CPK Mac & Cheese Challenge

Growing up I was NOT a fan of Mac & Cheese so it may be a little strange to my parents that I am slightly obsessed with California Pizza Kitchen’s Mac & Cheese.  Yes, my obsession knows no boundaries.  I admit to ordering it as a kid’s meal for my child and waiting anxiously for her to be done so I can devour what remains.  While I’m on a roll confessing, I admit to also ordering it TO GO if the child’s not in tow, and shamefully eating it in the parking lot around the corner.  Yea, it’s my dirty little obsession.  CPK’s Mac & Cheese has to be the BEST Mac & Cheese — HANDS DOWN!  It is not your Mac & Cheese from a box that you can smell the cheddar miles away.  That’s my deterrent!  I can’t stand the smell of cheese and sometimes if it tastes too cheesy, that’s a turnoff too.  CPK’s Mac & Cheese is my kind of cheese.  It is the creamiest, mildest tasting Mac & Cheese ever!  and I finally cracked the recipe! Yippee!

Despite knowing that there is a California Pizza Kitchen Cookbook, I wasn’t about to shell out $15 without trying to figure it out myself first.  I googled CPK’s Mac & Cheese and it seems I’m not the only one who is obsessed with it.  There are several versions out there and I concocted my recipe from bits and pieces around the web.  I happen to come across a former employee noting that the secret was Velveeta cheese and it most certainly is!  What amazed me most is how EASY it is to make!  I even recruited the toddler to help with it’s creation.

So Ladies and Gentlemen… here it is!


  • 16 ounces Pasta (Rotini is what they use at CPK’s but use whatever you want)
  • 8 ounces Velveeta cheese  (the key is Velveeta)
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream (yea, mac & cheese isn’t for the dieter, this is the secret to it’s milder cheese flavor and creaminess)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  1. Cook pasta in boiling water according to it’s directions until al dente.
  2. Strain cooked pasta with cold water to stop the cooking process.  Set aside to drain further.
  3. Dry pot and pour heavy cream and add butter to melt over med flame.
  4. Cube Velveeta cheese into ½ cubes or smaller for faster melting.
  5. Add cheese to cream and butter mixture.  Lower flame and stir constantly until melted. Want it more creamy?  Add more cream!
  6. Add Pasta to mixture and coat well.
  7. For added crunch, crush croutons or ritz crackers and sprinkle over as a thick garnish.  Do NOT bake it, otherwise you’ll lose that coveted creaminess!