Creamy Baked Mac And Cheese
The Chunky Chef09/30/2019
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
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!
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 .
Making Instant Pot Mac And Cheese Ahead Of Time
Some recipes are great, and even better, when made ahead but mac and cheese just isnt one of them.
As the pasta sits, it absorbs more and more of the sauce, making the mac and cheese dry, and the noodles mushy.
In my opinion, this is a recipe that just tastes the best when made right before you eat it.
How To Make One Pot Mac And Cheese
Step 1. Cooking the pasta. First, to make this creamy homemade mac and cheese, youll need to cook the pasta. Fill a large pot with water and cook macaroni in a pot following directions on the package. Once cooked, drain, dont rinse, and leave to sit in the colander.
Step 2.Making the cheesy sauce. In the same cast-iron Dutch oven pot over medium-high heat, melt butter, add milk and mustard, whisking continuously. Once butter is melted, add shredded cheese, nutritional yeast, continue to whisk till combined. Remove from the heat, taste, adjust mustard and salt as desired.
Step 3. Combining macaroni with cheese sauce. Add cooked macaroni to the pot with cheesy sauce and stir to combine.
Step 4.Baking mac and cheese- Optional step. You can entirely skip this step and not bake mac and cheese at all! Or bake it if you would like to turn this into a baked version with a cheesy crispy crust on top.
Sprinkle extra cheese and some nutritional yeast on top and broil for 3 minutes till crust is formed. Serve baked macaroni and cheese warm.
Southern Baked Macaroni And Cheese
This extra cheesy version of mac and cheese combines three kinds of cheese sharp cheddar cheese, smoked gouda, and Parmesan. My family liked this combination of cheeses. The smoked gouda gives it a hint of smokiness that just makes it awesome! Try it and see for yourself or substitute with any kind of cheese you have on hand.
Pour Milk Mixture Into Dutch Oven
This is where this dish gets its richness. When finished blending, I poured the milk mixture right into the center of the pasta in the Dutch oven.
I filled it almost right up to the top. I snapped a quick photo to show you what level its supposed to go to. Notice the milk at the edge.
Now you know why its important to leave the macaroni a bit under cooked. It needs to absorb all this milk.
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Why Is My Baked Mac And Cheese Dry
Might back off a tablespoon of the flour too, which just thickens it to glop. The starch in the macaroni without any flour should thicken it fine if youre baking it. If you want a creamier mac n cheese, put in more milk or water than you think, and after baking it will thicken up from the starch in the pasta.
Stovetop Mac And Cheese Option
I love the golden brown edges and top that baking the macaroni and cheese creates, but you dont need to bake it if you dont want to. For a stovetop mac and cheese, simply add the pasta to the cheese sauce and then let it sit, covered for a few minutes. This time gives the pasta a chance to absorb some of the sauce. You can also take a look at this easy macaroni and cheese recipe made on the stovetop.
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Tips For A Perfect Oven Baked Macaroni And Cheese Recipe:
- This recipe can be easily doubled for a crowd
- Grate your own cheese do not use pre-shredded cheese for this recipe
- I use this brand of macaroni in my recipe
- Use an 8-cup capacity baking dish similar to this one
- Sprinkle some cooked and crumbled bacon on top after baking to make this a main dish serve it with roasted or grilled vegetables, a salad and/or fresh fruit
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Mini Mac And Cheese Bites Recipe
*Specific measurements and complete recipe instructions are located in a printable recipe card at the bottom of this article. However, be sure to continue to read the tips and tricks to making this recipe below.
- Crumbled bacon
- Diced green onions
As with any recipe that you make in the oven, it is best to use freshly grated Cheddar cheese so that it completely melts and doesnt become stringy like store-bought, pre-packaged shredded cheese.
*It is best to use freshly shredded Cheddar cheese instead of packaged shredded cheese. This is because the shredded cheese that you find hanging in a plastic bag at the grocery store has an anti-caking agent on the surface of the cheese.
Although this expands the shelf life of the cheese and prevents it from clumping together, it also makes it difficult to melt properly when heated.
Therefore, you will get better results with this recipe when you purchase a block of sharp cheddar cheese and shred it yourself. I use my Hamilton Beach Food Processor that has a grating blade and it only takes a minute to shred.
The first step in making this mac and cheese bites recipe is to preheat the oven and spray a mini muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set the pan aside while you prepare the noodles.
Once they are cooked, pour the noodles in a colander and let them drain. Set the noodles aside while you prepare the homemade cheese sauce.
Homemade Cheese Sauce
Serve warm for best flavor.
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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.
How Do You Revive Macaroni And Cheese
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How To Make Kraft Macaroni And Cheese In A Microwave Oven
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup milk
7.25 ounce package of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.
In a 2qt microwave-safe dish add 1-1/3 cups water. Heat the water for one minute.
Pour the pasta from the box into the hot water .
Stir the pasta and put the uncovered dish in the microwave oven for 5-7 minutes on HIGH . It is very important to stir the pasta every 1-2 minutes to avoid having the pasta stick together. You will know the pasta has been cooked long enough when there is no longer water in the dish. Do not overcook.
Once the water is absorbed, remove the dish from the microwave oven. Add 1/4 cup butter or margarine and mix together with the pasta.
Next add the cheese sauce that was included in the box along with 1/4 cup milk.
Blend all of the ingredients together until the pasta is well coated with the cheese sauce. Enjoy!
Prep time:10 min
Do You Thaw Frozen Pasta Before Cooking
Dont defrost before you cook the pasta simply drop the frozen pieces into boiling water. When you cook frozen pasta, always use an additional quart of water so the temperature does not drop when the pasta is added. If the water takes too long to return to a boil, the pasta will stick together in the pot.
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Can I Make This Macaroni And Cheese Ahead And Bake It When Im Ready
Yes you sure can. Just let it cool down, put some plastic wrap right against the surface of the mac and cheese and stick it in the fridge. If you have a few minutes to bring it out and let it warm slightly before you bake it, do that. But if you cant, just bake it till the center is hot and the edges are bubbling.
How Long Do You Let Macaroni Cook
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Is Costco Mac And Cheese Good
Based on the reviews on blogs and YouTube channels, you can see that Costco mac and cheese isnt bad at all as pre-cooked food. I would say it is good enough as pre-cooked food. For such a large meal, Kirkland mac and cheese costs approximately $12, which is a great deal. I highly recommend it.
People who are busy will find it very useful. Now, imagine that you dont have to deal with ingredients and preheating ovens and all those things, but you can simply place this little box in the oven, and your meal will be ready within an hour.
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!
INSTANT POT MAC AND CHEESE
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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How To Measure Pasta For This Recipe
Sometimes a reader or two has had an issue with how much pasta this recipe needs. This recipe is written by volume and sometimes people think that since a cup is 8 ounces that they can simply use 12-16 ounces of pasta or go by the weight of the dry pasta written on the box.
Youll end up with problems if you do this. Please follow the volume instructions and measure your pasta dry in a measuring cup meant for dry items . Small pastas like ditalini or little wagon wheels can go up to about 2 cups and be fine in the recipe, and large ones like bow tie or cellentani can as well. If you will stick to elbow pasta until you get the hang of things youll be better off.
Ive made this recipe with every pasta shape on the market and if you will measure in cups, your recipe will be just right.
The Best Pasta Shapes For Macaroni And Cheese
Macaroni is, obviously, the classic when it comes to a good macaroni and cheese, but there are plenty of other pasta shapes you can use. I like elbows, fusilli and orecchiette for something different.
The key is to remember that using shapes which are much larger or smaller than macaroni will affect how the sauce coats and cooks with the pasta.
Pasta is starchy stuff and very small shapes like risoni or stelline have the effect of gumming up your lovely creamy cheese sauce . Very large pasta shapes like rigatoni mean you need to bake your macaroni and cheese in a larger dish, so the sauce has to go further and tends to make the finished dish a little dry.
Other comfort food dishes you might like:
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How To Make No
1. This is going to go so fast, you wont believe it! Add your DRY macaroni to a greased 9×13 baking dish.
2. Pour the milk over the dry pasta and stir. Add 1 cup of cheese, salt and pepper to mixture. Stir well.
3. Add the remaining cheese to the top, bake at 350 for 1 hour until macaroni and cheese is browned on edges and completely set!
4. This simple recipe is easily one of our familys top five of all time. It is on our table at least a few times a month, and always a huge hit when I take it to family gatherings! Its perfect for newlyweds, college kids or those just starting to cook too. If you are mac and cheese connoisseurs like we are, I hope you try it and love it as much as we do.
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.
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Tips For Perfect Cheese Sauce
Have you ever made a mac and cheese that wasnt creamy or smooth? Instead if was grainy or gritty? The worst! Heres a few steps you should take for perfectly creamy cheese sauce.
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!