The Ingredient Swap That Will Get You Creamier Mac And Cheese

Think of the best mac and cheese you've ever had. It's not just the flavor that makes it so delicious, but also the texture as a whole. The best mac and cheese is thick and creamy and has the perfect cheese to pasta ratio. But achieving this consistency, unfortunately, is not always the easiest. If you try to melt down an aged dry cheese like parmesan, for example, your sauce will turn out grainy. On the other hand, a cheese that's too moist, like feta, will result in a clumpy sauce, Delish says. Even the creamiest cheeses like cheddar and Gouda have issues melting smoothly if you use the packaged and pre-shredded kinds that have been coated with preservatives.

But while the type of cheese is largely responsible for the consistency of your sauce, it's not the only way to control the creaminess of your mac and cheese. According to Epicurious, using cream instead of milk in your béchamel makes a big difference, as does letting the mac and cheese rest overnight to absorb more sauce. 

There's another method, however, that works even on boxed mac and cheese.

Boil your macaroni in milk instead of water

Whether you're making mac and cheese from scratch or the kind out of the box, the process starts the same way: By cooking the pasta in a pot of boiling water. This is an essential step, but it usually has no effect on the creaminess of your mac and cheese. Swap that water for milk though, and as one viral TikTok demonstrates, you have the perfect base for creamy mac and cheese. The hack works just as well even if you're using powdered cheese, another TikTok shows. Instead of straining the macaroni and discarding the milk like you would pasta water, just make sure to reserve the milk for the sauce.

The way this method makes mac and cheese creamier is twofold, Kitchn shares. First, the milk gets locked into the actual pasta as it boils, yielding more decadent macaroni. Second, the starches from the pasta remain in the milk, and because you're using that same milk as a base for the sauce, the final product will be much richer. 

It's a simple substitution but one that's sure to give you the creamiest mac and cheese.