The Breadcrumb Substitute For Crunchy, Buttery Mac And Cheese

A traditional bowl of mac and cheese is just about perfect all on its own, but it's always fun to try out new ways to upgrade the familiar dish. One of these is by using breadcrumbs to add crunchiness to the gooey mac and cheese. But what if we told you there was another ingredient to replace the breadcrumbs that would make the mac and cheese even more memorable?

Enter the buttery cracker. Ritz crackers will add that crunch that you're looking for, just like the breadcrumbs do, but will also bring in a delicious buttery flavor to make the creamy dish even more decadent and delicious. We think you won't look back. The Ritz cracker method is used for Tasting Table's simple mac and cheese (with crunchy topping) recipe, which was developed by Christina Musgrave. It's a fairly standard mac and cheese recipe, flavored with a delicious grating of sharp cheddar cheese, but it's baked with the buttery cracker topping for an extra crunchy super-tasty crust. Using crackers takes the same amount of time as using breadcrumbs, so there's no extra hassle. In fact, the entire dish is done in 40 minutes, 30 of which are spent in the oven.

Do the crackers need to be buttery?

If you're going to add crackers to top your mac and cheese, then it is important that you opt for buttery crackers such as Ritz, for several reasons.

Musgrave told Tasting Table, "These types of crackers are great because of their high butter content so they don't dry out too much during baking." Further, she explained that a cracker without any butteriness, such as a saltine, is likely to be far too dry, and will only get dryer during the baking process. Remember, this mac & cheese spends a full half an hour in the oven. And there are added benefits, too: The butter crackers bring a richness to the dish that dry crackers like saltines wouldn't. Trust us, the difference is night and day.

Of course, you don't have to use Ritz — you can go with your preferred cracker brand, just make sure that it's as buttery as a Ritz cracker is. And, if you're someone who likes to stick with what they know, then refer to Tasting Table's baked mac and cheese recipe which has the original breadcrumb topping.