The Mac And Cheese Ingredient You Need To Avoid, According To Reddit

There's nothing quite like macaroni and cheese. Similar to how the beloved peanut butter and jelly sandwich is made up of some of the simplest ingredients out there, the combination of pasta and melted cheese is so simple that it works unbelievably well. Perhaps one of the great things about macaroni and cheese is, due to its very simple foundation, you could pretty much make it however you want.

Have a box of elbow macaroni and a block of sharp cheddar? No problem. Want to wow your neighbors at the next potluck by making a copycat Trader Joe's mac and cheese recipe? Have a family dinner and want to make a homestyle mac and cheese recipe with that good golden-brown breadcrumb crust? The sky's the limit: There are a lot of things you can do with your macaroni and cheese, from experimenting with different types of pasta to adding all sorts of mix-ins.

But for every long list of things you can do, there's an equally long list of things you can't do — preparing macaroni and cheese is a very delicate balance. The Kitchn warns aspiring mac and cheese makers to avoid everything from not using enough cheese (which is baffling, considering that's one of the two main ingredients of this dish) to adding too much liquid to your cheese sauce. It even comes down to what types of cheese you should, with some on Reddit claiming that a common type of cheese should be avoided altogether.

Avoid pre-shredded cheese

You probably have half a bag of shredded cheese in your fridge that you've been wanting to use up. Why not make some macaroni and cheese, you think to yourself? According to users on the subreddit r/Cooking, you're just wasting your time. The Redditors asserted that the mac and cheese will be ruined by the pre-shredded stuff. One user asked for advice on making a "banging" mac and cheese for a church event and he received plenty of answers warning him about pre-shredded cheese. "Pre-shredded cheese ruins even the best of recipes." wrote one person. "Once somebody told me that pre-shredded cheese has a coating of potato starch to stop it from sticking," said another. "The flavor of potato starch is now the only thing I notice when eating pre-shredded cheese."

Why the hate for pre-shredded cheese? Bon Appetit explains that pre-shredded cheese will often have preservatives and other additives that make the cheese more difficult to melt and may give the dish an artificial flavor. The best choice is to purchase your own block of cheese and shred it yourself for a fresher taste and texture. By also purchasing your own cheese to shred, you're free to combine various types of cheese for different textures, such as mozzarella, muenster, Colby, or cheddar.