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How To Thicken Mac And Cheese? Guide For A Creamy Mac And Cheese

What is your favorite comfort food? Some people love good beef stews, and some prefer creamy and cheesy mac and cheese. This lukewarm cheesy goodness is one of my first recipes for macaroni ever since my college time that can look simple but tricky to perfect. 

The most common problem that many people face when making mac and cheese is runny cheese sauce. I bet that you got a ton of troubles and headaches to find the reasons and the answer how to how to thicken mac and cheese?.

If you still can’t find any reasonable solutions, Don’t worry; this post is precisely what you need. Let’s find out in my post below!

Why Does Your Cheese Sauce Won’t Thicken?

How To Thicken Mac And Cheese

The creamy cheese sauce is what makes a good mac and cheese. But it seems your homemade mac and cheese is struggling to meet with the restaurant mac and cheese. So, what is happening to your version?

The simple answer is a disproportionate ratio. Your cheese sauce becomes runny because of its extra liquid content. It means you might have poured more water or more cup of milk than your cheesy sauce requirement. There should be enough particles to suspend the watery part for fluid to have a good thickness and stickiness. 

When pouring a cup of liquid with viscosity particles, the watery part will have to drag the particles inside and make the fluid viscous.

How To Thicken Mac And Cheese? 2 Best Way To Try!

Sometimes, your mac and cheese might come out unexpectedly thin and runny. It might leave you frustrated because of the bad result. Don’t worry; even if you have finished the cheese sauce, you can always save the cheese sauce in some simple and effective ways.

Mac and cheese should be a simple dish that you can make without problems. I have learned some great hacks to make your mac and cheese better with my years of making mac and cheese. 

Overall, to thicken mac and cheese, you need to add ingredients promoting the viscosity of the liquid. 

So, what can you add to mac and cheese?

1. How To Thicken A Cheese Sauce With Flour

Flour is one of the popular thickening agents in many dessert recipes. So, it is completely reasonable to use it to thicken your runny cheese sauce. You can make cheese sauce with cornstarch instead of flour as well. Similar to thickening salad dressing, here is what you need to do:

Ingredient

  • ½ cup of water
  • 1-2 teaspoons of cornstarch or flour 
  • One saucepan
  • One wooden spoon 
  • One bowl

How to thicken up mac and cheese:

  1. Take out a small bowl and put flour and cold water inside with a ratio of 1:1. Then whisk them well to create a slurry for your cheese sauce.
  2. Pour one teaspoon of slurry into the cream sauce at a time. This action gives you better control over the consistency of the cheese sauce.
  3. Then, put the cheese sauce on a saucepan and simmer it for 5 minutes. Hot liquid will help to remove any raw flour taste inside the mixture.
  4. Once it is hot enough, you can check the sauce viscosity. If you want a thicker and creamier mix, you can pour in the rest of the thickening agent.

2. How To Thicken Cheese Sauce Without Flour

What if you don’t have flour or cornstarch in your kitchen at the moment? Don’t worry! You can always work on these quick and easy ingredients to thicken cheese sauce:

A great way to make your hot sauce creamier is by adding egg yolk. It is also a great thickener for your baked goods and sour cream. Let’s find out how to make cheese sauce thicker with this ingredient: 

Ingredient

  • A bowl of cheese sauce 
  • One egg yolk
  • One saucepan One bowl
  • One whisk

 How to thicken cream cheese dip:

  1. Use a small bowl and crack the egg yolk inside. Whisk it well. Then, you can pour the cheese sauce slowly inside the bowl to get one cup of this mixture.
  2. Once it is mixed, you can pour it back into the hot sauce bowl.
  3. Put the cheese sauce in the saucepan on medium heat. After that, you can whisk it slowly to blend the mixture well.
  4. Continue to stir until you have your desired texture.

Another way you can intensify your mac and cheese texture is by adding more than one type of cheese! This way is so easy as you have the pre-shredded cheese already in your kitchen pantry. However, this technique might make your cheese sauce too thick with a strong cheese flavor.

Ingredient

  •  Shredded cheddar cheese or grated cheese 
  • One saucepan

How to thicken dip:

  1. Pour the cheese sauce inside the saucepan at low heat. Stir it constantly.
  2. Then add the extra cheese inside to the thicker sauce and stir the mix well. When it reaches your desired texture, let the sauce cool so the sauce can get even creamier. 

If the cheese sauce becomes too thick, how to thin out cheese sauce

You can always fix it with a tablespoon of milk or water.

You can also thicken your cheese sauce by adding bechamel sauce inside. As cheese sauce is made from bechamel base, it is perfect for adding your leftover bechamel sauce that would make your cheese sauce creamier and tastier than ever.

Ingredient

  • One tablespoon of bechamel sauce 
  • One saucepan
  • One bowl
  • One wooden spoon

 How to thicken cheese dip:

  1. Take your white sauce out of the fridge and let it melt at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Then, you can pour the sauce inside a saucepan at low heat. Stir it occasionally until it is hot.
  3. Once it is hot, you can add the soupy sauce inside and mix them well. As soon as it meets the desired texture, you can let the sauce cool down to be thicker.

What if you don’t have any of the ingredients above? You can try to evaporate the excess liquid by heating the cream cheese like thickening pasta sauce. This will adjust the ratio and let your sauce creamier. 

How to do it?

  1. Put on a saucepan at low heat. Pour in your cream cheese and stir well.
  2. Simmer the saucepan when it is hot enough. After that, you need to check the texture constantly to get your desired texture. It is important not to leave the sauce boiling as it can burn easily and change your cream sauce texture.

Creamy Mac And Cheese Recipe 

Mac and cheese is such a tasty dish for any meal of the day. If you are still struggling with how to make a good mac and cheese, check out my extra creamy homemade cheese sauce recipe below:

Ingredient

  • One pound of elbow macaroni
  • One pound of white cheddar cheese 
  • Five tablespoons of unsalted butter 
  • Five tablespoons of all-purpose flour 
  • 5 cups of cold milk
  • ½ teaspoon of salt and ground black pepper or white pepper 

How to do it?

  1. Put on a large pot of water on the stovetop at medium-high heat. Put salt inside and add the dry pasta inside when it is boiling. Cook for 1 minute and take out the macaroni.
  2. Take a large high sided pot on medium heat. Add the stick of butter to melt it. After that, you can put in the flour and whisk with the melted butter for 2-3 minutes.
  3. While whisking, you can add the cup milk inside and lower the heat. Simmer the mixture until it is thickened.
  4. Then, add the cheddar cheese inside, along with the black peppers and a pinch of salt. Stir it occasionally until the mix is smooth.
  5. After that, add the cooked pasta inside to blend with the whole mix. The macaroni will help absorb more liquid, leaving a thick and creamy sauce. Once you have the desired consistency, take the pot out and let the thick cheese sauce cool down for 5 minutes before serving it. 

Conclusion

Making mac and cheese requires you to consider the right ratio of wet and dry ingredients. If you use the wrong ratio, it will result in watery mac and cheese. I hope you have learned how to thicken mac and cheese with the appropriate ingredients with my thin cheese sauce hacks. As you practice, you will find the right way to master your mac and cheese sauce.

Kevin Richard
 

Hi all! I’m Kevin. I spend plenty of time in the kitchen every day because I love cooking healthy and delicious foods for my family and friends. Cooking gives me a chance to be creative and fun. It’s also one of the most meaningful ways to express my love and take care of my little family.

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