Tini's Viral Mac & Cheese
There are a few rules in my household when it comes to mac and cheese. One, if it’s not baked I don’t want it. Two, it better have at least three types of cheese. And three, absolutely no experimenting!
Now there is a little bit of wiggle room for the third rule, so long as you’re not veering too far away from the traditional format. If you are, however, you better try it yourself before you serve it to anyone else.
The rules are simple, but seem to be broken far too often. You should see the look on my relative’s faces when someone tries to bring a “new generation” mac and cheese into one of our family functions. They’re all horrified—and rightfully so.
Though the older generation would say "If it’s not broken, don’t try to fix it," this new mac and cheese doesn’t need any fixing, but it did break the internet, which made me extra-curious to give it a try. Made by content creator @TinekeYounger, the now-viral recipe has garnered more than 10 million likes and well over 90 million plays. With all the fanfare surrounded around it, there was nothing left for me to do but pick up the ingredients and get to work.
Get the recipe: Tini's Viral Mac & Cheese
Ingredients for Tini's Viral Mac & Cheese
Now the list for this mac and cheese is a hefty one, but trust me, it’s worth it. You’ll need one pound of cooked Cavatappi pasta, 16 ounces of both grated mozzarella and grated Colby Jack, 8 ounces of grated cheddar, garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt, of pepper, butter, flour, a 12-ounce can of evaporated milk, heavy cream and Dijon mustard.
How to Make Tini's Viral Mac & Cheese
Start by preheating the oven to 350° and grease a 9x13-inch baking dish—or as I did, use a disposable aluminum tray. Next, cook and strain the Cavatappi pasta and set aside. Combine the shredded cheeses, then separate them between two bowls and set them aside; combine the seasonings in a small bowl.
Next, in a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. After it has melted, stir in half the seasonings and the flour until it becomes paste-like. Add in the evaporated milk and continue to whisk the mixture until it becomes thick. Pour in the heavy cream and the rest of the seasoning; mix until combined. Now, whisk in the Dijon mustard and slowly add in the cheese from one of the bowls.
After the cheese melts, stir in the Cavatappi until it's fully coated in the sauce. In your pan, add a layer of pasta and then a layer of shredded cheese from the other bowl. Continue these steps until all of the pasta and shredded cheese are added to the pan.
Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly, which should take 25 to 30 minutes. For a finishing touch, broil the mac and cheese for about 2 minutes for a golden brown top. Then, grab a corner piece and a fork and get to work.
What I Thought About Tini's Viral Mac & Cheese
I’m not here to sell you a bridge or a dream, but this is without a doubt the best mac and cheese I’ve ever made. I really wish that this recipe hadn’t already broken the internet so I could pretend to be some sort of mac and cheese expert to my family and friends.
You may be asking yourself if 3 pounds of cheese is really necessary, the answer to that is simple: Yes! In my case, I accidentally purchased 3-Pepper Colby Jack cheese, but as the late Bob Ross stated, “There are no mistakes, just happy accidents” and this was one of them. When I remake this mac and cheese, I will be going back to the 3-Pepper Colby Jack.
This recipe is creamy, cheesy and packed full of flavor. I intended to only eat this as a side with my dinner, but after tasting one forkful, it quickly became the main course for the night.
This mac and cheese passes the third rule test, and not only will I be making it again, but will also be serving it to friends and family.
Tips for Making Tini's Viral Mac & Cheese
Add the cheese in gradually. When adding the cheese to the sauce, pour in small amounts and let it melt before adding in more. Otherwise, you may end up with a big cheesy mess all over your stovetop.