This product is no longer available. Continue shopping at Williams-Sonoma.

Mac & Cheese Starter

The ultimate homemade mac-and-cheese begins with our thick, creamy sauce, ready to customize with your choice of cheese and favorite pasta shape. It's made with whole milk simmered with a buttery roux for a classic bechamel, gently spiced with nutmeg, pepper and mustard. A rich, creamy starter for making your own version of an American classic. Just combine our sauce with cooked macaroni and any combo of cheeses, then bake till golden and bubbly. Add anything from bacon, ham or tuna to broccoli, peas or other fresh veggies Also great for pot pies, gratins and classic croque monsieur. All-natural. 32 oz. Product of USA. A Williams-Sonoma exclusive.
Average Customer Rating:
2.5 out of 5
2.5
 out of 
5
(22 Reviews) 22
8 of 22(36%)reviewers would recommend this product to a friend.
Sort by Customer Reviews for Mac & Cheese Starter
Review 1 for Mac & Cheese Starter
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
WS2006
January 17, 2012
Ability level:Intermediate
Purchased:Once
Would You Recommend? No
+2points
2of 2found this review helpful.
it would be better to make from scratch
January 17, 2012
i was very excited to taste this, my family and i were not satisfied and the majority of this ended up being thrown away.
Response from Williams-Sonomaby Brad, Food BuyerJanuary 26, 2012
I just wanted to jump in here and respond to some of the reviews for the Mac & Cheese Starter Sauce. I realize that, with the color of the sauce as it arrives and the name “Mac & Cheese Starter Sauce”, it’s easy to think that it should taste cheesy right out of the jar, but it's actually not meant to. This starter is not a cheese sauce, but a classic béchamel to which we added nutmeg and a touch of Dijon mustard to give it depth of flavor. However, it is the cheese that you add to our starter sauce which will ultimately determine the flavor of your finished dish. We recommend using a medium or sharp cheddar cheese, but adding in a more robust cheese like Gruyere, Parmesan, or Fontina is also a great idea.
-Brad
Review 2 for Mac & Cheese Starter
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Bella21
,New Orleans
July 9, 2012
Ability level:Intermediate
Purchased:Once
Would You Recommend? Yes
0points
Unusual addition
July 9, 2012
Oddly, the mac and cheese tasted much better the next day. This gave a great creaminess, although added no flavor, and for that reason I am not sure it is worth the money. Also, I used cheeses I really like and I won't do that again.............that meaning, know what cheeses heat to taste as well as they do in their cutting form!
Pros: Easy to Prepare, Time-saver
Cons: Flavor, price
Review 3 for Mac & Cheese Starter
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
LindsayC
April 24, 2012
Ability level:Advanced
Purchased:More than once
Would You Recommend? Yes
+2points
2of 2found this review helpful.
Fantastic starter to make gourmet Mac n Cheese
April 24, 2012
I made the best mac n cheese ever with this starter. Have used a variety of cheese types with various jars. The cheese provides the intensity of flavour, the béchamel is lovely and creamy. Did not find the nutmeg to be overpowering. The kids I made it for ate the entire pan...with some help from their parents!
Pros: Texture, Quality, Good for Entertaining, Time-saver, Decadent, Flavor
Cons: Unhealthy
Review 4 for Mac & Cheese Starter
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Zee0009
,Berkeley
,CA
April 16, 2012
Ability level:Advanced
Purchased:Regularly
Would You Recommend? Yes
+2points
2of 2found this review helpful.
required for Mac & Cheese
April 16, 2012
I don't understand the many negative reviews. My family and I love this starter. It's not sweet, AND you must add your own cheese. I do add cheese, and inexpensive cheese. It saves time and is great, can also be used on top of broccoli or cauliflower! I just ordered 4 jars!
Pros: Easy to Prepare, Quality, Good for Entertaining, Time-saver, Flavor
Review 5 for Mac & Cheese Starter
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
lesross
,Honolulu
,HI
March 2, 2012
Ability level:Advanced
Purchased:Once
Would You Recommend? No
+1point
1of 1found this review helpful.
Not as bad as most say, but not great either
March 2, 2012
I made this before I read the reviews and would have bought it even with the bad reviews. They brought my expectations down. It wasn't awful but not great either. In my opinion there is too much nutmeg, which is the bitter taste everyone is complaining about...and I am not a big fan of nutmeg anyway. I used sharp cheddar and swiss and it was OK....I can make a bechamel for less money but the convenience is worth something. Not sure if I will re-buy....maybe to keep in the pantry for an emergency?
Pros: Easy to Prepare, Time-saver
Cons: Disappointing, Flavor
Review 6 for Mac & Cheese Starter
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
HeloErin
,Danbury
,CT
CT
February 24, 2012
Ability level:Novice
Purchased:Once
Would You Recommend? No
-1point
0of 1found this review helpful.
More like Mac & Cheese Ruiner
February 24, 2012
I read the food buyers review before making it....still it was really bad. WS really dropped the ball on this one. The cost doesn't help either. Not sure if I am more upset about the $14 per jar or the $15 in cheese that was wasted! Still with whatever Mac & Cheese you eat now.
Cons: Disappointing, Flavor
Review 7 for Mac & Cheese Starter
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
SJean
,Indianapolis
,IN
February 19, 2012
Ability level:Advanced
Purchased:Once
Would You Recommend? No
0points
Good idea poorly executed - very bitter
February 19, 2012
I am a HUGE W&S fan but I actually left dinner to read the other reviews for this product after making it. This product is awful - bitter disgusting! I followed the instructions on the side for mac and cheese and added my own cheeses freshly bought combo of regular and sharp cheddar. It is very bitter and for the price I am sorely disappointed. I have enjoyed many W&S products but this is not one of them.
-Disappointed
Cons: Disappointing, Flavor, price
Review 8 for Mac & Cheese Starter
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
nonna1
,Starke
,Fl
Starke, Fl
February 5, 2012
Ability level:Advanced
Purchased:More than once
Would You Recommend? Yes
0points
Great helper….
February 5, 2012
I thought this was a good helper when wanting that homemade macc and cheese during the week and not a lot of time to make it. It is pricey, so can't use it as often as I would like. But after adding the cheese then mixing in the corkscrew noodles then in the oven we all enjoyed it. I fixed it with sharp cheddar, no special kind. I cooked for my in-laws and my sister and her husband and everyone enjoyed it.
Pros: Texture, Amount, Easy to Prepare, Quality, Time-saver
Cons: too pricey
Review 9 for Mac & Cheese Starter
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
neilm
,BG
,KY
February 4, 2012
Ability level:Advanced
Purchased:Once
Would You Recommend? No
-1point
0of 1found this review helpful.
Not worth it
February 4, 2012
It wasn't the worst thing I've ever tasted, but cheap mac and cheese from the grocery is just as good if not better. Once again I wonder if they have people who taste this stuff before they sell it. Not worth the premium price at all.
Cons: Disappointing, Texture, Flavor
Review 10 for Mac & Cheese Starter
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
AnnfromAK
,Kenai
,AK
February 1, 2012
Ability level:Advanced
Purchased:Once
Would You Recommend? No
0points
I really, REALLY believed in this, but...
February 1, 2012
I was hoping it was as good as the advertisement... but even when I tasted the base, knowing it was just a base, it tasted like flour paste. I couldn't even taste the nutmeg. I can make bechamel sauce with my Vitamix like a pro. And even with adding spices and flavorful cheese, etc., the macaroni and cheese was still hoo-hum. I plan to stick with my blender recipe for now.
Cons: Disappointing, Texture, Flavor
Review 11 for Mac & Cheese Starter
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
donny5446
,Reston
,VA
January 30, 2012
Ability level:Intermediate
Purchased:Once
Would You Recommend? Yes
0points
Pleased and yummy!
January 30, 2012
I tend to think of myself as a mac n' cheese expert so I was excited to try this. At first, the texture of the starter sauce grossed me out but I gave it a chance. I made the recipe to the directions, except i used only one cup of bread crumbs (that was already enough). Was VERY pleased at the outcome of the dish.
A few things to note however:
- don't use two cups of bread crumbs - one is enough already.
- you MAY want to add salt but I did that to the individual serving
One downside - Reheating -
- it doesn't remain creamy when reheated as leftovers.
All in all, I think this is a good product but the $14.00 price tag is a bit steep.
Pros: Easy to Prepare, Flavor
Cons: Unhealthy, reheating - not creamy.
Review 12 for Mac & Cheese Starter
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
JMC10
,Mapleville
,RI
January 27, 2012
Ability level:Intermediate
Purchased:Once
Would You Recommend? No
0points
Disappointed! Looks good ... bad taste...
January 27, 2012
Had to rework the sauce until it lost it's bitterness. It took a lot of add-ins to achieve a decent taste! Just as easy to make your own and probably cut the cost and calories way down. I needed to add butter, cream, more cheeses, and spices.
Cons: Disappointing, Ingredients, Flavor
Review 13 for Mac & Cheese Starter
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
KMHogan
,Piermont
,NH
Hanover, NH
January 27, 2012
Ability level:Advanced
Purchased:Once
Would You Recommend? Yes
+1point
1of 1found this review helpful.
Great starter
January 27, 2012
I had my doubts when I poured the lump into the pot...I added a blend of cheddars, gruyere & provolone and cubes of ham and topped with Panko. It was soooo yummy! I broke it into two casserole dishes (one for now, one to freeze) as the full batch would be too much for two people to eat. I believe it is all in the cheese to the taste you will get in the end. I would definitely use this again and I have already recommended it to many of my fellow busy friends.
Pros: Amount, Authentic, Quality, Flavor
Review 14 for Mac & Cheese Starter
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Lorraine16
,San Francisco
,Ca
January 23, 2012
Ability level:Intermediate
Purchased:Once
Would You Recommend? Yes
0points
Good if you use your own recipe
January 23, 2012
I prepared mac & cheese this past weekend using the stater in place of milk, butter, flour and the spices I typically use in my recipe. Preparation was much simpler than usual and the outcome was the same or better.
The taste of the starter on it's own was not horrible in my opinion, contrary to what others have stated in their reviews, but it definitely needs the be mixed with cheese to get the ideal flavor in the finished dish. I would suggest much more cheese than what the recipe on the bottle states.
I can't speak to the results if you use the recipe on the bottle, but if you use it as a substitute for the roux, milk and spices you would normally add in your own recipe, this starter save a lot of time and yields the same result.
Pros: Easy to Prepare, Quality, Time-saver, Flavor
Review 15 for Mac & Cheese Starter
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Anonymous
,CA
January 14, 2012
Ability level:Advanced
Purchased:Once
Would You Recommend? No
0points
Extremely Poor
January 14, 2012
Followed the receipe to a tee. This was bitter, dry, and no flavor whatsoever.. We like W-S sauces, especially the Kung Pao, which they no longer carry.Where expecting something creamy and yummy, what a disappointment. After a few bites it went in the garbage.
Cons: Disappointing, Texture, Amount, Flavor
Review 16 for Mac & Cheese Starter
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Sharon625
,New Milford
,NJ
January 12, 2012
Ability level:Professional
Purchased:Once
Would You Recommend? No
0points
Just Awful
January 12, 2012
My pantry and fridge are usually stocked with WS product, and I've never been disappointed. UNTIL NOW. WS should go back to the drawing board with the Mac & Cheese starter. It's terrible. Don't even try tasting it before you add the cheese. My 4 and 7 year old niece and nephew even had a hard time with it. I'll stick with making it from scratch.
Review 17 for Mac & Cheese Starter
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Tina09
,Clearwater
,FL
Clearwater, FL
January 11, 2012
Ability level:Advanced
Purchased:Once
Would You Recommend? No
0points
Terrible Taste, one star is too many
January 11, 2012
I bought this with mouth-watering anticipation and prepared it the same night for dinner. I even bought very expensive Italian pasta to use in it from the Williams Sonoma store. I followed the instructions exactly and although the smell and appearance was amazing, the taste was terrible! It was a bitter type flavor -something about it was very unpleasant. I'm wondering if the jar I bought had gone bad or if that's the gluten taste other reviewers have described? Anyway, I ended up throwing the whole thing in the trash, sadly it was inedible. VERY disappointing!
Cons: Disappointing, Flavor
Review 18 for Mac & Cheese Starter
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Modemomma67
,Northern
,VA
January 11, 2012
Ability level:Intermediate
Purchased:Once
Would You Recommend? No
0points
Was disappointed...
January 11, 2012
I was expecting more from this product, especially considering the cost. But it had a floury taste and I really had to work to thin it out. I also had to add extra cheese (which wasn't a problem, because I like my Mac & cheese extra cheesy). I think I'll go back to making my own roux.
Cons: Disappointing, Texture, Flavor
Review 19 for Mac & Cheese Starter
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
sharronG18
,Brunswick Hills
,OH
January 10, 2012
Ability level:Intermediate
Purchased:Once
Would You Recommend? No
0points
how can you mess up mac & cheese?
January 10, 2012
Sorry W-S, but this is not a good one. I've tried plenty of your sauces and starters, but this one needs a re-do. I followed the recipe to the letter - just not tasty at all. I didn't finish a single serving.
Cons: Disappointing, Texture, Flavor
Review 20 for Mac & Cheese Starter
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
soccermomof4
,Oswego
,IL
January 7, 2012
Ability level:Advanced
Purchased:Once
Would You Recommend? No
+5points
5of 5found this review helpful.
What a let down....
January 7, 2012
I have four kids ages 8-14. Their mouths were watering when I unpacked the jar. I couldnt get it made quickly enough for them. I was pretty excited too because I was hoping for a quick and easy solution. Making it from scratch takes a bit of time. It was very quick and easy to make, however, all the kids agreed it wasnt quite right. They didnt care for the flour/pastey texture of the mac'n cheese. I even put in about 6 cups of cheese instead of the 51/2 required. It had a grainy texture that you wouldnt associate with mac'n cheese. Flavor wise...we all agreed it was missing something. Tasted to much like flour and milk which had cooked to long. They liked the creaminess of it though. I dont think I will purchase this again.
Pros: Amount, Easy to Prepare, Time-saver
Cons: Disappointing, Texture, Flavor
page1 2 next