Noodles and Co. Wisconsin Mac and Cheese – Hacked

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I love Noodles and Company. Every chance I get, I go there to eat. However, since I have moved, the closest one is 20 minutes away. My favorite dish is their Wisconsin Mac and Cheese. It is a fun dish where there is a cheesy sauce in the bottom of the bowl. Then, it is topped with macaroni noodles. To finish it off, it is topped with cheese. At your table you mix it all together to make a great mac and cheese. After a few iterations I have found a suitable substitute.

macmain

Boil the Noodles

Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the macaroni according to the directions on the box. Make sure to cook it to al dente.

The Cheese Sauce

Heat a sauce pan over medium heat.  Add the butter to the pan and melt.  Then add the flour. Start to whisk to make a roux.

Start the Roux

Whisk until the butter mixture starts to boil and foam.  Then, cook for another minute until it starts to lightly turn brown.

Cook and Whisk till light brown

Slowly mix in the whole milk.  Continue to whisk and cook until it starts to thicken.

Add the milk

Then add the salt, pepper, paprika and Monterey Jack cheese. Whisk until the cheese is fully melted.

Add the cheese

The sauce will not be too thick.  This is perfect.

To Serve

Pour 1/2 cup of the cheese sauce into the bottom of a bowl.  Then add 1 – 1 1/2 cups of cooked noodles to the bowl.

Add the macaroni to the bowl with the cheese sauce

Top with 1/2 cup of shredded Cheddar/jack or Colby/jack cheese.

Top with cheese

Serve.

Closeup

To eat, mix the cheese, macaroni and cheese sauce together.

All mixed up

The shredded Cheddar/jack or Colby/jack cheese will melt right into the mixture and make a perfect mac and cheese.

4.0 from 1 reviews
Noodles and Co. Wisconsin Mac and Cheese - Hacked
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Noodles and Company Mac n Cheese Hack
Ingredients
  • ½ lb macaroni
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 2 cup whole milk
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 2 cups Monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar/jack or Colby/jack cheese
Instructions
Boil the Noodles
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the macaroni according to the directions on the box. Make sure to cook it to al dente.
The Cheese Sauce
  1. Heat a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the butter to the pan and melt. Then add the flour. Start to whisk to make a roux.
  2. Whisk until the butter mixture starts to boil and foam. Then cook for another minute until it starts to lightly turn brown.
  3. Slowly mix in the whole milk. Continue to whisk and cook until it starts to thicken.
  4. Then add the salt, pepper, paprika and Monterey Jack cheese. Whisk until the cheese is fully melted.
  5. The sauce will not be too thick. This is perfect.
To Serve
  1. Pour ½ cup of the cheese sauce into the bottom of a bowl. Then add 1 - 1½ cups of cooked noodles to the bowl.
  2. Then top with ½ cup of shredded Cheddar/jack or Colby/jack cheese.
Serve.
  1. To eat mix the cheese, macaroni and cheese sauce together.
  2. The shredded Cheddar/jack or Colby/jack cheese will melt right into the mixture and make a perfect mac and cheese.

 

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44 thoughts on “Noodles and Co. Wisconsin Mac and Cheese – Hacked

  • November 17, 2011 at 2:31 pm
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    I like the assembly, haven't seen it served that way before, how unique.

    Reply
    • November 17, 2011 at 4:24 pm
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      It is a fun way of eating Mac and Cheese. The kids love it. Plus, the results are awesome! Super creamy and delicious!

      Reply
  • November 21, 2011 at 1:22 pm
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    Mac and Cheese (from Kraft instant to Stouffers frozen) has always been on the Thanksgiving table in our house. With the nest officially empty this year, we are getting creative with our traditions. This Mac and Cheese will be on our table this Thursday! It looks awesome (great photos) and I can't wait to give it a go. It will be served alongside my clarified butter injected deep fried turkey.

    Thanks for sharing this!!! If it comes out, it may become my go to recipe.

    Reply
    • June 10, 2013 at 6:03 am
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      yep its looking delicious definitely gonna try.

      Reply
  • November 26, 2011 at 7:12 am
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    Hey Rex – I made this and it came out great. Thanks so much!

    One question though – I'm having a heck of a time with cheese sauces. It's hard to explain, but they come out almost "grainy" from the flour I think. I followed your instructions to the letter on the roux – and there was no flour taste (this time yea!) but the texture is just off somehow. Care to share your secret?

    Reply
    • November 26, 2011 at 1:15 pm
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      David, what kind of cheese were you using. I have found that if you use low fat or 2% cheese it gets a bit grainy. Also, try to add the milk slowly and stir constantly. I have found that if you add the milk a little at a time and fully incorporate it before adding more, it works the best. I have also found that a flat whisk works the best for cheese sauces. This is one like I use. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000VLXY6/ref=a… They sell them at bed bath and beyond and other kitchen stores.

      Reply
      • November 28, 2011 at 6:56 am
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        Perfect, thank you!

        As far as the cheese, I used Monterey Jack. We rarely (never) buy reduced fat cheese. I may have gone a little fast on the milk because the roux was getting really hot. I'm going to get one of those fancy whisks and work on my technique. Thanks again!!!

        Motivation? A perfect queso cheese sauce for Mexican food.

        Reply
    • January 15, 2013 at 1:22 pm
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      If you use pre-shredded cheese, it might be grainy because they mix cornstarch with the shredded cheese so they don't stick in the bag. I would try buying a block of cheese and shredding it yourself and see if that takes the grainy texture away.

      Reply
  • January 15, 2012 at 10:14 pm
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    I have better success with roux if I warm the milk a bit before adding, instead of adding it cold, and as you say, slowly adding, or a little at a time works best, allowing total assimilation/mixing and a bit of thickening before adding more liquid helps also.

    Great recipe, I've been looking for this!

    Reply
  • February 27, 2012 at 6:23 pm
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    How many does this serve? I am planning my meals for this weekend when we will have 5 extra people to feed, in addition to our family of 6.

    Reply
    • February 27, 2012 at 6:34 pm
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      Betsy, if it is the main dish, the mac and cheese recipe above will feed about 3-4 people.

      Reply
  • March 10, 2012 at 7:28 pm
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    This is NOT good. Not even close to Noodles. Very disappointed. Don’t waste your time on it.

    Reply
  • April 19, 2012 at 12:40 pm
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    My daughter is addicted to Noodles Wisconsin Mac & Cheese. I have seriously wondered if they put crack in there … but I guess not. I can't wait to try this!

    Reply
  • June 1, 2012 at 9:49 pm
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    Used this recipe, but my sauce came out really grainy. Know where I went wrong?

    Reply
  • June 19, 2012 at 9:41 pm
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    I found your recipe on pinterest & just made it. My sauce also turned out a little grainy but after reading the above comments I know what to try next time. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  • September 20, 2012 at 3:26 pm
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    I’ve made this a few times and its turned out blah every time. IMO the flaw is in the roux + milk. If you use cream or half and half, it comes out much better. However, no matter how you slice it, this does not taste like Noodles & Co.

    Reply
  • November 5, 2012 at 1:41 pm
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    I dont add the cheese and have them mix it up. I mix the cheese in at the end into the milk sauce and then pour it all over noodles so it can be dished up and done. No reason for extra hassle.

    Reply
    • November 7, 2012 at 12:27 pm
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      I have done it this way too. Works better for a crowd. I showed it with the cheese added at the end as it matches the way that they do it at noodles.

      Reply
  • November 7, 2012 at 12:22 pm
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    I wanna make this tonight but don't have any whole milk…… How would it turn out if I used skim milk? Or Almond milk???

    Reply
    • November 7, 2012 at 12:29 pm
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      I have used skim and it turns out alright, but you end up missing a little of the rich creamy goodness that comes from whole milk. I have never tried almond milk. If you do, let me know how it turns out.

      Reply
  • November 22, 2012 at 11:35 am
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    My sauce was like chunky…for some reason when i mixed the butter and flour it turned into a chunky mixture

    Reply
    • November 22, 2012 at 12:03 pm
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      Delaney – when you mix the flour and butter to form the roux you need to keep stirring with a whisk to get the lumps out. As it cooks and butter melts it will become smooth.

      Reply
  • February 11, 2013 at 6:45 pm
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    This tastes nothing like Noodles and company. If you are looking for that exact dish, this is not it.

    Reply
  • March 5, 2013 at 4:23 pm
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    I worked at N&C for 5 years, this is probably the closest variation I've seen online (N&C pours the cheese on top of the noodles and it works its way down to the bottom so all the noodles get covered) but I'm interested in trying this recipe at home

    Reply
    • March 5, 2013 at 4:27 pm
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      Abby – I will have to try pouring the cheese on top and letting it work its way down next time. I like it. Thanks for the input.

      Rex

      Reply
  • March 22, 2013 at 12:02 pm
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    Just tried this recipe and would agree that it does not taste like Nooles & Co. One child liked it and the other said it is ok. Thank you for the recipe!

    Reply
    • March 22, 2013 at 9:09 pm
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      Jennifer, sorry it did not meet your expectations. I thought I was pretty close but there have been a few comments that say that it is pretty far from the recipe. Do you have any suggestions as to flavors or maybe enhancements that could be made to make it better. If so I would love to try them out and see if I can get to a recipe that more would agree, tastes like the original. I am always open to criticism, that is what makes food blogs fun. I appreciate your comment.

      Reply
  • April 14, 2013 at 12:39 pm
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    How does it reheat? I was going to take this with to a dinner party but wanted to make it at home prior to going.

    Reply
    • April 14, 2013 at 5:38 pm
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      I have not tried to reheat it, but I think that it would be best right away. Due to the fact that you mix it all together prior to eating, I think that it might be a little sketchy reheated.

      Reply
    • April 20, 2013 at 1:18 pm
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      I packeged up the GF version I made for my husband and we have been eating it as leftovers. It microwaves really well. I poured the sauce over the noodles, sprinkled the cheese over the top and we just spoon it out and warm it. I thought it was a great as a leftover :)

      Reply
  • April 20, 2013 at 1:19 pm
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    Made this for my whole family, GF and regular versions of the noodles. Used Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Flour for the sauce to make it GF and everyone loved it.

    Reply
  • May 4, 2013 at 7:56 pm
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    This was Really great! This is my favorite dish from Noodle and Co. I made baked parmesan chicken to add just like I do at Noodle and Co. Mine was not grainy at all, I did use half heavy cream and half 2%milk because that was what I had and it worked out just fine. I will For sure be making this again (And doubling up for left overs!)

    Reply
  • November 5, 2013 at 6:56 pm
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    We are making this recipe right now and I think it will turn out great!!!

    Reply
  • December 17, 2013 at 11:52 pm
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    i just made this dish and it is almost exactly like the real thing! I was so excited that it came out the way it was supposed to. The only suggestion i would make is to add more flour. The 2 tbsp did not make it very thick. Other than that, amazing recipe! And it feeds a ton!!!

    Reply
  • March 27, 2014 at 8:52 pm
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    This was absolutely disgusting, and I was so bummed. It did not taste like the real thing at all.

    Reply
    • March 31, 2014 at 10:39 am
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      erodman – Sorry you did not like it. The recipe was a hit at my house and a ton of my readers love it too. If you can tell me what exactly you did not like I can try to improve it for you.

      Reply
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  • August 11, 2014 at 8:11 pm
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    I have made this recipe many times and I have had the grainy texture also. Using a better quality cheese and shredding it yourself makes a big difference. And to those of you who dont think it tastes like Noddles and CO. must be doing something wrong. it is exactly like the real deal if you do it right.

    Reply
  • September 15, 2014 at 7:00 pm
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    This was pretty darn close. Like others, my sauce was a little grainy, and that was with me shredding the cheese myself. After it was all mixed together the sauce was too thin. But, maybe with a little more flour or less milk, it could be thicker. Otherwise it was yummy! The taste was very similar to N&C.

    Reply
  • December 8, 2015 at 8:31 pm
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    I tried this tonight. My daughter gets the Mac n cheese at Noodles all the time. She said it tasted very similar but the texture was off, and I agree. I did grate my own cheese but I used skim milk, as that’s all I had. I used a whisk and the roux was perfect, no lumps or anything. I think using whole milk or half & half would help tremendously. I’ll try that next time. Otherwise it was great!

    Also, it says this serves 4. Those would be VERY generous servings. The three of us had this as a side dish with chicken breasts, and we barely made a dent in it. We will have leftovers for the rest of the week.

    Reply
    • December 8, 2015 at 8:47 pm
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      Thanks for the comment. I have tried this with skim milk and the texture was a little off. Using fattier milk really helps with the creaminess. Glad you liked it. The portions were for having the mac and cheese on its own. As a side dish it would definitely serve more than 4.

      Reply

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