac and cheese, not the baked one with bread crumbs. I created this stove top version on my own and no longer get the boxed version. It basically uses the same ingredients except fresh cheese. It's super easy, fast, and still only uses one pot!

                    + American cheese slices (from the deli: white or orange, i.e. Land o' Lakes, generic market brand, etc)
                    + pasta (elbows, small or medium shells, bowtie)
                    + butter
                    + milk
                    + optional: broccoli and/or grape tomatoes

                    In a pot, boil water and cook the pasta. When all dente, drain.
                    Using the same pot, over low heat, place some slices of cheese, milk and butter. Stir until the cheese is melted, add the pasta, and mix so that the pasta is coated with the cheese sauce.
                    Tip: Add the milk in small quantities. Allow the cheese to melt (which it does pretty quickly) and get it to the consistency you want by adding more milk. You can always add more milk to thin it or more cheese to thicken it.

                    I like to make it a bit more balanced meal and add some additional color, flavor, and texture by topping it with broccoli, grape tomatoes sliced in half and thinly sliced scallions. Usually the cheese has enough salt without the veggies, but if you add the veggies, you can lightly salt and pepper the veggies. You can keep it a one pot dish with the broccoli, because I just add some broccoli florets into the cooking pasta pot when the pasta is pretty much done. Careful not to overcook the broccoli, it should still have a bright green color - it's just blanched so that it's softened and loses some of the raw bitterness.


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: mahlzeit_yumyum
                      ellaf Jun 10, 2012 03:08 PM

                      Thank you so much! I will be storing this away for the next time that we have kids visit.

                    Show Hidden Posts