How To Cook Macaroni Cheese

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Make The Cheese Sauce

How to Make Easy Stovetop Mac and Cheese

While the macaroni is cooking, make the cheese sauce. It’s really easy but there are a few notes that we’ll go over to ensure your success!

Make a Roux

This homemade mac and cheese sauce starts with a roux. What is a roux? It’s a mixture of fat and flour that is used to create thick sauces. Start by melting the butter and then adding the dry ingredients .

Use a whisk to combine the ingredients until the mixture is homogenous . Let it cook for about 60 seconds before moving on!

Add wet ingredients.

After the roux has cooked for 60 seconds, add the milk and whisk the mixture really well. Add the sour cream or Greek yogurt and whisk again. At this point the mixture will be fairly runny. Cook over medium heat whisking every 10-15 seconds until the sauce starts to thicken.

Do NOT let this mixture boil! If you do you may end up with a mac and cheese sauce that is too thick. Once the sauce has thickened enough to stick to a spatula, turn the heat to low. Then it’s time for the next step…

Add the cheese & whisk until smooth

Add the cheese and whisk until the sauce is smooth and all the cheese is melted. This will take 1-2 minutes over low heat. At this point it is important to taste the cheese sauce and adjust the salt/garlic according to your tastes!

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.

What Pasta Should I Use For Macaroni Cheese

Obviously macaroni cheese is traditionally made with macaroni , and thats what I used here, but you definitely dont have to stick to macaroni if you feel like using something different. I dont often have macaroni in the cupboards, so I usually use a bigger pasta.

Ideally, you want to use a pasta shape that will hold the sauce and maximise cheesiness in every bite. Spaghettis not a great option, for example the sauce will just slide right off it. Pasta shapes that are hollow or ones that have ridges are great for holding that sauce!

Once youve chosen your pasta, just boil it up in plenty of water until its cooked al dente. It will cook a little more in the oven, so dont overdo it.

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How To Thaw And Cook Unbaked Frozen Mac And Cheese

When baking uncooked mac and cheese after freezing, you do not have to thaw it. Thawing it will decrease the cooking time, however, you can just place the frozen dish into the oven to work its magic if you are not in a hurry for it to cook.

Step 1: Preheat the Oven

Preheat the oven to 375 °F .

Step 2: Defrost

If you are cooking the mac and cheese after freezing, skip this step and go straight to step 3.

To defrost your macaroni and cheese in the microwave before cooking it, you need to ensure it is in a microwave-safe dish. Remove the foil. Use the defrost setting on the microwave which is equal to 30% power. Check the dish after seven minutes and continue to defrost for a few more minutes, if needed.

Once thawed, cook it in the oven straight away.

Step 3: Cover With Foil

Whether frozen or thawed, remove any cling film wrapping from your dish and cover the top with foil only. Set the dish on a baking tray to prevent any cheese or juices from melting or dripping onto the base of the oven.

Step 4: Bake

Make sure the oven is heated completely to 375 °F before placing the mac and cheese inside to cook. Bake the foil-covered dish for 25 to 50 minutes depending on the size of the dish and whether it has been thawed.

Step 5: Remove Foil and Bake

Step 6: Remove and Cool

Once the top is golden brown, remove the mac and cheese from the oven. Switch the oven off. Let the dish cool for a few minutes before serving as it will be piping hot.

What Is The Best Recipe For Baked Macaroni And Cheese

How To Make Mac And Cheese

Add the pasta and cook for 8-10 minutes or until al dente. Add cheddar and American cheese to the milk mixture and stir until cheese is melted. Place the pasta and cheese sauce in a 2 liter baking dish and stir well. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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What Else Can I Add To My Macaroni Cheese

This recipe is for a simple, but amazing macaroni cheese. But as I mentioned before, I do often add extra bits and pieces to my cheesy pasta. Here are a few examples of ways you could jazz up this classic macaroni cheese recipe to make it a bit different:

sprinkle the top with pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds etc. for an extra crunchy topping add chopped sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and artichokes for a Mediterranean-inspired flavour stir through some roasted vegetables before baking for heaps of extra flavour throw some frozen veggies in to boil with the pasta to add nutrition with no extra effort blend up a tin of white beans and stir it through the white sauce for added protein try adding different cheeses blue cheese, crumbled feta, smoked cheddar, etc. bake your macaroni cheese across a couple of shallow dishes to maximise surface area for that crispy topping!

As you can see, there are all sorts of ways to personalise your dinner but this ultimate macaroni cheese recipe is definitely a good place to start!

  • 1tspdried parsley,to garnish

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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Special Equipment For This Recipe

  • Instant Pot I recently upgraded to this model and I love it!



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

More About This Recipe

Macaroni and Cheese Recipe | How to Make Mac and Cheese
  • 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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Tips To Make Homemade Mac And Cheese

  • Cook your pasta al dente as the noodles cook extra in the sauce and you dont want them mushy.
  • Dont forget to salt your pasta water.
  • While not everyone agrees with rinsing the pasta after cooking, in this particular recipe it stops the noodles from cooking and the sauce is created with a texture that pairs perfectly with the rinsed noodles.
  • A sharper cheddar cheese will add a stronger cheese flavor.
  • Pre-shredded cheeses contain additives to keep it from sticking together which affects the way it melts. The sauce is best if you shred your own cheeses.
  • Allowing the baked macaroni and cheese to rest for a few minutes after baking will thicken the sauce.
  • Most importantly of allDo not over bake this recipe.

When cooking your macaroni noodles, cook them according to the package directions but you want them to be still firm. If your package says 6-8 minutes, just cook them 6 you get the idea. I choose not to top this baked macaroni casserole with a bread crumb mixture but if you really like bread crumbs on your macaroni and cheese, by all means, add some!

How To Make Cheese Sauce For Mac And Cheese

  • In a large saucepan or skillet melt butter on medium heat.
  • Once the butter is melted add spices and stir.
  • Sprinkle in flour and whisk or stir with a wooden spatula.
  • Cook for approximately 1-2 minutes stirring frequently. The flour should become bubbly, almost foamy.
  • Slowing pour in a small amount of milk while stirring constantly until the mixture becomes paste like.
  • Continue slowly adding in the milk a little at a time while stirring constantly until all the milk has been added.
  • Cook stirring often until mixture become thickened and smooth, about 7-8 minutes.
  • Take off heat and stir in cheese.
  • Once cheese has melted add in al dente pasta and stir well. Note: It is best to put the water on to boil first and while waiting, gather all the ingredients. Generally speaking, once the water is boiling, the roux and pasta take approximately the same amount of time.
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    How Do You Make Mac And Cheese Easy

    INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the flour and salt. Add the milk and pasta to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes or until pasta is smooth, stirring occasionally. Add the cheese and stir until the cheese melts. To attend.

    Making Boiled Elbow Macaroni

    Mac and Cheese (Easy Stovetop Recipe)
  • 1Bring 4 to 6 quarts of salted water to a boil. Pour the water into a large pot and add several pinches of salt. Put the lid on the pot and turn the burner to high. Heat the water until it begins to boil and steam escapes from under the lid.XResearch source
  • To make a single serving, heat 2 to 3 quarts of water and reduce the amount of elbow macaroni between 1/2 cup to 1 cup .
  • 2Stir in a 16-ounce package of dry elbow macaroni noodles. Use a spoon to stir the noodles so they don’t clump together as they cook.XResearch source
  • The water will stop bubbling right after you add the noodles.
  • 3Bring the water back to a boil and cook the noodles for 7 to 8 minutes. Keep the lid off the pot and heat the noodles over high heat. The water should start to bubble vigorously. Stir the noodles occasionally and cook the elbow macaroni until it’s al dente. This should take 7 minutes. If you want softer noodles, cook them for 1 more minute.XResearch source
  • 4Drain the noodles. Turn off the burner and set a colander in the sink. Carefully pour the noodles into the colander so the water drains. Use the noodles while they’re still hot.XResearch source
  • If you want to make the noodles ahead of time, refrigerate them in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days. Reheat the noodles in your favorite sauce or casserole.
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    The Best Homemade Baked Mac And Cheese

    The BEST Homemade Mac and Cheese of your LIFE. Outrageously cheesy, ultra creamy, and topped with a crunchy Panko-Parmesan topping, this mac and cheese recipe is most definitely a keeper. I used three different cheese and a homemade cheese sauce to take this macaroni and cheese recipe over the top. Love cheesy recipes? Make sure to try this Lazy Day Lasagna and Cheesy Kielbasa Rice and Broccoli Skillet next week for dinner!

    This post is sponsored by Walmart and SheKnows Media.

    Making Mac And Cheese Ahead Of Time

    • Make as directed , transfer to baking dish and cool completely. Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate 1-2 days ahead.
    • Before baking, let dish sit on counter for 30 minutes.
    • Bake at recipe temperature for 25-35 minutes, until hot and bubbly.

    As a caveat, this recipe, as with most mac and cheese recipes, loses some of its creaminess when made ahead. This dish has been tested when made right away, which yields the best results.

    I would increase the amount of sauce slightly if you need to make this recipe ahead of time.

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    Creamy Stovetop Macaroni And Cheese

    No need for a flour-and-butter roux in this easy stovetop version of an old favorite: The cream cheese adds body and richness. If your mac and cheese gets a little stiff as it cools, just stir in some warm water to smooth it out it works like a charm.

    Get the Recipe: Creamy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

    What Is A Good Recipe For Homemade Macaroni And Cheese

    Creamy Macaroni and Cheese Recipe | How to Make Mac N Cheese | Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

    INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine milk and eggs in a large bowl. Add butter, bell pepper, cheese and cheddar cheese. Carefully add the pasta mixture. Pour into a 1/2 liter saucepan. Bake for 15 minutes or until lukewarm. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over it. Cook for another 5 minutes.

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    Where Can You Find Kraft Mac N Cheese

    Method: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the pasta and save. Editor’s Note: For Chicago homeowners. Melt 3/4 of the butter in a saucepan and gradually add it to the milk over low heat. Add the cooked noodles and spices, stir and cover the noodles. Pour the coated noodles into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

    How To Make Instant Pot Mac And Cheese

  • Add pasta, liquids, butter, hot sauce and seasonings.
  • Dont stir. Just gently press down with a wooden spoon to make sure all the pasta is submerged. This ensures the pasta will cook and not be hard. Stirring could result in a burn notice on your Instant Pot.
  • Pressure cook for 4 minutes.
  • Quick release. I tested performing a natural pressure release, and it usually resulted in overcooked pasta, so I prefer to do a quick release.Be aware, this recipe is starchy, and can sputter quite a bit when venting. I usually place a folded paper towel loosely over the vent to prevent any kitchen messes. Keep in mind, this isnt recommended by Instant Pot, just something I do do this at your own risk.
  • Turn off your Instant Pot. This prevents any possible overcooking by keeping it on keep warm.
  • Stir in heavy cream, and cheeses. Add in the cheese a handful or so at a time, stirring really well after each addition. Keep stirring until a creamy sauce forms.
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    How To Freeze Mac And Cheese

    Mac and cheese can be frozen either before baking, or after it has been cooked. Freezing the dish before baking results in a creamier dish once cooked as it has not been heated up twice. Doing this, however, is only possible if you are making an extra batch for future catering.

    If you need to freeze leftovers from an already cooked batch, that is perfectly fine too. Creamy versions of mac and cheese are ideal for freezing as they have more sauce keeping the pasta moist when reheating.

    Who would want to send any cheesy goodness to the bin when it can be enjoyed again by simply preserving it in the freezer?

    Perfect Mac And Cheese In 5 Steps:

    Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese
  • Preheat the oven. Preheat to 325 degrees and lightly grease a square baking dish.
  • Cook the macaroni. Slightly undercook your noodles . Drain and set aside.
  • Make the roux. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Blend in the flour, salt, and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add milk and cheese. Stir in milk and half and half, slowly, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add 1 cup shredded cheese to the sauce and stir just until melted. Add the cooked macaroni noodles and toss to coat them in the sauce.
  • Pourinto baking dish. Pour half or the pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle ½ cup cheese over the top. Pour remaining pasta over it and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
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