Want to Upgrade Your Boxed Mac and Cheese? Try This Simple Trick

Just add an egg.
Just add an egg. / Ion Tavitian/500px/Getty Images

If you’re looking for a low-stakes opportunity to get creative in the kitchen, boxed mac and cheese is the perfect blank canvas. The convenience food can be improved with a few extra ingredients from your pantry or reinvented into a new recipe entirely. For a fast and easy upgrade, try mixing an egg yolk into the prepared pasta.

Adding raw egg to your mac and cheese may sound strange, but according to Lifehacker, it’s a subtle way to elevate the dish. After combining the cooked macaroni with milk, butter, and powdered cheese, add the yolk directly to the pot while it's still warm. The residual heat will gently cook the egg, and stirring it emulsifies it into the cheese sauce. The result is richer than the regular recipe without tasting drastically different. If you didn’t know better, you would never guess it contains a freshly cracked egg.

Though it’s untraditional for macaroni and cheese, this trick is nothing new. Many rice dishes like Japanese tamago kake gohan call for adding a raw egg to the hot grains. After mixing them together, the rice is coated in a luscious sauce. Roman pasta carbonara uses a similar method; relying on the heat from the pasta to cook the egg thickens it into an emulsified sauce without scrambling it.

This quick recipe is great for days when you want a homemade lunch without putting in much effort. If you have a little more time and energy to spend on your meal, making macaroni and cheese from scratch is easier than you think. This three-cheese version comes together in 45 minutes.

[h/t Lifehacker]