Recipe Review

I Tried the Viral Mac & Cheese That Has 75 Million Views and I’ll Definitely Be Making It for Christmas Dinner

published Dec 14, 2023
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Scoop out of baked mac and cheese.
Credit: Nathan Hutsenpiller

In my household, mac and cheese will always reign supreme. The go-to pasta dish for kids of all ages is literally still one of my favorite foods after 35 years on this planet. And I know I am not alone in sharing that sentiment. Mac and cheese is not only delicious, it’s wholesome because it reminds you of home. I believe that it will stand the test of time as being one of the all-time greatest foods. 

Being the super fan that I am, I can admit that not all mac and cheese is created equal, and some people really have no business whipping up a serving of my favorite dish. However, one person who truly knows her way around a cheesy helping of macaroni is TikTok influencer and author of Cooking for my Boyfriend, Tineke Younger. In a recent viral video, Younger shares with her audience the mac and cheese recipe she prefers to make for the holiday season, a tutorial that quickly racked up millions of views. 

Younger’s baked rendition uses a surprise ingredient that immediately caught my attention, which was truly all I needed to be convinced that I should just try this mac and cheese out for myself.

Credit: Nathan Hutsenpiller

How to Make the Viral TikTok Mac and Cheese

Younger recommends using corkscrew pasta due to its ability to trap all of that delicious and cheesy creaminess inside of each noodle. She also advises to shred your own cheese in lieu of using packaged shredded cheese, in which case you will need mozzarella, Colby Jack, and sharp cheddar. 

Boil the pasta until al dente and set aside for later. While the pasta is cooking, heat a pan over medium heat and drop in 3 tablespoons of butter. Once the butter is melted, add salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder. Whisk until well combined, then add 3 tablespoons of flour, making sure to whisk even more until no clumps of flour remain.  

As the sauce begins to thicken, add 1 can of evaporated milk and continue to cook until the sauce thickens again. Add two cups of heavy cream and then season the sauce with additional pinches of seasoning and a tablespoon of Dijon mustard. 

Using half of your shredded cheese mix, stir a little bit of cheese at a time into the sauce, giving ample time between each addition to allow for the cheese to fully melt. At this point, the cheese sauce should be ready to incorporate with the pasta. Add the pasta to the cheese sauce and mix until well combined. 

In a prepared baking dish, pour a base layer of mac and cheese, then generously top with a layer of the shredded cheese mix. Pour the rest of the mac and cheese in next, making sure to distribute throughout the dish evenly, then top off with the final layer of shredded cheese mix. 

Pop the baking dish into an oven that has been preheated to 350°F and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top layer of cheese has fully melted. For a nice crispy top layer, you can broil the mac and cheese for the last couple minutes that you have it in the oven before pulling it out and letting the dish cool down. When ready, top with chopped chives and serve immediately. 

Credit: Nathan Hutsenpiller

My Honest Opinion of the Viral TikTok Mac and Cheese

Younger keeps it simple, while still elevating the recipe. I love her standard of cheese choice and I especially loved the introduction of Dijon mustard to the cheese sauce. I’ve had a few times where an ingredient both surprised me and made sense at the same time, and this was exactly one of those occasions. You could taste the slight spice of Dijon mustard and paprika seasoning, both ingredients complimenting the natural creaminess of the recipe perfectly. 

I will admit, in an attempt to cut the recipe in half, I ended up adding a little too much pasta to my cheese sauce, resulting in a little less creaminess than I desired. However, after baking the dish and getting all of that freshly shredded cheese melted throughout, I still thoroughly enjoyed every bite. I will definitely be making mac and cheese like this again, and would totally recommend it to anyone who shares my love for this wonderfully cheesy meal. 

2 Tips for Making the Viral TikTok Mac and Cheese

  1. No Dijon, no problem. In the off chance that you don’t have Dijon mustard handy when attempting this recipe, Younger states that she will use stone-ground mustard in place to get very similar results.
  2. Stick to the ratios. If you are cutting this recipe in half like I did, be sure to stick to the correct proportions when adding ingredients. In my case, after adding the pasta to the cheese sauce, I still felt like I could add a little more than half a pound because of how much cheese sauce appeared to be in the pot. However, in the end my mac and cheese was not nearly as creamy as it could have been if I had stuck with the initial half pound of pasta.