Sodium Citrate Macaroni and Cheese

Recipes abound for sodium citrate based mac and cheese, but the ratios of cheese/water/sodium citrate are all different. Having tried several recipes with several different types of cheeses it’s been a bit perplexing that I always end up tweaking the recipe somehow, either by adding more cheese or adding more sodium citrate to help it go into emulsion. I believe the fat content of the cheese is a huge variable that you need to adjust for. Because Tillamook Medium Cheddar is plentiful here on the west coast, here’s a combination that works well it. No guarantee it works with other cheeses!

  • 1lb noodles
  • 1.5 lbs Tillamook Medium Cheddar, diced/sliced
  • 3 tsp sodium citrate
  • 2 cups water

Cook noodles and set aside.

Bring water to a boil, add sodium citrate and stir until it goes into solution. Reduce to medium high heat and slowly add cheese to water, stirring vigorously, until cheese reaches a smooth consistency. Remove from heat, add noodles and continue stirring to prevent it from burning.

Some recipes recommend you use an emulsion blender to mix the cheese sauce. BAD IDEA. You’ll be removing cheese bits from your blender for months and you’ll never want to make this again. A normal spoon works fine.

PROTIP: This recipe makes a mess! Melt the cheese and combine the noodles in the same pot to reduce cleanup. To quickly clean the pot combine more water and more sodium citrate and return it to a boil. It’s not quite self-cleaning but saves a lot of effort.

See also my old Macaroni and Cheese recipe.

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