Macaroni and cheese is a dish primarily made up of a cheddar cheese sauce and macaroni pasta.

Macaroni and Cheese

also known as Mac and Cheese

What is Macaroni and Cheese?

Macaroni and cheese is a dish primarily made up of a cheddar cheese sauce and macaroni pasta. Other optional ingredients include vegetables, meat, and different types of cheese.

  • This dish is most popularly consumed as a premade meal, but can also be made fresh.
  • When pre-packaged, this dish provides dried macaroni and a sachet of powdered cheese to which milk must be added to create the cheese sauce.

In 2019, 8.65 million Americans admitted to devouring five or more packages of Kraft macaroni and cheese in one month. 

The top seven boxed macaroni and cheese brands are:

  • Kroger
  • Annie’s
  • Kraft
  • Modern Table
  • Banza
  • 365 Everyday Value
  • Trader Joe’s

Origin of mac and cheese

The first known recipe for macaroni and cheese was documented in 1769. It’s believed that Thomas Jefferson introduced this food to the United States. Macaroni was a popular food in Paris and, upon visiting France, Jefferson fell in love with the pasta dishes there. When he returned to America, he brought back noodle recipes and a pasta machine. Once Jefferson became president, he even served macaroni and cheese during a state dinner in 1802. 

In 1937, Kraft Foods started producing boxed macaroni and cheese. Kraft Foods were able to sell 8 million boxes of this product in a single year. World War II made this boxed food even more sought after, as dairy products and fresh meat were scarce. Macaroni and cheese remains a popular meal today, especially in the United States.


Many people consume macaroni and cheese for lunch or dinner. In the kitchen, this food can be combined with salad, roasted tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, and other vegetables. Modern food trends have led to people using macaroni and cheese as an ingredient in decadent sandwiches, pies, and pizzas.


A 233g serving size of macaroni and cheese offers:

While this food has a lot of calories and a high carbohydrate content, this dish does offer health benefits. Here are some of them:

  • This food is a good source of protein, which is necessary for muscle production.
  • The cheese in this meal is rich in vitamin B12, which helps produce red blood cells.
  • This dish has a high copper content, which can increase energy levels.
  • It can supply manganese, which boosts the metabolism.
  • The pasta in this food can help to regulate blood sugar.

Commercial Production

The commercial production of macaroni or any other pasta requires top quality wheat material. Durum wheat is commonly used for pasta production. The first stage involves cleaning, tempering, and milling the durum wheat to produce semolina. The next step is to mix the semolina with water and form it into the appropriate shape. Lastly, the pasta is dried, cooled, cut, and packaged. 

On the other hand, cheese production involves the application of stabilizers, enzymes, and bacterial cultures to condense and preserve milk protein and fat. The cheese used for mac and cheese must be dehydrated to create a powder. This powder is then sealed in a sachet and added to the box or packaging that includes the macaroni pasta. 

The United States is the world’s largest producer of cheese. In 2019, the global cheese market reached a value of $69.7 billion. This value is estimated to hit $112.8 billion in 2025, with a growth rate of 8.4% between 2020 and 2025. 


There are some tips to keep in mind when making macaroni and cheese at home. For a creamier texture, add more milk to the sauce. For a stronger flavor, add the desired amount of cheese to the pasta. However, take care not to overcook the macaroni. If you do, you will end up with soggy pasta.

One way to store mac and cheese is to place it within a tightly covered container in the refrigerator. This way, it will last for 2 to 3 days. It can also last up to two months in the freezer.

Mac and cheese recipes

This dish can be adjusted to suit any taste. Here are some recipes to try:

FDA regulation

The Food and Drug Administration has a standard of identity for macaroni and its related products. The body defines macaroni products as a type of food prepared from shaped units of dough made from semolina, farina, durum flour, or flour with water. The FDA regulates the production and processing of this pasta. They also have standards of identity for various types of cheese, as well as regulate their production and labeling.


“U.S.: Kraft Macaroni & Cheese (Regular) Complete Dishes / Dinner Mixes Eaten 2019.” Statista, Statista, 20 Aug. 2019,

Foster, Kelli. “5 Mistakes to Avoid When Making Mac & Cheese.” Kitchn, Apartment Therapy, LLC., 2 May 2019,

“CFR – Code of Federal Regulations Title 21.”, US Food and Drug Administration, 1 Apr. 2019,