Copycat recipe for Kraft Mac & Cheese powder mix?
July 30, 2020 10:18 AM   Subscribe

Can you recommend a recipe for recreating the cheese sauce powder mix that comes with Kraft Mac & Cheese / Kraft Dinner?

The internet abounds with recipes for Mac & Cheese and many claim to imitate or improve upon the classic blue box experience from Kraft.

I'm looking specifically for guidance on creating a powder mix I can use to replicate the flavour of Kraft Dinner (as we call it in Canada). In this case, I'm not looking for recipes that include fresh cheese or milk or anything like that, I want to make a powder out of cheese powder, whey powder, milk powder and/or whatever other bases or seasonings are called for. I want the end result to be a powder I can mix into pasta along with butter and milk, as much like the boxed experience as possible. While I'm happy to read anything that helps me deduce the best way to make a replica, I'm less interested in anything that is merely inspired by Kraft, moreso in anything that claims to copycat or replicate.

Can anyone point me toward any specific recipes or other helpful resources?
posted by chudmonkey to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Just a note that I don’t have a USA Kraft Mac and Cheese box to compare it to, but I believe the ingredients are different from our beloved KD <3 how I love thee.
posted by Juniper Toast at 10:23 AM on July 30, 2020 [1 favorite]

Recently, at a BJs club store, I saw that they are now selling bottles of the powder. It might be easier to simply buy the stuff online. There is also an ingredients list in one of the pictures on the listing.

Here is a story on it.

posted by AugustWest at 10:28 AM on July 30, 2020 [2 favorites]

To be clear, is "buying bulk cheese powder" valid for what you're looking for or are you specifically looking to mix a cheese powder yourself?
If the former, Hoosier Hill Farm is pretty well-known there (King Arthur Flour also sells a cheese powder, I grew up on Winco bulk-food section cheese powder & noodles)
posted by CrystalDave at 10:31 AM on July 30, 2020

Response by poster: I should have specified that I'm in the UK where the official Kraft powder mix can only be purchased at significant markup.

Also, I have a cupboard full of Hoosier Hill Farms powdered cheeses but they do not by themselves replicate the texture or flavour of the Kraft powder mix. It must require some additional ingredients for full versimillitude.

I also suspect the Canadian and US versions of the Kraft mix may be different but I'll be happy to replicate either as a starting place.

Thanks to everyone so far!
posted by chudmonkey at 10:41 AM on July 30, 2020

The first ingredient in the powder is maltodextrin, which is a thickener. That'll probably be crucial for getting a sauce with some body to it.

Sodium phosphate is listed: that's an emulsifier. Easily available online in USA, I don't know about UK. If you can't find it, I bet sodium citrate would work just as well or better.
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:46 AM on July 30, 2020

Here are a couple recipes (that I've never tried myself) that call for macaroni, butter, milk, and cheddar cheese powder (one specifically references the Hoosier Hill Farm brand).
posted by box at 10:49 AM on July 30, 2020

I (regrettably) bought some bargain Silani Parmesan grated processed cheese product. It is ultra-fine and tastes a lot like KD powder. Mixed with some powdered cream cheese & powdered butter would probs work great. I found powdered cream cheese & butter from - Hoosier Hill. I am all out so I can't experiment for you! :(

The cream cheese makes things, well, creamy & the butter powder actually turns to butter & whey when mixed. So you'd be covered but I cannot speak to how to make it orange.

Good luck and thanks for the UNGOVERNABLE craving for KD!
posted by i_mean_come_on_now at 10:53 AM on July 30, 2020


You'll need butter powder, "natural flavours" is likely MSG, paprika, turmeric, and annatto (which can be hard to find but has a distinct flavor zhuzh that you're probably missing along with the paprika), citric acid should be pretty easy to get. A little bit of powdered milk or unflavored powdered whey might be texturally critical. And then use your cheese powder for the cheese.

I have been messing around with the same project off an on for a few months, and I still don't know that I've fully replicated Kraft Mac & Cheese but it's pretty good. I just bought some powdered tomato to see if I can't get a little more umami into it. I'm using Anthony's cheese powder but do have the Hoosier Hill sour cream and heavy cream powders and they are all of similar high quality.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:55 AM on July 30, 2020 [5 favorites]

I'm surprised that there's citric acid in the original powder-cheese Kraft Dinner powder; I can't taste it in there at all.

I have been trying to imitate/recreate the "Kraft Deluxe" Velveeta-based sauce (the kind that comes in a packet or can as a sludge, not a powder) for ages and only recently learned that citric acid is the main secret ingredient I was missing from it. It adds a great deal of that tangy flavor that is completely missing from plain Velveeta cheese product.

I second the suggestion of those who suggest a thickener like maltodextrin. I think that would be key in turning generic cheese powder into something more KD-like.
posted by Juffo-Wup at 12:01 PM on July 30, 2020

Binging with Babish did this but I think it’s meant as an improvement, not an exact replica. Could be mistaken, it’s been a while since I watched the video.

He used:

21 grams powdered cheddar cheese
5 grams powdered blue cheese
10 grams powdered parmesan cheese
5 grams buttermilk powder
20 grams butter powder

posted by supercres at 6:59 PM on July 30, 2020

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