Why Is My Homemade Mac & Cheese Grainy? Get Rach's Tips For Fixing It

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There's nothing quite like a bowl of delicious homemade mac and cheese, where the creamy sauce is just right.

Rach answers a viewer who says that when she makes sauce, it's smooth at first, but then gets gritty—explaining that the issue is likely with the ratio of ingredients in the roux.

Q: "Every time I make homemade mac and cheese the sauce is smooth at first but then gets grainy (paste-like) as it cools. What am I doing wrong?"
–Laura E., viewer, via Facebook

A: "Your ratios—from your roux to the fat content in the cheeses that you're using—may be a little off," Rach says. "You also just may be overcooking it."

Rach breaks down how she makes what John calls "a pretty dang good mac and cheese" in more detail.

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"What we want to do is start with the roux. So about equal amounts—I usually do a tablespoon more of butter to flour. And for every 4 tablespoons of butter and 4 tablespoons of flour, I bump up the butter to 5. And I use about 3 cups of milk, or a combination of milk and stock," Rach explains.

"Once that thickens just to coat the back of the spoon (don't let it get too thick, you don't want that to go too far on you), you season it as you would like. If I was doing a classic, I would just do salt [and] a little bit of white pepper," she continues.

Pro Tip: Rach warms the milk first, before adding it to the roux. And she warms it with crushed garlic, which is optional, but delicious if you love garlic in everything like John does!

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"Then, to that ratio, it's identical: the amount of cups of liquid to the amount of cups of shredded cheese," Rach says. "You don't pack the cheese. You shred it and measure it loosely packed. But if it's 3 cups of milk or combined liquid, it's 3 cups of cheese. And the second it stirs in in a figure-eight, the second it melts in, I remove it from the heat."

"Don't let it go any longer than that. And already have your pasta waiting. Immediately toss it together and put it into the casserole [dish]."

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