Best Baked Macaroni And Cheese Recipe

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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.

How To Make Mac And Cheese

If youve never made homemade mac and cheese before, it can seem a bit daunting. But dont worry, well break it down and take it step by step!

  • Boil the pasta, drain.
  • Make the cheese sauce by combining a fat , and starch , then whisking in the milk products.
  • Cook the sauce until its nice and thick.
  • Add in shredded cheeses, stir well.
  • Combine cheese sauce with cooked pasta.
  • Transfer half of the mac and cheese to a baking dish, sprinkle with more shredded cheese.
  • Top with the rest of the mac and cheese, top with more shredded cheese.
  • Bake and prepare to thoroughly enjoy!

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How To Make Baked Mac And Cheese

Its a straightforward recipe, starting with a basic butter-flour roux that is used to thicken milk to make the cheese sauce. For first timers, I think the short video below will help give you the confidence that youve got this!

The simple trick to avoid lumps in the Mac and Cheese Sauce is to pour the milk in slowly while constantly stirring, then just switch to a whisk if needed to remove any stubborn lumps!

What You Need To Make Baked Mac And Cheese:

Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe

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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What I Love About This Recipe:

That crumb topping: the panko bread crumb topping give it the perfect taste and texture youd find at your favorite restaurant.

The homemade sauce:You know what I love most about the sauce for this mac and cheese? It uses every-day pantry ingredients butter, milk, flour, half and half, cornstarch, mustard, and spices once combined, they make the BEST, creamy, cheesy homemade sauce for mac and cheese.

Family favorite: this is a huge crowd pleaser that I serve year round! Anytime Ive served it at a part, everyone raves. You can bring it as a side to serve along steak or chicken, Or serve it as a main dish with a side of green beans or roasted veggies.

Instant Pot Mac And Cheese

The Chunky Chef03/23/2020

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This Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is ultra creamy and rich with a velvety smooth sauce! Ready in about 20 minutes, its always a family favorite. Perfectly cooked, every time, and no need to babysit the pasta, or even drain it! Made with no canned milk and no Velveeta.

This Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is the perfect comfort food! Recipes like my Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa and Instant Pot Sausage Tortellini Soup are great for when you want an ultra-comforting family meal thats ready incredibly fast. This is one of my Pressure Cooker recipes youll definitely want in your recipe box!


Youve been asking for it, and Ive been working on it this is the Instant Pot Mac and Cheese that will make your mouth completely water, and have you reaching for seconds.

The lusciously creamy cheese sauce, enveloping every noodle so full of flavor, yet so simply made.

This mac and cheese is just as easy as making that macaroni in the blue box but is SO much better for you. No preservatives and other hard to pronounce ingredients. Just pure cheesy goodness!

When I was developing this recipe, I used cheeses that I found melted really well, and gave a good classic mac and cheese flavor, however, Ill also be detailing different cheeses you can use if you prefer another mixture.

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About This Easy Baked Macaroni And Cheese:

This baked macaroni and cheese is made like Grandma used to make it, the old fashioned, baked in a casserole dish style. If youre looking for a creamy, non-baked recipe, youll probably love this copycat Panera mac and cheese or Instant Pot macaroni and cheese.

I just love this baked macaroni and cheese, though. Its a little bit chewier, with lots of great cheddar cheese flavor, and I especially love the way the top crisps up in the oven.

Plus its so easy! You just boil pasta, mix with grated cheese, a couple tablespoons of flour, and seasonings, put it in a casserole dish, and pour the milk over it. Thats it! No messing with white sauces or tricky steps. No getting four pots and pans dirty!

You can prep this macaroni and cheese ahead of time and keep it in the fridge overnight. Its ready to bake when you want it!

Baked mac and cheese is a total crowd pleaser. This is a great recipe for busy weeknight meals but also for entertaining. Perfect for potlucks!

Enjoy one of our familys favorite meals! I grew up eating this macaroni and cheese and it was always a special day when my mom prepared it. Now I love serving it to my family and I especially love how easy it is to prepare. Im sure you will too!

How To Make Homemade Mac And Cheese

The Best Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe

Making homemade macaroni and cheese is surprisingly easy and quick!

  • Cook Pasta Cook pasta al dente drain & rinse.
  • Make Sauce A homemade cheese sauce with lots of cheese takes about 10 minutes. .
  • Combine and bake Toss sauce with pasta and top with remainder of shredded cheese.
  • Bake until golden and bubbly.
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    How To Make A Roux For Mac And Cheese

    A roux is simply a mixture of fat and flour, usually in equal measures, which is cooked together in order to remove the raw, floury flavor. For macaroni and cheese, you make a fairly light roux by cooking it for about three minutes. Then, milk is added to the roux to make the béchamel sauce.

    First, start by melting the butter.

    Then add the flour and seasonings and

    Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon in a figure-8 motion, for three minutes. This one looks a bit darker than a classic roux might because of the smoked paprika.

    Then, to make your white sauce , add the milk slowly, whisking the entire time, and cook until bubbly and thick.

    Aaaand then add your cheese for your glorious macaroni and cheese situation.

    Theres your base for the best baked mac and cheese recipe ever!

    There are loads of mac and cheese recipes out there, with fancy embellishments and uber creative spins. But his isnt one of those its a classic baked mac and cheese thats simple enough to appeal to everyone. Readers report entire families devouring this stuff on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter! BUT its also a great jumping-off point if you want to make it your own

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    Making Mac And Cheese Ahead Of Time

    • Make as directed , transfer to baking dish and cool completely. Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate 1-2 days ahead.
    • Before baking, let dish sit on counter for 30 minutes.
    • Bake at recipe temperature for 25-35 minutes, until hot and bubbly.

    As a caveat, this recipe, as with most mac and cheese recipes, loses some of its creaminess when made ahead. This dish has been tested when made right away, which yields the best results.

    I would increase the amount of sauce slightly if you need to make this recipe ahead of time.

    Faq: Baked Mac And Cheese

    How To Make The Best Baked Macaroni and Cheese (3 Cheese ...

    What can I add to macaroni and cheese?

    This recipe is great as is, but you could always add fried onions on top, mix in pulled chicken or pork, lobster, crawfish, shrimp, crab meat…anything that sounds good to you!

    What is the most popular cheese used in mac and cheese recipe?

    Sharp cheddar cheese is best and the most popular for mac and cheese.

    What can you put in macaroni and cheese instead of milk?

    You can use evaporated milk, heavy cream, or half and half.

    What is the best pasta for mac and cheese?

    Use elbow macaroni noodles for the best results. Any noodle with grooves and ridges will also work.

    How to avoid lumps in mac and cheese?

    Pour the milk in slowly while whisking constantly.

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    Homemade Macaroni And Cheese: What Kind Of Cheese Should I Use

    I honestly use different cheese combinations almost every time I make this mac and cheese recipe but the one I always come back to is sharp cheddar and Gruyere. If you cant find Gruyere, Jarlsberg Swiss cheese is the best substitute. Other cheese that work: mozzarella, jack cheese or pepper jack for a little zip, American and Velveeta as well for a creamier cheese sauce. This baked mac and cheese uses 6 cups of cheese so just

    To add even more flavor to my homemade mac and cheese, I add Parmesan to the Panko topping so good!

    What Can I Add To Mac And Cheese For Flavor

    I love adding seasonings to the roux to amp up my mac and cheese. This one has smoked paprika for yep a smoky note. And I love how dry mustard powder helps emphasize the cheesy flavor. Some readers like to add a hefty pinch of onion powder, others love a bit of nutmeg. If you like heat, adding jalapeños is delicious .

    You can also tweak the flavor by varying the cheeses. Readers report using smoked cheese for tons of sultry goodness Other readers have added mozzarella or jack for some stretchy goodness, creamy havarti, parmesan , or prefer to go with extra-sharp cheddar.

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    Cooking Tips For Baked Mac And Cheese

    • Boiling the pasta cook the pasta less than you normally would. I like to boil my elbow pasta for between 4 and 5 minutes. The pasta will continue to cook in the oven, and you dont want it to get mushy.
    • Use room temp liquids if you can cold liquids generally take longer to thicken than warmer ones. I usually set my milk and half and half out while the water for the pasta is coming up to a boil.
    • The cheeses use your favorites! Our personal favorites are the cheddar and gruyere used in this recipe, but you can be very creative with the cheese selection here. Mozzarella, gouda, smoked gouda, swiss, monterey jack, colby jack, colby. There are plenty of reader comments down below the recipe that talk about the cheeses they used!
    • Shred your own I know its a pain, and its SO tempting to use the pre-shredded cheese in the bags. But those bags of cheese contain a starchy substance that keeps the cheese from clumping which also prohibits it from melting as well as it should.

    Tips For The Best Baked Jalapeo Popper Mac And Cheese

    • Using block cheese is the way to go when youre making mac and cheese. The pre-shredded cheese is coated and wont melt properly. Grate it yourself for the best results.
    • Cook your pasta to slightly less than al dente, about one minute shy is perfect thats about 7 minutes for macaroni.The reason is that this is baked mac and cheese so the pasta will continue to cook in the oven.
    • I used elbow pasta but really, any tubular, short pasta will work.
    • The roux is super important to getting the creamiest cheese sauce. Three things 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, stirring nearly constantly, until you see bubbles on the surface and then continue cooking for an additional 2 minutes before adding the cheese. This will keep the sauce from turning grainy.

    Youll notice this recipe calls for two jalapeños. I removed the seeds and membranes before dicing which cuts down on the heat a bit. I mean, this is Jalapeño Popper Mac and Cheese so a little heat should be expected. If youre like whaaaat? Bring on the spicy! Keep the seeds and membranes intact and dice away OR add another jalapeño.

    I further tame those spicy jalapeños by sautéing in butter. This also serves another purpose as it gives the cheese sauce amazing flavor. I add back in a little heat and lots of flavor by adding in some TABASCO® Sauce.

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    Baked Macaroni And Cheese September 16 2021pasta And Pizza Recipes Sides

    Baked macaroni and cheese has been a staple across dining room tables for as long as I can recall.

    With that said, for most of my life growing up our macaroni and cheese came out of a box.

    In fact, one of the things that remind me of my childhood was my favorite dish: macaroni and cheese with hotdogs in it. Is that weird? My wife thinks so.

    When we got together for the holidays there would always be real baked macaroni and cheese. It was always a treat.

    I would respond with the wow, the real deal. Invariably, while good, it always seemed drier and less gooey cheesy than the standard Velveeta mac and cheese.

    We decided to set out with creating our own mac and cheese that offered up that gooey goodness. Leigh was adamant that this would have to be accomplished without using processed American cheese. I wasnt convinced that it could be done.

    We also wanted to make this dish using simple ingredients. No fancy cheeses or toppings. Just straight up macaroni and cheese.

    There is always room to get fancy but we wanted to start with a super creamy and yummy version that anybody would be wanting to make.

    Well, we did it. Honestly, this baked macaroni and cheese is gooey. It is cheesy. And most importantly it is NOT dry.

    It is the best homemade baked macaroni and cheese I have ever had.

    If you were like us, kind of off-put by attempting a deliciously creamy and cheesy homemade baked macaroni and cheese because of past failures, rest easy.

    Make Sure To Try Out My Other Kielbasa Recipes:

    • Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large, lidded skillet.
    • Brown kielbasa in the skillet, 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove with a slotted spoon.
    • Saute onion and bell pepper until onion is translucent. Make sure to work the brown bits off the bottom of the skillet more flavor
    • Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Season with salt and pepper.
    • Add rice to the skillet and stir to combine. Continue stirring for 1 to 2 more minutes.
    • Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.
    • Without disturbing the rice, add the broccoli to the top of the rice and cover again. Cook an additional 5 to 7 minutes or until rice is tender.
    • Stir in kielbasa and 1 cup of cheese.
    • Top with remaining cup of cheese. Cover with lid and let sit for 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese is melted.

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