The One Ingredient You Need to Make the Best Boxed Mac and Cheese

Sorry, butter and milk — you’ve officially been replaced.

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Photo by: LauriPatterson/Getty Images

LauriPatterson/Getty Images

When I was younger, my brother and I would actually fight over boxed macaroni and cheese. I’m fully aware of how ridiculous that sounds, but it’s one of those childhood memories that sticks with me to this day. He preferred his mac and cheese with so much butter and milk that it was basically a soup, whereas I liked mine to be as thick as possible. To be honest, I always wanted to skip the butter and milk altogether in an attempt to avoid thinning it out too much, which normally resulted in clumps of powdered cheese and dry pasta. Looking back, I can’t really blame him for trying to force the extra ingredients in.

That being said, it’s not surprising that I stopped eating boxed mac and cheese as I grew older. In fact, I couldn’t actually remember the last time I even tried to make it — until a few weeks ago, when I was running low on groceries and looking for a quick and easy lunch.

I grabbed a box of Annie’s mac and cheese (something I normally keep in the pantry for my three-year-old niece) and fired up a pot of water. While I was cooking the pasta, I looked over the box and noticed a tip listed on the very bottom — if you want a creamier mac and cheese, try replacing the butter and milk with a few spoonfuls of Greek yogurt. I was a little skeptical, but since Greek yogurt is one of those ingredients I always have on hand, I figured it couldn’t hurt to try.

Once the pasta was cooked, I stirred in the cheese powder and a few big dollops of yogurt. The finished result looked promising, but I still took my first bite with a bit of trepidation. Once I did, though, I was blown away. The Greek yogurt created a mac and cheese that was smooth, creamy and perfectly on point — and, thanks to the yogurt’s slightly tangy flavor, the entire dish actually tasted cheesier, too! I’m not exaggerating when I say that it was some of the best mac and cheese I’ve ever had in my life, and that includes both homemade and restaurant versions.

That afternoon, I sang the praises of Greek yogurt to everyone I know. I even inspired one of my coworkers to try it when she made a box for her kids, who gobbled it up with rave reviews. Now, I consider myself a reformed mac and cheese hater. I’ll definitely be keeping a box on hand — and a container of Greek yogurt to go with it!

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