Every busy homemaker knows the magic of Kraft Mac and Cheese. This iconic blue box is a staple in American pantries and has been serving up smiles since 1937. A product of the Great Depression, it was an affordable, convenient, and tasty solution for families across the nation. Over the years, its popularity has only grown, making it a cultural touchstone recognized around the world.
How to Make Kraft Mac and Cheese
The classic Kraft Mac and Cheese recipe is simple, requiring only a few ingredients:
- 1 box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese
- 6 cups of water
- 4 tablespoons of margarine or butter
- 1/4 cup of milk
Start by boiling the water in a large saucepan. Add the macaroni and cook it for 7-8 minutes. Drain the macaroni but do not rinse. Add the margarine or butter, milk, and cheese sauce mix, stirring until everything is well combined. The beauty of Kraft Mac and Cheese lies in its simplicity, giving you the flexibility to prepare it either on the stovetop or in the microwave.
Upgraded and Copycat Recipes
While the standard box recipe is a family favorite, there are ways to elevate your Kraft Mac and Cheese experience. Here’s a simple upgrade recipe:
- Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (classic blue box with a packet of cheese sauce)
- Cheddar Cheese (or any other cheese that melts well)
- Sour Cream
- Ground Red or Black Pepper
- Crushed Crackers (Ritz crackers suggested, but panko breadcrumbs or French fried onions are also options)
- Butter (or margarine as an alternative)
- Cook the Kraft Macaroni and Cheese according to the package instructions.
- After cooking, stir in the cheddar cheese, sour cream, and pepper into the mac and cheese for additional flavor and creaminess.
- Transfer the mac and cheese into a greased baking dish to prevent sticking.
- Add an extra layer of shredded cheese on top for more cheesy goodness.
- In a separate bowl, combine the crushed crackers with melted butter to create the crunchy topping.
- Sprinkle the cracker and butter mixture over the cheese layer on the mac and cheese.
- Bake in an oven preheated to 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.
- Allow the baked mac and cheese to rest for 5 minutes before serving
Follow the instructions on the package to cook your mac and cheese. Stir in cheddar cheese, sour cream, and pepper after cooking for extra flavor and creaminess.
Transfer the mix into a baking dish, top with additional cheese, and create a crunchy topping by combining the crushed crackers with melted butter. Sprinkle this over the cheese layer and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. After resting for 5 minutes, your upgraded Kraft Mac and Cheese is ready to serve!
Experiment with different cheeses, spices, or mix-ins – the possibilities are endless. You can even try your hand at a homemade version that mimics the taste and texture of Kraft Mac and Cheese.
Making this Mac & Cheese Dish Better
- Extra Cheddar Cheese: The original recipe includes a creamy cheese sauce, but by adding additional shredded cheddar, you’re layering more complex cheese flavors and textures. The cheddar melts into the hot pasta and sauce, creating pockets of gooey, melted cheese that enrich the dish far beyond what’s provided in the standard box.
- Sour Cream: Sour cream is a clever addition that introduces a tangy depth to the flavor profile. It helps balance the richness of the cheeses with its subtle acidity and contributes to a creamier, more indulgent sauce. It also helps the consistency of the sauce, making it smoother and helping it cling to the macaroni better.
- Ground Pepper: While it might seem like a small addition, ground pepper can have a significant impact. It doesn’t just add a hint of heat; it also brings out the other flavors in the dish. Pepper cuts through the richness of the cheese and sour cream, providing a savory counterpoint that enhances the overall taste.
- Crushed Crackers and Butter Topping: The crushed cracker topping is a classic way to add texture to a baked pasta dish. When mixed with melted butter and baked, the crackers become golden and crispy, offering a delightful crunch that contrasts with the creamy, soft pasta below. This mimics a breadcrumb topping often found in homemade baked mac and cheese recipes, giving a more rustic and comforting feel to the dish.
These upgrades transform a simple box of Kraft Mac and Cheese into a more sophisticated and satisfying meal, with a richer, creamier cheese sauce and a multifaceted texture that you would expect from a homemade dish.
Kraft Mac and Cheese pairs wonderfully with various dishes. Serve it alongside grilled chicken or sausages, or pair it with a fresh salad for a well-rounded meal. For an attractive presentation, consider serving in individual ramekins or colorful bowls.
See Also: Mac and Cheese Serving Suggestions
A serving of classic Kraft Mac and Cheese contains 360 calories, 12g of protein, and 3g of fiber. If you have dietary restrictions or preferences, consider using plant-based milk or butter alternatives.
Is Kraft Mac and cheese better with milk?
Yes, preparing Kraft Mac and Cheese with milk is generally preferred as it makes the cheese sauce creamier and richer. Milk adds a smooth, velvety texture and contributes to the overall flavor of the dish. The standard Kraft Mac and Cheese box instructions often recommend adding milk for these reasons.
What is the powder in Kraft mac and cheese?
The powder in Kraft Mac and Cheese is a cheese sauce mix made primarily of whey, milkfat, milk protein concentrate, salt, and contains less than 2% of sodium tripolyphosphate, citric acid, lactic acid, sodium phosphate, calcium phosphate, with yellow 5 and yellow 6 colorings added. This powder, when mixed with butter and milk, creates the creamy cheese sauce that is characteristic of the dish.
See Also: Does Kraft Mac and Cheese Expire?
Other Mac & Cheese Dishes
The versatility and enduring appeal of Kraft Mac and Cheese make it a favorite among busy homemakers. Whether you stick to the classic recipe or experiment with your own variations, this beloved comfort food always delivers on its promise: a quick, easy, and delicious meal that the whole family will love. Go ahead – open that blue box and let the magic happen!