Jet Tila Makes This Mac and Cheese for His Kids Every Week and You Will Too

No, it’s not the boxed stuff. But good guess!

March 03, 2020

20-Minute Mac and Cheese beauty, as seen on Food Network Kitchen Live.

Photo by: Rob Pryce

Rob Pryce

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Let’s be honest — the boxed mac and cheese is seriously good. But it’s loaded with salt and preservatives and whatever else makes up the strange wonder that is bright-orange powdered cheese, so it’s probably not something you want to make multiple times a week. But that doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to quick-fix dinners of kid-friendly mac and cheese. In a recent class on the Food Network Kitchen app, Jet Tila shared his homemade recipe that can be ready in minutes (yes, really), and it’s so good and so easy that he says, “I do this about three days a week for the kids.”

The secret to scratch-made mac and cheese is getting the cheese sauce just right. If the cheese doesn’t melt, you’ll be left with a clumpy mess. But if it’s too loose, the sauce will slide right off the pasta, which isn’t ideal either. Jet’s trick for a smooth, creamy consistency is making a simple roux, which is just a fancy French term for a mixture of flour and fat, he explains. In this case, Jet uses flour and butter for flavor. By making a roux before adding milk and cheese, he’s paving the way for a luxurious not-too-thick-not-too-thin sauce.

As for the cheesy specifics of Jet’s recipe, he keeps this one pretty classic — a mix of cheddar, gruyere and Parmesan cheeses — but he says you can use almost any flavor combo you like. The same goes for extra add-ins. Jet has opted to go meatless here, but he notes that bacon and sausage would be great too.

Head to the Food Network Kitchen app to watch Jet’s class in full and to get his speedy mac and cheese recipe. Plus, you can check out tons of other classes from Jet and more of your favorite chefs when you download the app and sign up today.

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Jet Tila specializes in Thai and Chinese cooking in the restaurant industry and serves as a Cutthroat Kitchen judge. Find out more on Food Network.

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