Tini’s viral mac and cheese is an absolute dream.

Three kinds of cheese and corkscrew pasta are a match made in heaven. If you’re a mac and cheese lover, this is the recipe you need to be making this holiday season!

tini mac and cheese | www.iamafoodblog.com

What is Tini’s mac and cheese?

Tini’s mac and cheese is a viral Tiktok with over 60 million views and counting. It’s viral in the way people wish their videos could go viral. Everybody and their aunt made her mac and cheese for Thanksgiving, so if you want to give it a try, I’ve detailed it for you below! It’s perfect for cold, cozy winter nights and holiday gatherings. It’s probably the best thing you can bring to a potluck, for real, for real.

cavatappi pasta | www.iamafoodblog.com

Tini’s viral mac and cheese ingredients

  • pasta – Tini uses corkscrews aka cavatappi aka the best pasta for mac and cheese because the sauce goes into the center of the tube and when you bite into it, you’re biting into pockets of cheesy creaminess. You can find corkscrews at most grocery stores or online.
  • cheese – there are three kinds of cheese in Tini’s mac and cheese: mozzarella, colby jack, and sharp cheddar. Buy blocks of cheese and grate them yourself. After your shred all your cheese, mix them up and divide them into 2 equal portions.
  • butter – you need butter to make a roux or white sauce, go for unsalted.
  • flour – flour is the other ingredient in roux. The regular all purpose flour in your pantry is perfect.
  • evaporated milk – one can of evaporated milk makes everything super creamy.
  • heavy cream – using heavy cream instead of milk makes this mac and cheese even creamier and richer.
  • seasonings – salt, pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika. The garlic powder adds garlickiness and the smoked paprika adds a hint of smokiness in the background. Mix up all the seasonings together in a small bowl so it’s easy to add to the pan.
  • Dijon mustard – most people don’t know this but almost all mac and cheese recipes contain some kind of mustard. Tini opts for Dijon, which cuts through the richness of the cheese and adds balance to the entire dish.

spice mix | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to make Tini’s mac and cheese

  1. Cook the pasta: in a large pot of salted water, cook the pasta over high heat according to the package directions then drain well.
  2. Make a roux: melt 3 tablespoons of butter in large non stick pan. When it’s melted, add half of the seasoning and stir it around to release the aromatics. Stir in 3 tbsp flour and stir and cook until everything starts bubbling and the raw flour cooks.
  3. Add the evaporated milk: slowly stream in one can of evaporated milk and whisk immediately. It should start to thicken slightly.
  4. Add the heavy cream: stir in the heavy cream, whisking it in completely. Whisk in the remaining seasoning and 1 tbsp of Dijon. Let the sauce thicken slightly, whisking occasionally.
  5. Add the cheese: Add in 1/2 of the cheese, by the handful, whisking in and letting each handful melt before adding more cheese.
  6. Stir in the pasta: Stir in your cooked pasta making sure all the sauce coats every single noodle.
  7. Layer the mac and cheese: in an oven safe casserole dish, layer the pasta. Add 1/2 of the mac and cheese to the pan, spreading it out evenly. Then add 1/2 of your remaining shredded cheese. Add the rest of the mac and cheese and finish the top with the last of the shredded cheese.
  8. Bake: Pop the casserole into a preheated 350°F oven and bake for 25-30 minute or until the top melts and it’s golden and bubbly.
  9. Broil: Finish it off by broiling for 2 minutes so the mac and cheese gets a nice little crust.
  10. Enjoy! Add some sliced chives if you want (Tini does!), then scoop and enjoy!

tini mac and cheese | www.iamafoodblog.com

Who is Tini?

Tini is a cook (she was also on Next Level Chef with Gordon Ramsey) with a popular Tiktok account with over 5.5 million followers.

Mac and cheese tips and tricks

Shred your own cheese – Pre-shredded cheese usually has cellulose in it to make sure the shreds don’t clump and the cellulose makes your mac and cheese grainy.

Layer – Just like lasagna, layering mac and cheese is a pro move. You get pockets of melty cheese and a crispy cheese top.

Season – Don’t skip the garlic powder, smoked paprika, and mustard! They really add that extra bit of oomph and flavor that takes this mac and cheese over the top. Trust me, you don’t really taste any of the seasonings in particular, instead they just meld together into a really nice flavor note that makes you want to eat more and more.

layering mac and cheese | www.iamafoodblog.com

Make ahead mac and cheese

You can make this entire recipe ahead of time up until the point where you bake it. Cover it tightly and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days before baking. To bake it, cover it with foil and bake it for 30 minutes, remove the foil and continue to bake until the mac and cheese is heats through. Finish by broiling.

Do you need to use corkscrews?

I’ve made this many times now and corkscrews are good but so are traditional macs, mini penne, and rotini. Really any pasta shape you love will be just as good because this mac and cheese is so decadent it won’t matter, the pasta is just the vehicle to transport the gooey cheesy deliciousness.

Happy mac and cheesing friends!
xoxo steph

tini mac and cheese | www.iamafoodblog.com

tini mac and cheese | www.iamafoodblog.com

Tini’s Mac and Cheese

If you’re a mac and cheese lover, this is the recipe you need
Serves 10
4.73 from 223 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb pasta corkscrew/cavatappi preferred
  • 1 lb mozzarella cheese
  • 1 lb colby jack cheese
  • 1/2 lb cheddar cheese sharp preferred
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 12 oz evaporated milk ~1 can
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp mustard Dijon preferred

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Once at a rolling boil, add the pasta and cook it according to the package directions. When done, drain well.
    cavatappi pasta | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • While the water is coming to a boil and the pasta cooks, shred the cheese. Grate the cheese with the coarse side of a box grater. Once you finish grating, mix all the cheese together in a large bowl, then divide into two even portions and set aside.
    grated cheese | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Make the seasoning mix: in a small bowl, stir together the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika. Set it aside.
    spice mix | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • In a large pan, melt the butter over medium heat. When melted, add 1/2 of the seasoning mix. Stir, bringing out the aromatics. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until everything bubbles slightly and looks incorporated.
    roux | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Slowly stream in the evaporated milk while whisking to ensure there are no lumps. Next, add the heavy cream, whisking constantly. Whisk in the Dijon and remaining seasoning mix. Let the sauce come to a simmer and thicken, giving it an occasional whisk.
    tini mac and cheese sauce | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Add HALF of the cheese. Turn the heat to low (or remove it from the heat if needed) and slowly melt in 1/2 of the cheese, handful by handful, making sure the cheese melts before adding more.
    tini mac and cheese sauce | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Stir in the drained pasta, making sure to coat all the noodles in sauce.
    tini mac and cheese | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Grab your casserole dish and add 1/2 of the mac and cheese to the bottom of the dish, spreading evenly. Layer on 1/2 of the remaining cheese then the remaining mac and cheese.
    layering mac and cheese | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Finish by evenly layering on the last of the shredded cheese.
    tini mac and cheese ready to bake | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until the top melts and bubbles. Broil for 2 minutes to give it a crispy crust, the remove, let sit for a bit so you don’t burn yourself, scoop and enjoy!
    tini mac and cheese | www.iamafoodblog.com

Notes

Serves about 10 as a side or 5-6 as a main dish.

Estimated Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Tini’s Mac and Cheese
Amount Per Serving
Calories 743 Calories from Fat 426
% Daily Value*
Fat 47.3g73%
Saturated Fat 29.3g183%
Cholesterol 139mg46%
Sodium 843mg37%
Potassium 164mg5%
Carbohydrates 40.3g13%
Fiber 1.6g7%
Sugar 5.6g6%
Protein 35.8g72%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

52 Comments

  1. Sabrina says:

    I’m happy to count on you for tic toc recipes, I missed it since I’m not on it, and also love different kinds and tweaks of mac and cheese, so thank you

  2. Ryan says:

    What size baking dish do you need for this? Is 9×13 too small?

    1. Stephanie says:

      9×13 is perfect!

  3. Gayle says:

    Can I you make ahead?

    1. Stephanie says:

      yes, just don’t bake it with the cheese, layer it, then wrap it up tight, then when you need to make it for the event, bake it with foil on top until heated through, then remove the foil until the top is broiled to your liking.

  4. Allison says:

    Can this be made the day ahead and stored in the fridge? Just skip the baking part until the day of the event.

    1. Stephanie says:

      yes, for sure!

  5. Alex says:

    Potentially a dumb question – when you say 1lb of cheese is this equivalent to one 8oz block or should I use 2 8oz blocks? Thanks!

    1. Stephanie says:

      1 lb is two 8 oz blocks!

      1. Barbra says:

        5 stars
        Nah really brooooo 💀

  6. BC says:

    5 stars
    Wow! This was a huge hit at Christmas dinner. Thank you for sharing. We have some leftover. Any recommendations for reheating?
    Thanks again.

    1. Stephanie says:

      usually i just reheat in the microwave! you can also cover it in foil and reheat in a low oven until it’s heated through.

    2. Barbra says:

      5 stars
      Sweet Caroline, buh Buh BUH good times have never felt so good, so good…. SO GOOD~

  7. Bel says:

    5 stars
    Going to make this tonight!
    Just wondering about the 16oz can of evaporated milk, listed above. Is it supposed to be 12oz can? I’ve never seen the 16oz cans available so I’m not sure which is the best way to go.

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi, it is a 12 ounce can! i will correct it, thanks for catching that!

  8. Sabrina says:

    5 stars
    I don’t know how much time to boil the pasta but it was still very good! Please respond so next time I do it right!

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi sabrina!
      you should boil the pasta according to what it says on the package you buy – different pasta shapes/brands have different times for al dente :)

  9. Brenna says:

    Pro tip here remember to use evaporated milk and NOT sweetened condensed milk lol got distracted and put sweetened condensed. It was delicious after I fixed my mistake luckily I caught it before I added the cheese!

  10. Margaret Cates says:

    5 stars
    My daughter just made this and it was beyond delicious!! It will be a staple at our holiday gatherings. ( and probably once a week!!)

  11. Karie Smith says:

    can I use monterrey jack instead of mozzarella cheese?

    1. Stephanie says:

      absolutely!

  12. steph says:

    This looks delicious, would love to try! What would you recommend as a sub for colby jack cheese? We don’t have that kind where I live

    1. Stephanie says:

      you can use marble or extra cheddar or mozza :)

  13. Evolet says:

    5 stars
    This was soooo GOOD!!! def a infinity/10 my family loved it

  14. Kenzie says:

    5 stars
    Soooo good recommend this to anyone

  15. Joan James says:

    5 stars
    For 2 of us, this is too much. Can this be frozen?

    1. Stephanie says:

      yes! that’s exactly what we did!

  16. Smile says:

    5 stars
    Hello
    Can the left overs be frozen

    1. Stephanie says:

      yes, i’ve frozen them before, it reheats well!

  17. alissa says:

    5 stars
    Has anyone served this without baking it? I love the taste by just melting all the cheese without baking but I’m wondering if it’s necessary.

    1. Stephanie says:

      you don’t need to bake it! i’ve had it out of the pot before :)

  18. Brianna says:

    4 stars
    Hi thank you so much for posting the recipe!! I wanted to ask if you could freeze the dish before baking and serving?

    1. Stephanie says:

      absolutely!

  19. Mariah says:

    Can this be made ahead and frozen? Would you bake it normally after?

    1. Stephanie says:

      i’ve made it ahead and then baked it. i would assemble, freeze it and bake it afterwards.

  20. NJ Grandmom says:

    5 stars
    An excellent recipe for macaroni and cheese which is about the only thing my grandchildren will ever eat. The cavatappi pasta is an excellent choice for the pasta and a little more unique than the traditional elbow pasta. Just leave yourself enough time to grate all that cheese (reminder that you are using 2 1/2 lbs of cheese).

  21. Misty says:

    5 stars
    It’s amazing, made it last night for the family. Curious for the calorie count. What is considered a serving? A cup?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi misty,
      the nutritional information is for 1/10 of the full recipe :)

  22. Liz says:

    5 stars
    Try using fontina instead of mozzarella. Still just as melty but even more flavor!

  23. Howard says:

    5 stars
    Hi how do I keep leftover?

    1. Stephanie says:

      wrap the leftovers up tightly or place in an air tight container and keep it in the fridge, it should keep for up to one week. to heat it, just scoop it out and microwave

  24. emma says:

    4 stars
    it was really good and me family loved it but it was stressful to make

  25. emma says:

    4 stars
    it was really good I loved it but it was stressful to make

  26. Travis says:

    5 stars
    I had a question about the cook time. Before I put it in the dish, the cheese sauce and noodles were delicious. After baking for 25 mins at 375 the cheese looked like it had released a lot of oil and kind of denatured. The texture was no longer smooth and was grainy. The cheese was fresh grated. I realized I hadn’t covered it with foil, but I also saw online some people saying this happens when the cheese is cooked too long or too hot. Thanks for any advice.

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi,
      it’s true, when you bake it and your oven is too hot – ovens temps are notoriously incorrect – sometimes cheese will release oil and break down a bit. honestly, you don’t need to bake it too long, the bake is just to melt the cheese, not create a crust. definitely cover it with oil to avoid direct heat and bake it for a shorter period of time (15 mins) or a lower oven temp. (325) or, you can enjoy it without baking as well!

      1. cooper says:

        found that out the hard way myself

  27. Elyse says:

    5 stars
    This looks soooo good! I will be making it this weekend, but I need to ask: in the recipe, you indicate teaspoons for the spices, but in the video, it looks more like tablespoons. Am I wrong?
    Thank you

    1. Stephanie says:

      it’s seasoning, so tablespoons might be a bit much, but you can play around with the seasoning measurements to taste!

  28. Cooper says:

    5 stars
    Amazing! The cheese pull and creaminess was unbelievable. worth the wait.

  29. Leslie says:

    5 stars
    This was sooo good and pretty easy to make. We didn’t put it in the oven but it was still just as good! I heavily recommend this recipe! :D

  30. Barbra says:

    5 stars
    This was sooo good and pretty easy to make. We didn’t put it in the oven but it was still just as good! I heavily recommend this recipe! :D

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