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.
No Whining At The Dinner Table
Macaroni and cheese is always a safe bet. The kids never complain about having mac and cheese for dinner, which means we avoid dinner table whining .
We wanted to share our homemade version, which has become a family favorite. Its a baked mac and cheese recipe that is easy, cheesy and so delicious! Have you ever made homemade Macaroni and Cheese? If not, today needs to be the day!
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!
Also Check: Does Babybel Cheese Need To Be Refrigerated
How To Make Mac And Cheese In A Slow Cooker
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.
Faqs About Homemade Mac And Cheese
This mac and cheese recipe is one of my most popular, so here are some of the commonly asked questions.
How do you store mac and cheese?
Store the leftovers of this homemade mac and cheese recipe in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Since it thickens as it cools, you may need to add 1-2 TBS of milk when itâs reheated it to restore its original creaminess.
Can homemade mac and cheese be frozen?
Yes, you can freeze this homemade mac and cheese, however I donât recommend it. Since this mac and cheese recipe is so easy to make, thereâs really no need to freeze it. If youâre looking for a freezer-friendly mac and cheese recipe check out my baked mac and cheese!
What main dish goes well with mac and cheese?
If youâre looking to serve this mac and cheese recipe as a side dish instead of the main event, here are some suggestions for other dishes that pair well with it: meatloaf
Instant Pot Mac And Cheese
The Chunky Chef03/23/2020
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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.
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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What Spices Can I Add To Mac And Cheese
Basic spices that you may already have in your pantry that would work well include red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, Italian seasoning, chili, onion, and garlic powder. If youre willing to take a trip to the store, spices like cumin, curry powder, dry mustard, and paprika are all wonderful additions.
How To Avoid Grainy Cheese Sauce:
- The type of cheddar makes a difference. High quality aged cheddar cheese will give you a stronger taste and smoother texture. More mild and inexpensive cheddar cheeses will have less flavor and almost a grittier taste.
- Use fresh grated cheese. Pre-shredded store-bought cheese will not melt the same as freshly grated cheese, and grating the cheese helps it melt smoothly and evenly in the sauce.
- Bring the cheese to room temperature. I like to grate the cheese very first, before moving forward with the recipe. That allows it to sit at room temperature while I prepare the white sauce.
- Use low heat. In order for the cheese to melt properly and smoothly we want it to have gradual changes in temperature . When its time to add the cheese to the white sauce, remove the sauce from heat and let it cool for a few minutes. It only needs to be warm enough to melt the cheese.
- Dont over-stirthe sauce once the cheese has melted. Add the noodles and quickly assemble in pan and put into the oven.
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Variations Of Mac And Cheese
- Bacon if you love bacon, feel free to add some crispy, crumbled bacon to the topping, or even inside the mac and cheese as well!
- Stovetop if youd prefer not to bake this mac and cheese, you dont have to! Make sure you boil your pasta until al dente , and youll only need about 3 3 1/2 cups of cheese total. No need to layer the pasta and cheese, just add all the cheese to the sauce, then combine with the pasta.
- Different Toppings Im a huge fan of the cheese layer on top, since it gets nice and crispy, but we also love tossing 1 cup of panko with 2 Tbsp of melted butter and using that as a topping. 1 cup of crushed Ritz crackers with 2 Tbsp of butter work amazingly well too!
- Different Baking Times the recipe calls for a lower baking temperature and time, but most of the time I find myself adjusting that based on my familys tastes. I like to bake this mac and cheese at 350 F degrees for 30 minutes, then broil for 2-3 minutes to get that glorious cheesy crust.
Add Actual Cheeseor American Cheese
One want solely look to pizza to know how one thing already made with cheese advantages from additional cheese. Enhance each the style and texture of boxed mac and cheese by including some precise cheese to the combo: Mozzarella makes it stretchy, gruyere provides candy and savory notes, cheddar retains it basic, and even parmesan provides depth and extra saltiness. Or franklythough it doesnt qualify as precise cheesea few slices of American cheese does wonders for instant ramen noodles, so why not for mac and cheese?
Recommended Reading: Does Babybel Cheese Need To Be Refrigerated
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!
Recommended Reading: Is Low Fat Cottage Cheese Good For Diabetics
How To Make Baked Macaroni And Cheese
Once your sauce, pasta, and cheese cubes are combined, pour it into a greased 9X13 baking dish. Now youre ready to prepare a breadcrumb topping.
Preparing a Crispy Breadcrumb Topping:
- Melt 1/4 cup of butter in a small saucepan or in the microwave.
- Place 3/4 cup of Panko breadcrumbs into a small bowl.
- Add the melted butter to the panko breadcrumbs and stir well until all of the breadcrumbs are coated with the melted butter.
- Add the topping to your casserole dish, and spread it out as evenly as possible.
- Bake your macaroni and cheese as directed in the recipe, and broil the casserole at the end of the baking time for 1-2 minutes.
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Be Careful With The Roux
Though a roux is important for thickening up your cheese sauce, you want to make sure that you don’t add too much of your flour and butter mixture because otherwise the sauce can get too thick, which negatively impacts the creaminess. Too much butter and flour will make your sauce more like glue than a creamy, rich sauce.
Choose Your Cheeses Thoughtfully
You might think you can just throw whatever cheeses you happen to have in the fridge into your mac and cheese, and, to a certain extent that’s true. But if you’re looking to make the creamiest mac and cheese you possibly can, you’ll want to be a little more discerning. A cheese like Parmesan, for instance, isn’t going to melt super well, meaning it’s better for a topper than for your creamy cheese sauce. Cheddar and similar cheeses that melt well will make your sauce the creamiest it can be.
Read Also: Can You Put Sour Cream In Mac And Cheese
More Macaroni Recipes Youll Love
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and run under cold water.
- Melt butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Whisk in flour and let cook 2 minutes while stirring. Slowly whisk in milk, cream, mustard powder, onion powder, salt & pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat while stirring until thickened.
- Remove from heat and stir in parmesan cheese & 3 cups cheddar cheese until melted. Add soup if using.
- Toss cheese sauce & macaroni noodles together. Pour into a greased 9×13 pan. Top with remaining cheese.
- Bake 18-24 minutes or until bubbly. Do not over cook. Cool 10-15 minutes before serving.
How To Make Macaroni And Cheese
Learn how to make delicious homemade macaroni and cheese using our fool-proof ingredient ratio and easy step-by-step instructions.
Macaroni and cheese is quintessential comfort food, but if youve only ever had the blue box variety, youre really missing out! Whether stovetop or baked, weve got the formula for getting creamy, delicious results every time.
Read on for tips on choosing the right pasta and cheeses, and get our step-by-step instructions for making the perfect mac and cheese sauce.
In This Post:
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How To Make Mac And Cheese:
This might take a little longer than boxed mac n cheese, but let me tell ya, the extra time and effort is SO worth it. Plus, most of the ingredients you need are ones you already have on hand, and the steps are simple.
PASTA. Begin by cooking pasta according to package directions, and set aside.
SAUCE. In a large saucepan, melt Â½ c. butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic salt and pepper to taste. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking until smooth. Heat the mixture to a low boil until thickened. Remove from heat.
ASSEMBLE. Add the hot pasta to a greased 9Ã13 baking dish. Then, sprinkle 6 cups shredded cheese over the pasta . Pour the thickened cream sauce over the pasta and cheese. Let it sit until the cheese has melted and then stir together.
TOP & BAKE. Melt 2 TB butter over medium heat. Add in bread crumbs, stirring constantly until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Pour over the mac and cheese. Bake at 325Â° for 14-15 minutes. Serve warm, and ENJOY!
CROCK POT VERSION
To make Mac n Cheese an even easier dish you can make it in a crock pot. Pour your pasta in first cover them with your sauces and cheese. Cook on Low for 2-3 hours. For our favorite crock pot mac and cheese .
Three: Choose Your Mix
Greg Dupree Food Styling: Rishon Hanners Prop Styling: Missie Crawford
Plain mac and cheese is, of course, delicious, but whats the harm of mixing in a few complimentary ingredients? Classic options here include steamed broccoli, roasted peppers, bacon, and hot dogs, but if youve got any pulled pork on hand, you can make a fantastic barbecue-themed mac. Fried chicken or cut up chicken tenders is an easy way to step up your mac. For seafood lovers, lobster or crab mac and cheese might hit the spot. And of course, if youre trying to sneak more veggies into your diet, you can simply roast whichever varieties you like best and stir them in. Take this as an opportunity to get a bit more creative while also using up more leftovers at the same time.
Read Also: Does Babybel Cheese Need To Be Refrigerated
Two: Choose Your Cheese & Cheese Sauce
Get the Recipes:Southern Pimiento Mac and Cheese, One-Pot Broccoli-Bacon Mac n Cheese, Roasted Garlic Mac and Cheese, Blue Cheese Mac and Cheese, Truffled Mac and Cheese, Tikka Masala Macaroni and Cheese
Once youve chosen your noodles, its time to decide which cheeses would go best on your cheese sauce. Of course, you could always go with a cheese that melts easily, like American or Velveeta, and including at least some of those cheeses will lend your cheese sauce a creamier finish. But you could also make a custom cheese sauce out of nearly any cheese by starting with a bechamel base and adding a cup of cheese for each two cups of milk while the sauce is still hot. Some cheeses, like extra sharp cheddar, will have a harder time melting, while others, like fontina and gouda, will easily mix into your sauce. If youre including a cheese that emulsifies less readily, consider using a different cheese as a sauce and sprinkling the harder cheese across the top of your dish as a finisher. And dont limit yourself to cheese varieties in the pre-shredded bag aisle cream cheese, and other soft cheeses like ricotta, are your friends too.
Storing Crock Pot Mac And Cheese
The leftovers from this mac and cheese recipe need to be refrigerated. Let the leftovers cool completely, cover, then refrigerate for up to 3 days. For optimal texture, add enough milk to thin the sauce before packing up the leftovers, that way you can easily scoop out a portion to reheat, and the milk will meld into the cream sauce as it reheats.
Read Also: Does Babybel Cheese Need To Be Refrigerated
Mac And Cheese Sauce Versatility
Love this sauce and want to mix things up? Here are some ideas on how to repurpose this sauce for something other than mac!
Use on any noodle all out of macaroni noodles? You can literally use 1 lb. of any noodle under the sun!
Nachos we love using this sauce on top of nachos. Think loaded nachos with all the fixings + this cheese sauce.
Burgers/Sandwiches how good would this easy mac and cheese sauce be on top of a burger or sandwich?! Im drooling.
Chili Mac and Cheese mix this cheese sauce with 1 lb. of noodles and a batch of homemade beef chili for some chili mac! Check out our sister sites Chili Mac and Cheese recipe!
Dip when I dip you dip we dip. Grab your favorite tortilla chip and dip away!
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