The Umami-Rich Ingredient You Should Try In Your Mac And Cheese

How does one improve mac and cheese? This decadent combination of cheese and pasta needs so little and yet gives so much comfort. Still, there are some flavorful tricks you can use to take this recipe to the next level. One secret ingredient that could change your mac and cheese game is Vegemite.

A beloved condiment in the Outback, Vegemite is the Australian version of marmite, a yeast extract packing plenty of vitamins and umami flavor. Vegemite has a slight flavor edge on marmite, as it also offers a hint of malt barley, making it saltier and more pungent than its counterpart. While it may seem an unlikely seasoning agent for your mac and cheese, Aussies have been pairing Vegemite with cheesy dishes for years. The recipes range from simple, like cheese and Vegemite sandwiches, to elaborate, like the pastries known as cheese and Vegemite scrolls. The two ingredients just work together, with the salty, savory Vegemite bringing out the best in the creamy, delicious dairy. So how should you go about adding this ingredient to your next batch of mac and cheese?

Vegemite and cheese: a match made in heaven

Start by picking a simple mac and cheese recipe that you think could do with a savory flavor boost. A cheddar-based recipe would work very well with Vegemite, as would one with a milder mozzarella or Swiss cheese base. In terms of how much Vegemite you should you be adding to your dish, think of it as a condiment akin to soy sauce. Though it's thicker than soy sauce and needs to be mixed in more thoroughly, both are powerfully salty and need to be used sparingly.

Start by incorporating 1 tablespoon of Vegemite, and if you're concerned about it being too high in sodium, just eliminate any salt that's called for otherwise. Remember that you'll be salting the water for your pasta; cheese brings its own salt to the recipe as well, so know that there's hidden sodium already lurking in there. To add in your tablespoon or so of Vegemite, whisk it into the béchamel or cheese sauce, until it's smoothly incorporated. All that's left is a hot bake in the oven, and you'll have a chance to taste a mac and cheese dish packing a game changing umami punch.