Why is My Mac and Cheese Dry? [And Here’s How to Fix It!]

Each of us has had various versions of the humble, cheesy deliciousness of macaroni and cheese at our favorite restaurants or over at our friend’s place. We have even tried different recipes to duplicate its deliciousness by making it at home. You had all the ingredients and the technique right but didn’t expect your dish to come out dry!

Which has left you wondering what went wrong. 

Let us look at some reasons as to what could have made it dry. 

Generally, Macaroni cheese becomes dry because it doesn’t have enough sauce, and the pasta has absorbed all the sauce. This happens mainly due to two reasons either there is less sauce from the start, or the pasta is undercooked and has absorbed all the moisture from the sauce. 

If for either of the above two reasons, your dish has turned out dry, you don’t need to chuck it and start again. In most cases, there are a few quick fixes that should be able to help you revive your macaroni and cheese. 

Below are a few things that you help eliminate such a situation. 

How do I fix dry macaroni and cheese?

Cheese Macaroni au Gratin

The easiest fix for an already made Macaroni cheese would be to add more milk and cook it again. Depending on how dry your Macaroni is, you can add approximately 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk per cup of Macaroni and Cheese. 

Alternatively, if you make your macaroni cheese in bechamel sauce and you have some leftover, then simply add some more. 

Another great way would be to add more quantity of milk or white sauce and tweak your recipe.

We suggest you tweak your recipe for the following reasons:

  1. Different flours absorb different amounts of moisture. The capacity differs from the variety of wheat that has been used. 
  2. Also, depends on the milk that you are using, as skimmed milk has more chances of turning the dish dry compared to full-fat milk. 
  3. Also, the oven settings might be too high and have thus gone dry. 

Why is my baked mac and cheese so dry?

There are a few simple ways to ensure the most creamy, gooey, moist macaroni cheese in your baked version.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Ensure that there is more than enough milk and cheese
  2. But not too much flour.
  3. Also, the cooking time and the heat are appropriate for the quantity in your recipe. 
  4. Alternatively, you could also cover the top for half of the cooking time and cook it up open for the rest half so that your end result would be a moist dish with a crusty top.

How do you keep macaroni moist?

The cooking time for your pasta greatly determines the quality of your pasta. If your Macaroni calls for 10 minutes of cooking, then cook it only for 7-8 minutes. This ensures the macaroni is cooked al dente

Also, you will not run the risk of undercooked or overcooked pasta. If the pasta is undercooked, the Macaroni cheese tends to dry. As the pasta tends to absorb liquid and swell up. If your macaroni is overcooked while the pasta is boiled, then the macaroni will get soggy.

Why is my macaroni And cheese dry and not creamy?

There are quite a few reasons for not getting creamy Macaroni cheese, and here’s what you can do:

  1. Cook your pasta in milk and water in a 1:1 ratio.
  2. Use the cream in your cooking Heavy cream, Light cream, Half n half, Sour cream, or Mascarpone. 
  3. Don’t use only one cheese. use a blend of cheese, or the best cheese option for Macaroni cheese is sharp white cheddar. 
  4. Not using enough cheese results in a non-creamy dish.
  5. Another possible reason could be you have not used egg in your recipe, and your recipe requires it. 
  6. There is too much flour in the roux. 
  7. The shape of pasta that you have used isn’t suitable for macaroni cheese.  Suitable shapes are shells, penne, or rotini. 

Can you fix Macaroni and Cheese without milk?

Yes, if you don’t want to use milk, then there are quite a few substitutes for milk that can be added to fix your dry macaroni cheese. 

Dairy options

  1. Shredded cheese mixed with milk/white sauce /pasta water in a 1:1 ratio
  2. Cream cheese 
  3. Sour cream
  4. Evaporated milk and water
  5. Pasta water
  6. Bechamel Sauce

Non Dairy options

  1. Cashew milk or cream
  2. Soy milk or cream
  3. Almond milk
  4. Oat milk

The Non-Dairy options above are some very good substitutes for milk to fix your dry macaroni cheese. 

How to reheat Macaroni and Cheese without drying it out?

If you have made a big batch or have a few leftovers, then there are a few options for reheating macaroni and cheese without it going dry. 

  1. Adding more milk, about one tablespoon per cup of Macaroni cheese
  2. Adding more cheese
  3. Adding a combination of milk and cheese
  4. Adding a touch of butter and cheese
  5. Reheating it over a low flame and stirring it gently with a spoon. 

One has to be extra careful not to reheat macaroni cheese on a high flame lest the fats in milk and cheese will separate, and you will be left with a curdled, greasy dish. 

Should I cover mac and cheese while baking?

There is no hard and fast rule as to if you should cover your Macaroni and Cheese while baking.

Here are a few options you can try and see which works the best for you:

  1. You can bake the dish uncovered.
  2. You can bake the dish by keeping it covered with a bake-safe glass lid or aluminum foil.
  3. You can keep the dish covered for the first half of the baking time and the second half uncovered. This works wonders if you have added breadcrumbs to the top of the dish. As a result, it will be a moist dish with a crusty top.

How do you keep macaroni and cheese warm without drying it out?

There are a few options to keep your Macaroni cheese warm, allowing you to make it ahead for serving it later. Also, the Macaroni cheese will not dry out if you adopt these options. 

  1. Keep it in a crock pot. A crock pot keeps food warm for 1 to 5 hours, depending on the quality. 

Below are a few things to remember so you don’t mess it up. 

  1. The temperature of the crock pot should be at on “low” or “warm” setting. 
  2. Grease the inside of the crock pot so that the dish does not stick and get burned. 
  3. You will also have to stir the dish inside the crock pot every 20 minutes.

2. Chafing dish is another option if you do not have a crock pot. The advantage of using a charging dish is that it can be set up in the serving area. Also, it has water heated constantly to keep the food warm. So you don’t have to stir it continually. 

3. Insulated tiffins boxes act as a thermos, keeping the food warm for some time, and therefore, your Macaroni cheese will not go dry.  How long an insulated tiffin box can keep your macaroni cheese dry shall depend on the quality of the box. It is ideal for the outdoors as the box can be easily carried while on a picnic or when you need to take it for a pot lunch.

How do you keep Kraft Mac n Cheese from drying out?

Boxed macaroni is popularly called “everyone’s favorite”. It’s super simple to cook and tastes amazing. Also, it just costs just a dollar! 

Here are some tips to keep your KD from drying out and make the dish even more delicious. 

  1. Cook the Macaroni in milk and water. 
  2. Add more butter to the recipe. 
  3. Cook the pasta two minutes less than stated on the box. 
  4. Add more cheese. 
  5. Adding creams is also a good option.
  6. You can add evaporated milk which will give a creamier texture. 

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