How Do I Make Macaroni And Cheese From Scratch

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Easy Mac And Cheese Recipe Ingredients

How To Make Macaroni And Cheese From Scratch
  • Elbow Macaroni Really, you can use any small pasta shape. However, macaroni is in the title so I usually stick with it.
  • Butter For the roux thickening mixture and the panko breadcrumbs. You can use salted or unsalted butter.
  • Flour To thicken the cheese sauce. Its very important to use a small amount of flour and to cook it well, so the sauce isnt grainy in texture.
  • Half & Half The base of the cheese sauce! In a pinch, you can use whole milk, but do not use low-fat milk.
  • Sharp Cheddar Freshly grated off the block. Pre-shredded cheeses often have preservatives or anti-caking chemicals that cause them not to melt as well.
  • Muenster Freshly grated, for the same reason as above.
  • Cream Cheese Mac and Cheese with Cream Cheese has a much silkier texture than versions relying just on flour for thickening. Use full fat, please. Theres no need to use low-fat cream cheese, when you are also using two other cheeses and half & half. *wink*
  • Garlic Powder For that little extra something.
  • Panko Breadcrumbs The topper for the baked version.
  • Salt & Pepper To taste.

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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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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What Seasoning Should I Add To Mac And Cheese

Basic spices that you may already have in your pantry that would work well include red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, Italian seasoning, chili, onion, and garlic powder. If youre willing to take a trip to the store, spices like cumin, curry powder, dry mustard, and paprika are all wonderful additions.

Your Family Will Go Crazy For This Baked Macaroni And Cheese Recipe Sinfully Creamy & Gooey With A 3

Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese Recipe

Today Im here for you, with another classic comfort food dish: macaroni and cheese!

You probably remember from my last chocolate pound cake post how all I want to do lately is make comfort food. Life is really hard right now! And nothing makes you feel like everything is going to be ok quite like fat and carbs.

Whenever I really want a treat, I allow myself to indulge in one of my favorites, like chocolate chip cookies, or soft, yeasty bread slathered with butter, or homemade cinnamon rolls with gooey cream cheese frosting on top.

It makes me feel so much better!

Macaroni and cheese is right up there too. It so cheesy and savory and ooey-gooey good!

This is my go-to recipe and Im so happy to be sharing it with you. You are going to love how rich and creamy it is, and the seasonings are absolutely incredible. I use a blend of cheeses that creates the perfect balance of savory, funky, milky, and tangy, and you can make this on the stovetop OR bake it in the oven, for a main course or side dish that will make you feel all the warm fuzzies.

Read on, for everything you ever wanted to know about the best ever mac n cheese recipe!

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Stovetop Mac And Cheese

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

This truly is the BEST stovetop mac and cheese recipe! It only requires one pot , its ready to go in about 20 minutes from start to finish, and its perfectly creamy and cheesy and delicious.

This weekend, Barclay and I went to a food festival here in Barcelona that was fabulously, deliciously,entirely devoted to CHEESE.

And it was just about the best thing ever.

Literally everywhere you turned, ooey gooey cheesy dishes were being served. And youd better believe we took full advantage of them. From freshly-scraped raclette toasts, to the most amazing Korean-inspired mushroom grilled cheese sandwiches, to Spanish onion and smoked cheese soup, to vegan Mexican cheesy quesadillas, to the best ricotta Ive ever sampled, to the most dreamy Italian gyoza-ish dumplings filled with potato and cheese and served in a pecorino-sage saucethe day was all of our cheesiest dreams come true. And we left feeling so happy. And soooo full, ha.

That said, there was one dish notably missing at the festival. But, it just so happens that Ive been on a mission this month to nail down my all-time favorite recipe for it. So yesterday, we decided to round out our cheesy weekend by taste-testing a final version of this recipe. And ohhh guys, I think weve got it. Im humbly calling it

The Best Stovetop Mac and Cheese recipe. Ever.

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Best Mac And Cheese Recipe

When I label something the best I do it with a lot of consideration and testing ahead of time. I want to offer you only the absolute best recipe Ive ever made or tasted.

Theres a lot of pressure here After all, we all have different tastebuds and preferences.

However, Im really psyched about todays Best Macaroni and Cheese Recipe. It is truly special.

Today we are going for a classic macaroni and cheese recipe, not a fancy spin-off. We have several other brilliant macaroni recipes here on the blog. Yet I thought it was time to add our favorite traditional version.

Why is it so amazing?

  • So first and foremost, the cheese flavor is the perfect blend of three kinds of cheese, that give it a bold, nutty, comforting, CHEESY flavor, without being too overpowering
  • Second, the consistency of the cheese sauce is ridiculously smooth and silky. Its saucy, without being runny. Cheesy, without being glumpy. No grainy texture whatsoever!
  • Third, this one recipe gives you the option for simple Stovetop Mac and Cheese and Baked Mac and Cheese. Theres no need to separate these into two recipes because the cheese sauce converts beautifully into a baked recipe, without any real adjustments.
  • We think its perfect, and hope you think so as well!

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    Baking Mac And Cheese

    • Baking macaroni and cheese is optional. I always bake my mac and cheese further as it tastes so good. But if you dont have an oven or the time, then just mix and serve.
    • Do top with breadcrumbs when baking as they add a lovely crispy and crunchy layer.
    • Feel free to add seasonings, herbs and spices of your choice. I keep it simple with crushed black pepper and a bit of ground nutmeg. A dash of mustard powder also perks up the flavor.
    • To add some fiber and extra nutrition to in the dish, simply mix in some steamed veggies.

    Best Cheese For Mac And Cheese

    You asked for it: How I make Macaroni and Cheese

    A combination of Gruyere and mozzarella cheese. Gruyerefor the most superior flavour with the best melting qualities for creamy sauces such as this theres no contention in my view. And mozzarella for stretch nothing does the cheese pull like a good mozzarella!

    But honestly, any cheese that melts well works is excellent with Mac and Cheese, such as cheddar, tasty, Colby, Swiss, Pepper Jack, Emmental.

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    This Comfort Food Classic Is One The Whole Family Will Love

    Some things are just better when theyre made from scratchand making something with your own two hands provides such satisfaction. When you cook from scratch, you know exactly what ingredients go into your meals, and it offers you the flexibility to adjust your recipe for dietary or taste preferences.

    Try out the cheesy deliciousness of this recipe at your next family meal

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    Gather & Measure The Ingredients

    This easy mac and cheese recipe is super fast-paced once you start cooking, so it’s important to have all the ingredients measured and ready to go! As you can see there are only eight, common ingredients in this recipe that most of us have on hand at all times! We will discuss the ingredients and possible substitutions later in this post .

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    The Best Mac And Cheese Recipe

    Theres nothing like homemade mac and cheese, am I right? What makes the perfect mac and cheese in your opinion? Good ol Kraft right out of the box? Homemade thick and cheesy on the stovetop? Baked with a crispy topping and lots of ingredients inside?

    I think its a bit different for everyone, but let me tell you about my perfect mac and cheese. I like a thick and creamy perfectly flavorful cheese sauce like my picture above shows. If that sounds good to you, then you will LOVE this recipe too

    See my Bacon Mac and Cheese Recipe too! Be sure to follow for daily recipe inspiration!

    Shaping Macaroni Noodles By Hand

    From Scratch Macaroni and Cheese

    Equipment: rolling pin or pasta roller and a thin dowel like a wooden skewer or even a chop stick.

    You can shape the macaroni by hand by following these steps:

    • Roll the pasta dough out out very thinly
    • Cut the dough into a grid of 1cm by 1cm squares
    • Take each square and roll is around your thin dowel, pressing the ends together to close it into a tube
    • Gently slide it off the dowel onto a flat floured surface in a single layer so it doesnt stick

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    How Do You Make Baked Mac And Cheese From Scratch

    Directions Prepare pasta according to package directions. Melt butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-low heat whisk in flour until smooth. Spoon pasta mixture into a lightly greased 2-qt. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Note: For testing purposes only, we used Kraft Sharp Cheddar Cheese.

    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.

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    The Origins Of Macaroni

    I like to think about where and how specific dishes originated so that I can have a better idea of the forces that have shaped the way we know those dishes today. What are their essential features, where can we innovate and so on.

    In the case of macaroni I was a little stumped. Other pasta shapes are easy enough to understand. For example, Ill never forget the first time I used the pasta machine and looking down at the long, thin uncut sheets of pasta in my hands, I realized I was holding lasagna. It was a total revelation.

    How To Make Homemade Roux For A Creamy Sauce

    How to Make Creamy Mac and Cheese from Scratch – The Easiest, Most Delicious Macaroni and Cheese

    To make a simple and flavorful roux, start by melting a stick of butter in a medium saucepan.

    Whisk in the salt and pepper. A very important step is to continue stirring for a good 2-3 minutes until roux turns a bit darker in color. It becomes richer and even more fabulous.

    Slowly whisk in the milk until mixture is thick and creamy. This step will take a couple minutes over medium heat.

    Stir in cheese until creamy and cheese is melted through. I prefer a finely shredded mild cheddar. It melts quickly and has a perfect cheddar flavor.

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    Herbed Macaroni And Cheese

  • 1Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly coat a 2-quart casserole dish with 1 tablespoon of butter. Set the dish aside.
  • 2Cook the macaroni in a large pot of boiling salted water until done, about 5 to 7 minutes. Fill a large pot with about 4 quarts of water and add 2 teaspoons of salt. Bring the water to a boil, then add the macaroni. Cook the macaroni for 5 to 7 minutes, or until just about done.
  • 3Drain the water and toss the macaroni with 2 tablespoons butter. Place a large strainer or colander into the sink, and dump the macaroni into it. Shake the strainer a little to get rid of excess water, then add 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir the macaroni to spread the butter evenly, then set it aside.
  • 4Cook the milk with the herbs over medium-low heat until it starts to steam, about 10 minutes. Pour the milk into a saucepan and add the garlic, bay leaf, thyme, and mustard. Cut a medium-sized onion in half, stick a clove into it, and add it into the milk as well. Cook the milk until it starts to steam, stirring occasionally.
  • Save the other half of the onion for another recipe.
  • 5Remove the milk from heat once it starts to steam and set it aside. This will allow the flavors to continue to mix and fuse while you prepare the roux..
  • 6Prepare the roux. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour into a pot. Cook it over medium heat for about 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often. Dont let it change color or turn golden-brown.
  • 15
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    Homemade Mac And Cheese

    If you have never had the privilege of tasting real homemade macaroni and cheese, made with freshly grated cheese, gently folded into molten cheese sauce Well, I feel for you.

    You might be thinking, Why would I make mac and cheese from scratch when the boxed versions are so good?

    Are they though?

    Or is it possible that you just dont realize they are mediocre because youve never experienced creamy mac and cheese from scratch?

    If youre a newbie to homemade macaroni and cheese, its time.

    And if youve always loved made-from-scratch mac and cheese, you are going to go nuts over our recipe!

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    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.

    Whats The Best Cheese For Mac And Cheese

    Pin on Side For Most Anything

    Honestly, you can add any soft or semi-hard cheese to macaroni and cheese for flavor. Yet we feel that the sauce texture is perfected by the addition of cream cheese.

    To get the best classic cheese flavor, I like a blend of:

    • Sharp Cheddar For its bold iconic flavor.
    • Muenster For its nutty essence and magical melting abilities. Gouda is the next best cheese, if Muenster is not available.
    • Cream Cheese For its silky texture and tangy note to balance the flavors.

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    Special Equipment Used In This Recipe

    • Box Grater remember, the best mac starts with freshly shredded cheese!



    Post has been updated in September 2019 with new photos and additional information.

    Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @the_chunky_chef on Facebook and Instagram!

    Be Careful With The Roux

    Though a roux is important for thickening up your cheese sauce, you want to make sure that you dont add too much of your flour and butter mixture because otherwise the sauce can get too thick, which negatively impacts the creaminess. Too much butter and flour will make your sauce more like glue than a creamy, rich sauce.

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