The Reason You Should Add Sour Cream To Macaroni And Cheese

It's no wonder that Kraft, the first company to sell boxed mac and cheese, sells one million boxes each day (per Tastemade). It's also no surprise that there's an entire day dedicated to this golden, gooey food — National Mac and Cheese Day is in July. This creamy pasta mixed with cheesy sauce is perfect for anyone looking to make a delicious dinner. It's quick, affordable, and can be combined with other unexpected ingredients like hotdogs, bacon, broccoli, peas, and more.

Not all mac-and-cheese dishes are created equal. While your typical 99-cent boxes that come with the powdered packet are affordable, they don't compare to those with the cheesy sauce packet or, better yet, homemade macaroni and cheese fresh from the oven. If only there were a way to upgrade your mac and cheese without needing more time and money. Well, there surprisingly is a way you can with one simple ingredient -– sour cream.

Why add sour cream to your macaroni and cheese?

Whether making it from scratch or the box, sour cream is the secret ingredient to rich and creamy macaroni and cheese. This tart and tangy additive goes a long way regarding recipes, and just a dollop can transform any dish into a thick and creamy masterpiece. But why add it to mac and cheese? Tastessence says that sour cream is the perfect ingredient to substitute for milk when making mac and cheese without sacrificing taste and texture. If anything, it will give your pasta a creamier, richer flavor.

The next time you make macaroni and cheese, try adding sour cream like this recipe by Greatist. This no-bake recipe only uses three main ingredients, macaroni noodles, sharp cheddar cheese, and sour cream. The best part is that it can all be done on the stovetop and adjusted to your liking. For example, add more cheese if you want your mac a little cheesier. If you'd like it to be creamier, add more sour cream. It's as easy as that.

The result will be unlike its boxed counterpart, which often lacks the creaminess homemade versions do since there's a packet of dry ingredients mixed with butter and liquid. By adding sour cream, you can easily bring in the saucy texture you're looking for without needing to make any significant upgrades.

Healthy alternatives to sour cream

If you're watching what you eat, sour cream may not be the best option since it's high in fat and calories, per Tastessence. If you try this trick and realize you have run out of sour cream, some alternatives you can use will give you a similar creamy consistency. The Pioneer Woman's list of sour cream substitutes gives you plenty of options. These include plain Greek yogurt, cream cheese, buttermilk, kefir, and cottage cheese.

When in doubt, you can also make your own sour cream by whipping heavy cream or half-and-half. Heat one cup of cream in a double boiler until it reaches 180 F, then let it sit in a jar until it has reached room temperature. Once cooled, add one tablespoon of starter culture and cover the jar with a dish towel for 24 hours or until it has reached your desired thickness. When it's finished, you can store it in your refrigerator for up to three weeks and use it to flavor your next tacochili, and of course, your next batch of mac and cheese.