Once you know how to thicken mac and cheese…the world is truly your oyster!
There is nothing worse than a thin mac and cheese. I used to ask myself how to thicken mac and cheese and I struggled for a while, completely ruining my dish with every try. Until I finally started to make it happen. Now, even if I completely mess up and come out with runny cheese noodles, I have become a master of thickening my mac and cheese. Let’s go over how to thicken mac and cheese here!
Why is my macaroni and cheese thin?
If you’ve never had the problem of making thin mac and cheese, then you are a better chef than I! But for the rest of us mortals, this is nothing new. Thin mac and cheese is something that happens to the best of us. But how does it happen? And more importantly, how do we fix it?
There are a few reasons why your mac and cheese might turn out thin. The first reason is that you used too much liquid. This can be either in the form of milk or cheese sauce. If you use too much liquid, the pasta will soak it up and leave you with a watery mess.
Another reason your mac and cheese might turn out thin is that the pasta wasn’t cooked long enough. If the pasta isn’t cooked through, it will release starch into the cheese sauce, making it thin and runny.
The third reason is that you didn’t add enough cheese. This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you don’t add enough cheese, the sauce will be too thin.
How to Thicken Mac and Cheese
So now that we know why our mac and cheese turns out thin, let’s talk about how to fix it. There are a few different ways to thicken up your mac and cheese. The first way is to add more pasta. This might seem like a bad idea at first since you want to add more cheese. However, the starch from the pasta helps thicken up the sauce. So while you are adding more cheese, you can also add a bit more pasta so that all of your ingredients work together to thicken the dish.
Another option for thickening mac and cheese is to replace some of the milk with a roux. A roux is just cooked flour that has been dissolved into milk or melted butter. This way, you can replace some of your liquid with something that will thicken up the sauce, without making it too thin.
Finally, another option for thickening mac and cheese is to use a pre-made cheese sauce. This is a great option if you are in a hurry or if you don’t want to make your own cheese sauce. Just be careful not to buy a sauce that is too thick, or your mac and cheese will turn out gooey instead of creamy.
Thickened Mac and Cheese Recipe
– 1 lb. elbow macaroni or other small macaroni of your choice
– 2 cups milk
– 4 tablespoons butter
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 3 tablespoons flour
– 1 cup grated cheese of your choice (I recommend cheddar)
– 1/2 cup bread crumbs
– 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
- Cook macaroni in a large pot of boiling water following the package directions for al dente.
- While the macaroni is cooking, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Whisk flour into melted butter until smooth and bubbly, then add milk and cook while stirring constantly until thickened (about 4 to 5 minutes).
- Stir cheese of your choice into roux, plus salt and pepper to taste, and then stir in cooked macaroni.
- Pour macaroni mixture into a large casserole dish, top with bread crumbs, and drizzle lightly with melted butter.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until the bread crumbs are golden brown on top of your mac and cheese.
Macaroni and cheese is a staple of the American diet, but it can be hard to make sure that your mac and cheese isn’t too thin. Thankfully, there are several ways you can thicken up your mac and cheese without resorting to adding more milk. Hopefully, after reading this you have all the sources you need to thicken your mac and cheese so you’re not left with cheesy noodle soup anymore!
Thick Mac and Cheese FAQ
How can I make my Mac and Cheese thicker?
For your cheese sauce, all you need is one or two teaspoons of cornstarch or flour. To this end, add approximately a half cup of water to the mixture. You’ll need to whisk together cold water and cornstarch in a tiny dish until they form a slurry.
How do you thicken Mac and cheese with flour?
To thicken mac and cheese with flour, you will need to make a roux. A roux is just cooked flour that has been dissolved into milk or melted butter. This way, you can replace some of your liquid with something that will thicken up the sauce, without making it too thin.
Can I add pasta to Mac and Cheese to make it thicker?
Yes! If your cheese sauce is too thin, all you need to do is add a bit more pasta. The starch from the pasta helps thicken up the sauce.
How can I thicken cheese sauce without flour or cornstarch?
You can thicken cheese sauce without flour or cornstarch by using a roux, pureeing some of the cooked macaroni, or adding some grated cheese to the sauce.
Does baking Mac and cheese thicken it?
Baking Mac and cheese actually makes the sauce separate from the noodles. The result is a really thick cheesy crust, but no thicker macaroni and cheese sauce.