White Cheddar Mac ‘n’ Cheese
You won’t find a creamier white cheddar mac ‘n’ cheese and it can be made in just 15 minutes!
The world of Mac ‘n’ Cheese is large. Mac ‘n’ Cheese is a tried-and-true dish with many staple variations across the states. So rather than tackle this all at once we wanted to focus on one small piece of it, and probably not even the most popular piece. We analyzed White Cheddar Mac ‘n’ Cheese Specifically.
The key distinguishing feature that we built our dataset on was the inclusion of White Cheddar. So, obviously all the recipes in our dataset had this ingredient. What was more variable was the amount. Normalizing to a pound of pasta, some recipes had as much as 6 cups or as little as 1. One of the more important ratios is the cheese to milk. More sauce will always be creamier, but the thickness and texture of it depends on the amount relative to the fluids. We kept it on the low end and rely on the roux to deliver the last bit of thickness as opposed to increasing the amount of cheese.
In addition to white cheddar, other options for cheese included Cream Cheese, Mozzarella and Parmesan. None of the recipes ever surpassed their additional cheeses over White Cheddar. We decided to stay in these bounds as well, but did choose to have slightly less cheese per lb. of noodles at 2 cups / lb. In addition to white cheddar, we included Mascarpone. Rather than rely on lots of cheese for creaminess we decided to let the inherent creaminess of mascarpone do the lifting. Mascarpone has 75% fat content, and thus provides the creaminess necessary without loading up too much unnecessary cheese into the noodles.
For liquid, almost all recipes we found use some combination of milk and cream, though some only used one. Since our cheese content was low by comparison, we wanted to keep a higher ratio at 1-part cream to 1-part milk. This all keeps grocery shopping easier since a single pint of half & half will provide the necessary amount of liquid and cream for this Mac ‘n’ Cheese.
The final component we considered was the roux. Not every Mac ‘n’ Cheese started with a roux, but we think it is the right way to get the thick creamy texture without overloading the dish with cheese. We did equal parts flour and butter with 4 Tbsp of each. This provided the right texture for liquid and cheese we chose to include.
If you really like your Mac ‘n’ Cheese with extra sauce, the best solution would be just decreasing the number of noodles or doubling the sauce. This sauce should deliver the right amount of creaminess by taste, and should not need adjustments to the ratios themselves, rather just the output quantity. We found this to pair very well with bread, especially if there is any leftover sauce in the mixing pan.
Most recipes do not include many spices, and we figured we would fall in line. We did, however, want to point out some options. Lemon was not something we saw but something we recommend. It provides just a little acidity, though it does taste less like a traditional white cheddar Mac ‘n’ Cheese. Additionally, for a bit of spicy kick many people tried using cayenne. In small amounts it adds a small kick to the end of the bite and in larger quantities can make every part of the bite spicier.
We would love to hear how yours turned out! Are you now a white cheddar fan or still prefer the more traditional route of cheddars?