Kraft Cheesy Alfredo Copycat Recipe
It's been 7 years since Kraft in their infinite wisdom (read: foolishness) discontinued their Mac & Cheese Cheesy Alfredo. This is not to be confused with their Alfredo Mac & Cheese or any of their other variations on alfredo, this is the "Cheesy Alfredo with Pasta Twists". It was my favorite boxed mac & cheese during the years they sold it. I've been wishing for it to be sold again ever since that devastating day I realized the stores weren't just out of stock, the product was discontinued. To this day, I still check the mac & cheese section every time I go to the grocery store. Well, I finally decided to try to replicate it. I've tried a few different recipes and this is the closest I've gotten to the original. It's not perfect, but I feel like it's 99% of the way there and I've eaten it enough times that my memory of the original flavor is now blending together with this recipe. I'm sure there are some tweaks that could be made to get it even closer, but I'm happy with it as is.
I always hate when recipes have the author's life story a long explanation about the origins of food and humanity and you have to scroll for a year before you find the recipe, so I'll get right to it. The recipe consists of a few key parts: The pasta, the cheese powder, and the milk & butter. The pasta was easy to determine, but funnily enough super hard to get. Kraft used Gemelli pasta, which is a spiral shaped pasta. Weirdly I couldn't find any gemelli pasta in any store near me, so I had to order it online. I highly recommend using gemelli pasta because in my opinion the texture of the noodle is a huge part of what I remember from the original.
The cheese powder was obviously the hardest part to figure out. I was able to, after many hours of thinking back to the days where I had it regularly, figure out a blend of ingredients that comes as close to it as I believe is possible. The base of the powder actually utilizes a white cheddar powder, which works great to give it that cheese flavor without it being too overpowering. The other ingredients are a blend of spices and other powders that I believe are close to what Kraft used in their original recipe. One of the key ingredients is actually a salt, MSG, and sugar blend that I use in a lot of recipes in the place of salt. You mix salt, MSG, and sugar in a 4:2:1 ratio. Usually I make a larger amount and put it in a dedicated shaker, so you could do, for example, 4 tbsp table salt, 2 tbsp MSG powder, and 1 tbsp granulated sugar and then shake it up thoroughly to mix. I use this blend in a lot of recipes, so it's worth making a larger amount and keeping it around. The other aspect is that instead of 4 tbsp of butter like mac and cheese usually uses, I use 6 tbsp because the original recipe had a slightly heavier butter flavor than most mac and cheese. I also recommend the butter be softened, but not melted, before adding it to the pasta. This makes for a great sauce consistency.
- 2 cups gemelli pasta
- 3 tbsp white cheddar powder
- 1/2 tsp salt, MSG, sugar blend
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 6 tbsp salted butter softened
- 1/4 cup milk
- Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the box. I recommend cooking it to al dente, which is usually 8-10 minutes.
- While the pasta is cooking, prepare your cheese powder. Thoroughly mix the white cheddar powder, MSG blend, garlic powder, and onion powder in a small bowl until combined.
- Once the pasta is cooked, strain it and return it to the pot. Add the butter and milk and stir until melted and creamy.
- Add the cheese powder and stir until combined. Serve immediately.
For the white cheddar powder I used the Hoosier Hill Farm White Cheddar Cheese Powder. It comes in a large container so you'll have plenty left over for future batches. I also recommend using a small whisk to mix the cheese powder together. It helps to get it evenly distributed and prevents clumping. As for the ingredients you can obviously change any ratios you'd like to suit your preferences, however I experimented with increasing and decreasing most of these ingredients across many attempts and found this one to be the closest to the original. On the first attempt I did way too much garlic powder and had attrocious breath the rest of the night. I also validated my recipe with my siblings who loved the original just as much as me and they were very pleased with the results.
While this recipe is not perfect, I'm quite pleased with it. I have never found another person who has attempted to make a copycat recipe of the Kraft Cheesy Alfredo, so I was very pleased with how my own humble attempts turned out. I hope this brings some joy to others who loved the original as much as I did. While this is super different content from my typical tech-focused blog posts, I want to use my blog as a place to share things I'm passionate about, and cooking is one of those things. I hope you enjoyed this recipe and if you try it out, let me know what you think by tweeting at me!