How Can I Dress Up My Macaroni And Cheese
This baked macaroni and cheese may be the most versatile dish ever. Add in some red pepper for kick, any cheeses you like , add veggies like broccoli and chopped chicken and its a one-dish meal even. Or BACON. Hello. Yeah. Make some garlic bread crumbs for the top if you want some crunch and throw those on. Its really endless.
How To Avoid Grainy Cheese Sauce:
- The type of cheddar makes a difference. High quality aged cheddar cheese will give you a stronger taste and smoother texture. More mild and inexpensive cheddar cheeses will have less flavor and almost a grittier taste.
- Use fresh grated cheese. Pre-shredded store-bought cheese will not melt the same as freshly grated cheese, and grating the cheese helps it melt smoothly and evenly in the sauce.
- Bring the cheese to room temperature. I like to grate the cheese very first, before moving forward with the recipe. That allows it to sit at room temperature while I prepare the white sauce.
- Use low heat. In order for the cheese to melt properly and smoothly we want it to have gradual changes in temperature . When its time to add the cheese to the white sauce, remove the sauce from heat and let it cool for a few minutes. It only needs to be warm enough to melt the cheese.
- Dont over-stirthe sauce once the cheese has melted. Add the noodles and quickly assemble in pan and put into the oven.
More About This Recipe
- When youre craving homemade mac and cheese, this southern baked version is a wonderful option. It takes just 15 minutes to prep and 45 minutes of hands-off time, which means you can do more of what you want and spend less time standing over the stove. Not a macaroni connoisseur but ready to learn all the ways to make mac and cheese? We did the heavy lifting, delving deep on the cheesy details, so you can learn all about it before you begin. Who knew there were so many ways to make it? And if this baked mac and cheese recipe isnt your style, weve got lots more mac and cheese recipes for you to search through!
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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.
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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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!
Tips For The Best Mac & Cheese
Freshly grated cheese dont use pre shredded. They have anti caking agents that can make the sauce grainy.
No bloated overcooked pasta Cool macaroni slightly and lightly coat in butter. This stops the macaroni from absorbing more liquid while baking, resulting in bloated overcooked pasta and less sauce.
To avoid lumps in your sauce, stir constantly as you slowly pour the milk in and keep stirring once the milk is all added. If necessary, switch to a switch to get rid of stubborn little lumps!
Plenty of sauce Because I like my Mac and Cheese saucy, not dried up so you can cut it like cake!
Can you make Mac and Cheese ahead of time? Most recipes are not suitable for making ahead, but this recipe is! The best way is to cool pasta then toss with sauce and adding breadcrumb topping. Cool, refrigerate or freeze then bake on the day of .
How long can Mac and Cheese stay in the fridge? Unlike most, this Macaroni Cheese recipe is good for 3 to 5 days in the fridge. Most Mac and Cheese will not keep well because theres not enough sauce so it gets absorbed by the pasta and youre left with dry, sauceless pasta.
Freezing? Yes! Assemble, cool, do not bake, just freeze it. Thaw then on the day of, bake per Note 5 in the recipe.
Add ins? This recipe is great as it is, but theres tons of add-in options. Add shredded chicken, sautéed onion and bell peppers/capsicum, bacon, hot sauce , dried herbs of choice.
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Can You Bake Leftover Mac And Cheese
Yes, you can reheat leftovers in the oven or in the microwave. Cover the dish loosely with foil and reheat in a 325 degree F oven just until warmed through. You can remove the foil cover during the final few minutes to allow the top to brown or the edges to get crispy.
To reheat individual servings, just cover loosely and microwave for about 30 seconds .
Creamy Baked Mac And Cheese
The Chunky Chef09/30/2019
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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!
Looking for other comfort food dishes? Check out my Homemade Sloppy Joes, Creamy Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Crockpot Meatloaf, and Homestyle No-Boil Mashed Potatoes!
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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Recipe Notes And Tips
- People swear by Velveeta in this recipe, do not use a substitute. Miss Robie herself uses only Velveeta.
- While pre-packaged shredded cheese works fine, grating your own is the better option. It just melts better.
- Its going to be oily on top after baking, thats how it is with real cheeses and butter. If you think its excessive, blot some up with a paper towel while it rests. I do sometimes.
- Reheats are great, just pop in the microwave.
- This is filling and hearty enough to serve as the main dish but most often it is a side dish. Its unbelievably good alongside collard greens and fried chicken!
Delicious soulful macaroni and cheese, doesnt get any better than this. A real treat and labor of love for Sunday supper and the holiday table. Trust me on this one! Kelly
Try these collard greensin the Instant Pot for some more traditional soul food.
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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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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
Best Cheese For Baked Mac And Cheese
Dont be scared when using cheese for this recipe. I used three types of cheeses to grace every noodle of this dish. For the best flavor, I highly recommend adding a sharp cheddar to your baked mac and cheese. Just a warning though, dont use the pre-shredded bagged cheese as it has preservatives that make it drier compared to fresh-grated cheese.
Sharp cheddar cheese, mozzarella, jack cheese, are my top fave. Or you can also use pepper jack cheese, gouda, fontina, and Gruyere.
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How To Make Instant Pot Mac And Cheese
What Do I Need To Make Baked Mac & Cheese
Mac and cheese is simple to make and doesnt require any fancy ingredients. Heres what you need:
- Macaroni Noodles though lets be real you can use 8 oz of pretty much any shape of pasta!
- CHEESE All caps for obvious reasons. Your cheese selection can make or break your baked mac and cheese. Shredding your own is preferred, more on that a bit further down the post.
- Whole Milk
- Flour for making your roux. Dont worry, its so easy! I hate to even mention that this baked mac and cheese starts with a roux because so many people are intimidated . All were doing is whisking together melted butter and flour, honestly.
- Spices salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion power, and ground mustard. A little goes a long way for flavor.
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How To Make Soul Food Or Southern Baked Macaroni And Cheese
First, you need to have a lot of love and soul. Got that? Okay.
Next, cook macaroni pasta in well-salted water until just under al dente. It needs to be undercooked so that it doesn’t end up mushy and overcooked in the oven.
While your macaroni is cooking, shred your cheese.
In my recipe, there are five kinds of cheese and each has a purpose:
Sharp cheddar cheese for the flavor.
Colby jack as a supporting cheese. It’s got great flavor, supporting the cheddar cheese without adding too much ‘cheddar’ flavor and is a great melting cheese.
Mozzarella for that melty, gooey-cheese-stretch goodness.
Americancheese because it is made to melt in a perfectly creamy way and helps the harder cheese like the sharp cheddar melt down and emulsify so it doesn’t separate. It’s a real mac and cheese work horse!
And cream cheese…’cause my mama uses it. If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it. It adds more moisture and creaminess to the mac and there are all kinds of flavors you can use. My mom uses sour cream and chive, it’s SO good.
In a large bowl, mix in the cheeses, the half-and-half and heavy cream, and your spices. A little mustard powder boosts the cheese flavor, salt and black pepper are a must, garlic and onion powder, and then…smoked paprika!
You can find smoked paprika in any grocery store and its flavor is such a great, smoky addition to the mac and cheese. You will not regret having some smoked paprika in your life.
And no, I will not argue with you about it. I stand on my decision.
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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Crock Pot Macaroni And Cheese Recipe
In this post Ill be sharing an easy Crock Pot Macaroni and Cheese Recipe. It is delicious! You will love this simple slow cooker recipe.
This creamy crockpot mac reminds me of the baked macaroni and cheese that you get out at restaurants. You know, the kind of place where you find the macaroni listed in the vegetable sides section. I suppose that it would be like a lot of the home baked versions too.
In the South, we love our macaroni and cheese! It is my favorite comfort food of all time . The macaroni and cheese is almost always included for family gatherings and holiday dinners.
When preparing bigger meals, you often need to free up some of that valuable oven space, so this slow cooker Southern style macaroni and cheese if a perfect way to do just that.
How Long To Bake Mac And Cheese
There is only one rule that you need to remember when baking mac and cheese: dont bake it too long otherwise youll bake away the sauce leaving you with a dry mixture.
Baking it at around 20 minutes at 375 degrees F guarantees you that same stretchy cheesy baked mac and cheese with all the heart-melting sauce. Or you can also bake it at 30 minutes at 350 F
Although weve tried a couple of Mac and Cheese recipes, nothing compares to this one which has a smooth silky sauce that permeates every inch of elbow macaroni there is.
Youd fall head over heels with the brimming Southern flavors of what this baked mac and cheese has to offer. Its got a note of heat and smokiness. Youd need a bigger a spoon, for sure!
This would be delightful at any time. Oh, especially during these cold winter months. So dont wait for special occasions to whip up a pan of this.
Heck, you could even make this on the daily. You can also explore different southern comfort food ideas to prepare every day! Go ahead, take a bite, nobodys looking.
Want more recipes like this? Try my Ground Beef Casserole here, my mac and cheese the Caribbean way Trinidad Macaroni Pie and my heartier and meatier Chili Mac and Cheese.
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