Best Cheeses for Mac and Cheese

Mac and Cheese is the perfect weekend dinner. Not only is it easy to prepare, but it tastes finger-licking good as well. However, since the dish is made of pasta and cheese only, the type of cheese you use holds extreme importance. It has to be the perfect blend of creamy, tasty, economical, and healthy. Choosing a cheese like this can be tricky, but worry not, as we’ve brought you everything you need to know when buying cheese for mac and cheese. 

Things to Consider When Buying Cheese for Mac and Cheese

Taste

The dish should be a little salty and a little sweet too. It is a good idea to have a tangy, strong cheese in the mix. A bland cheese will make a tasteless dish because not a lot of spices are added to Mac and Cheese. According to chefs, the best cheese for Mac and Cheese in terms of taste is sharp cheddar. A lot of cheeses that melt easily, taste bland. This is especially true for young, overly processed cheeses. You should stick with aged cheeses, which provide a varied flavor profile. Some good, aged cheeses are Aged Gouda, Parmesan, and even Brie.

Cheese for Mac and Cheese

Meltability

Any cheese you use for your Mac and Cheese has to be immensely creamy and melt well. Since the pasta does not contain any other sauce, a cheese that is thick and doesn’t melt will make it difficult to eat. Aged cheeses may taste better, however, they have difficulty melting. This is why Mac and Cheese is often made with a blend of cheeses. Some of these contribute to flavor, and some give you that mouthwatering gooeyness. 

Sharp cheddar is perfect when it comes to melting. This is why whatever combinations of cheese you use, sharp cheddar always has to be added. 

Another factor you need to consider is whether or not to use béchamel. A béchamel sauce is made from flour, butter, and milk. Cheese is usually added to this sauce because it makes the cheese creamy. If you’re using a béchamel sauce, you can go ahead and use some aged cheeses. The sauce will make sure these cheeses melt well. If you don’t want to make a béchamel sauce, avoid aged cheeses as they will become lumpy. 

Your best bet, in this case, would be to use a lot of sharp cheddar, with a very small amount of aged cheese for flavor.  Use gruyere instead of sharp cheddar. This cheese not only melts amazingly well but also has a nutty flavor you’ll come to love.

Suggested Reading – The Best Melting Cheeses

The better a cheese melts, the more tasty it would be

Price

Price is another factor to consider when choosing the best cheese for Mac and Cheese. Since Mac and Cheese is a dish made frequently, the cheese has to be inexpensive and easily available. Again, sharp cheddar is perfect because it is very affordable and readily available to purchase from a nearby store or even online marketplaces such as Amazon.com.

Some other good, inexpensive cheeses are Mozzarella, Monterey Jack, and pepper jack. Parmesan is also a good cheese that is used in a variety of dishes including Mac and Cheese. It can be expensive depending on the brand you prefer. However, it is easily available at most stores across the USA. 

If you’re on a very strict budget, you can choose processed cheeses. Processed cheeses can be a little bland, so adjust the salt accordingly. However, they melt well and are very cheap. You should skip the béchamel sauce though. 

Mac and CheeseExpiry Date

Are you somebody that makes Mac and Cheese so much that you buy the cheese in bulk? Or are you the one who keeps the cheese in the freezer for so long that it loses its taste and becomes potentially dangerous? Whatever it is, read through this very carefully. 

The truth is, not every cheese lasts very long. According to professionals, soft cheeses are the first to go bad, because mold penetrates these types of cheese easily. Hard cheeses like cheddar, and parmesan can stay okay in the fridge for about 4 months, and in the freezer for about 8 months. In both these cases, the cheese should not be opened. Once any of these cheeses are opened, they can be consumed within 4 weeks before they go bad. 

Gruyere and Gouda can last up to 3 weeks in the fridge after they have been opened. You can keep them safe in the freezer for about 2 months, given that they haven’t been opened. These types of cheese are medium cheeses. Cheeses like cream cheese, feta, and brie are soft cheeses. They go bad very fast and should be eaten within 14 days of being opened. However, they taste really good. 

If your cheese has gotten moldy, you can eat it after removing the mold. This is because mold spreads slower in hard cheese than in soft cheese since hard cheeses have less moisture. 

Mold can be a tell-tale sign for when the cheese has gone bad. However, in blue cheeses, mold is added intentionally for flavor. If you doubt the safety of cheese, put it through a smell test. If it smells different than it usually does, it would be better to dispose it. 

To make sure that the cheese you are consuming lasts longer, be sure to wrap it tightly in plastic so no spores get in contact with the cheese. There should also be no cracks on the exterior of the cheese. 

Macaroni and Cheese is a great snack too

Nutritional Value

A Mac and Cheese can contain very large amounts of fat, and calories. Having Mac and Cheese frequently can lead to obesity and other problems as well. Still, if you’re not willing to give up on your favorite dish, you can always choose a low-fat, low-calorie cheese. 

Mozzarella is the best choice. It has high energy to fat ratio and contains more protein than fat. For every 21 grams, mozzarella gives you 62.6kcal energy, 4.98g protein, and 4.28 g of fat. Nonetheless, if you want to add mozzarella, always be sure to use béchamel sauce. Mozzarella turns stringy, instead of gooey when it melts. 

Ricotta is also a very good cheese if you want to cut down on fat and calories. For every 21 g, ricotta has 31.08 kcal energy, 2 g protein, and 1.98 g fat.  

Buy the healthy cheeses only

Types of Cheese Comparison

Types of cheeses

Advantages

Disadvantages

Sharp cheddar

-Melts easily

-Good flavor

-Easily available

No disadvantages. Sharp cheddar is a good addition to any Mac and Cheese.

Mozzarella

-Inexpensive

-Easily available

-Good taste

Mozzarella melts easily but is stringy when melted. It needs béchamel sauce.

Gruyere

-Melts easily

-Nutty flavor

-Not very expensive

Gruyere may not be available in every supermarket. 

Parmesan

-Easily available

-Amazing flavor profile

-Melts very easily

Good quality parmesan can be costly. Also, bad quality cheese won’t melt as easily

Aged Gouda

Amazing flavor

-The cheese can be costly

-Aged gouda doesn’t melt easily, as it doesn’t have a lot of moisture

-Aged Gouda isn’t easily available

Ricotta

Creamy, and easily melting cheese

-Very mild flavor

-Pricey

-Not easily available

Gorgonzola( blue cheeses)

Intense flavor profiles

-Gorgonzola is expensive

-Gorgonzola isn’t available everywhere

-Not every type of Gorgonzola melts. The best melting blue cheese is Gorgonzola Dolce, which is very hard to find.

The Best Cheeses for Mac and Cheese

Sharp Cheddar

Sharp cheddar is an inexpensive cheese, easily available in supermarkets everywhere. The cheese has a hint of acidity to it, which gives amazing flavor to any pot of Mac and Cheese. Sharp cheddar goes well with other mild and sharp cheeses, and can even be used on its own. Indeed, there are a lot of recipes out there that make Mac and Cheese, with only cheddar. 

The cheese melts like a dream, to create the perfect thick cheese sauce. Find out more about the types of cheddar cheese here – What are the Different Types of Cheddar Cheese?

Mozzarella

Mozzarella cheese is, without a doubt, the most popular cheese to exist. It is also one of the best cheeses for Mac and Cheese. Mozzarella provides amazing flavor, at an affordable price tag, which makes it everybody’s favorite. Nonetheless, Mozzarella cannot be used on its own. Unless it is added to a blend of other cheeses or a béchamel sauce, the cheese melts to be stringy. 

Mozzarella cheese is used in a variety of Italian dishes

Aged Cheese

Aged cheeses, like Aged Gouda all, have very intense, and complex flavor profiles. They can add an edge to any plain bowl of Mac and Cheese. A very small amount of this cheese should be added to a combination of other types of cheese. For one, aged cheeses are expensive. Secondly, aged cheeses have very little moisture when compared to their younger counterparts. This means they don’t melt as easily. We recommend using aged cheeses only if you are using a béchamel sauce. 

Parmesan 

Parmesan, especially Parmigiano-Reggiano, is a very popular addition to Mac and Cheese. It is an aged cheese, yet it melts like a dream and adds lots of flavor to the dish. However, not every Parmesan melts well. Parmigiano-Reggiano is a cheese that melts smoothly but can be very costly. 

Parmesan Cheese

Processed Cheese

Processed cheeses are a very good option for Mac and Cheese because they melt very well. You can add them if you don’t want to make a béchamel sauce. Nonetheless, these cheeses are a little bland, and so need the addition of a stronger cheese. 

Buy Best Cheese for Mac and Cheese

Product
Visual
Where to Buy
Happy Belly Mac & Cheese Blend
365 by WFM, Cheddar Sharp Shreds
Happy Belly Shredded Parmesan Cheese
Happy Belly Shredded Mexican Four Cheese Blend
Velveeta Original Pasteurized Cheese Loaf


1. Happy Belly Mac & Cheese Blend


If we talk about the top cheese for Mac and Cheese, it would be this one. The reason? It is curated to perfection specifically for the purpose of making Mac and Cheese. For other types of cheeses, you have to take care of the flavor, adjust the spice level, mix the different types of cheese, and do a lot of extra work too but with this one, you just need to add it directly to the Mac and have the perfect dish prepared. Coming in a packaging of 8 ounces, it will surely be enough for a small family but you can even buy more at a time because it comes in a resealable bag. 

Most people who tried out this cheese were highly satisfied because of the creamy taste and the aroma of the cheese as well. Moreover, it is a way more nutritious choice than others with low saturated fat content. The best thing about buying from Happy Belly is that even if you don't like the product, you can return it at any time within 1 year of purchase for any reason.

2. 365 by WFM, Cheddar Sharp Shreds


One good option for making Mac and Cheese is this sharp cheddar cheese. We have already discussed above how sharp cheddar works perfectly for mac and cheese. The reason why this particular product is among our recommendations is that it already comes in the form of shredded pieces. Normally, people get a bar or slice of cheese, both of which require you to cut it down into smaller pieces for use in mac and cheese. However, this one already comes shredded thereby lowering the required work. 

This one pack contains about 2 cups or 8 ounces of cheese. We recommend that you order at least 3 of these packs so that they can be sufficient for making mac and cheese for about 10 people. Over 3000 users have tried out this cheese and were satisfied by the fine taste and delicacy. It may sound comparatively expensive than other options but what you get in return is finely shredded premium cheddar cheese that is worth the price.

3. Happy Belly Shredded Parmesan Cheese


Parmesan is one cheese you use in pizza often but it tastes amazing when it comes to Mac and Cheese as well. Just like the first option, it is cheese which comes in the form of shredded pieces. Therefore, you wouldn't have to do any extra effort with this one. The premium ingredients with a nominal price tag is all that you would need to consider when buying the best parmesan cheese for Mac and Cheese. 

It's a pure vegetarian cheese with no animal oils used making it a safer and healthier choice. The pack comes in the size of 8 ounces which is going to be sufficient for making Mac and Cheese for a big family. The best part about this cheese is that it is a tried and tested product with highly satisfactory responses. Therefore, you can even buy 3 or 4 packs of it and you won't be disappointed.

4. Happy Belly Shredded Mexican Four Cheese Blend


Happy Belly truly has one of the best cheese products in the market as well as outstanding customer service. This is why their products are highly rated no matter where you buy them from. If you have made some Mac and Cheese from regular cheese like Parmesan and Cheddar, then you should try out this new one. The Mexican Four Cheese Blend contains a variety of four different types of cheese including Monterey Jack, Cheddar, Asadero, and Quesadilla cheese.

The perfect blend of these unique cheeses is going to give you a delicious taste of the Mac and Cheese. Moreover, it is a healthy choice as well with the high nutritional value. The low saturated fat content and high calcium content make it the ideal choice for health geeks. You can use this cheese again as well because it comes in a resealable bag of 8 ounces which preserves the cheese taste for a pretty long time. The best part? You can return it if you are not satisfied. No questions asked!

5. Velveeta Original Pasteurized Cheese Loaf


If you don't want the shredded versions of cheese, you can simply buy a cheese loaf and use it accordingly. This does cost you a little lower compared to shredded cheese with regards to price and weight. We recommend the Velveeta Pasteurized Cheese Loaf because you can use it in multiple dishes and not just Mac and Cheese. It contains only 70 calories per 1/4th of a slice which makes it a healthy option too. 

Why is it good for making Mac and Cheese? It's because it melts better. After all, it has been processed in such a way. With low-fat content, you will not have any problems consuming this cheese even in larger quantities. It has high ratings on Amazon.com and the user reviews have been highly satisfying too. Therefore, you can try this one in case you don't like the shredded options.

Comparative Analysis

  Happy Belly Mac & Cheese Blend365 by WFM, Cheddar Sharp ShredsHappy Belly Shredded Parmesan CheeseHappy Belly Shredded Mexican Four Cheese BlendVelveeta Original Pasteurized Cheese Loaf
TypeMac and Cheese BlendSharp CheddarParmesan CheeseFour Cheese BlendPasteurized Cheese Loaf
Price Range$$$$$$$$
Size8 ounces8 ounces8 ounces8 ounces32 ounces
ProsPerfect blend for Mac and Cheese, Easy returns if you don\'t like it, ShreddedBest for making Mac and Cheese with Cheddar, Shredded, Use in other dishesPerfect Parmesan Cheese with low price, Shredded, Healthy, Easy returns if you don\'t like itBlend of four kinds of cheese, Unique taste than other cheeses, Shredded, HealthySuitable quantity and quality, Melts Faster, Healthy
ConsSmall Packaging SizeSmall Packaging SizeSmall Packaging SizeSmall Packaging SizeNon-shredded
 

Based on the detailed product reviews and comparative analysis provided above, we recommend that the Happy Belly Blend of Mac and Cheese is going to be the most suitable option when it comes to making the dish. It has already been made to perfection with the ideal blend of multiple kinds of cheese. You will surely love the taste it has

However, if making Mac and Cheese is not the only reason why you are buying cheese, then you can consider other options such as Cheddar and Parmesan as well. They too are good when it comes to making sandwiches, pizza, or toppings for the salad. The best part is that 4 out of 5 options we recommend come in a shredded form which is why you can use them easily. 

In case you want a loaf option, the last one is good too. It melts fast and has nutritious content. 

Conclusion

A good Mac and Cheese needs a cheese that will melt easily and is tasty and affordable. If you don’t have a large budget, you can make a Mac and Cheese with sharp cheddar only. The béchamel sauce is also another very important component of the dish. It may be time-consuming, however, it makes sure all the cheeses blend to create one very gooey, and melted sauce.