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Noodles and Co. Wisconsin Mac and Cheese – Hacked

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. Then 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.

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

Then 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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Comments
  • comment avatar chris November 17, 2011

    I like the assembly, haven't seen it served that way before, how unique.

    • comment avatar savoryreviews November 17, 2011

      It is a fun way of eating Mac and Cheese. The kids love it. Plus, the results are awesome! Super creamy and delicious!

  • comment avatar David Francis November 21, 2011

    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.

  • comment avatar onesimpleway November 24, 2011

    Can't wait to try, looks delicous

    • comment avatar basilsingh123 June 10, 2013

      yep its looking delicious definitely gonna try.

  • comment avatar David Francis November 26, 2011

    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?

    • comment avatar savoryreviews November 26, 2011

      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.

      • comment avatar David Francis November 28, 2011

        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.

    • comment avatar SHH January 15, 2013

      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.

  • comment avatar Annette January 15, 2012

    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!

  • comment avatar Betsy February 27, 2012

    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.

    • comment avatar savoryreviews February 27, 2012

      Betsy, if it is the main dish, the mac and cheese recipe above will feed about 3-4 people.

  • comment avatar Matt March 10, 2012

    This is NOT good. Not even close to Noodles. Very disappointed. Don’t waste your time on it.

  • comment avatar Sarah April 19, 2012

    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!

  • comment avatar ElisSa June 1, 2012

    Used this recipe, but my sauce came out really grainy. Know where I went wrong?

  • comment avatar Amber June 19, 2012

    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!

  • comment avatar Meg September 20, 2012

    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.

  • comment avatar Autumn October 16, 2012

    This looks super good!! Thanks for sharing

  • comment avatar @surfgrl460 November 5, 2012

    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.

    • comment avatar savoryreviews November 7, 2012

      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.

  • comment avatar Stephanie November 7, 2012

    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???

    • comment avatar savoryreviews November 7, 2012

      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.

  • comment avatar Delaney November 22, 2012

    My sauce was like chunky…for some reason when i mixed the butter and flour it turned into a chunky mixture

    • comment avatar savoryreviews November 22, 2012

      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.

  • comment avatar Bob February 11, 2013

    This tastes nothing like Noodles and company. If you are looking for that exact dish, this is not it.

  • comment avatar Abby March 5, 2013

    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

    • comment avatar savoryreviews March 5, 2013

      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

  • comment avatar Jennifer March 22, 2013

    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!

    • comment avatar savoryreviews March 22, 2013

      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.

  • comment avatar Melissa April 14, 2013

    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.

    • comment avatar savoryreviews April 14, 2013

      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.

    • comment avatar Jaimi April 20, 2013

      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 :)

  • comment avatar Jaimi April 20, 2013

    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.

  • comment avatar CKel22 May 4, 2013

    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!)

  • comment avatar Kate:) November 5, 2013

    We are making this recipe right now and I think it will turn out great!!!

  • comment avatar Sam! December 17, 2013

    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!!!

  • comment avatar erodman March 27, 2014

    This was absolutely disgusting, and I was so bummed. It did not taste like the real thing at all.

    • comment avatar Rex March 31, 2014

      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.

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  • comment avatar Marla August 11, 2014

    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.

  • comment avatar Dana September 15, 2014

    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.

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