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 Mac And Cheese
Making homemade macaroni and cheese is surprisingly easy and quick!
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!
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What Is Smoked Mac And Cheese
I will share our regular mac and cheese recipe later, but this smoked version is out of this world.
It pairs so nicely with anything grilled and guys appreciate the full flavor of this mac. If you want to make mac and cheese, but your husband doesnt usually love it, this is the recipe to make him!
Most people use their smokers to do a recipe like this, which you are welcome to do, but I add a simple ingredient to make the smoked flavor and simply bake it in my oven to get it nice a bubbly. Easy, peasy!
What Kind Of Cheese Is Best For Mac And Cheese
Cheddar is probably the most popular cheese for macaroni and cheese and sharp cheddar provides the most pronounced flavor. But if you want to experiment outside of the confines of cheddar, there are a ton of other cheeses that are great in macaroni and cheese! You can use one or a combination of cheeses to make your mac and cheese your own.
Here are some other cheeses that work great with macaroni and cheese:
- Monterey jack or pepper jack
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What Makes It Extra Cheesy
For this extra cheesy homemade mac and cheese, I did use slightly more roux and added about 30% more cheese than I generally do to my simple stovetop mac and cheese recipes. And Im not even sorry about it. The thicker sauce and extra cheese made this mac and cheese so lusciously creamy and cheesy that I couldnt stop sneaking forkfuls between photographs. AND the best part is that it even stays smooth and creamy when reheated in the microwave. Mac and cheese heaven!
How To Make Homemade Roux For A Creamy Sauce
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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Variations Of This Recipe
- PROTEIN Feel free to add in some shredded chicken, pulled pork, or some crispy bacon for an extra protein punch.
- VEGGIES Trying to get your veggies in? Stir in some steamed broccoli or cauliflower.
- TOPPINGS If you love a topping on your mac and cheese, transfer the cooked cheesy mac to a baking dish and top with either some extra cheese, buttered panko breadcrumbs, or buttered crushed Ritz crackers. Broil a few minutes until crispy.
- COOKING LIQUID If you prefer to use all chicken broth, or all water feel free to do that. Just make sure there are 4 total cups of liquid.
- DIFFERENT CHEESES Gruyere, Gouda, Fontina, Mozzarella, Monterey Jack, Colby, or all Cheddar. These are all good melting cheeses and will give you a smooth sauce. However, feel free to play around with different combinations that you like!
Shred Your Own Cheese
I recommend using blocks of cheese that you shred yourself. I know, I know, but it makes a big difference. Pre-shredded cheese has starch on it to keep it from clumping and is dryer than actual blocks of whole cheese.
If you do end up using pre-shredded cheese in this recipe, you may need to add a little splash of whole milk. The added starch from pre-shredded cheese will thicken the recipe, so you may need something else to loosen it again. You will know at the end if you want to add a little milk to yours or not!
Get the Recipe:Uncle Jacks Mac and Cheese
This slow cooker recipe makes for a nostalgic, cafeteria-style macaroni that you can slice and serve like pie. Start with cooked noodles, and then combine heavy cream, evaporated milk, eggs, butter, and cheddar cheese to make a binder. Combine that binder with your noodles, then pour the mixture into a greased slow cooker. Sprinkle cheese over the top, then cook for three hours on high and then for one hour on low. Itll be ready with almost no work at all.
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How Long Do You Bake Mac And Cheese:
Macaroni and Cheese is typically baked for 30 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees when using an egg to help set the milk and cheese mixture. If you arent using an egg, additional cook time will be needed, from 45 minutes to up to an hour.
What are the best cheeses for Mac and Cheese? Sharp cheddar, jack cheese, pepper jack cheese, mozzarella and gouda are all top favorites. Adding a harder cheese like Parmesan as anything other than a topping will result in a grainier mac and cheese filling. Of course any processed cheeses like Velveeta or American cheese are popular options as well to create a more creamy filling.
- Can you make Macaroni and Cheese in the slow cooker? Yes, yes you can: Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese.
- Can you make Mac and Cheese on the stovetop? Yes, yes you can: Super Creamy Macaroni and Cheese.
- Does this Mac and Cheese taste like Boston Markets? No, it doesnt, but this one does! Boston Market Mac and Cheese .
Perfect Holiday Main Courses to Serve with Baked Mac and Cheese
Homemade Mac And Cheese For Kids Tips:
This recipe is very easy and its hard to mess up. Ive received emails from hundreds of moms who have successfully made this simple macaroni and cheese recipe for their families. Just follow the directions and make sure you cook and stir until the mixture is boiling and thickened.
Cheese types I often use shredded cheddar cheese with a couple of slices of American cheese tossed in. But we have also tried and enjoyed Cheddar Jack, Mozzarella, and other types of cheese.
Sometimes if I have a specialty cheese on hand, I will cube a little and throw that in for more flavor variety. The kids like it plain though so I try not to overdo it.
Its really up to you and your kids.
I wont make any promises that your kids will love this baked mac and cheese with breadcrumbs they are kids after all. But I will tell you that this is one of the most popular posts here on Living Well Mom and Ive received hundreds of emails from moms telling me just how popular this easy meal is with their children.
Try this kid-friendly mac and cheese out and let me known what you and your kids think! I hope you love it just like my family does!
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With A Pasta Extruder
The pasta extruder is obviously the simplest way to make a hollow pasta noodle like macaroni.
Personally I dont have a pasta extruder because it seems like a very limited use kitchen appliance. I much prefer to get creative with shapes when Im making pasta by hand and during the odd time I need to eat macaroni or bucatini for example, I just buy it.
Did A Black Person Invent Mac And Cheese
Southern baked mac and cheese the James Hemings way
James Hemings was a highly trained cook known to many modern-day chefs and culinary historians alike. A notable African American chef who helped create and define American cuisine as we know it today.
According to Netflixs soul food documentary High On The Hog, where an all-Black creative team tells the story of African American food. Baked mac and cheese is initially cooked by Hemings in a mixture of boiling water and milk.
Hemings placed sharp American cheese in between layers of butter and milk-coated macaroni. Then baked in a Dutch oven over an open-hearth fireplace stove with hot coals placed on the pots lid to bake.
Today, we can make easy macaroni and cheese while still incorporating the original recipes culinary technique. Much safer inside an Instant Pot!
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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 .
Smoked Mac And Cheese
Smoked Mac and Cheese is one the best sides you can make on your barbecue. This creamy, cheesy, classic comfort food is so much better after a couple of hours on the smoker. Whether youre making a delicious family dinner or need to bring something for potluck, this smoky, creamy, cheesy pasta dish will be an instant hit.
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Should You Give Your Mac And Cheese A Topping
You can certainly top your mac and cheese with some Ritz crackers , or you can leave it ungarnished. But if you’re going to top that mac and cheese, it’s best to leave the dish without a topping in the oven to allow a crispy crust of cheese to form first, and then add the topping a few minutes before it’s done baking.
But to be honest, for this baked mac and cheese, we like it without a topping. The creamy interior is oh-so-satisfying with some crunchy corners and crisp bits.
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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More Must Make Casseroles
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 2 quart baking dish and set aside.
- Cook noodles according to package directions, removing when al dente. Drain, and set aside.
- Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add celery, bell pepper, and onion and cook until onion is translucent, stirring frequently.
- Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Slowly add milk and cook, stirring constantly until thick and bubbly. Stir in Dijon mustard.
- Add tuna, peas, noodles, and cheddar cheese and fold into the sauce.
- Pour mixture into the prepared dish.
- Combine Panko, Parmesan cheese, smoked paprika parsley and melted butter in a small bowl and sprinkle over the top.
- Bake casserole for 25 to 30 minutes, uncovered, or until heated through and golden brown on top. Let stand for a few minutes before serving.
Crock Pot Mac And Cheese
The Chunky Chef09/05/2019
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Highly requested from my readers, this mac and cheese is made entirely in the slow cooker! No boiling pasta, no making a cream sauce, and no standing over a hot stove. Perfectly creamy and packed with flavor, this dish is great to take to a potluck, have as a holiday side dish, or even a fun family dinner!
CROCKPOT MAC AND CHEESE RECIPE
Here it is the recipe youve been asking for! Youve LOVED, and continue to love, my Baked Mac and Cheese recipe some of you have even won awards in cooking competitions using that recipe. But we all love a great slow cooker recipe, and Ive been busy developing the PERFECT crock pot mac and cheese recipe. One that yields an ultra creamy sauce, doesnt get too thick, and one that tastes every bit as delicious as the OG baked mac and cheese.
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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?
We think its perfect, and hope you think so as well!
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Can You Boil Macaroni In The Microwave
To boil pasta in microwave, add 4 cups of water in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add the olive oil, salt and pasta, mix well and microwave on high for 10 minutes, while stirring once after 5 minutes. Drain the pasta immediately using a sieve or a colander and refresh it with cold water.
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Variations On This Skillet Mac And Cheese:
- Add different seasonings: hot sauce, ground mustard, cayenne, paprika, and Italian seasoning are all popular additions, but feel free to get a little crazy and see whats in your spice cupboard that would give it that extra little something.
- Salt and pepper to taste: I generally err on the side of less salty if possible, because its easy to add salt later. Taste once its cooked and adjust as necessary.
- Add in vegetables: if you want them cooked, or slightly cooked, add during the cooking process with the pasta. Vegetables like spinach that will soften quickly can be stirred in with the cheese.
- Add in cooked meats, like this Shredded Chicken or Instant Pot Chicken Taco meat or saute meat in the same pan before adding the liquid and pasta. This is a great way to add additional protein!