Secret Ingredient Macaroni and Cheese

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This macaroni and cheese uses an age-old secret ingredient trick to give you perfect, full-flavored classic cheddar macaroni and cheese.

Mmmm macaroni and cheese! It’s one of our favorite comfort foods, and it’s both adult- and kid-friendly, especially if you’re staying away from boxed foods with grated cheese. What exactly is there? ! This recipe uses only whole ingredients and real cheddar cheese. Making your own mac and cheese from scratch may seem time-consuming, but it’s quicker and easier than you think! Once you’ve made your own, you’ll never go back to the Blue Box.

The secret ingredient to this macaroni and cheese is hot sauce, specifically Frank’s Red Hot. Adding hot sauce to recipes involving cheese is an age-old chef trick that enhances the flavor of cheese. You can use any hot sauce you like, but each may require a different amount. Julia Child’s, for example, is a Tabasco user who adds a drop or two to her macaroni and cheese and other melted cheese dishes. This recipe is written specifically for Frank’s Red Hot.

  • How can I get a thick cheese sauce?

    The flour in the recipe acts as a thickening agent. If you just add flour to milk, you’ll end up with a mess. By mixing the flour with the fat source (in this recipe, melted butter), you’ll be able to distribute the thickener throughout the sauce without leaving clumps. The same principle can be applied to any sauce or soup that needs to be thickened. A batter is equal parts flour and fat. Cornstarch is a stronger thickener that I use in puddings and creme pies (with butter).

  • What kind of cheese should I use for macaroni and cheese?

    Classic American macaroni and cheese is made with cheddar cheese. We prefer to use sharp cheddar cheese. This recipe can also be made with other similar cheeses or combinations of cheeses that melt well. Use the same amount and experiment! Gouda, white cheddar, provolone, brie, fontina, and provolone are some of our favorites.

  • Is this recipe spicy?

    No! This recipe is not spicy when made as written. We’ve personally served this dish to over 1,000 different people, many of them kids, and no one complained that it was too spicy. If you do want to heat it up a bit, you could try doubling or tripling the amount of hot sauce in the recipe. We found that 1/4 cup of Frank’s Red Hot provided a good mild heat.

If you liked this recipe, you might also be interested in these other cheesy recipes:

A bowl of macaroni and cheese with a fork bite.

watch the video below Rachel will walk you through each step of this recipe. Sometimes the visuals help, and we always let you watch our cooking shows.You can find the complete collection of recipes youtube, facebook watch, or our facebook pageor provide a corresponding recipe on our website.

Baking dish filled with macaroni and cheese.

This macaroni and cheese uses an age-old secret ingredient trick to give you perfect, full-flavored classic cheddar macaroni and cheese.

Preparation time 10 minute

cooking time 20 minute

total time 30 minute

raw material

  • 1 pound Elbow noodles
  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon White pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoon Frank’s Hot Sauce
  • 8 ounce shredded cheddar cheese


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13 pan.

  • Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Stir in macaroni; cook until al dente. Drain well. Pour noodles into prepared 9×13 pan.

  • Meanwhile in another large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, onion powder, mustard powder, and milk; beat until smooth. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, for 3-5 minutes, until the sauce begins to thicken. Reduce heat to low and stir in cheese and salsa. Pour cheese sauce over noodles in prepared 9×13 pan and toss to coat.

  • Bake, uncovered, 10 minutes. Serve hot.

Calories: 532kcal | carbohydrate: 55G | protein: 19G | fat: 25G | Saturated fat: 15G | cholesterol: 72mg | sodium: 739mg | Potassium: 323mg | fiber: 2G | sugar: 7G | Vitamin A: 835unit | calcium: 359mg | iron: 1.4mg

Secret Macaroni and Cheese