Boxed Mac And Cheese Powder Belongs On Popcorn

By now, many home cooks know how to elevate a box of mac and cheese. The delicious and quick meal is easy to make and satisfyingly savory. However, if you're willing to set aside the elbows and shells, there are many more starchy options to combine with the rich seasoning.

The orange and white powders are practically made for flavoring popcorn. It even works in a pinch when all you have is the microwave or stovetop stuff. True snacking pros add a drizzle of melted butter as well to fully embrace the sharp topping.

How much powder you use is a personal choice. The best approach is similar to adding any other seasoning: Add a tablespoon or two, shake thoroughly, taste, and repeat. For larger quantities of popcorn, or to mimic store-bought cheese popcorn, feel free to add the whole packet, or about ¼ cup of cheese powder. To embrace a Chicago-style popcorn mix, pair your orange-hued kernels with caramel corn for a surprisingly magical sweet-savory combination.

How to get that cheddar (powder)

The gold dust is precious, which might make cooks reluctant to abandon their boxed macaroni and cheese routine. We have good news: You can buy the instant powder in bulk online. Shoppers can choose between white cheddar and the usual orange from other retailers as well as concentrated shakers with added seasonings.

Alternatively, you can seek out powdered cheese. This will conjure a similar zip of savory flavor and might be easier to track down in stores. Leftover powder will also work in homemade instant mac — just add milk and butter.

The most ambitious chefs can also take the DIY route and dehydrate slices of cheese. This allows for a fully customized blend of hard cheeses. The dried shards will need to be blitzed into a fine powder, but then it's ready to employ. Whichever dairy you decide to utilize, consider adding cayenne for a kick of heat, paprika for sweet smoke, nutritional yeast for nutty funk, dried thyme for light herbaceous note, or another pinch of powdered dairy, like buttermilk, to enhance the tang. Coat freshly popped, buttery kernels with this, and you'll forget all about the plain stuff.

Boxed mac 'n cheese powder for every meal

Snacks are a fantastic outlet for this seasoning power move. In addition to popcorn, sprinkle the cheesy topping on tangy sourdough discard crackers, homemade Cheez-Its, and Ina Garten's homemade croutons. The dehydrated dairy is likely to make a punchy topping on buttered toast, too. Use any leftover bulk powder on noodles, like instant ramen, to enjoy the creamier side of the topping.

Busy chefs may also reach for the powder when scrambling eggs and preparing loaded carbonara-inspired breakfast sandwiches. The instant mix should add a dose of sodium as well, so make sure to adjust your seasonings to compensate. Though we haven't tested its effect on biscuit and waffle batter, it could add the right savory touch to round out fillings like chives, bacon, and mushrooms.

Also look to foods improved by melted shredded cheese and a hit of umami. Steamed broccoli and roasted potatoes, for example, can stand up to a coating of the white or orange ingredient, as can salty snacks like French fries. Creamy stewed or refried beans, potato leek soup, broccoli cheddar, and chili also have vibrant, cheese-friendly flavors that shine with added salt and tang. To stick with corn-centric foods, consider breaking all the rules and adding a sprinkle to corn chowder or a hominy stew.