Easy Baked Macaroni And Cheese
Reviving Mac & Cheese
Follow the instructions below to get a creamy, revived dish, and add some flair at the end to make it extra special.
1. Place the macaroni & cheese into a microwave safe bowl. Make sure to only take out what you’re going to use.
2. Add 1 tablespoon of milk per cup of mac and cheese. *If you’d like to add more creaminess and flavor, substitute half-and-half or cream.
3. Cover with an inverted plate, making sure to use oven mitts when removing from the microwave to avoid burning yourself.
4. Place the dish in the microwave and heat it up slowly: start with one minute, stir the mac and cheese, then continue to heat at 30 second intervals until you reach a desired temperature.
Tip: For extra flavor, mix in some grated cheese, broccoli, or other tasty tidbits before placing in the microwave.
1. Place the macaroni & cheese into an oven-safe dish. Make sure to only take out what you’re going to use.
2. Add 1 tablespoon of milk per cup of mac and cheese and mix to incorprate as much as possible. *If you’d like to add more creaminess and flavor, substitute half-and-half or cream.
3. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and place in the oven at 350°F for 20-30 minutes, or until heated through.
Tip: For extra flavor or chrunch, add some grated cheese, jalapenos, bread crumbs, or bacon pieces on top and return to the oven uncovered until cheese is melted or bread crumbs are browned.
Making The Cheese Sauce
Make the cheese sauce while the pasta is cooking. The box will indicate how much milk and butter to use. Put this in a pan with the powdered cheese and heat over medium-low to medium heat. Stir frequently. You want to heat it to the point the butter is melted and its fully combined. Next remove it from the heat and add 1 cup of shredded cheese and 1/4 cup of milk. Mix together and set aside for now.
Putting it all together
Once the pasta is done pull the strainer out of the water to drain the pasta.
Pour the pasta into your slow cooker. Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and mix.
If you need to make another batch of two boxes just repeat using the already hot water.
Keeping the mac and cheese warm
Remember to put the slow cooker on warm. You can do that a little in advance if you want.
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Can I Freeze Mac And Cheese
While technically you can freeze mac and cheese, I dont recommend it because after you thaw it out and bake, the creamy consistency is gone. However if you really wan to freeze it, before the baking step, transfer the mac and cheese to an airtight container and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw it out, then transfer it to a skillet or 9×13 inch baking dish and bake it as instructed.
Making Standard Kraft Macaroni And Cheese
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How To Reheat Mac And Cheese:
I personally believe that not many macaroni and cheese recipes can hold up to reheating, but Im here to tell you that this one reheats like a dream.
It doesnt dry out. It doesnt get funky in texture. It just stays perfectly creamy and decadent.
I reheat my macaroni and cheese in the microwave, because its easiest and it doesnt dry things out.
Place in a microwave safe bowl and heat in 1 minute increments, stirring every minute, until its heated through.
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Tips For The Best Mac And Cheese
- Grate the cheese yourself. I know using pre-shredded cheese is so much more convenient, but it really makes a difference. The anti-caking agents in pre-shredded cheese keep it from melting well.
- Heres another reason why you should grate your own cheese: blocked cheese is cheaper than pre-shredded!
- Salt the pasta water. It gives the pasta itself a little bit of flavor. And dont skimp on the salt, as the pasta will only absorb so much of it. Dont be afraid to add a whole spoonful to the pot!
- Cook the macaroni to al dente, or about 1-2 minutes less than prescribed by the package. I find that the pasta gets a little too mushy if cooked exactly according to instructions.
- If youve accidentally overcooked the macaroni, just toss it with butter to coat. The butter will create a protective coating that will keep the pasta from absorbing more liquid.
- Storage Instructions:
- Place mac and cheese in an air-tight container or cover it with plastic wrap. Store it in the fridge for 5 days.
- Reheat it in a saucepan over medium-low heat. If the sauce dries up, add a bit of milk or cream to thin it out.
- When reheating small servings, place mac and cheese in a microwave-safe bowl and reheat for 1-minute or until warmed through.
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Why This Is Our Favorite Homemade Mac & Cheese Ever
Hello, my name is Holly and I am obsessed with Macaroni and Cheese. I love all kinds from crock pot mac & cheese to baked mac and cheese, or even out of a little blue box. Of all of the cheesy macaroni recipes, *this* recipe right here is the best mac and cheese recipe ever and always gets rave reviews!
- The sauce is from scratch and easy to make.
- This recipe is extra saucy.
- The pasta doesnt get dry, its still nice and creamy even after its baked in the oven.
- Its got great flavor, especially when using sharp cheddar cheese.
- And most importantly, its the best homemade mac and cheese youve ever had.
Everything Youll Need To Make This Recipe
- Elbow macaroni is the classic pasta when it comes to macaroni & cheese. The shape draws in the cheese sauce and ensures each bite is intensely covered with cheese.
- Evaporated milk starts as milk but is cooked down, allowing the excess water to evaporate. It will help the roux hold together better when mixed with the butter and flour.
- Monterey Jack cheese has the ideal quality of being a good melting cheese.
- Sharp cheddar cheese adds a strong flavor, which will be prevalent when baked with the macaroni.
- Cream cheese works to add a creamy texture to the recipe. It also introduces a bit of tanginess, which sounds odd, but works so well in this dish.
- Nutmeg is a classic spice when making a cheese sauce. The spice brings out a more intense milk flavor and adds an underlying nuttiness.
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Frequently Asked Questions About This Recipe
How long does this recipe last in the refrigerator? Can it be frozen after being prepared and before being baked?
As leftovers, this will last up to 10 days in the refrigerator. But note that the macaroni and cheese can become dense when chilled and take more time than expected to heat up.
Are there other types of cheese that would work well in this recipe?
Yes, any cheese with flavor can be added for a more adult version. Gruyere, smoked gouda, fontina, and even Brie could be added.
Can another type of pasta be used in this recipe?
Yes, any small pasta that holds onto the sauce works well. I also like to use small shells in place of elbow pasta.
Can this be a stovetop macaroni and cheese recipe?
This can be served directly from the stove but will take some additional cooking time on the stove. The time in the oven allows the cheese sauce to be absorbed fully into the pasta.
Ultra Creamy Baked Mac And Cheese
Our favorite mac and cheese recipe calls on a few smart steps to make sure the macaroni and cheese is ultra creamy and flavorful. While many cheeses can work in this recipe, the two cheeses we go back to again and again are sharp white cheddar and Pecorino-Romano cheese. The cheddar melts down to be creamy and the pecorino adds a sharp salty bite to the sauce. For the creamiest sauce, we hand grate the cheese since previously shredded cheeses dont seem to melt as well.
Provided by Adam and Joanne Gallagher
Total Time 1 hours 0 minutes
Prep Time 10 minutes
- Remember to save leftovers for fried Macaroni and Cheese.
BAKED MAC-AND-CHEESE BITES RECIPE – PUREWOW
BAKED MAC-AND-CHEESE BITES RECIPE – PUREWOW
BAKED THREE-CHEESE MACARONI RECIPE: HOW TO MAKE IT
- Preheat oven to 350°. Cook macaroni in a 6-qt. stockpot according to package directions for al dente. Drain return to pot., In a large saucepan, melt 6 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Stir in flour until smooth whisk in warmed milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until thickened., Remove from heat stir in Gruyere and cheddar cheeses, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add to macaroni, tossing to coat., Transfer to a greased 13×9-in. baking dish. Toss bread crumbs with Parmesan cheese and melted butter sprinkle over casserole. Bake, uncovered, 30-40 minutes or until bubbly and top is golden brown.
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Can I Freeze Macaroni And Cheese
I get asked that a lot and my answer is always no. As the pasta and cheese sauce sit, it will thicken and when you thaw it and bake it, the creamy consistency is just gone. Its thick and gloppy. Plus if you freeze it and its still a bit warm, water crystals will form and then thaw into your dish and could make it separate when you bake it. Besides, its so fast to make, theres not really a reason to freeze your macaroni and cheese.
These Pro Tips Will Make This Recipe A Success
- When cooking the pasta, make sure to cook the macaroni al dente. If the pasta is fully cooked before its added to the cheese sauce and then baked in the oven, it will become really mushy. If you only cook to al dente , the pasta will finish cooking correctly with the cheese.
- When mixing together the milk mixture and the cheese, if not all pieces of cheese melt right away, that is fine. When the pasta is poured over the top of the cheese, it will add additional heat, which will finish melting the cheese.
- This recipe can be prepared ahead of time and then baked when needed. Simply prepare everything, add everything to the baking dish, then cover and place it in the refrigerator. When ready to bake, remove it from the refrigerator and bake.
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Can I Make Kraft Dinner Without Milk
Can I Make Kraft Macaroni And Cheese Without Milk Or Butter? If you want to skip dairy altogether, you would have to use artificial cheese or a natural, vegan cheese substitute. If you just want to make it without milk or butter, you can use more water. The problem with that is it wont have a very creamy consistency.
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What You Need To Make Baked Mac And Cheese:
Really simple ingredients in this one, and lots of room to adapt the recipe to make it your own. For this macaroni and cheese recipe, youll need:
- Elbow Macaroni other shapes will work, as will whole wheat pasta. We havent tested this with a grain-free pasta, but it would probably work. Of course, the texture would be slightly different.
- 1 pound of shredded cheese we like extra sharp cheddar, but you can use many types of cheese. We always recommend shredding your own cheese fo the best texture , but pre-grated will work in a pinch.
- Flour this helps the mac and cheese thicken up.
- Ground mustard this is totally optional but it adds depth to the flavor. You can also use dijon mustard if you dont have ground mustard.
- Milk whole, 2%, skimtheyll all work
- Butter helps you get that golden brown top on the macaroni and cheese!
- Salt and Pepper always! You wont need a lot of salt since cheese is salty.
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How To Make It
Baked Macaroni And Cheese
Baked macaroni and cheese doesnt have to be complicated with layers of ingredients to be the soul-warming food you crave. This homemade baked macaroni and cheese is my most favorite and has pleased crowds, small families, kids and picky eaters alikegive it a try and youll see why.
Sometimes you buy that glowing yellow macaroni in the box. Your kids like it, but it glows like the kryptonite they used in the old Christoper Reeve Superman movies.
Thats not normal people.
And I hate to break it to you, but theres nothing real in that box either.
I hate feeding it to my kids and I dare say that you hate it too. But I can also guess you dont know many other alternatives. Sure, you can get a box of Velveeta and melt that over some noodles. That works too, but that stuff doesnt even need to be refrigerated. Its mystery cheese.
So if youre looking for the real deal, the old school baked macaroni and cheese the way your grandma might have made itthis is it.
And just so you know, aside from the baking, this easy macaroni and cheese took 15 minutes and only two pans to make. One for boiling the pasta and a good enameled cast iron pan for the sauce and the baking cuts down on dishes. So yes, even you can make this on a week night.
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Storing And Reheating Mac And Cheese
There is no easy way to tell you this: This particular baked macaroni and cheese will not reheat to its previous glory. Which doesnt mean it isnt good its just different.
You can reheat it in the oven to re-crisp the breadcrumb topping, but the mac and cheese part wont be as creamy as it was when you first made it.
Keep mac and cheese covered in your fridge, and microwave the leftovers for up to a week.
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Does Macaroni And Cheese Go Bad In The Box Meaning
However, cooked macaroni and cheese can go bad, and if they do, you know it. Rotten and cooked pasta and cheese smell bad. The cheese will have a rancid smell and you will probably notice some discoloration. You will also find that the pasta cheese has taken on a musty appearance when you throw it away.
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