How To Make Mac N Cheese From Scratch

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Macaroni And Cheese Recipes : Food Network


Southern baked macaroni and cheese, also called soul food mac and cheese, is the ultimate in comfort food. My recipe has five cheeses, is creamy, rich and comforting, and stays true to the cultural classic.

TOTAL TIME: 1 hour & 5 minutes. Yield: 6 servings. Procedure. Heat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 4-quart casserole or souffle dish and set aside. Place dry pasta and 1 tablespoon of the kosher salt in a 4-quart pot and barely cover with cold water. Bring just to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, then test for doneness.

Creamy and rich macaroni and cheese with a crisp panko topping and the perfect kiss of smoke flavor. I love a good mac and cheese, so I have spent years perfecting and refining my recipe. Ive tried different cheeses, milks, cream, toppings and more to come up with the perfect blend of flavors and textures.

Add the flour and stir over medium heat until the mixture is lightly browned 12 minutes. Add the milk and whisk to remove any lumps and add the salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat until the sauce thickens and starts to bubble. About 6 minutes. Stir in the cheese and whisk until smooth and melted.

Fill a large saucepan with water bring to a boil. Add macaroni cook 2 to 3 minutes less than manufacturers directions, until the outside of pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone.

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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.

How To Reheat Leftover Macaroni And Cheese

To reheat, just pop the leftovers in a pan over low heat, then stir in a splash of milk. This will return the creaminess from the first go round. To boost the cheesy factor, Ian also likes to sprinkle on cheddar cheese powder, but the leftovers are plenty comforting without it. Cook and stir the macaroni and cheese until the sauce is creamy and heated through, about 5 minutes.

Now that lunch is made , take the time you just saved to do something fun, like finding the next concert youll livestream or using these secret Netflix codes to pick a new show to watch. You deserve it.

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Storage And Reheating Instructions:

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat in a saucepan on the stovetop over medium-low heat until warmed through. You may need to add a scant amount of water to the saucepan to thin out the sauce.

If you like this recipe, you may also be interested in these other macaroni and cheese recipes:

Variations On This Skillet Mac And Cheese:

Lilyquilt: Easy, made
  • 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!

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Homemade Baked Mac And Cheese

There is absolutely nothing I love more than cheese. And when you add pasta to it? Fuggetaboutit.

Mac and cheese is one of those recipes that can take on so many different forms. I love it anyway I can get it but baked mac and cheese is my very favorite and Ill tell you why The topping. I use breadcrumbs for my topping occasionally, but, a Panko topped mac and cheese is just that much better.

I mix in Parmesan, butter, and paprika with the Panko so it crisps up beautifully and gets a nice golden brown color when this amazing homemade mac and cheese is baked.

Im going to be honest here. When I make mac and cheese, its the mac to cheese ratio that I am most concerned about. I love it when the mac and cheese is oeey gooey and the cheese sauce is just so creamy. GIMME.

With all this cheese going on in this macaroni and cheese recipe, I need a little help from my KitchenAid Deluxe Stand Mixer and its handy dandy Fresh Prep Slice/Shredder attachment. I picked up this beauty at Walmart this past week and I am in LOOOOOVE. I was torn between the options: SILVER | COBALT | PISTACHIO. But, when I pictured them in my kitchen, I knew I had to go with the cobalt its just stunning!

I use my stand mixer about 954 times each week. Being a food blogger and mom means Im in my kitchen a lot baking up goodies and whipping up amazing dinners like this homemade baked mac and cheese. I am always, always looking for help in the kitchen and the Kitchen Aid Deluxe Stand Mixer is the answer.

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 thats true. But if youre looking to make the creamiest mac and cheese you possibly can, youll want to be a little more discerning. A cheese like Parmesan, for instance, isnt going to melt super well, meaning its 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.

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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!

Stovetop Mac And Cheese


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This truly is the BEST stovetop mac and cheese recipe! It only requires one pot , its ready to go in about 20 minutes from start to finish, and its perfectly creamy and cheesy and delicious.

This weekend, Barclay and I went to a food festival here in Barcelona that was fabulously, deliciously, entirely devoted to CHEESE.

And it was just about the best thing ever.

Literally everywhere you turned, ooey gooey cheesy dishes were being served. And youd better believe we took full advantage of them. From freshly-scraped raclette toasts, to the most amazing Korean-inspired mushroom grilled cheese sandwiches, to Spanish onion and smoked cheese soup, to vegan Mexican cheesy quesadillas, to the best ricotta Ive ever sampled, to the most dreamy Italian gyoza-ish dumplings filled with potato and cheese and served in a pecorino-sage saucethe day was all of our cheesiest dreams come true. And we left feeling so happy. And soooo full, ha.

That said, there was one dish notably missing at the festival. But, it just so happens that Ive been on a mission this month to nail down my all-time favorite recipe for it. So yesterday, we decided to round out our cheesy weekend by taste-testing a final version of this recipe. And ohhh guys, I think weve got it. Im humbly calling it

The Best Stovetop Mac and Cheese recipe. Ever.

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Tricks To Making The Creamiest Mac And Cheese Ever

Theres nothing like a warm, gooey bowl of delicious mac and cheese, am I right? Mac and cheese is a comfort food if there ever was one, but if you dont make it right, youll end up with a less-than-comforting bowl of dried out, not-cheesy-at-all noodles. Worse yet, you might end up with a gritty, mealy mess. That doesnt mean you should turn to that familiar blue box whenever a craving arrives homemade mac and cheese is the best, by far . To make the creamiest mac and cheese ever, you just have to do a couple of things differently than you might do them now. In fact, its probably a lot less complicated than you might think. Armed with these tricks and ideas and a little know-how, youll be well on your way to the creamiest mac and cheese ever. But be careful who you tell once word gets out that youve mastered this dish, youll have more dinner guests than you can handle!

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Gather & Measure The Ingredients

This easy mac and cheese recipe is super fast-paced once you start cooking, so its important to have all the ingredients measured and ready to go! As you can see there are only eight, common ingredients in this recipe that most of us have on hand at all times! We will discuss the ingredients and possible substitutions later in this post .

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Soul Food Baked Macaroni And Cheese

There are many variations of the classic dish macaroni and cheese. One such variation is Southern baked mac and cheese the soul food way!

This recipe is made with rich, creamy cheese sauce and Southern comfort soul food flavorings baked til the edges are crispy and browned to taste like someone stewed over it in the kitchen all day!

We call this Black folks baked mac and cheese an authentic soul food dish easy for anyone to make!

Tips For Making Smoked Mac And Cheese

Easy Stovetop Mac and Cheese

Its a perfect side dish to throw on the smoker, especially if you already have the meat going. It takes only about an hour and a half to smoke so add it to the smoker when the meat has the same amount of time left.

I usually use a cast iron skillet but when I need to make it for a party, I use an aluminum pan. Aluminum pan is easy to bring with you if youre going to a potluck party.

Mac and cheese is also a great side dish to bring with you to a potluck party. Make a big batch of it in an aluminum pan and smoke it right in it. When its done, just pop the pan into another aluminum pan to make it sturdier and protect yourself from any barbecue residue that may be on the bottom of the pan.

Dont smoke it for more than two hours or it will start to dry out. I found that an hour and a half is the perfect time.

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Store It In The Refrigerator:

To make ahead and serve later, ensure that your pasta isnt overcooked. Err on the side of a little firm rather than too soft, as it will continue to absorb some of the sauce in the fridge.

Store up to 4 days in the refrigerator, tightly covered.

To reheat, add a big splash of water, milk or broth and place, covered, over low heat on the stove. Stir occasionally. If it is still thick and not saucy and creamy, add in another splash of liquid.

Start With Bchamel: The Secret To A Creamy Cheesy Sauce

When making macaroni and cheese, this sauce serves as the base and whatever cheeses you choose are melted into it.

Béchamel is one of the mother sauces in the classic French system. Its made by cooking equal parts butter and flour until smooth and golden , then whisking in warm milk to make a smooth, creamy sauce. The thickness of a béchamel sauce is determined by the ratio of milk to butter and flour.

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Make The Cheese Sauce

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!

Can I Use Pre


Pre-shredded cheeses are mixed with either potato starch, powdered cellulose, and natamycin, or a combination of the three to prevent clumping. These agents have an impact on how the cheese melts. The best mac and cheese uses freshly shredded cheese as they melt better, but pre-shredded cheese can also be used in a pinch. The results may not be as velvety smooth, but itll still taste delicious.

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How To Make Buffalo Roast Chicken With Blue Cheese Salad

There’s nothing quite like a bowl of delicious homemade mac and cheese, where the creamy sauce is just right.

Rach answers a viewer who says that when she makes sauce, it’s smooth at first, but then gets grittyexplaining that the issue is likely with the ratio of ingredients in the roux.

Q: “Every time I make homemade mac and cheese the sauce is smooth at first but then gets grainy as it cools. What am I doing wrong?”Laura E., viewer, via Facebook

A: “Your ratiosfrom your roux to the fat content in the cheeses that you’re usingmay be a little off,” Rach says. “You also just may be overcooking it.”

Rach breaks down how she makes what John calls “a pretty dang good mac and cheese” in more detail.

“What we want to do is start with the roux. So about equal amountsI usually do a tablespoon more of butter to flour. And for every 4 tablespoons of butter and 4 tablespoons of flour, I bump up the butter to 5. And I use about 3 cups of milk, or a combination of milk and stock,” Rach explains.

“Once that thickens just to coat the back of the spoon , you season it as you would like. If I was doing a classic, I would just do salt a little bit of white pepper,” she continues.

Pro Tip: Rach warms the milk first, before adding it to the roux. And she warms it with crushed garlic, which is optional, but delicious if you love garlic in everything like John does!

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.

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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.

Expert Tips And Tricks For The Perfect Creamy Mac And Cheese

Mac n Cheese
  • Choose the right cheese To have the best creamy mac and cheese, you need to use melting cheeses. Cheddar is one of them, but if you mix it with mozzarella too, you get unbelievable creamy and cheesiness. My son used to love boxed Velveeta until we started making this and now there is no turning back!
  • Warm the milk Warm up the milk too before adding it to your cheese sauce mixture. This makes it thicken up faster and more evenly.
  • Mustard powder This recipe calls for optional dry mustard powder. If you dont have it on-hand, you can leave it out. But if you do, try it. It will NOT give you a strong mustard flavor or anything. It has a nice acidity that brings balance to the creaminess and depth to the flavor for an even more comforting dish. You can also substitute a half teaspoon of garlic powder for you garlic lovers out there.

Pro Tip: A creamy baked macaroni and cheese recipe with bread crumbs is not just for the kids. When Im alone I love making an adult version by adding roasted veggies!

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