Mac and Cheese with Cracker Crumble

To create a mac and cheese with the silky consistency of Velveeta, but using a flavorful, aged cheddar, chefs and brothers Bryan and Michael Voltaggio add sodium citrate to bind their cheese sauce. “Sodium citrate will be your new best friend for cheese sauces,” says Bryan. “It gives you that creamy, melty, gooey texture, but with nutty, sharp cheeses that don’t typically melt smoothly.” Think of the nacho cheese possibilities!

  • Active:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6 to 8


  • 1 pound radiatore pasta

  • 3 cups whole milk

  • 1 tablespoon sodium citrate 
(see Note) 

  • 1 pound aged extra-sharp cheddar, preferably Tillamook, shredded 

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire

  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 4 cups crumbled buttery crackers, preferably Ritz

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted

  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper

How to make this recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. 
In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and transfer to 
a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

  2. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and sodium citrate to 
a simmer. Whisk in the cheddar, 1/2 cup at a time, until smooth. Whisk in the Worcestershire and the salt. Pour the sauce over the pasta.

  3. In a bowl, mix the crackers with the butter, Parmesan and pepper; sprinkle over the pasta. Bake the mac and cheese for 20 minutes, until bubbling and the top is browned. Let stand for 5 minutes; serve. 


Sodium citrate is available on To make this recipe in eight 1-cup ramekins, halve the crumble and bake the mac and cheese at 375 F degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.

Contributed By Photo © John Kernick Published March 2017

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1102450 recipes/mac-and-cheese-cracker-crumble 2017-02-14T13:46:40+00:00 Bryan Voltaggio, Michael Voltaggio march-2017,mac and cheese,macaroni and cheese,macaroni,cheese,comfort food,recipe recipes,mac-and-cheese-cracker-crumble 1102450

Aggregate Rating value: 2

Review Count: 2

Worst Rating: 0

Best Rating: 5

Author Name: AmyA98370

Review Body: I made this mac and cheese last night and it lacked flavor/salt. I'm careful about the amount of salt I use but this really needed it. My sauce was perfectly creamy - it was my first time using the sodium citrate so I was really pleased that it came out so well. Two sleeves of the Ritz was the perfect amount. I'll use this recipe again but I'll probably add some bacon next time for texture and flavor.

Review Rating: 3

Date Published: 2017-03-01

Author Name: Lee Uerkwitz

Review Body: This was the worst mac and cheese I ever made...and I have several delicious versions in rotation. I had never used sodium citrate before and I ordered it from amazon just for this recipe after receiving my March issue. First, note that the ingredients list includes 4 cups of crumbled Ritz crackers. Depending on how finely you "crumble" the crackers, 4 cups could be an entire box of Ritz crackers. You really only need about 2 cup of crumbs to cover the full 9 x 13 dish. Second, when I normally make mac & cheese with a roux, I simmer until the milk mixture is fairly thick. The directions for this recipe indicate that you should add the cheese slowly when the milk/sodium citrate mixture reaches a simmer. So I followed the directions. Since I'd not worked with sodium citrate previously I assumed it would thicken in the oven. It did not. After baking, the "sauce" was still very thin and puddled in the bottom of the baking dish. It was edible - but just barely.

Review Rating: 1

Date Published: 2017-02-26