Fall in love with macaroni and cheese all over again with our irresistible Mac and Cheese Charcuterie Board. The perfect blend of cheesy goodness and savory delights. Learn how to make a rich and creamy cheese sauce and pick the best types of pasta and mix-in ideas.
Are you ready to take your mac and cheese game to a whole new level? Forget the traditional pot of creamy goodness; it's time to embrace the concept of a Macaroni and Cheese Charcuterie Board.
Picture this: a beautifully arranged platter filled with an assortment of macaroni and cheese variations, accompanied by an array of mouthwatering toppings, mix-ins, and garnishes.
This ultimate comfort food experience combines the indulgence of ooey-gooey cheesy pasta with the artistry of charcuterie board presentation. Whether you're hosting a gathering or simply looking for a creative twist on everyone's favorite dish, get ready to feast your eyes on the Mac and Cheese Charcuterie Board phenomenon that will have you drooling in anticipation.
Butter - I use salted butter when cooking. For a flavor boost, you can even make brown butter before adding the flour to make the roux.
Flour - All purpose flour is the thickening agent in the sauce recipe.
Evaporated Milk - Using evaporated milk boosted the creaminess of the cheese sauce.
Whole Milk - I like to use a bit of whole milk to balance the sauce.
Salt & Black Pepper - Salt and pepper enhance the natural flavors of the cheese.
Cheese - I like to use different types of cheese for a balanced flavor. A combination of sharp cheddar cheese, Colby jack, mozzarella cheese, and Monterey jack works well.
Assorted Cooked Pasta - We used elbow macaroni, small shells, and rotini cooked al dente. But any bite-sized type of pasta will work.
Chicken - You can use cubed chicken, shredded chicken, or chicken tenderloins.
Pulled Pork - We make big batches of pulled pork to freeze and keep on hand for easy dinners.
Bacon - Cook fresh bacon until crisp and then drain and crumble it or use 100% real bacon crumbles.
Extra Cheese - Extra shredded cheddar cheese, blue cheese crumbles, feta cheese, goat cheese, balls of fresh mozzarella, or even small cubes of brie are fun to have for a cheese selection as a topping.
Fresh Herbs - Our top choices are fresh rosemary, thyme, chives, and basil.
Fresh Spinach - Baby spinach is a great way to add some color to the mac and cheese board.
How to Make Cheese Sauce
The hardest part of this is to make the cheese sauce. And that isn't actually hard at all! This is the base to our Smoked Mac and Cheese recipe as well as this board.
Step One: Heat the butter over medium heat until melted in a large or medium saucepan. Mix in the flour and cook until it starts to become golden. Pour in the milks and whisk thoroughly. Cook until thickened, approximately 5-7 minutes on medium heat.
Step Two: Take off the stove and mix in the seasoning. Incorporate the shredded cheese.
How to Make a Mac and Cheese Charcuterie Board
Step One: Prepare a big board with a variety of bowls in different sizes.
Step Two: Use the largest bowl for the cheese sauce and place in the center of the board. Put a ladle or serving spoon in it.
Step Three: Add the cooked pasta to a few medium-sized bowls.
Step Four: Add the toppings of your choice to small bowls. Fill in any gaps with extra dried herbs. Serve.
These variations are a fun way to take your own board to the next level.
Vegetables - Adding in steamed broccoli and cauliflower boost the vegetables to anyone's plate or makes an acceptable sub for pasta on a low carb diet.
Fruit - Add some fresh fruit like sliced apples, pears, and grapes to the spaces between the bowls. You can also add a few sweet jams that pair well with savory options like red pepper jelly and fig jam.
Sauces - Offer sauces such as buffalo wing sauce, balsamic glaze, or ranch dressing to drizzle on top.
Bread - Serve baguette slices around the board.
Spices - Have little bowls with spice blends that can be sprinkled on top. Some options are crushed red pepper flakes, bbq rub, seasoned salt, lemon pepper seasoning, or an herb blend.
Breadcrumbs - If you like a crunchy topping on your baked macaroni simply brown some breadcrumbs in a skillet with a little butter. Serve the breadcrumb mixture in a small bowl with a spoon on your charcuterie platter.
What is a mac and cheese charcuterie board?
A mac and cheese charcuterie board is a creative twist on the traditional charcuterie board, where various types of macaroni and cheese dishes are arranged alongside an assortment of complementary ingredients such as cured meats, cheeses, vegetables, and condiments.
How do I create a mac and cheese charcuterie board?
To create a mac and cheese charcuterie board, start by preparing different variations of macaroni and cheese, including classic, truffle-infused, or bacon-topped versions. Arrange them on a large platter or board along with deli meats, sliced cheeses, pickles, olives, fresh herbs, bread or crackers for dipping or spreading.
Can I customize my pasta charcuterie board to fit dietary restrictions?
Absolutely! Mac and cheese can easily be adapted to accommodate dietary restrictions. You can use gluten-free pasta for those who are gluten intolerant or vegan cheeses for those following a plant-based diet. Additionally, you can offer vegetarian options by excluding any meat products from the charcuterie selection.
What are some popular add-ons for a macaroni charcuterie board?
Popular add-ons for a mac and cheese charcuterie board include crispy bacon bits, shredded chicken or pulled pork as protein options. You can also include roasted garlic cloves, caramelized onions, sun-dried tomatoes, jalapenos for extra flavor.
Can I serve my mac and cheese cold on the charcuterie board?
While it's not common to serve cold mac and cheese on a charcuterie board due to its typically warm nature, you can experiment with chilled versions if you prefer. However, serving your macaroni and cheese dishes warm or hot will generally provide better flavor profiles.
How long can I leave out a mac and cheese charcuterie board at room temperature?
To ensure food safety, it is recommended not to leave a mac and cheese charcuterie board at room temperature for more than 2 hours. After that time, bacteria can start to multiply, potentially leading to foodborne illnesses. Promptly refrigerate any leftover items.
Can I prepare this charcuterie board in advance?
Yes, you can partially prepare your mac and cheese charcuterie board in advance. Cook the macaroni and cheese dishes ahead of time, refrigerate them separately, and then reheat just before serving. Assemble the rest of the charcuterie ingredients right before serving to maintain freshness.
What are some creative presentation ideas for a macaroni & cheese charcuterie board?
For an eye-catching presentation, consider using different types of pasta shapes or colors for your macaroni and cheese dishes. Arrange them in a visually appealing pattern on the board or use small individual bowls or ramekins for portioned servings. Garnish with fresh herbs or edible flowers for an extra touch of elegance.
- 4 oz butter
- ¼ cup flour
- 2 cans evaporated milk (24 ounces)
- ½ cup whole milk
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 8 oz shredded cheese cheddar, monterey jack, mozzarella, etc. (a blend works best)
- 1.5 lb cooked pasta (8 oz each rotini, elbows, shells)
- 8 oz pulled pork
- 2 oz crumbled bacon
- 2 oz shredded cheddar
- assorted fresh herbs
- 1 oz fresh spinach
- Melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook until it begins to turn golden. Add the milks and whisk well.
- Cook just until thickened, about 5-7 min on medium.
- Remove from the heat and add the seasoning and shredded cheese.
- Put each ingredient in a separate bowl of the appropriate size.
- Arrange on a large charcuterie board.
- Serve immediately.