Mac and cheese is a delicious pasta combo, but it may not taste good if you don’t get it right with the roux. Knowing how to make a roux for mac and cheese guarantees a great mac and cheese experience.
To make a roux for your mac and cheese sauce, put butter in a saucepan and let it melt. Then, whisk flour over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Cook the mixture until the flour loses its natural taste and blends with the butter to form a smooth paste.
Making roux is easy, and the ingredients are not far-fetched. Read further to learn how to make a roux, a cheese sauce, and a no-roux mac and cheese.
What Is A Mac N Cheese Roux?
When making mac and cheese sauce, you need a thickener to make the sauce creamy and smooth. Roux is a common thickener in mac and cheese sauce. It prevents your sauce from becoming watery. Apart from acting as a thickener, a well-cooked roux will prevent your sauce from clumping.
Cooking the roux is the first thing you do in preparing your mac and cheese sauce; it serves as the sauce base. The roux is a mixture of fat and flour. You can also use roux in gumbo, bechamel, veloute, and soup. Ensure to properly cook the roux so that it will not affect the outcome of the sauce.
Mac And Cheese Roux Ingredients
Ingredients for making a roux are fat and flour. Although butter is common in making a roux, you can also use other alternatives like vegetable oil, clarified oil, bacon drippings, or lard. You can use wheat flour in addition to the fat to cook your roux.
The flour sucks up the moisture content in the sauce and thickens it. Making mac and cheese sauce is easy and less expensive. The ingredient is supposed to be mixed in equal ratios. But you can increase one if you desire a particular effect. For instance, using more butter will give the sauce a creamier quality.
How To Make Roux For Mac And Cheese With Flour: Step By Step
You can easily make a roux for your mac and cheese sauce. Follow the steps below to prepare the mac and cheese sauce roux.
Step 1: Melt The Butter
The first step to preparing a roux is to cut the size of butter or pour the quantity of oil you need into a saucepan. Allow it to melt on low-medium heat. This should take a few minutes to melt.
Step 2: Whisk In The Flour
After the butter melts, whisk in the flour and allow it to cook. Cook the roux until the original taste and flavor of the flour vanishes. Turn off the light, bring it down, and your cheese roux is ready.
How To Make A Cheese Sauce
Below are the ingredients you need to make the cheese sauce.
- Shredded cheese
- Seasoning: pepper, salt, and paprika
Follow the instructions below to prepare a mac and cheese sauce
Step 1: Melt The Butter
Put your desired butter size in a saucepan; it will melt in a few minutes. The heat should be low.
Step 2: Pour In Flour And Seasonings
Gradually pour the flour into the melted butter and stir continuously to mix. Add seasonings in sufficient quantity.
Step 3: Cook The Flour And Butter Mixture
Continue to stir for like 2 to 3 minutes. When the roux is ready, it will be milky with a different taste.
Step 4: Put Milk
Gently add milk to the roux, and mix until it has blended. Ensure that you cook the mixture on low heat. The mixture will thicken as you keep stirring. Check the thickness and texture of the roux. Scoop the mixture; if it falls off, then you will keep stirring until it is too thick to fall off.
Step 5: Add The Shredded Cheese
Do not add the shredded cheese when the roux is still hot because a sudden temperature change will affect the sauce’s outcome by separating the fat in the protein. Add the cheese to the mixture when it is warm and put it over low heat to melt well.
Step 6: Taste For Sufficient Seasoning
Taste the seasoning to know if it is enough or if you need to adjust it. Your cheese sauce is ready.
How To Make A Roux For Mac And Cheese Without Flour
Firstly, a roux consists of fat and flour. So there is no roux without flour because fat alone cannot give the roux. The flour is a thickener in the sauce. If you must get a roux for your mac and cheese, you must use flour. Although you can prepare a no-roux mac and cheese sauce but not a no-flour roux.
Is A Roux Necessary For Mac And Cheese?
No, roux is not necessary for mac and cheese. Some homemakers have made mac and cheese without roux, which came fine like the roux one. However, the roux method of cooking mac and cheese thickens and makes the sauce buttery with delicious taste and flavor.
How To Prepare A No-roux Mac And Cheese
Preparing a no-roux mac and cheese is simple and cheap. You will need the following ingredients to prepare a no-roux mac and cheese.
- Milk (1 1/2 cups)
- All-purpose flour (2 tablespoons)
- Cheddar, Monterey Jack, or Colby cheese (2 to 3 cups)
- Powdered mustard (1/4 teaspoon)
- Kosher salt (1 teaspoon)
- Cooked bacon
Follow the instructions below to cook your mac and cheese without the roux.
Step 1: Parboil The Macaroni
On high heat, boil water and add salt to it. Then, add pasta to boiling water. Check the cooking instructions on the pasta for cooking directions. When you are done, sieve the water out from the pasta.
Step 2: Warm The Milk
Divide your milk into two. Pour one-half of the milk into a saucepan and cook on medium heat. While the milk is warming, mix the remaining half with flour. Whisk the mixture until it is smooth. Once the milk steams up, stir the milk and flour mixture. In 3 to 4 mins, the mixture should thicken and look creamy.
Step 3: Prepare The Cheese Sauce
In the milk mixture, add your shredded cheese to it and stir. Ensure that the heat is low. Add salt and mustard and toss. Adjust seasoning and remove from heat when the sauce is buttery.
Step 3: Mix Cheese And Pasta Sauce
Pour half the cheese sauce into the pasta pot and stir until the milk mixture coats the pasta well. Add any of the optional ingredients and the remaining milk mixture. If the sauce is too thick, add 1/4 cup of milk to loosen it.
Mac and Cheese Roux Recipe
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over low heat.
- Add the flour to the melted butter and whisk until the mixture is smooth.
- Cook the roux over low heat for 2-3 minutes, whisking constantly. This will help cook off the raw flour taste and give the roux a nutty flavor.
- Slowly add the milk to the roux, whisking constantly to avoid lumps.
- Cook the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 10-12 minutes.
- Add the shredded cheddar cheese to the mixture and whisk until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Combine the macaroni and cheese sauce in a large bowl and serve.
With just cooking butter and flour mixture, you can give mac and cheese a good texture, flavor, and taste. Even though you can cook your mac and cheese sauce without a roux, the thickness and texture that come with the roux cannot be replaced. So follow our guide to get that extra taste that only the best roux offers.