Mac and cheese is a child and adult favorite at any dinner. There are so many good recipes for it, but what about those that include eggs? Should you really add eggs to your mac and cheese? Well, we've researched the topic in-depth and have an answer for you.
You don't have to put eggs in mac and cheese, but you can! There are many recipes for mac and cheese that include eggs and many that don't. It's a personal preference and completely up to you or the recipe you choose.
So now you know you can put eggs in mac and cheese, but keep reading as we discuss why you might and how to keep them from curdling if you do. We'll also go over some other ways you can make your mac and cheese creamy or less thick and what you can add to make it better.
Why would you put eggs in macaroni and cheese?
Eggs can be added to mac and cheese to make it more creamy or custardy. However, as a whole, people are generally divided over whether eggs should or should not be added to mac and cheese.
While some rave that it gives mac and cheese the perfect texture, others complained that the egg just curdled and left them with a not-so-satisfying texture. To decide for yourself, you might have to try out a recipe or two.
Recipes for mac and cheese that call for the addition of eggs are typically more casserole-style recipes. Unfortunately, it's not as simple as just adding an egg to mac and cheese, and how you add it can make or break the end result.
There is a method to adding the egg to mac and cheese that hopefully won't leave you with a curdled, scrambled-egg-looking dish.
How do you keep eggs from curdling in mac and cheese?
Curdling is when the mixture separates or forms into lumps instead of smoothly mixing in. It is often caused by eggs being heated too quickly. To avoid this, eggs must be heated gently or "tempered" into the mixture.
Tempering the eggs will allow them to heat slowly, which will prevent them from cooking or curdling. You probably don't want scrambled egg in your mac and cheese!
To temper eggs, you will need to add a small amount of the hot cream sauce (this will likely be a bechamel sauce) to your eggs.
Gently whisk the sauce and eggs to warm up the eggs slowly. Once the eggs mixture has warmed up, you can add it to the rest of the sauce. If you do this correctly, you won't have curdled eggs.
What can I add to mac and cheese to make it better?
Mac and cheese can be as basic as pasta and cheese sauce, but there are many ways you can elevate your mac and cheese dish to make it better. From simple add-ins to changing your recipe, check out some of the suggestions below.
Add Herbs or Spices
Adding herbs or spices is probably the simplest way to add more flavor to your mac and cheese. They are affordable, and you likely already have some in your pantry.
Black pepper and red pepper can add some spice to your dish, while oregano, thyme, or basil can give it an Italian touch.
You also can't go wrong with onion or garlic powder. If you're not confident enough to experiment with adding herbs at your own whim, a quick google search will leave you with plenty of recipes to try!
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Experiment With Different Cheeses
You can add different varieties of cheese to mix up the flavor of your mac and cheese. Try experimenting with different combinations, or instead of using cheddar cheese, why not choose pepper jack?
The possibilities are endless, and mixing up the kind of cheese you use might result in a new favorite dish.
Add Meat or Seafood
Yes, you read that right! Mac and cheese doesn't have to be a vegetarian dish. You can add ground beef, bacon, ham, or even Italian sausage.
Adding meat or seafood such as crab or lobster can make it taste better and convert it from a side dish to a hearty entree.
Throw In Some Veggies
If you are a vegetarian or prefer vegetables over meat, you can add some vegetables to your mac and cheese instead. Almost any vegetables can be added to mac and cheese!
Try adding roasted vegetables such as broccoli, peppers, carrots, or even squash!
For some crunch, add breadcrumbs to your baked mac and cheese. Traditional or panko breadcrumbs can be used, but you can also crush up cornflakes or ritz crackers too!
Whichever you choose, add it to the top of your mac and cheese before it's placed in the oven.
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How do you keep mac and cheese creamy?
Nothing beats a spoonful of warm, creamy mac and cheese, but if you don't add the right ingredients in the right way, you might end up with a dish that's drier instead. Fortunately, there are actually many ways you can make your mac and cheese creamy.
Use Ingredients With Creamy Consistencies
The more obvious way to get a creamy mac and cheese sauce is to add cream to your sauce. Many recipes use milk when instructing you to make a bechamel sauce, but you can add cream instead of milk or use a combination of the two.
Adding cream, plain yogurt, mascarpone, or cream cheese to your dish can make it the creamiest mac and cheese ever!
You should also choose cheeses for your mac and cheese that melt more easily. Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Colby, and smoked gouda are just a few you could try.
The Way You Cook Your Pasta
Undercooking your pasta slightly can give your dish an overall creamier texture. Overcooking your pasta can leave it feeling tough and rubbery. You can also try boiling your pasta in milk instead of water.
Finally, mac and cheese made on the stove will be creamier than mac and cheese baked in the oven, so try out some stovetop recipes instead. If you still prefer to bake your mac and cheese, make sure you aren't overbaking it!
Adding An Egg
We won't go into too much detail about this one since we've already covered it above, but adding eggs to your cheese sauce can help create a smooth, creamy texture.
Of course, as we also mentioned earlier, the technique is key for this one. If you do it incorrectly, you will end up with the opposite of a creamy sauce.
Your mac and cheese might be creamy when you first make it, but what about a day or two after? When reheating leftovers, don't reheat them straight out of the fridge.
Let it sit and come to room temperature first. Once it's warmed up, add some warm milk to it until it reaches the consistency you like. Finally, transfer it to an oven-safe dish and heat it in the oven.
How do you make mac and cheese less thick?
One of the tricks to creamy mac and cheese is not making it too thick. Here are some ways you can ensure your mac and cheese consistency is spot on!
Often mac and cheese is too thick when too much flour is used during the sauce-making process. You can add a few spoonfuls of milk to make it thinner until it reaches your desired consistency. Vice-versa, if your sauce seems too thin, you can always add more flour.
Change The Ratio
If it's more of a ratio problem, try reducing the amount of pasta you use. If there's more sauce than pasta, overall, it will not be as thick.
Shred Your Own Cheese
Though it might seem like a quicker, more efficient way, pre-shredded cheese might be causing your mac and cheese to be too thick.
When you choose cheese for your mac and cheese, you should buy block cheese so you can grate it yourself. Sometimes pre-shredded cheese doesn't melt as well because it contains preservatives to stop it clumping together in the bag.
Whether you add an egg to your mac and cheese or not is completely up to you. We recommend trying a couple of recipes to see if it's something you want to incorporate more often. You never know; it might be the best mac and cheese you've ever had.
If you're interested in reading even more about mac and cheese, check out some of our other blog posts below:
Should You Cover Mac And Cheese When Baking?