Macaroni And Cheese Variations
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.
Tips For Making Stovetop Mac And Cheese
- I chose to use cavatappi noodles, as I love the shape and thickness of them. But feel free to use whatever type of noodle you have on hand.
- I prefer using a blend of shredded cheddar and mozzarella in my creamy stovetop mac and cheese, but youre welcome to use any cheese you have on hand.
- To add more flavor to this mac n cheese, I like to add 2 teaspoons of garlic powder and a dash of paprika or ground nutmeg.
- Looking for a more distinct cheesy taste? Use ¼ cup of shredded Parmesan or cheddar jack cheese, ¾ cup of shredded mozzarella, and 1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar.
- Note that you can use any milk youd like in this homemade mac and cheese recipe. If you use a non-dairy milk, double check that its unsweetened and unflavored first.
This creamy stovetop mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food meal, friends! So perfect for a cold winter night when you want something quick, easy, and delicious!
If You Love Mac And Cheese Youll Love These Other Pasta Recipes
Chicken Penne Pasta | Deep Fried Mac and Cheese Bites | Bacon Linguine Carbonara
Alfredo Sauce from Scratch | Mac and Cheese Stuffed Cheeseburger | Chicken Alfredo Lasagna Roll-ups
To watch me make this Homemade Macaroni and Cheese play the video in the recipe card .
You can find all my cooking show style recipe videos on , or my short recipe videos on Facebook Watch, or my Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.
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Choose Your Noodles Carefully
When making mac and cheese, you need to consider your desired ultimate outcome when choosing a noodle. You don’t have to stick with macaroni every time just because that’s the technical name of the dish. If you’re going for the utmost creaminess, opt for a noodle that will hold a lot of sauce. Noodles with ridges are always a good choice: cavatappi, cavatell, rotini, and even penne are all good mac and cheese noodles.
How To Change And Personalize Your Macaroni And Cheese Recipe
The pasta obviously for mac you use classic elbow macaroni, but I also love penne and corkscrew pastas for mac and cheese any pasta that holds lots of sauce is a good one to use for mac and cheese
The sauce how long you cook your roux effects the flavor, any spices you add and of course the types of cheeses you pick! Below is a video tutorial talking ALL about it! This recipe is the cheeses I like to use BUT you can mix other cheeses into your rotation for other flavors.
Finally to bake or not to bake Personally I like to mix my pasta and sauce and enjoy right away BUT some people like to pour the pasta and sauce into an oven safe pan and top with more cheese or bread crumbs and bake a bit but I like my pasta fresher!
The great part about starting with a bechamel sauce is that it holds together really well and doesnt separate. You do want to make sure you take the sauce off the heat and let it cool a little before adding the cheese if its too hot the cheese will clump together rather than melt into a smooth sauce. Add the cheese a little at a time, making sure its melted before adding more.
Just take me to the Homemade Mac and Cheese Recipe already!
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How To Make Mac And Cheese Sauce
Step 1: Make Roux by this point, you already know the ins and outs of a roux and how to make it , so were going to skip to step 2.
Step 2: Whisk in Milk slowly add milk to the roux, whisking constantly so it doesnt burn. Continue to whisk for around 4-6 minutes, or until things begin to thicken.
Dont rush this process. we PROMISE things will thicken!
Step 3: Remove from Heat once things are thick, turn the heat off.
Step 4: Whisk in Shredded Cheese then, add shredded cheese, garlic, hot sauce, salt, and pepper and whisk until the cheese melts.
Give your cheese sauce a taste and add more hot sauce, as desired.
Step 5: Enjoy! mix mac and cheese sauce with macaroni noodles and serve immediately.
How To Make Mac And Cheese In The Crockpot
This is just an overview the full ingredients and directions are in the recipe card toward the bottom of this post.
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Whats In Cream Cheese Pasta Sauce
CREAM CHEESE Everyone will want to know the secret to this restaurant-level sauce that uses Philadelphia cream cheese in that iconic blue and grey box!
FLAVORS Some seasonings like basil and onion powder, a little garlic, and parmesan cheese give this sauce its light consistency and mild but savory flavor.
CHICKEN BROTH Feel free to use a carton or make Instant Pot Chicken Broth for use in so many recipes. Homemade chicken brother can be frozen in ice cubes to be defrosted as needed.
VARIATIONS Amp up the add-ins by mixing in sauteed sliced mushrooms, diced tomatoes, chopped spinach or kale, spring peas, or sliced brussels sprouts!
Creamy Macaroni And Cheese With Bacon And Peas
The Chunky Chef03/19/2015
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Okay guys, let me guess one of your kids favorite meals probably chicken nuggets, and Id guess macaroni and cheese too. Am I right? Thought so lol. My kids LOVE mac and cheese. Of all forms, all flavors, even the Kraft easy mac that you microwave. They go nuts. So over the years Ive made several varieties of homemade mac and cheese, to try to get them to please for the love of all things holy, eat something I cooked for you!!.
This macaroni and cheese dish isnt just for the kids it has some grown up flavors, and its a little bit healthier. Although, as youre eating it, you wont be able to taste that its healthier all youll taste is a deliciously creamy sauce and some amazing flavors. Want to know the secret?
Yep, almond milk! Do you guys drink this stuff? Its actually pretty good and its really good for you
You can choose any pasta shape that you like for this macaroni and cheese classic elbows, some penne, rotini, anything! I love the curly and fun shape of cavatappi Part of the unique flavors of this dish comes from the cheeses used the white cheese you see there is gruyere. It. Is. Amazing! Its rich, nutty, and delicious. I paired it with a sharp cheddar.
I chose to garnish mine simply with just a few extra crumbles of bacon, but it would also be delicious with some fresh chopped chives or just some minced parsley.
I hope you all try this one
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Tips For The Best Creamy Baked Mac And Cheese Recipe
- Boil the pasta in very well-salted water. The salt in the water seasons the noodles, adding flavor to the dish.
- Cook the pasta just until its al dente almost tender, but still firm to the bite. You dont want to completely cook the noodles until theyre tender, because they will continue baking in the oven.
- Allow the cheese, milk and half-and-half to come to room temperature before adding them to the recipe. They will blend together smoothly if theyre not cold.
- Start with blocks of cheddar cheese that you grate yourself at home, rather than using bags of pre-shredded cheese from the store. The pre-shredded cheese includes stabilizers and other ingredients to prevent the cheese from clumping, which inhibits its ability to melt smoothly into the dish.
- If you prefer a crispier, darker brown top on your mac and cheese, place the dish under the broiler during the final few minutes of baking. Just be sure to keep a close eye on it so that the top doesnt burn.
- Cooking for a smaller family? Cut all of the ingredients in half and bake the casserole in an 8-inch square dish.
How To Freeze After Baking:
- Either leave the macaroni and cheese in the baking dish or portion it into smaller containers.
- Place containers uncovered in freezer until frozen, then cover.
- To reheat, thaw and allow to come to room temperature.
- Place COVERED dish in oven on 350º for about 15 minutes, then uncover and bake for 10 minutes until bubbly.
**Cook’s Tip: I love these perfect serving size freezer containers that I get from Amazonthey go from freezer to oven and are great for taking dishes to friends.
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Cheddar Is The Best Cheese For Mac And Cheese And Heres Why:
The key to achieving a creamy mac and cheese from scratch is using a great melting cheese to anchor the mac and cheese sauce. And the best melting cheese for mac and cheese isin our humble opinioncheddar! Its got that classic milky sharpness and straw-colored hue that we expect our mac and cheese to have, and theres just nothing else quite like it. Once you master this stovetop mac and cheese recipe, though, you could certainly play around with other cheeses.
We wanted to share a truly simple mac and cheese recipeone thats almost as easy as that little blue boxbut you can look at it as a great jumping off point for experimentation. If you want to get fancy, try subbing some shredded Gruyére or raclette for half of the cheddar.
The Difference Between Sharp And Mild Cheddar
You might end up at the store buying cheese and leaving confused. Cheese comes in a plethora of different varieties, but today we are talking about cheddar because that is what I used in this particular recipe. Cheddar cheese can range from mild to old and can be categorized by a variety of different sharpness levels. I gave the option between mild or sharp cheddar because I feel their flavor profiles work best for this sauce.
Sharpness attributes to how tangy or how much bite the cheese has, which comes from how long the cheese has been aged. Aging is the only difference between mild and sharp cheddar, therefore the longer the cheese has aged naturally, the sharper and more pronounced the cheddar flavor becomes. Mild Cheddar is typically aged for around 2 to 3 months, whereas an extra sharp could go through the aging process for as long as a year.
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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.
Cook Your Noodles In Milk Instead Of Water
Cooking your noodles in milk instead of water makes your resulting mac and cheese creamier. According to The Kitchn, cooking your noodles in milk instead of water makes the sauce creamy before you even add the cheese sauce. The starches in the noodles get released as you cook them, helping to thicken the mixture from the start. That will ultimately help with the resulting creaminess.
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Creamy Homemade Macaroni And Cheese
You are going to love this Creamy Homemade Macaroni and Cheese recipe, because it is so easy to make and tastes infinitely better than anything you can buy at the store. All you need are a few simple ingredients and just 20 minutes to make the best macaroni and cheese ever.
Mac n cheese is the ultimate comfort food. After trying this super-easy, super-creamy macaroni and cheese recipe, you will never go back to the boxed stuff again!
Ingredients For Creamy Mac And Cheese
Want to know the secret to making the best homemade mac and cheese sauce? Heavy cream! And good quality cheese, of course. Yep, I made this mac and cheese with heavy cream because when I make mac and cheese I go all out!
To make this homemade creamy mac and cheese, youll need the following:
- Cavatappi shells
- Shredded mozzarella cheese
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Two: Add Milk And Seasonings
How To Make Cheese Sauce
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Homemade Mac And Cheese With Just 4
Yes! We swear, the best mac and cheese recipe is just four, super simple ingredients away. Cooked pastayou can use any kind you love, were partial to cavatappiheavy cream, shredded cheddar cheese and grated parmesan. That’s it. You can add seasoning to taste, but the parmesan is pretty salty and its a good idea to heavily salt the pasta water, so save the seasoning until last to see if it is truly necessary.
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.
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