What Goes With Mac And Cheese
Fresh fruit salad or a tangy gelatin dessert goes well with this rich macaroni. When you serve this creamy stovetop mac and cheese, almost anything goes.
Freezer & Leftover Tips
Did you know you can make ahead boxed mac and cheese and pop it in the freezer to eat later? It’s a meal prep game changer! Bring your cooked mac and cheese to room temp. Then place it in an airtight container and pop in the freezer. It will last up to a year!
To warm it up, thaw completely and then heat up on the stove. We suggest adding in a splash of milk and a pat of butter to up the creaminess factor!
Pro Tip: Heating up leftover macaroni and cheese in the microwave? Add in a splash of milk to keep the mixture from drying out! Cover with plastic wrap and vent to let the steam out, then microwave for 60-90 seconds, depending on your portion size.
Now for the hard part Deciding which of these recipes to try first! Let us know your favorite mac and cheese add-ins are in the comments below!
Looking for more kid-friendly meal inspiration?
- No more meal-time battles! Find out how to plan meals your kids will love.
- These DIY Lunchables are everything. Your kids will love them, and so will you!
- Need an easy breakfast idea? These egg muffin cups are a hit!
Creamy Stovetop Macaroni And Cheese
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Stovetop Mac and Cheese is the creamiest, dreamiest version of an all-American favorite! No one can resist a savory combination of a creamy cheddar cheese base blended with macaroni noodles, and it couldnt be easier made on the stovetop.
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How To Make Single
In under 20 minutes, youll have rich cheesy mac and cheese for one, portion-controlled and so good you could cry. And if you are feeling extra hungry or want to make it for two or more, the recipe sizes up with just a slightly longer cooking time .
My Family Loves This Creamy Homemade Mac And Cheese
This incredible Mac and Cheese recipe seriously only takes 15 minutes to make and uses just one pot. Its just a little more work than a boxed mix, but the flavor is 100x better. Its made with all regular, real ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.
I use a mixture of sharp cheddar cheese and white cheddar cheese, however this recipe is easily adapted to use whatever meltable cheese is in your fridge. You can also add in your favorite fancy mix-ins, for an elevated dinner!
Its a dream come true for any of you fellow Mac and Cheese lovers out there just wait till you try this recipe! I bet you wont have any leftovers.
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How To Make Baked Mac And Cheese
Its a straightforward recipe, starting with a basic butter-flour roux that is used to thicken milk to make the cheese sauce. For first timers, I think the short video below will help give you the confidence that youve got this!
The simple trick to avoid lumps in the Mac and Cheese Sauce is to pour the milk in slowly while constantly stirring, then just switch to a whisk if needed to remove any stubborn lumps!
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.
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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.
Easy Macaroni & Cheese
- 8ozdried macaroniabout 2 cups
- ¼ – ½teaspoonground black pepper
- ¼teaspoonsmoked paprikaoptional
- ¼teaspoonground mustardoptional
- 1cupshredded cheddar cheese Shred your own cheddar off the block, don’t buy pre-shredded which is often tossed with a powder that will keep the cheese from melting properly and can leave you with mac & cheese that is both clumpy and runny.
- 4slicesAmerican Cheese of cheddar cheese, but the macaroni will be less creamy)
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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.
To Bake Or Not To Bake:
You dont have to bake the mac and cheese in this recipe. Everything gets fully cooked and is essentially ready to eat after the cheese and noodles are added. However, I love the extra gooeyness that comes when the cheese is baked and I think baking it adds a level of sophistication you just dont get without.
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How Do I Reheat Mac And Cheese
The sauce for this mac and cheese tightens up a lot especially after its been cooled. Reheat leftovers on the stove over low to medium heat, adding a tablespoon of milk or a some cream to reconstitute the sauce while it heats. Stir occasionally.
You can also reheat in the microwave under half power for a minute or two adding a splash of milk or cream and stirring in 30-second intervals.
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 it’s 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 don’t recommend it. Since this mac and cheese recipe is so easy to make, there’s really no need to freeze it. If you’re 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 you’re 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
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How To Make The Creamiest Macaroni And Cheese
Youre only looking at six ingredients . Itcan even be made in under 30 minutes .
I love that you can keep this as a quick stovetop mac and cheese or slide it into the oven to get bubbly and browned. I love it both ways.
Were going to call this our basic mac and cheese not because it isnt incredibly delicious, but because its the perfect base for other variations. Take a look below for some suggestions.
To make our go-to macaroni and cheese, you will need the following:
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 ½ 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 9×13 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 325° 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 .
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How To Make Mac N Cheese Sauce From Scratch
Classic Homemade Mac and Cheese made with bite-size pasta, cheddar cheese, and a simple creamy sauce all baked to perfection in the oven. This recipe includes tips, tricks, and photos for making PERFECT baked mac and cheese.
This mac and cheese recipe has many similarities to another of my favorites One Pan Baked Ziti. They are both creamy, and dreamy, comfort food that gets baked to cheesy, bubbly perfection in the oven.
How To Make A Roux
First time making a roux? No problem! Check out this super simple tutorial:
Congrats, youve made your roux! This will give your mac the thick and creamy texture youre looking for.
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What Is A Mac And Cheese Roux And Why Do I Need It
A roux is essentially a way to thicken a sauce or liquid. You need a fat and a flour in order to make this thickening agent and then you need to heat it to activate it.
The reason why you dont want to skip the roux for this mac and cheese sauce recipe is that the roux is what helps make it thick and luscious.
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.
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Two: Add Milk And Seasonings
Can I Freeze Macaroni And Cheese
I get asked that a lot and my answer is always no. As the pasta and cheese sauce sit, it will thicken and when you thaw it and bake it, the creamy consistency is just gone. Its thick and gloppy. Plus if you freeze it and its still a bit warm, water crystals will form and then thaw into your dish and could make it separate when you bake it. Besides, its so fast to make, theres not really a reason to freeze your macaroni and cheese.
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The Magic Of Instant Pot Mac And Cheese
We need to identify the brand of mac that is Instant Pot mac and cheese.
This is: youve graduated from mac and cheese in a box, but you are not interested in the commitment required for a big fancy baked deal. You want something that falls somewhere in the middle of the tastes-like-Velveeta to truffle-baked-mac spectrum. Friends, you are in luck. This is the perfect in between. This is your mac and cheese for when you want REAL FOOD mac and cheese that has a velvety, creamy, sauce with 5 ingredients in 15 minutes.
It is hangry mac and cheese.
It is I-have-no-other-groceries mac and cheese.
It is even-if-I-did-I-would-still-make-this mac and cheese.
It is FEED ME NOW AND LOVE ME FOREVER mac and cheese.
Obviously Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is pretty straightforward and simple and thats kind of the point, in my opinion? I creep around on the internets and lately Ive seen people chatting about how frustrating it is when people just use the Instant Pot for basic recipes like Mac and Cheese.
Excuse me but Id like to respectfully disagree. Theres a reason why people use the Instant Pot for basic recipes like mac and cheese, and its because, especially in this case, the mac and cheese your Instant Pot can give you is NEXT LEVEL GOOD. I am not food-sciencey enough to tell you how or why this works, but the texture of the creamy sauce that you get a little melted butter, and cheese, and milk?
The Instant Pot is so good to us.
Easy Homemade Mac And Cheese
This Easy Homemade Mac and Cheese Recipe is made with 8 ingredients in 15 minutes on the stovetop ! Time to ditch the boxed mac and cheese for this irresistibly creamy, smooth & cheesy homemade recipe!
I have six kids and a husband with a taste palate of a 12-year-old-boy, which means we eat a lot of mac and cheese in our house. A lot of mac and cheese.
So naturally I created this easy homemade mac and cheese recipe so that we could consume less of the boxed varieties. Because I really care about feeding my family healthy meals that they actually enjoy! And did I mention that they love mac and cheese?!
Once you taste this homemade mac and cheese you and your family will say “goodbye” to powdered cheese forever, and say “hello” to this creamy dreamy real-cheese version again and again!
This homemade mac and cheese recipe is made with only 8 ingredients in 15 minutes! That’s the same amount of time it takes to make the boxed varieties, but with no preservatives or artificial ingredients!
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