Custard Vs Roux Mac And Cheese: Richness Revealed

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Macaroni and cheese, a quintessential comfort food, boasts numerous variations, each offering a unique texture and flavor profile. Among these, the custard-based and roux-based mac and cheese stand apart, showcasing distinctive methods and resulting in diverse culinary experiences.

Join us on a delightful exploration as we delve into the nuances of these two beloved renditions of the classic mac and cheese dish.

Custard Vs Roux Mac And Cheese – Mac and Cheese Showdown

The distinction between custard-based and roux-based mac and cheese lies in their foundational components, preparation methods, and resulting textures, offering unique variations to the beloved comfort dish.

FeatureCustard-Based Mac and CheeseRoux-Based Mac and Cheese
BaseCustard-like mixture of eggs, milk, and cheeseBechamel sauce made from roux and milk
Preparation MethodEggs beaten into milk and cheese, poured over pasta, bakedRoux combined with milk, cheese, poured over pasta, baked
TextureThicker, denser consistency due to custard settingCreamier, smoother texture from the bechamel sauce
Foundation of SauceCustard-like mixture forms the sauceBechamel sauce forms the creamy base of the sauce
Cooking ResultSilkier, more substantial textureCreamy, even coating over the pasta
RichnessOffers a rich, velvety textureProvides a smooth, uniform richness

In custard-based mac and cheese, the foundation of the sauce revolves around a custard-like mixture.

This mixture comprises eggs, milk, and cheese, creating a smooth and velvety texture that envelops the cooked pasta.

The preparation involves beating eggs into the milk and cheese mixture, which is then poured over the cooked pasta before baking.

As it bakes, the custard sets, resulting in a thicker, denser consistency compared to its roux-based counterpart. This version of mac and cheese tends to offer a silkier, more substantial texture, thanks to the custard base.

Contrasting the custard-based method, roux-based mac and cheese derives its sauce from a roux—a cooked blend of flour and fat—combined with milk to create a creamy bechamel sauce.

The bechamel sauce, infused with cheese, is poured over the cooked pasta before baking. During baking, the cheese melts into the sauce, resulting in a creamy, smooth texture that evenly coats the pasta.

Roux-based mac and cheese tends to be creamier compared to the custard-based variation due to the smoothness of the bechamel sauce.

The core distinction lies in their foundational bases—the custard mixture in one and the roux-based bechamel sauce in the other.

Custard-based mac and cheese offers a thicker, denser texture, while roux-based mac and cheese tends to deliver a creamier, more uniform consistency.

The choice between the two often depends on personal preferences for texture, richness, and the overall mouthfeel desired in the mac and cheese dish.

Taste And Texture

Custard Mac And Cheese

A custard-style mac and cheese is known for its creamy and silky texture. The addition of eggs and evaporated milk creates a rich and velvety sauce that coats every noodle.

The custard base enhances the flavors of the cheese, resulting in a harmonious balance of creaminess and cheesiness.

The baked version, often topped with bread crumbs, adds a delightful crunch to complement the smoothness of the custard.

Roux Mac And Cheese

Roux-based mac and cheese offers a different taste and texture experience. The roux, a mixture of melted butter and flour, provides a thickening agent for the cheese sauce.

This method creates a velvety and slightly thicker sauce that clings to the noodles and ensures an even distribution of cheese. The roux imparts a subtle nutty flavor that adds depth to the overall taste of the dish.

Overall, both types of mac and cheese have their unique appeal when it comes to taste and texture.

Whether you prefer the creamy and silky custard version or the thicker and nuttier roux version, it ultimately boils down to personal preference.


Custard Mac And Cheese

For Custard Mac and Cheese, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Elbow macaroni
  • Sharp cheddar cheese
  • Red pepper
  • Eggs
  • Evaporated milk
  • Mascarpone cheese
  • White cheddar cheese

Roux Mac And Cheese

Roux Mac and Cheese requires the following ingredients:

  • Elbow macaroni
  • Sharp cheddar cheese
  • Butter
  • Dry mustard

Both Custard Mac and Cheese and Roux Mac and Cheese have their unique set of ingredients that contribute to their distinct flavors and textures.

While Custard Mac and Cheese includes ingredients like red pepper, eggs, and evaporated milk to create a creamy custard base, Roux Mac and Cheese relies on the combination of butter and dry mustard to thicken the sauce and enhance the cheesiness.

If you prefer a mac and cheese with a custard-like texture and a hint of spice, Custard Mac and Cheese is the way to go.

On the other hand, if you enjoy a more classic, rich, and velvety mac and cheese, Roux Mac and Cheese is the perfect choice.

Cooking Technique

Custard Mac And Cheese

When it comes to mac and cheese, there are two main cooking techniques that are commonly used: custard and roux. Let’s explore the unique characteristics and flavors of each technique.

Roux Mac And Cheese

The roux method involves making a thick sauce by cooking flour and butter together before adding milk or cream. This traditional technique creates a velvety-smooth sauce that is thickened and stabilized by the roux.

The roux coats the pasta evenly, ensuring that every bite is filled with creamy goodness. The addition of cheese to the roux sauce creates a luscious, indulgent mac and cheese.

Custard Mac And Cheese

Custard mac and cheese, on the other hand, is made by combining eggs and milk to create a rich, custard-like sauce.

This technique adds a unique depth of flavor and a silky smooth texture to the mac and cheese. The eggs give the dish a slightly soufflé-like quality, making it light and airy.

Both methods have their own merits and it ultimately comes down to personal preference.

The roux method provides a thicker, more classic mac and cheese experience, while the custard method adds a subtle twist with its custard-like consistency and enhanced flavor profile.

Preparation Time

Custard Mac And Cheese

Preparing custard mac and cheese involves creating a rich and creamy custard base. This method typically requires a longer preparation time compared to roux mac and cheese.

Here’s a breakdown of the steps involved:

  1. Cooking elbow macaroni according to package instructions.
  2. Whisking together eggs, evaporated milk, and a combination of sharp cheddar and mascarpone cheeses.
  3. Mixing the cooked macaroni with the custard mixture.
  4. Baking the mac and cheese in the oven until golden and bubbly.

This process may take a bit more time, but the end result is a velvety smooth and decadent mac and cheese that’s worth the wait.

Roux Mac And Cheese

On the other hand, roux mac and cheese offers a quicker preparation time. The roux, made from flour and butter, helps thicken the sauce and create a smooth texture.

Here’s a simplified overview of the steps:

  1. Cooking elbow macaroni according to package instructions.
  2. Making a roux by melting butter in a saucepan and adding flour.
  3. Gradually adding milk to the roux and stirring until thickened.
  4. Melting in a generous amount of your favorite cheddar cheese.
  5. Tossing the cooked macaroni with the cheese sauce and serving immediately.

This method cuts down on the baking time, allowing you to enjoy a creamy and comforting mac and cheese in less time.

In conclusion, both custard mac and cheese and roux mac and cheese have their own unique preparation steps.

While custard mac and cheese requires a longer baking time, roux mac and cheese offers a quicker stovetop preparation.

The method you choose ultimately depends on your preference and available time.

Whichever method you go with, you’re sure to end up with a deliciously cheesy mac and cheese that will satisfy your cravings!

Variations And Customizations

Custard Mac And Cheese

Custard mac and cheese is known for its rich and velvety texture. This method involves the addition of eggs to the cheese sauce, creating a custard-like consistency.

The eggs not only thicken the sauce but also add a hint of richness to every bite. The result is a creamy and decadent mac and cheese that is sure to impress.


  • Additional Cheese: Experiment with different types of cheese to add depth of flavor. Sharp cheddar, Gruyere, or even a sprinkle of Parmesan can take your custard mac and cheese to the next level.
  • Herbs and Seasonings: Enhance the taste by incorporating herbs like thyme or seasonings like garlic powder or paprika. These additions can add a burst of flavor and make your mac and cheese truly shine.
  • Toppings: Add a crunchy element to your dish by topping it with breadcrumbs or crushed crackers before baking. This will create a delightful contrast in texture and elevate the overall experience.

Roux Mac And Cheese

Roux mac and cheese, on the other hand, relies on a classic French cooking technique. A roux is created by combining flour and butter, which acts as a thickening agent for the sauce.

This method creates a smooth and creamy cheese sauce that coats the macaroni noodles perfectly.


  • Cheese Combinations: Experiment with different cheese combinations to create a unique flavor profile. Mix sharp cheddar with Gouda, Swiss with Monterey Jack, or even blue cheese with mozzarella. The possibilities are endless!
  • Spice it Up: Add a dash of cayenne pepper or a pinch of red pepper flakes to give your roux mac and cheese a little kick. The subtle heat will add depth and complexity to the dish.
  • Add-ins: Customize your mac and cheese by adding additional ingredients such as cooked bacon, sautéed onions, or even roasted vegetables. These additions can bring a new dimension of flavors and textures to your dish.

Whether you prefer the custard method or the roux method, one thing is for sure – mac and cheese is a versatile dish that can be adapted to suit any taste preference.

Get creative and explore the endless variations and customizations to create a mac and cheese recipe that is truly your own.


The world of mac and cheese thrives on diversity, offering culinary enthusiasts various avenues to savor this beloved comfort dish. Whether craving the robust, custard-infused texture or indulging in the creamy, roux-kissed velvety goodness, both custard-based and roux-based mac and cheese stand as delightful renditions, each catering to distinct taste preferences and providing a delectable twist to the classic macaroni and cheese recipe.

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