Canned Evaporated Milk Is The Way To Go For Creamier Mac And Cheese

Nostalgic, comforting, and satisfying all at once, it's no wonder mac and cheese is such an irreplaceable classic. It also helps that this dish is so simple to make, requiring only a few basic ingredients. No matter what your preferences are, the staples are usually just macaroni, cheese, butter, and milk. Well, with just a small tweak, your mac and cheese might turn out even better, and all it entails is swapping regular milk with canned evaporated milk.

While there's nothing wrong with regular milk, evaporated milk is a great choice for those who like their mac and cheese ultra-creamy. Its concentrated form, achieved by evaporating the milk's water content through a slow-heating process, renders a silky, rich consistency. When met with the ooey-gooey melted cheese, every luscious spoonful is dreamily creamy.

Adding evaporated milk to recipes not only gives a textural enhancement but also brings a flavor boost. Compared to regular milk, evaporated milk has a much more pronounced sweetness, with a rich tone perfect for taking your mac and cheese to the next level. Hidden in the undertone is a toasty, caramelized nutty note that gives your mac and cheese a delightful nuance.

Incorporating evaporated milk into mac and cheese

When cooking savory dishes, 1 cup of milk can be replaced with ½ cup each of evaporated milk and water. Or use a mixture of regular milk and evaporated milk like Tasting Table recipe developer Hayley Maclean did with her slow cooker mac and cheese recipe. For an extra thick and creamy mac and cheese, leave the evaporated milk undiluted. Alternatively, keep the amount of macaroni and evaporated milk at equal ounces.

The cooking process remains relatively unchanged. In fact, it might even be simpler because you can skip making the thickening roux. Much like regular milk, the evaporated milk goes into the pot after the macaroni is nearly al dente and drained of water. Bring it to a boil then add the cheese, reduce to a simmer, and stir everything together until you have a golden, creamy cheesy sauce. You can either make a quick stove-top version or pop it in the oven to get a crispy topping.

Using evaporated milk doesn't remove the creative potential mac and cheese holds. Branch out beyond the usual cheddar and go for something a bit unconventional like mascarpone, to enhance the creaminess even further. You may find its fluffy softness and sweet touch to be oddly fitting. If you'd like a hint of savoriness, bacon or chicken are marvelous additions. For more complex flavors, don't hesitate to sprinkle in some ground spices or dijon mustard. You'll be amazed by the difference a few tablespoons can make.