What Type Of Cheese
This classic mac and cheese recipe is made with cheddar cheese. I particularly love medium or sharp cheddar cheese but any type will do. If you want a more luxurious mac and cheese or youre really trying to impress a crowd, you could use a combination of different cheeses. Just be sure to select a type of cheese that is good for melting, like white cheddar, smoked gouda, gruyere, brie, goat cheese, mozzarella, or fontina.
How To Measure Pasta For This Recipe
Sometimes a reader or two has had an issue with how much pasta this recipe needs. This recipe is written by volume and sometimes people think that since a cup is 8 ounces that they can simply use 12-16 ounces of pasta or go by the weight of the dry pasta written on the box.
Youll end up with problems if you do this. Please follow the volume instructions and measure your pasta dry in a measuring cup meant for dry items . Small pastas like ditalini or little wagon wheels can go up to about 2 cups and be fine in the recipe, and large ones like bow tie or cellentani can as well. If you will stick to elbow pasta until you get the hang of things youll be better off.
Ive made this recipe with every pasta shape on the market and if you will measure in cups, your recipe will be just right.
Homemade Baked Mac And Cheese
There is absolutely nothing I love more than cheese. And when you add pasta to it? Fuggetaboutit.
Mac and cheese is one of those recipes that can take on so many different forms. I love it anyway I can get it but baked mac and cheese is my very favorite and Ill tell you why The topping. I use breadcrumbs for my topping occasionally, but, a Panko topped mac and cheese is just that much better.
I mix in Parmesan, butter, and paprika with the Panko so it crisps up beautifully and gets a nice golden brown color when this amazing homemade mac and cheese is baked.
Im going to be honest here. When I make mac and cheese, its the mac to cheese ratio that I am most concerned about. I love it when the mac and cheese is oeey gooey and the cheese sauce is just so creamy. GIMME.
With all this cheese going on in this macaroni and cheese recipe, I need a little help from my KitchenAid Deluxe Stand Mixer and its handy dandy Fresh Prep Slice/Shredder attachment. I picked up this beauty at Walmart this past week and I am in LOOOOOVE. I was torn between the options: SILVER | COBALT | PISTACHIO. But, when I pictured them in my kitchen, I knew I had to go with the cobalt its just stunning!
I use my stand mixer about 954 times each week. Being a food blogger and mom means Im in my kitchen a lot baking up goodies and whipping up amazing dinners like this homemade baked mac and cheese. I am always, always looking for help in the kitchen and the Kitchen Aid Deluxe Stand Mixer is the answer.
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Easy Homemade Mac And Cheese
This Easy Homemade Mac and Cheese Recipe is made with 8 ingredients in 15 minutes on the stovetop ! Time to ditch the boxed mac and cheese for this irresistibly creamy, smooth & cheesy homemade recipe!
I have six kids and a husband with a taste palate of a 12-year-old-boy, which means we eat a lot of mac and cheese in our house. A lot of mac and cheese.
So naturally I created this easy homemade mac and cheese recipe so that we could consume less of the boxed varieties. Because I really care about feeding my family healthy meals that they actually enjoy! And did I mention that they love mac and cheese?!
Once you taste this homemade mac and cheese you and your family will say “goodbye” to powdered cheese forever, and say “hello” to this creamy dreamy real-cheese version again and again!
This homemade mac and cheese recipe is made with only 8 ingredients in 15 minutes! That’s the same amount of time it takes to make the boxed varieties, but with no preservatives or artificial ingredients!
Creamy Baked Mac And Cheese
The Chunky Chef09/30/2019
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
This baked mac and cheese is a family favorite recipe, loved by both children and adults. It uses a combination of cheeses, layered in the dish as well as melted into a rich and creamy cheese sauce, for the ultimate in cheesy deliciousness! Perfect for a comforting dinner or as a holiday side dish!
BAKED MAC AND CHEESE
Baked mac and cheese. Its nearly the universal comfort food, and there are SO many variations! In fact, I almost didnt post this recipe, as there are SOOOO many mac and cheese recipes available, and most people already have their favorite way of making it.
Of course, theres no right way or wrong way, so Im here sharing the way I like to make my mac and cheese .
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The Easiest Baked Mac & Cheese
This easy method for baked mac and cheese is sure to be a family favorite. Plus you will love being able to double it and throw a batch in the freezer for an easy weeknight meal.
- 1 pound whole wheat macaroni noodles
- olive oil
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 3 cups milk
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
- pinch of nutmeg
Tips For The Best Homemade Baked Mac And Cheese
- Use block cheese and shred, do not buy the pre-shredded cheese. The pre-shredded cheese is great for so many things but not macaroni and cheese. Its coated and wont melt properly. You need to shred it yourself for the best result.
- Cook your pasta to slightly less than al dente, about one minute shy is perfect. The reason is that this is baked mac and cheese so the pasta will continue to cook in the homemade cheese sauce in the oven. You dont want soggy macaroni.
- I used elbow pasta but really, any tubular past will work.
- This mac and cheese recipe starts with a roux. The roux is super important to getting the creamiest cheese sauce of your life. Here is what you need to look for:
- The roux is whisked together until bubbly and golden.
- Whisk in cold milk not warm to prevent the flour from clumping.
- Cook the roux until you see bubbles on the surface and then continue cooking for an additional 2 minutes before adding the cheese.
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Can I Freeze Leftover Mac And Cheese
Absolutely! Freezing leftovers is a great way to cut down on food waste, especially when a dish like this makes a lot. Youll have dinner ready to go another night!
Simple let the leftovers cool down, then transfer to a freezer-safe plastic bag or container, label it, and keep in the freezer for 4-5 months.
Defrost it overnight in the fridge and then reheat in the microwave or in a small casserole dish .
The crunchy breadcrumb topping will lose its crunchy, but its still delicious.
OK, you are armed with ALL the info now.
You are ready to go forth and make some seriously delicious, delightful and downright delectable baked macaroni and cheese.
Do it. Soon.
P.S. You probably think I cant possibly bring you any more macaroni and cheese goodness, but you would be wrong! I have more coming your way, so stay tuned!
You can sign up for my free e-newsletter to get all of my new recipes delivered straight to your inbox so you never miss a thing. Ill even send you my free e-cookbook, Healthy Weeknight Dinners, as a thank you!
Faqs About Baked Macaroni & Cheese
Should you cover your mac and cheese when baking?
No, you want to bake this recipe uncovered so the top gets nice and crispy.
How do you keep mac and cheese from drying out in the oven?
Making sure you don’t over bake it is the most important thing you can do to prevent dry mac and cheese.
How do you tell if baked mac and cheese is done?
The top will be lightly browned and the filling with be bubbling ever so slightly.
How do you keep mac and cheese creamy?
Don’t over bake it, and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Once it’s pulled from the oven, you can loosely cover it with foil so that it doesn’t dry out as it cools.
What is the best milk to use in mac and cheese?
I suggest using full-fat dairy: whole milk, half and half or heavy cream.
Do you rinse macaroni for mac and cheese?
No. Do not rinse the macaroni after it has been cooked.
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What Kind Of Cheese Is Best For Mac And Cheese
Cheddar is probably the most popular cheese for macaroni and cheese and sharp cheddar provides the most pronounced flavor. But if you want to experiment outside of the confines of cheddar, there are a ton of other cheeses that are great in macaroni and cheese! You can use one or a combination of cheeses to make your mac and cheese your own.
Here are some other cheeses that work great with macaroni and cheese:
- Monterey jack or pepper jack
Pro Tips For Making Homemade Mac And Cheese
- Block cheese! Dont buy the packaged shredded cheese. Take a few extra minutes and take a block of cheese and shred it. I promise it will be worth the time investment!
- Can you skip baking the mac and cheese? Well, then it isnt really baked mac and cheese, but yes, you can. If you dont have time to throw it in the oven, I would skip the toppings. It is still super yummy and wont affect the overall taste, but take the extra few minutes and put the panko toppings on and throw it in the oven you will thank me!
- Add ins Try these amazing add ins and throw them into your mac and cheese to up the make and cheese game: Crab, lobster, parmesan cheese, bacon, chicken, broccoli.
- Try different combinations of shredded cheeses some others that we really love are Monterey jack cheese, pepper jack cheese, mozzarella cheese, and gouda cheese.
I updated this recipe in November 2020. If you are looking for the old version of the recipe, please see below:Ingredients
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What Pasta Should I Use For Macaroni And Cheese
You can use a small elbow pasta, a medium shell pasta, orecchiette or another small shaped pasta.
Feel free to choose a whole wheat or whole grain pasta, regular pasta or even a gluten-free pasta.
I used a whole grain medium shell pasta here.
Be sure to follow the cooking instructions and make sure to stop cooking and drain the pasta when its just al dente. So if the package says to cook for 9-11 minutes, stop at 9 minutes.
Storing Crock Pot Mac And Cheese
The leftovers from this mac and cheese recipe need to be refrigerated. Let the leftovers cool completely, cover, then refrigerate for up to 3 days. For optimal texture, add enough milk to thin the sauce before packing up the leftovers, that way you can easily scoop out a portion to reheat, and the milk will meld into the cream sauce as it reheats.
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Southern Baked Mac & Cheese
There are three major takeaways from Millie Peartree’s famous baked mac & cheese.
Salt and pepper, to taste
If you dont like sharp cheese please feel free to use mild or any other cheese you like
Faqs About Homemade Mac And Cheese
This mac and cheese recipe is one of my most popular, so here are some of the commonly asked questions.
How do you store mac and cheese?
Store the leftovers of this homemade mac and cheese recipe in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Since it thickens as it cools, you may need to add 1-2 TBS of milk when it’s reheated it to restore its original creaminess.
Can homemade mac and cheese be frozen?
Yes, you can freeze this homemade mac and cheese, however I don’t recommend it. Since this mac and cheese recipe is so easy to make, there’s really no need to freeze it. If you’re looking for a freezer-friendly mac and cheese recipe check out my baked mac and cheese!
What main dish goes well with mac and cheese?
If you’re looking to serve this mac and cheese recipe as a side dish instead of the main event, here are some suggestions for other dishes that pair well with it: meatloaf
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Can I Make This Macaroni And Cheese Ahead And Bake It When Im Ready
Yes you sure can. Just let it cool down, put some plastic wrap right against the surface of the mac and cheese and stick it in the fridge. If you have a few minutes to bring it out and let it warm slightly before you bake it, do that. But if you cant, just bake it till the center is hot and the edges are bubbling.
Variations Of Mac And Cheese
- Bacon if you love bacon, feel free to add some crispy, crumbled bacon to the topping, or even inside the mac and cheese as well!
- Stovetop if youd prefer not to bake this mac and cheese, you dont have to! Make sure you boil your pasta until al dente , and youll only need about 3 3 1/2 cups of cheese total. No need to layer the pasta and cheese, just add all the cheese to the sauce, then combine with the pasta.
- Different Toppings Im a huge fan of the cheese layer on top, since it gets nice and crispy, but we also love tossing 1 cup of panko with 2 Tbsp of melted butter and using that as a topping. 1 cup of crushed Ritz crackers with 2 Tbsp of butter work amazingly well too!
- Different Baking Times the recipe calls for a lower baking temperature and time, but most of the time I find myself adjusting that based on my familys tastes. I like to bake this mac and cheese at 350 F degrees for 30 minutes, then broil for 2-3 minutes to get that glorious cheesy crust.
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How To Make The Best Baked Macaroni And Cheese:
This recipe is the best because its SO easy to make. No fussing with making a roux or a cheese sauce.
Here are the simple steps:
To Bake Or Not To Bake:
You dont have to bake the mac and cheese in this recipe. Everything gets fully cooked and is essentially ready to eat after the cheese and noodles are added. However, I love the extra gooeyness that comes when the cheese is baked and I think baking it adds a level of sophistication you just dont get without.
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Tips For The Best Baked Mac And Cheese
- Shred your own cheese. I know its so much easier to buy pre-shredded cheese, but its actually coated in an anti-caking substance which messes with how nicely it melts.
- Do not overcook the pasta. In fact, its best to slightly undercook the pasta by about a minute. Also, allow the pasta to cool slightly before mixing with the bubbly cheese sauce.
- Time permitting, allow the milk and half-and-half to come to room temperature before very slowly whisking into the roux.
- Use your favorite cheese. I used classics like mozzarella, cheddar, parmesan, and Gruyere. Pepper Jack cheese, crumbled feta, or even dollops of goat cheese would taste fantastic.
- Macaroni and cheese is traditionally made with elbow macaroni, but any short pasta will work.