Velvety, creamy, and super easy mac and cheese recipe that is made from scratch and comes together so quickly! You just can’t beat a homemade recipe!
Homemade Mac and Cheese
When I think of comfort food, the first thing that comes to mind is something warm, creamy, and let’s be real..carb heavy! This easy mac and cheese recipe is everything you want in a comforting dish! And the baked bread topping takes it to the next level.
What ingredients go into macaroni and cheese?
Mac and cheese have very basic ingredients, but the quality of the cheese will also turn a good recipe into an amazing recipe.
- Macaroni– All pasta tastes the same but the most popular one for mac and cheese is the elbow macaroni.
- Cheese– This is where you can get very creative! I like to keep it simple by using a mix of extra sharp, sharp cheddar, and swiss cheese.
- Sauce– A mixture of flour, butter, milk, and spices will make the cheese creamier and bind better to the pasta.
- Bread topping– This is optional but who doesn’t love the addition of crunchy toasted bread crumbs on top?!
How to make homemade Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese is actually really EASY to make! Here is a brief rundown of how its made.
- Make the crunchy topping– chop up your french bread and toss it with some melted butter and garlic and bake it in the oven until golden and crisp.
- Cook the macaroni– you can do this in advance since it will be reheat in the oven again.
- Make the sauce– You can make the easy béchamel in a saucepan. Simply melt the butter and brown the flour in it with the garlic powder, white, pepper, and salt. Then stir in the milk.
- Fill up your baking dish and Bake– Now you can add the cooked pasta into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and add in the shredded cheese, and carefully pour the sauce over. Then top it with the homemade croutons and bake in the oven as instructed in the recipe card below.
Best cheese for mac and cheese
The most common cheese in macaroni and cheese is sharp cheddar, but you can use medium or white cheddar along with fontina, smoked gouda, and even mozzarella cheese.
How to keep cheese sauce from curdling?
- Don’t use pre-shredded cheese– When you use the shredded packaged stuff, it tends to come with a starchy filler that can cause your sauce to separate. Always buy cheese by the block and shred it yourself. It tastes so much better too!
- Avoid high heat– The main reason your sauce might curdle or separate is that the heat was too high. In order to avoid this, turn the heat off before adding cheese into the sauce.
What can I add to make and cheese to make it taste better?
- Bread crumb topping
- hot sauce
- some sort of fine ground meat like bacon bits
- a side of steamed vegetables
- chopped ham
How long does it last in the fridge?
If properly stored, this cheesy pasta can last for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. You can also freeze it in a foil food try (tightly wrapped with more foil) for up to 6 months for best taste.
How to reheat homemade mac and cheese
You can reheat it either in the microwave or on the stovetop over medium heat. And even in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes. Make sure yo use a greased oven-safe dish covered with aluminum foil for this method.
More creamy pasta recipe you might love!
- cajun chicken alfredo
- Blackened chicken pasta
- creamy chicken scampi
- Cheese baked orzo (15-minute meal)
Mac and Cheese Recipe
For the crouton topping
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 clove Garlic (pressed)
For the macaroni & cheese
- 1 lb elbow macaroni 1 heaping tbsp salt
- 2 cups extra-sharp Cheddar
- 2 cups sharp cheddar
- 1 cup Gruyere cheese
- In a small bowl combine 1 cup of panko bread crumbs with 2 Tbsp melted butter and 1 clove of pressed garlic. Then set aside.
- Mix the bread cubes well with your hands and transfer to a baking sheet. Bake at 370 degrees for about 6 minutes or until golden brown. Then set aside.
- Cook the macaroni according to the package, making sure to salt the pasta water. After the macaroni is cooked al dente, drain the water out and pour it into a 9x13 inch baking dish.
- Shred the extra sharp cheddar, sharp cheddar, and Swiss cheese and set aside for the sauce.
- Slowly pour the milk into the saucepan, making sure to stir constantly. Keep it over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat then add in the shredded cheeses.
- Once the cheese is all melted, pour the sauce over the macaroni.
- Mix the macaroni around with a spoon to distribute the sauce evenly. Then spread the buttery bread crumbs over the top. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 25 minutes. To brown the bread crumbs even more, broil for the last few minutes.
This recipe was originally posted on May 2, 2015, we’ve tweaked it a bit since then.