Mac and Cheese. Cheese and pasta…a marriage made in heaven. Doesn’t it just make you happy to think about it? It’s a favorite childhood meal yet still brings adults running to the dinner table too. California Pizza Kitchen does it right and so can you with this CPK Mac ‘n Cheese copycat recipe from this popular chain restaurant.
Next to its pizza, California pizza kitchen’s Mac n Cheese is one of its most popular menu items. And now, you don’t have to live nearby in order to enjoy it. Just whip up a batch in your own kitchen, anytime you want! This creamy macaroni and cheese recipe is sure to please everyone around your dinner table.
WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS COPYCAT CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN MAC & CHEESE
With 5 simple ingredients, you can whip up this creamy, cheesy goodness in no time! This is an easy side dish and it’s always the best part of the meal. But let’s face it, we all know that mac n’ cheese can stand alone as a meal in itself and no one will be complaining!
- Rotini pasta – also known as “spiral” or “corkscrew” noodles, is the type of pasta that CPK uses. You could really use any type of noodles such as elbow, farfalle (bowtie), penne, or fusilli – which is very similar to rotini.
- Velveeta cheese – there is really no substitute for this iconic cheese, but American cheese would be a close second. You could also use shredded cheddar cheese, however, any substitute for Velveeta will change the taste and consistency of the copycat recipe.
- Heavy cream – you could also use 1 cup of half and half and ¼ cup of melted butter.
- Salt & black pepper
HOW TO MAKE CPK MAC AND CHEESE
FIRST: Cook pasta in salted boiling water until it is al dente. Drain pasta and set aside. *Fun Fact: Did you know that “al dente” is translated as “to the tooth”? This means that the pasta should be firm when bitten.
SECOND: In a large saucepan over low heat, stir together Velveeta and cream.
Continue stirring until the smooth, creamy magic happens.
THIRD: Add pasta to the cheese sauce and stir to thoroughly coat.
Salt and pepper to taste and serve hot.
LOVE IT? PIN IT!
If you love this CPK Mac and Cheese recipe, make sure that you can remember where you found it! Pin it to your favorite Pinterest recipe board before you go!
How do you make Mac and Cheese gooey? The combination of the processed Velveeta cheese and cream will guarantee ultimate gooeyness. However, if you want to make this recipe a little more upscale, you could try using Gruyere cheese. This swiss cheese is known for its smooth, melting texture and is the same cheese used in classic recipes such as fondue and French onion soup. Yum!
Is it cheaper to make your own macaroni and cheese? A Value Size box of Velveeta Shells and Cheese will cost about $6 for 6 servings. The ingredients for this CPK Mac and Cheese will cost around $5 (excluding salt and pepper) and feeds 6-8 people. So, it is more cost effective to make your own, it will definitely taste better and you will avoid additional additives.
What goes well with CPK Mac and Cheese? Mac and cheese is a delicious southern side dish and would be a great pairing with the following main dishes:
- Sticky Grilled Chicken
- Crockpot Rotisserie Chicken
- Jucy Lucy Burger
- BBQ Pork Ribs
- Sloppy Dorothy Sandwiches
Where can I order California Pizza Kitchen Mac and Cheese near me? If you are craving CPK Mac and Cheese, but just don’t want to cook tonight, here’s a guide to the California Pizza Kitchen near you!
- Rotini pasta – Interestingly enough, CPK does not use macaroni for its mac and cheese. But you can! There are many varieties of pasta that you can substitute such as elbow, farfalle, penne, fusilli, ziti or conchiglie (shells).
- Velveeta cheese – There is really no substitute for this processed cheese, but American cheese would be a close second. You could also try shredded cheddar, swiss, gruyere, or gouda cheeses or a combination of any of those with cream cheese. However any substitute for Velveeta will change the taste and consistency of the copycat recipe.
- Heavy cream – Instead of heavy cream you can substitute 1 cup of half and half and ¼ cup of melted butter. You can also try using evaporated milk instead of cream.
TIPS AND TRICKS
- If you do want to make a meal out of CPK Mac and Cheese, you can create a heartier version by adding some bacon or diced ham. Add a side salad and you’ve got a satisfying meal.
- As a side dish, you can also add vegetables such as peas, broccoli, tomatoes, or red pepper. You can sprinkle the top with toasted bread crumbs.
- You can up the seasoning game by adding a tablespoon of dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon of garlic or onion powder, or ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper or chili powder.
- If you have any leftover mac n’ cheese it will last in the fridge for 3-4 days. Let it cool and place it in an airtight storage container.
- If you want a baked version of this recipe, you can pour the combined pasta and cheese into a buttered baking dish and sprinkle it with some additional cheese and bread crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Broil until golden brown and bubbly – about 2-4 minutes. Keep an eye on it while it broils to prevent burning.
More Restaurant Copycat Recipes to Love
Looking to try some more copycat dishes at home? I have tons of them! Here are some favorites:
- Copy Cat Taco Bell Enchirito Recipe
- Cinnamon Honey Butter – A Texas Roadhouse Copycat Recipe
- Cincinnati Chili | Skyline Chili Copycat!
- California Pizza Kitchen’s Thai Chicken Pizza Copycat
- McDonald’s Big Mac
- Starbucks’ Medicine Ball Tea
- Columbia Restaurant’s 1905 Salad
- Qdoba’s Queso (pictured above)
So, if you are craving some satisfying mac and cheese, make this copycat recipe tonight! Easy. Cheesy. Yum.
- 1 pound (16 ounces) Rotini pasta
- 1 (8 ounce) package of Velveeta cheese, cubed
- 1 ¼ cups heavy cream
- Salt & black pepper, to taste
- Cook pasta in salted boiling water until it is al dente. Drain.
- In a large saucepan over low heat, stir together Velveeta and cream, frequently stirring until smooth.
- Add cooked pasta to the cheese sauce and mix to coat.
- Salt & pepper to taste.
- Serve hot.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 162Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 135mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 3g
Please note that nutrition is not guaranteed accurate.