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Extra creamy Mac and cheese.

The temps are falling down into the twenties at night. My kids asked for an extra creamy mac and cheese to keep them warm and full. I have used the Martha Stewart recipe but, the kids don't seem to like it. I think it is fantastic. Does anyone have a extra creamy mac and cheese recipe they are willing to share?

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  1. There are many threads about this that should help

      1. re: chowser

        Alton Brown is the go-to guy for this IMHO.

        1. re: MrsPatmore

          Absolutely. My Dad loves Mac & Cheese, and I kept making all these gourmet versions, baked, with mixed expensive cheeses and he kept saying it wasn't creamy enough.

          Once I made Alton Brown's version, he stopped complaining!

      2. I know this is not "chow" like but over the summer I had someone ask me to do mac & cheese for 20 people, most of them children. I normally do mac & cheese with a b├ęchamel; I did this with regular extra sharp cheddar (which I usually use) and I got a can of cheese sauce to mix in it. They LOVED it so much that I'm embarrassed to say they wanted my recipe, which I really didn't want to give them...lol...

        12 Replies
        1. re: Cherylptw

          I have a similar story.

          Shame me if you want (post that handwritten note next to my avatar).


          It was used by the winner of the Bobby Flay Mac and cheese throw down so I added a bit of it to my already great Mac and cheese made with *good* cheese. It definitely made it creamier in a good way.

          I had never purchased it before and had no idea where to look for it in the store. Apparently it's sometimes kept on a regular shelf ....

          1. re: C. Hamster

            It is shockingly shelf stable so does not need refrigeration until opened. It's almost entirely real cheese. And it is highly recommended by Cook's as essential for smooth creamy cheese sauce.

            My MIL swears by Kraft Singles, which she refuses to believe are essentially the same thing, just wrapped in cellophane slices.

            Both work wonders and should comprise 1/2 - 1/3 of your sauce mix.

            Cook's points out that the more highly processed a cheese is, the more smoothly it will melt and resist separation and clumping.

            Oh yeah, as others have mentioned, don't bake. Stovetop only.

            1. re: acgold7

              I cannot bring myself to use more than a small amount of velveeta because it "tastes" like terrible nothingness.

              The whole point is the deliciousness of good cheese.

              I make mine on the stovetop and then top with buttered crumbs and bake till crusty and golden. If you do it this way you'll need to use more sauce than stovetop mac and cheese.

              1. re: acgold7

                Perhaps, but it's probably full of trans fats also.....

                1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                  Your use of the word "probably" indicates that you are guessing. If you look at the ingredients, you'll see you've guessed wrong.

                  1. re: acgold7

                    Yes, you're absolutely right! I guessed because I don't buy the stuff.

                2. re: acgold7

                  What "Cook's" are you referring to?

                  I can't see Cook's Illustrated/Cook's Country using Velveeta for any of their recipes. What they might do is create a homemade approximation of Velveeta that would taste a lot better. I don't know that they've done this before, but it seems like something the Cook's Country magazine/show might do. However, Cook's Illustrated wouldn't touch this type of project with a 10-ft pole- Cook's Country is sort of their "Americana" brand where they can play around with and tweak classic American recipes (for better or for worse-- but usually after they've tweaked it, it's for the better.)

                  I did a search on the America's Test Kitchen sites for Velveeta, and the only thing that came up with a clarification on whether cheese products like Velveeta were considered "real cheese".

                  In essence, they say that unlike other cheeses that are simply aged and sold, pasteurized process cheese goes a step further. One or more cheeses, such as colby or cheddar, are mixed with cream or milk fat and then heated with an emulsifier. The heating kills bacteria and increases the shelf life of the cheese, and the emulsifier promotes easy melting and a creamy texture. Since good bacteria provide cheese with much of its flavor, this process yields products with very little cheese flavor.

                  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the labeling of pasteurized process cheese according to the percentages by weight of moisture and milk fat. The FDA assigns three labels to goods made with pasteurized process cheese (in descending order of actual cheese content): food, spread, and product. Pasteurized process cheese products, like Velveeta, are no more than 51 percent cheese.

                  That's it. Only information, and not used as an ingredient in any recipes that I was able to find.

                  Can you clarify what recipe exactly you were referring to, or in what review Velveeta is "Highly recommended"?

                  Mr Taster

                  1. re: Mr Taster

                    It's not on the website -- it's been many years since they included the full article texts on the site. It was in the print edition when they explained why the creamiest mac requires use of Processed Cheese. I've long since sold off my print issues but still have some bound editions, and managed to find one reference. In the Jan- Feb 1997 issue, pp. 20-21, they discuss how highly processed dairy products such as evaporated milk and American Cheese produce a smoother sauce due to the evaporation and Pasteurization processes.

                    "To our surprise [they wrote], highly processed cheeses like American performed quite well in this dish. Much like evaporated milk, the more processing, the more stable the cheese and the more creamy the dish... for texture, buy American."

                    Velveeta is basically a shelf-stable version of American cheese, and if you read the ingredients, you'll see that it's about 98% milk or the components that are in milk, such as whey or milk protein concentrate. No Frankenfood here, sorry.

                    They did update the recipe in 2004 because the 1997 version was "incredibly rich."

                    I also feel fairly certain I've read it more recently than that but I'll let others pursue this further if they wish.

                    If you searched the Cook's website you probably also came across the taste test they did in 2011 for packaged Mac n' Cheese where the Velveeta Shells & Cheese came in second and was "Recommended" using this same stuff in sauce form in a packet. First place was the Kraft badged product with the liquid sauce, which is basically the same stuff with minor flavoring tweaks.

                    It's clear that most of the people who hate on Velveeta have never tasted it. It doesn't lack cheese flavor at all; it's actually quite sharp and strongly flavored. It just doesn't taste like other cheeses you might like more, that's all, and that's cool. Do I use it for anything else? Well, no. But for mac, it's essential as part of your mix. Anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 will do.

                    (And the bacteria themselves have no flavor, silly; the acids and compounds they produce are what make flavor. You can kill the bugs and leave the flavor. Nearly all cheeses sold in the US make use of Pasteurized milk and use enzymes rather than bacteria to make cheese and they don't lack flavor. Imported stinky cheeses are delicious and may or may not have bacteria still present but this in and of itself is meaningless; I've had many expensive imported Bries that are much milder than Velveeta. I'm not saying they weren't better, just milder.)

                    1. re: acgold7

                      I've tasted Velveeta and I think its bland without any actual cheeses taste and has a strange and offputting plasticity to it (although I'm sure the plasticity contributes to creaminess).

                      There is no way that I'm using it for even 1/3 of my cheese mix.

                      A little dab will do ya

                3. re: C. Hamster

                  I bought some about a month ago and I had to ask where to find it. Strangely enough, this particular store kept it in the refrigerated case alongside the real cheeses, even though it doesn't require refrigeration. I think some stores keep it by the crackers along with the canisters of squeeze cheese.

                  On a different note, has anyone tried the New York Times recipe for mac and cheese that uses pureed cottage cheese a base? The cottage cheese is pureed with milk and mixed with the cheddar. I thought it sounded interesting when I came across the recipe, but I never tried it.

                  1. re: gmm

                    I think this may be a Southern spin. It didn't sound that great to me when I first heard about it but I have a friend from NC who does it this way and it is pretty amazing.

                    Yeah, some stores do refrigerate the Velveeta. Interestingly, our local Costco has it next to the French's Yellow mustard and the Tabasco.

                    1. re: acgold7

                      I use it very rarely, but for some reason, stores around here tend to stock the Velveeta in the 'international' aisle. One keeps it near the salsa, another near the Italian foods with the green can of parm.

              2. It's the short cut version, but if you are making a boxed stove top version, instead of milk and butter, stir in half a cup of plain yogurt. And a bit of extra shredded cheese.

                1. I don't have any suggestions for you because Martha's recipe is my go-to. I just came here to commiserate: my 10-year old prefers Kraft.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: HeyImBack

                    LOL, so do my kids, age 10-12!

                    For the OP, if you use a bechamel type cheese sauce, I noticed it makes the dish stay creamier, if you don't bake it. So make the recipe you love, I like MS too, and just do. Stovetop version, by not baking or broiling it.

                  2. The last time I made mac and cheese, I used a pan smaller in width and length but deeper than I usually use. It resulted in a creamier product.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: MrsJonesey

                      I made Patti Labells last year and for some reason used a 9x13 instead of a deep casserole and it was pretty awfully dry, I'm thinking the pan size was the main issue.

                    2. Paula Deen's Creamy Mac and Cheese is excellent. http://m.foodnetwork.com/recipes/36316 I omit the eggs.

                      1. When throwing caution to the wind I build a Bechamel with cream and add a LOT of sharp white cheddar, some Gruyere, and a little Romano, plus a splash of Cholula. Top with grated Romano, Gruyere, and Panko. Be sure the top gets browned. Groan.

                        1. I grew up with the Mac and cheese made with b├ęchamel, and while I love it, my wife's is better.
                          Haven't seen the Martha Stewart recipe but here's how she taught me to make it.
                          Boil noodles, strain and put into a pan - typically 16oz elbows in a 9x12.
                          While noodles are still hot add 3-4 pats of butter or margarine (either works)
                          Lightly sprinkle with black pepper and Lawrys seasoning salt. Also sprinkle dry ground mustard - about 1-1.5 tsp.
                          In a bowl break 2-3 eggs (2 jumbo or 3 med-lrg) and lightly beat.
                          Add eggs to noodles and mix thoroughly. Noodles should be coated in egg and seasoning evenly dispersed.
                          Add shredded cheese - we us mix of cheddars (mild, sharp & extra sharp). About 20oz total
                          Mix again to get cheese evenly around the noodles.
                          Add milk (whole, 2% or preferably whole evaporated- 1.5-2cans) to the pan until it peeks through the crevices in the noodles. The bottom of the pan should be completely covered in milk but it should not be above the noodles completely.
                          Lightly sprinkle black pepper and Lawrys over the top. Can cover with cheese or breadcrumb crumble if you want.
                          Bake at 350 for 30-45 min.
                          Note - do not salt the water the noodles are boiled in, it throws off the balance of the dish. Also pepper is fine ground black pepper. Cracked or anything else (ie costcos coarse malabar black pepper) is too gritty. If no Lawrys, can use adobo or cavendars but even more sparingly and be prepared to alter the pepper accordingly (with cavendars less pepper, adobo - depends on the type but please do not use the bitter orange or any of the citrus blends). Also the dry mustard is optional. It adds a very nice depth but is not necessary if its not on hand.
                          I have had good results also using various cheeses - a white cheddar and gruyere. I typically use what is on hand.
                          Also, while it may seem arduous in the process to do one mix then add an ingredient and mix again - for some reason combining steps results in a less favorable outcome. I had to learn to just follow her recipe and if I wanted to change something it can only be the cheese. All my other tinkerings created a lesser product.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: ncghettogourmet

                            This seems like a Southern custard style. It comes out creamy?

                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                              I was wondering the same thing - with 2-3 eggs and baking At 350F for 30-45 min, I'm imagining a southern custard-style result. On the other hand, I do find that using canned, evaporated milk makes a creamy sauce and also seems to prevent the final product from becoming"grainy" after baking.

                              1. re: MrsPatmore

                                I love southern custard style but only grandmas. I can't seem to recreate it which is why my ears are wide open

                          2. Over the years I have developed my own mac and cheese with a bechamel base and whatever cheese I have in the fridge but always including some blue for a tang. However, back in the day I was on public assistance while in college and received a huge 5# block of velveeta like cheese on occasion. My roomates mom suggested a really easy mac and cheese (afterall we were less than 20 something college gals with little skill just hinger as a motivator) Boil a pound of noodles, place in a greased 12x9 pan, cut up about a pound or so of the cheese log into small cubes and plop onto the macaroni, fill the pan within a 1/2 inch of the top with milk, mix a cup of breadcrumbs with a TBS of melted butter and spread over top, bake until bubbly about 40 mins or so. It was so good (in my memory and so easy!)

                            1. I'd also echo what others here have said about the Bechamel. The other thing you can do is be sure to use whole milk (yes, it makes a difference), and consider adding some sour cream or replacing some of the milk with sour cream (off the heat so it doesn't curdle).

                              I hope you find something amazing!

                              1. What don't your kid like about Martha?

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                  I think they don't ;like the Gruyere Cheese??? They say it tastes yucky. They are Three and Five.

                                  1. re: josephlapusata

                                    I'm not three or five but I describe Gruyere as yucky too. I'm thinking of making Martha's macaroni this year but perhaps with Fontina or something else since I am not a Gruyere fan at all. Could you mix up the cheeses see what they think?

                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                      Mixing cheeses adds to the interest. You can use some pepper jack, blue cheese or Boursin to liven it up, for instance.

                                      And I just made the recipe on the Barilla box. LOL Make a roux, add some milk, bring it up to temperature and add the uncooked noodles. Simmer until they're cooked, maybe eight minutes. Take it off the burner and stir in the cheese. Let it sit for a few minutes to stiffen up. One pot and it's great.

                                2. Looks like I am going to add a bit of Velveeta to the mix and see what happens. Velveeta is actually no worse than American Cheese.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: josephlapusata

                                    I was told here on CH to add Velveeta OR cream cheese to the other cheeses; I've done it with the cream cheese and it seems pretty perfect to me. I think of cream cheese as a better product than velveeta.

                                    1. re: walker

                                      That's an excellent idea. I'll give it a try next time I make Mac.

                                      I believe evaporated milk will help for a creamy Mac as well

                                    1. Has anyone managed a creamy egg based?