Help! Why Is My Mac and Cheese Oily Instead of Creamy?

updated May 2, 2019
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Q: I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect mac and cheese recipe and have tried 5 different recipes, but I keep running into the same problems: the cheese separates, the dish is too oily, and there is no creamy texture. Most recipes I’ve tried use a roux-based cheese sauce. Is that the issue?

Is there a fail proof recipe out there?

Sent by Megan

Editor: Megan, I’ve found the creamiest mac and cheese starts with a mornay sauce, which is probably the roux-based sauce your recipes used. To keep the sauce from separating, make sure to grate the cheese so it melts quickly, stir it into the hot milk mixture off the heat, and coat your noodles with the sauce as quickly as possible. (Overheating the cheese or letting the sauce sit too long can lead to the fat separating out of the cheese, which creates an oily sauce.)

My favorite baked mac and cheese recipe is Martha Stewart’s, but you might also want to give our roux-less stovetop version a try:

Readers, do you have a favorite recipe or technique for making the perfect mac and cheese?