Mac and cheese are among the most popular foods in the United States. It’s also one of the most versatile. You can make it with just about any cheese, and it’s easy to adapt to your favorite flavors.
The best cheese for Mac and cheese is just a matter of preference; some people would love to use cheeses with a robust flavor using Cheddar cheese, while others would prefer the Gruyére cheese’s milder taste.
But which cheese makes your Mac and cheese stand out?
There’s a lot of debate going on about which cheese is more suitable for preparing a very delicious Mac and cheese, and with over a hundred different types and varieties of cheese, it is very difficult to find the right kind of cheese that will make you crave for more of the tasty experience while eating your Mac and cheese.
In this article, we have put together the ten best kinds of cheese, each with a strong or soft, almost nutty flavor and a distinctive taste that will give you a good taste experience while eating your Mac and cheese.
What Cheese Is Best For Mac And Cheese?
Is there a better cheese for Mac and cheese than cheddar? Although cheddar may very well be the undisputed champion of Mac and Cheese, there are other great-tasting cheeses that you can use as a substitute.
These are by far some of the best cheese for Mac and cheese.
1. Cheddar Cheese
Made from unpasteurized cow milk which has been aged for 3-24 months, cheddar cheese is arguably the best cheese for making Mac and cheese.
It has up to three variations, the sharp cheddar, which provides a strong taste and requires more heat to melt, the mild cheddar, which has a short aging period and requires less heat to melt and the medium cheddar, which is the ideal cheddar as it melts well and offer a bit flavor.
Cheddar cheese has a crumbly and compact texture and a sharp and creamy flavor, and when melted over your Macaroni, it will give you a delicious and creamy indulgence that will keep you craving more.
However, it is pertinent to know that sharp cheddar tends to clump when melted, so it is advised not to use it alone but to include it with other creamier cheeses.
2. Parmesan Cheese
An Italian cheese made from unpasteurized cow milk is allowed to age for 12-36 months. This cheese is well known for its hard texture with a fruity, nutty, savory, and sharp flavor.
It also has a salty taste which helps it to add to the taste of any dish it is being grated over. Just like the cheddar cheese, the parmesan cheese is hard, so it will need to be grated or melted over the Macaroni to get a delicious taste experience.
Its combination with cheddar cheese is very sweet, as it will boost Mac’s flavor. If you want your Mac and cheese to appear golden in color, grate this cheese over it before baking.
3. Gruyére Cheese
Looking for a cheese that will add ‘savouriness’ without overshadowing the other ingredients in your Mac and cheese? Then you are looking for Swiss cheese.
The gruyére cheese, often confused with the Emmentaler cheese, is different from the latter due to the presence of small cracks that gives it its slightly grainy texture upon maturation. It originates from Switzerland and is made from unpasteurized cow milk aged 5- 12 months.
It is a hard cheese with a creamy and nutty taste when young and an earthy and complex taste when matured. Its sweet and slightly salty taste adds to any dish it is in. Try this cheese out when you are next making some Mac and cheese.
4. Brie Cheese
A soft buttery cheese, which melts just like butter, with a fruity, mildly nutty, and tangy flavor, originating from France, it is made from semi-skimmed cow milk allowed to age for 5-6 weeks.
Its creamy texture makes it a sure bet to make a gooey and delicious whole-grain Mac and cheese. It can be used to make Macaroni and cheese, melted on top of pizza, or served with crackers as an appetizer.
Brie is a delicate, rich cheese that works well in baked dishes like lasagna, gratins, quiches, and homemade Mac and cheese. Brie goes great with a simple sauce made from milk or cream and flavored with garlic and pepper.
When combined with parmesan cheese, it gives a more sophisticated taste to your Mac and cheese that will keep your mouth watery after a meal.
5. Gouda Cheese
Gouda is a very good cheese for Mac and cheese. It has a great flavor, and it melts well. If you like milder cheese, then this is the one for you. This Dutch cheese with a buttery, crumbly, and smoky flavor.
Like the brie cheese, Gouda will make any Macaroni and Cheese taste heavenly. The cheese melts well and gives a creamy texture to the Mac and cheese.
The old version of this cheese has a nutty flavor that pairs well with pasta. You can grate it or slice it into thin pieces to add to your Mac and cheese. If you like cheddar, try using Gouda instead. You’ll get a different flavor profile without having to change up your recipe at all.
Fontina cheese is made from cow milk with a semi-soft or hard texture with a taste ranging from mild to sharp in correlation to how long it has been aged. It forms a great base cheese for the sauce and melts perfectly. It has a nutty, buttery, and fruity taste, making it an ideal cheese.
Fontina has a buttery quality that makes it great for melting into rich sauces. Still, it also works well as an ingredient in baked dishes such as lasagna, Macaroni and cheese, spaghetti and meatballs, or casseroles, where it adds depth of flavor without overpowering other ingredients in the dish.
It is similar to the brie cheese but has a subtle earthiness, making it a great choice for the sweeter recipe. If you want something new, try substituting fontina for cheddar when making your next batch of Macaroni and cheese!
7. Gorgonzola Cheese
Gorgonzola cheese is one of the most popular types of blue cheese. It has an intense flavor that some people love, while others find it too strong. Gorgonzola is made with cow’s milk and has a creamy texture with small holes throughout it.
This cheese melts easily and will undoubtedly make a gooey and delicious Mac and cheese. The cheese can be crumbled or cut into chunks and added to Macaroni and cheese.
If you are looking for something new to try with your macaroni and cheese recipe, try using gorgonzola as your topping instead of American cheese or cheddar. This type of blue cheese may work better in this dish than in others.
It has a strong taste, so it would be best to use this in small amounts or add it at the end of cooking time to prevent it from overpowering the other ingredients.
8. Mozzarella Cheese
Mozzarella cheese is one of the best cheeses for Macaroni and cheese. It has a creamy texture, which makes it perfect for this dish. Mozzarella cheese might seem like an obvious choice for Macaroni and cheese, but it makes a delicious addition to this classic dish.
The mildness of mozzarella gives this dish a subtle hint of flavor that brings out the sauce’s creaminess without overpowering it. Just like the gruyére cheese, this cheese does not overshadow other ingredients in the Mac and cheese.
It has a stringy, supple texture and a milky and salty taste, adding to the taste of Mac and cheese.
Mozzarella is often used in pizza, but it is an excellent addition to your basic Macaroni and cheese recipe. You can use whole-milk mozzarella or part-skim mozzarella, depending on how you want to cut back on fat and calories.
9. Feta Cheese
Feta is an excellent choice if you want something tangy and rich. The saltiness will perfectly balance the pasta’s richness and creamy sauce. It is also very interesting to know that feta cheese gives a more sophisticated taste when combined with other cheeses.
Feta is usually added to salads, pasta dishes, and other Mediterranean dishes but can also be used in place of Parmesan or mozzarella in casseroles or pizza toppings.
With the nutty, strong, and salty flavor, it gives just the same taste experience as parmesan cheese would, only that, unlike parmesan cheese, which has a hard texture and needs to be grated, Feta cheese has a soft texture. It can melt easily into Mac and cheese.
10. Chevre Cheese
Chevre cheese is an amazing choice for Macaroni and cheese because it has a rich flavor that will blend well with the other flavors in your dish. It has a creamy texture that makes it easy to melt into any dish, but it also has a subtle flavor that makes it stand out when paired with other foods.
Depending on its variety, goat cheese can have a soft, semi-soft, hard, or firm texture. This cheese is perfect for the classic cheddar Mac and cheese recipe because of its mild flavor; it blends so well with contrasting sharp cheddar that has a sharp flavor, giving a nice taste experience.
Feta cheese is great for making Macaroni and cheese because it has a creamy texture that will absorb into the pasta while still leaving behind some chunks for texture. It’s also easy to melt, so it can be used in casseroles and baked dishes without worrying about separating or burning.
As we said earlier, because of different tastes and preferences, we cannot say that one cheese is the best, as it depends solely on the type of Mac and cheese you want.
When choosing a cheese, you want to ensure it’s not too assertive in flavor. If it’s too strong, it will overwhelm the dish. When making a basic recipe for Mac and cheese, you want to go with something milder that will melt well but won’t overpower the dish.
If you’re looking for something more complex and interesting, go with a funky cheese like blue cheese or gorgonzola with a distinct flavor profile. You can experiment with these cheeses by adding them at different stages of cooking or mixing them with other cheeses to create an interesting blend of flavors in your macaroni and cheese recipe.