Quick And Easy Baked Mac And Cheese

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How To Make Simple Macaroni And Cheese Recipe

Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe Quick and Easy


Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook elbow macaroni in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until cooked through but firm to the bite, 8 minutes. Drain.


Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat stir in flour, salt, and pepper until smooth, about 5 minutes. Slowly pour milk into butter-flour mixture while continuously stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbling, about 5 minutes. Add Cheddar cheese to milk mixture and stir until cheese is melted, 2 to 4 minutes.


Fold macaroni into cheese sauce until coated.


Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook elbow macaroni in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until cooked through but firm to the bite, 8 minutes. Drain.


Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat stir in flour, salt, and pepper until smooth, about 5 minutes. Slowly pour milk into butter-flour mixture while continuously stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbling, about 5 minutes. Add Cheddar cheese to milk mixture and stir until cheese is melted, 2 to 4 minutes.


Fold macaroni into cheese sauce until coated.

Easiest Baked Macaroni And Cheese

Rachel GurkPosted:

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

Easiest ever baked macaroni and cheese this is a go-to recipe of many of my readers and it will become the same for your family!

No, really.

This is the easiest ever macaroni and cheese! And so delicious!

Origins Of Favorite Mac And Cheese

Traditionally, mac and cheese is a casserole baked in the oven, but you can also cook it in a saucepan like other pasta dishes. Its easier to cook the crowd favorite comfort food mac and cheese, since it is also available on packaged mixes.

Many countries have their connection to a version of mac and cheese, like the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and of course, Italy, where pasta was first popularized in Europe.

The US embraced mac and cheese as its own, as the company Kraft invented the boxed macaroni in 1937 at the pinnacle of the Great Depression. However, neither cheese nor macaroni were invented in the US.

There has been some debate on where mac and cheese actually originated, but its not surprising why this dish is loved by many. Its because the ingredients and way of cooking are so simple yet it gives a savory flavor that you want to taste over and over again.

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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!

Macaroni And Cheese Variations

Baked Mac and Cheese

This recipe is easy to adapt to other variations. Here are some of our favorites:

Baked Mac and Cheese: Once the pasta and cheese sauce are combined, add it to a baking dish and bake with a little more cheese and breadcrumbs sprinkled on top. We shared this Baked Macaroni and Cheese a while back.

Garlic Mac and Cheese: Fresh garlic and roasted garlic are excellent in this recipe. Add either to the butter just before adding the flour. For fresh, Id use 2 to 3 cloves. For roasted garlic, you can increase to 6 cloves or more. See our recipe for making roasted garlic.

Use a Variety of Cheeses: Cheddar isnt the only cheese to use. Try easy melting Gruyere, Fontina or Monterey Jack. For more flavor, a bit of parmesan or pecorino cheese is lovely, and for a more adult dish, try blue cheese!

Spiced Macaroni and Cheese: Mustard , nutmeg, and a pinch of cayenne pepper are classic additions to the cheese sauce. Smoked paprika is also delicious.

Broccoli Mac and Cheese: A kid favorite! Stir roasted broccoli or steamed broccoli into the pot before serving. Heres how we make roasted broccoli.

Lighter Mac and Cheese: Swapping half of the cheese sauce for pureed cauliflower cuts calories and still tastes incredible.

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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.

Baked Mac And Cheese With Tomatoes

The best grilled cheese youve ever had runs head-long into your tomato soup and BOOM. You get baked mac and cheese with tomatoes. One of the best comfort foods gets yet another transformation into this southern classic.

A couple of years ago, a reader asked me if I had a recipe for macaroni and cheese with tomatoes. I thought she meant macaroni and tomatoes which I know well. But she was insistent that nothere was an actual real version of macaroni and cheese that had tomatoes in it and that it was pretty doggone amazing.

I had my doubts.

Until I made it for myself. And now I realize I might be a borderline hard-headed idiot for not making it sooner.

The secret is using stewed tomatoes. Write that down. STEWED. Not diced, not chili-ready, not with basil and oregano. Stewed tomatoes are so good on their owntheyve been cooked down with celery, onion and seasonings and have a slow-cooked flavor straight out of the can.

They might be my new food love.

Make your baked mac and cheese with tomatoes in a large skillet and add your tomatoes as the sauce thickens and bake it all up together. For something fresh, you could add some cooked chicken to the party for a one-dish dinner or some of your favorite vegetables like peas or broccoli.

And just try not to fall in love with those tomatoes. And the macaroni. And the cheese. And the crunchy bread crumbsits just one more way to love something thats already amazing.

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How To Make Easy Baked Mac And Cheese

The Pasta: You can use any type of pasta to make this recipe. For my kids, I make sure I choose a smaller kind of pasta, like a smaller sized of elbow pasta or smaller shells or the mini bowtie pasta. The normal size works too, so if you have older kids that are not picky, you can totally use those. Below is a photo of elbow pasta. You can also use gluten free, whole wheat, chickpea or even veggie based pastas if you needed to.

Cook the pasta for just about 7 minutes after the water starts boiling, based on the direction on the package. Set the pot aside. No need to drain the pasta.

How To Make Our Baked Mac And Cheese :

Make Quick Baked Mac And Cheese Easy Recipe How To

Today, in brave solidarity with broken hearts everywhere, I bring you: Baked Mac and Cheese!

Yes, those are buttery homemade breadcrumbs on top and YOU ARE WELCOME.

This baked mac and cheese is heavy on the cheesy insides, crunchy outsides, and OMG vibes. It is light on redeeming health value. Dont worry about it. It is possibly the most emotionally healing thing that you could ever feed your heartsick self. Its BAKED MAC AND CHEESE, for crying out loud.

If this baked mac and cheese happens to be fed to you by a friend who invites you over when you are sad beyond sadness, then your life is not so bad after all, is it, now? And that is exactly how this came into my life: around a generous table, with a fancy salad and some really good garlic bread, and kind, gentle friends who asked us about Afton and laughed with us and cried a little and all-around just took good care of us.

Life was still bad, but it was a little less bad in that moment. And for people who are hurting, a little less bad can be a really big deal.

I mean. Guys.

Just gaze upon the cheesy beauty that is.

It was comforting on every level and we felt loved.

Your turn! Who needs a pan of baked mac and cheese in their life? I have full faith in you to deliver.

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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.

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.

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What Makes This The Best Mac And Cheese

Im a sucker for mac and cheese, but lets be honest, sometimes you take a bite of mac and cheese and it just does not hit the spot. The cheese is eh, the creamy, gooey texture is lacking, and its chock full of mysterious ingredients that are likely to cause a stomachache in an hour or two. THIS mac and cheese, though, is the total opposite of all of that: its super easy thanks to our fail-proof dump-and-bake method, requires minimal ingredients , and it is ultra-cheesy and creamy .

How To Make Single

Pin on Food
  • In a small pot, boil some pasta, and while that cooks, in a separate pot, stir together a little butter and flour. Whisk in milk until the sauce thickens and then add cheese.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste along with a bit of cayenne and nutmeg if youd like and then pour the sauce over the drained pasta and done!
  • In under 20 minutes, youll have rich cheesy mac and cheese for one, portion-controlled and so good you could cry. And if you are feeling extra hungry or want to make it for two or more, the recipe sizes up with just a slightly longer cooking time .

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    How To Make The Best Mac And Cheese:

  • Cook pasta. In a stock pot, cook pasta in some salty water. The salt adds FLAVOR! When the pasta is al dente, remove and strain.
  • Make cheese sauce. Melt butter in a stock pot over medium heat. Add flour and stir for a couple of minutes. Then add the slightly warmed milk and stir until the mixture thickens, approximately 5 minutes. Then add the shredded cheese and seasonings. Stir until the cheese is completely melted.
  • Add pasta. Remove the pot from the heat and add the orecchiette pasta. Stir until well combined. Pour the mixture into an 8×8 casserole dish, and top with some smoked paprika. I also added a bit of cayenne for some heat.
  • Bake. Bake the Mac and cheese for 30 minutes or so, or until hot and bubbly.
  • Instant Pot Mac And Cheese

    The Chunky Chef03/23/2020

    This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

    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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    Mac And Cheese Tip #: Its All About The Cheese

    But you already knew that, right? Not all macaroni and cheese recipes are created equal. Our recipe is all about that cheesy triple threat combo! Our mac and cheese recipe gets a major flavor boost from Tillamook Farmstyle Thick Cut Triple Cheddar Shredded Cheese! A mouthwatering mixture of medium white cheddar cheese, sharp cheddar cheese and medium cheddar cheese, Tillamook Triple Cheddar Cheese makes ours the very best mac and cheese recipe out there!

    How To Make The Easiest Mac And Cheese


    This is the absolute easiest mac and cheese that you will ever make, and it yields the tastiest and most decadent mac and cheese that you will ever eat! Heres how youll throw this one together:

    • Preheat the Oven preheat the oven to 400°F.
    • Combine the Pasta, Milk, and Salt add the pasta, milk, and salt to a 3-quart baking dish and stir to combine.
    • Add Some of the Butter slice two tablespoons of butter and place over top of the macaroni + milk mixture.
    • Cover and Bake cover the dish with a fitted lid or aluminum foil as tightly as possible , then bake for 30 minutes.
    • Combine the Butter, Breadcrumbs, and seasonings while the macaroni bakes, combine the other 2 tablespoons of butter , ½ cup of breadcrumbs, 1 teaspoon dried parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder.
    • Stir in the Cheese after 30 minutes, remove the macaroni from the oven and take off the lid or foil covering. Stir in the cream cheese, heavy cream, two cups of shredded cheese and the black pepper.
    • Top + Bake sprinkle the remaining cup of cheese over top of the macaroni and cheese, followed by the breadcrumbs, then return to the oven and bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes, until the breadcrumbs and cheese are browned on top.
    • Serve + Enjoy!

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    Instructions For Baked Mac & Cheese:

    • Step 1- Firstly, Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
    • Step 2- Secondly, Boil elbow pasta until done.
    • Step 3- Now, Add Mornay sauce to the pasta and mix together.
    • Step 4- In this step, you have to place pasta into a 9×13 pan.
    • Step 5- Now, add the remaining 8 ounces of sharp cheddar to the top of the pasta.
    • Step 6- Then, add the Panko mixture on top of the cheddar.
    • Step 7- Now, bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
    • Step 8- Lastly, panko will be golden brown and cheese sauce will bubble up on the edges.

    How To Make Mac And Cheese:

    Homemade macaroni and cheese is seriously simple to make! With the help of pre-shredded cheese, it truly is a straightforward process that ends with a gloriously creamy pan of mac and cheese that you will love! Heres how its done:

    • Preheat your oven and place the rack in the centerthis rack placement ensures an even, golden brown crust on top of your creamy mac and cheese!
    • Cook your pasta just one minute shy of al dente. The pasta will continue to cook in the oven, so this keeps it from becoming mushy.
    • Make a two-ingredient roux! Butter and flour is all youll need for this step to make a simple rouxaka, the base of your homemade cheesy cream sauce.
    • Slowly, slowly add some whole milk to your roux, whisking as you go. The more slowly you add the milk the thicker the sauce will be.
    • Add Tillamook Triple Cheddar Shredded Cheese, salt, pepper, garlic powder, mustard powder and stir to complete that luscious, silky sauce!
    • Add the macaroni to the cheese sauce and stir to combine.
    • Top with buttery panko and extra cheese and pop that baby in the oven!

    And there you have it, easy mac and cheese! I personally enjoy my serving slathered in sriracha, but it also pairs well with green peas, a big salad or with a few green apple slices on the side! Sometimes I go crazy and sprinkle the finished mac and cheese with a little parmesan as well.

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