Easy Baked Mac And Cheese
Yep, you read that right — this is an easy mac and cheese recipe that doesn’t even require you to boil the noodles before it goes into the oven! Now, this is not a creamy baked mac and cheese that starts with a béchamel cheese sauce made from a flour and butter roux. If that’s what you’re looking for, you need to try this popular recipe.
Instead, this is a more traditional Southern baked macaroni and cheese recipe, with a firm texture that’s made from a simple combination of noodles, butter, cheese, and milk. These types of mac and cheese don’t use creamy sauces, but instead often contain eggs to help the dish “set up.” The eggs aren’t necessary here, though. Everything cooks together in one dish, so the macaroni absorbs the milk, and you’re left with an incredibly cheesy, indulgent, flavorful mac and cheese bake — with very little effort!
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!
How To Make Homemade Cheese Sauce For Smoked Mac And Cheese
To make the best homemade mac and cheese, you first need to learn how to make a roux for mac and cheese, a mixture of flour and butter that’s the base for many gourmet sauces.
For each pound of dry pasta you plan to use, measure
- 5 tablespoons butter, sliced into 3 to 4 pieces
- 5 tablespoons flour
- 2½ cups milk
- 8 ounces grated smoked cheese
Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. You want the butter to foam but not bubble or burn.
Once the butter is melted and starting to foam, sprinkle in the flour, whisking as you go. Continue whisking — don’t stop! — for 2 to 5 minutes until you no longer see any lumps of flour, and the mixture is golden brown.
Then slowly pour in the milk, whisking as you go. Keep whisking at least every few seconds to prevent the milk from sticking to and burning on the pan.
After 3 to 5 more minutes of whisking, you’ll notice the sauce starting to thicken slightly. Remove the pan from the heat.
Add the cheese and stir until it is completely melted. Voila! You’re a gourmet French chef. And you’re about to have the best mac and cheese of your life.
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Why Is My Baked Mac And Cheese Dry
I believe that adding additional plain milk or water to your recipe would be an easy remedy. One tablespoon of flour may be reduced as well, as it only thickens the mixture to a glop. If youre baking the macaroni, the starch in it should thicken it just fine because there isnt any flour in it. If you like a thicker, creamier sauce, use less flour and more ordinary milk.
What Kind Of Cheese Is Best To Smoke For Smoked Mac And Cheese
The best cheese for smoked mac and cheese is cheddar. Cheddar has a mild flavor and melts easily.
Mild flavored cheeses like cheddar are ideal because they will take on the flavor of the smoke.
If you were to use a stronger flavored cheese, like Swiss cheese, the natural flavor of the cheese will compete with and limit the smoke flavor.
Cheddar also melts easily. Harder cheeses may dry out rather than melt, and cheeses like ricotta or cottage cheese don’t melt at all.
To ensure smoke flavor throughout the cheese, grate it before smoking. Pre-shredded cheese works well, too. The cheese may melt during the smoking process . It will melt again when you make the sauce.
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How Long Do You Boil Elbow Noodles
COOKING YOUR PASTA
Making Microwaved Elbow Macaroni
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What Kind Of Noodles Do You Use For Mac And Cheese
Classic macaroni and cheese should, by definition, be prepared using macaroni, which is a form of pasta that may be roughly described as any short, cylindrical extruded pasta. This includes tubes such as ziti, penne, rigatoni, and, yes, elbows, as well as corkscrew forms such as fusilli, among other things.
What Goes With Mac And Cheese
Fresh fruit salad or a tangy gelatin dessert goes well with this rich macaroni. When you serve this creamy stovetop mac and cheese, almost anything goes.
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Find Tons Of Other Dreamy Cheesy Meals In Ree’s Bestselling Cookbooks
And stir together until its all melted. Go ahead and turn off the heat.
Now its time for seasoning! Add about 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt If youre sensitive to salt, start really low and work your way upand remember that the cheese imparts quite a bit of salt to the mix.
BUTand this is importantbe careful not to UNDERSALT the mac & cheese. It really needs ample salt to put the flavor over the top.
*I also use paprika, cayenne pepper, even ground thyme every now and then. Play with different ground spices and see what you like best.
And finally, add plenty of black pepper, of the Black Dust variety. Honestly, I love freshly ground pepperbut not in homemade Mac & Cheese. For me, it has to be the powdery stuff.
Now THATs what Im talkin about.
And guess what? You can just steam some fresh broccoli and spoon some of this over the top. Kids from all over the land will show up at your doorstep.
Did you know a single serving of broccoli is positively loaded with Vitamin C?
Now just dump in the drained, not-fully-cooked macaroni!
And stir the mixture together.
I use a little less than the full amount of cooked macaroni, because I love it extra creamy and coated. Just add it according to how you like it.
Now, you can either dish it up as it is right now, which makes for an ultra-creamy love fest
OR you can pour the macaroni into a buttered baking dish. This is a 2-quart dish, but a 9 x 13 pan would work just fine.
Kinda like this.
Can I Substitute Penne For Elbow Macaroni
You may use elbow macaroni in place of penne rigate without compromising the flavor of the dish. Because a cup of elbow macaroni has more individual noodles than a cup of penne rigate, a single serving of a meal made with penne rigate may appear to have less pasta and more sauce than a dish made with elbow macaroni. This is because penne rigate is formed of fewer individual noodles.
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Tips For The Best Macaroni And Cheese Youll Ever Eat
Feel like you may still need some help? If you have time, jump over to this post for the juicy details: 18 Secrets to the Richest, Creamiest Mac and Cheese Youll Ever Eat or focus on these tips:
Never stop stirring your milk once it hits the pan. If your skillet is too hot or you walk away and for a minute you could scorch the white sauce and it will curdle. It doesnt really hurt the taste, but it will look sort of clumpy. Some readers have called it grainy. It only takes 5 minutes. Just hang out and stir until that sauce is thick enough to coat the back of your spoon.
Use good cheese in your baked macaroni and cheese. That means avoiding bagged, pre-shredded cheeses because they contain cellulose that can in some cases cause your cheese not to melt as it should. -And speaking of cheese, you have so many options! My favorite is sharp cheddar and Swiss.
Do taste as you go. Taste your cheese sauce before you add your pasta. Is it bland? That can be because of the cheese you used or even the kind of salt you seasoned with. If it doesnt have enough flavor, add a pinch more salt, stir it in and taste it again until it suits you.
-Feel free to add more pasta if you want to. Some people say that this recipe doesnt have enough noodles in it, but Ive never had that problem. And yes, you should cook your pasta before adding it to the cheese sauce.
Can I Bake This Recipe
At this point of stovetop mac and cheese, you can choose to transfer to a 9 x 13 inch baking dish, top with more cheese and other toppings of choice, bake at 350 degrees F. for 20-25 minutes for a baked mac and cheese. This is another fantastic option. Adding buttered bread crumbs and bacon is another winning option before baking to add a nice crunch. Try adding cooked beef or chicken for more dinner options too.
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How Do You Cook Stouffers Mac And Cheese In An Air Fryer
This is another question I get asked fairly often. You can cook Stouffers Macaroni and Cheese in the air fryer. Check to see if the package is safe for the air fryer. If not, remove the frozen mac and cheese from the package.
Heat your air fryer to 350°F and cook for about 20 minutes. You can place the macaroni in silicone containers to cook or in your air fryer basket.
Using The Cooked Elbow Macaroni
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How To Make Easy Mac And Cheese
The only hard part about this recipe is remembering to prep it ahead so that the noodles have time to soak in the milk overnight !
How To Make Stove Top Mac And Cheese
This stovetop mac and cheese is the creamiest version! The secret to this recipe is that the pasta is boiled in milk . Its as easy as 1,2,3!
The final result is a smooth and hearty easy family entrée that everyone will love and want seconds of!
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How Long Does It Take To Cook 3 Boxes Of Mac And Cheese
Pressure cook the mac and cheese from a box for 4 minutes on high pressure. This is the same time for one, two, or three boxes of cereal. After the macaroni has been pressure cooked, give it a good toss. It may appear to be a bit sticky at first, but it will loosen up as you stir it.
No Boil Easy Mac And Cheese
You don’t even need to boil the pasta for this 5-ingredient, dump-and-bake, easy mac and cheese! Serve the comfort food classic as a side dish for holidays and potlucks, or as an entrée on a busy weeknight. It’s delicious alongside fried chicken, pot roast, roast chicken, and meatloaf!
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How To Make Kraft Macaroni And Cheese
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Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is a quick and easy dish that takes only a matter of minutes to prepare! It is often enjoyed without adding any extra ingredients, as it is smooth, creamy, and delicious all on its own. If you like, you can upgrade this regular boxed dish to something a bit more special by adding ingredients such as bacon, ginger, cherry tomatoes, or chili beans. However you choose to prepare your Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, it is sure to always be a success.
How Long To Boil Noodles For Baked Mac And Cheese
Lightly boil the macaroni for approximately 5 minutes, or until it is half-cooked, in a big saucepan of salted water. In a large mixing cup, whisk together the egg and milk until well combined. Combine the egg and milk with the butter and 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!