Swap Milk With Half-And-Half For An Even Creamier Mac And Cheese

Everyone has their own secrets and tips for crafting the perfect mac and cheese. Some people will tell you that you have to shred the cheese by hand; others will tell you it's all about having a good roux as your base. But one of the easiest tips for getting creamy, restaurant-quality mac and cheese is to swap out your regular milk for half-and-half. Half-and-half is a dairy product that features half regular milk and half heavy cream. This sneaky product is a great way to add some extra richness to your mac and cheese without it feeling too heavy on the stomach.

It's very simple to swap out half-and-half for milk in your mac and cheese recipes; you can use the same amount of half-and-half as you would milk. Since half-and-half still has some regular milk in it, it will act like milk while cooking so you won't have to worry about the ingredient swap impacting your dish. While the half-and-half cooks, the fats, which are greater than that of regular milk, will turn into a richer, thicker sauce. If you've ever felt your mac and cheese came out watery, this hack might help you fix that problem.

You can use this cooking swap in a variety of different mac and cheese recipes such as a roasted cauliflower "mac" and cheese or butternut squash mac and cheese. You can even use this trick for boxed mac and cheese.

Other tips for a creamier mac and cheese

One of the quickest ways to ruin a perfectly good mac and cheese is to mess up the baking process. Not everyone bakes their mac and cheese, but those who do should take caution to not overbake their dish. Overbaking can produce two less-than-stellar results: You can dry out your mac and cheese, or you could risk your noodles becoming mushy and giving your dish a watery texture. Always bake your mac and cheese for the correct amount of time according to your recipe. And, if you have an oven that can be temperamental, you may even want to bake it for five minutes less than the recipe recommends as a starting point so you won't risk accidentally overbaking.

You can also get a creamier mac and cheese by being mindful of your heat source while mixing your cheese sauce. If you make a roux for bechamel for your mac and cheese base, wait to add your shredded cheese till after you've turned off the heat. Having the heat too high as you add your cheese runs the risk of breaking your sauce, and having a gritty, curdled texture. Working with minimal heat allows for a smooth emulsified texture and a creamier dish overall.