Classic baked macaroni and cheese delivers pure homemade comfort in every creamy bite!

Tender macaroni is cooked in a rich, cheese sauce until bubbling under a topping of shredded cheddar that bakes to a golden brown, savory crust.

This family favorite will have everyone rushing to the table at the sound of “Dinner’s ready!”

Homemade Baked Macaroni and Cheese on a fork

Best Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

  • A favorite with kids everywhere, homemade macaroni and cheese never fails to satisfy fussy eaters.
  • Make this recipe from simple, pantry staples for an easy dish, even compared to the boxed variety.
  • Use up bits and pieces of cheese left in the refrigerator for a delish dish that is budget-friendly.
  • Balance this rich main dish with a crisp red leaf or kale salad. Indulge in a little peach crisp for dessert too!
Homemade Baked Macaroni and Cheese with parsley

Ingredients & Variations

CheeseSharp or extra sharp cheddar melts perfectly and will provide the best flavor. Add or substitute other melty cheeses, like pepper jack, Colby, Gruyere, Gouda, or what you have on hand. Hard cheeses like Parmesan or Romano are best grated and used for the topping.

MacaroniGood old elbow macaroni is the standard pasta for this dish. Shells can make it even more appropriate for small children with spoons. Keep in mind that a shape that will cup and hold the creamy sauce is best, although the sauce is thick enough to stick to any pasta.

Dry Mustard Mustard provides a welcome bite to balance the cheesy richness. You can use Dijon or any mustard you have on hand as well. Adjust the amounts to taste.

Variations Make a crunchy topping with buttered breadcrumbs like the one used in this stuffed mushrooms recipe. Boost the nutritional value by adding peas, mushrooms, dried tomatoes, pimento, spinach, cauliflower, or broccoli. Amp up the flavor with a bit of bacon or ham. Give mac and cheese a spicy kick with jalapenos and taco seasoning, or go full chili mac and add beans and ground beef.

dish of Homemade Baked Macaroni and Cheese with a spoon

How to Make Baked Macaroni and Cheese

This simple recipe goes from stove top to oven in minutes.

  1. While the pasta is cooking, mix flour with melted butter in a saucepan, as described in the recipe below.
  2. Whisk in milk a little at a time as the sauce thickens.
  3. Remove from heat and add 1 cup cheese, dry mustard, and seasonings.
  4. Combine cheese sauce with pasta, turn into dish, and top with cheese.
  5. Bake as directed. Serve with a green salad drizzled with a tangy Italian or Caesar vinaigrette dressing.
taking a spoonful of Homemade Baked Macaroni and Cheese out of the dish

How to Store Leftovers

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Reheat in the microwave, or in a foil covered dish in the oven until melted and heated through.
  • Add milk to loosen up the sauce and return the dish to creamy deliciousness.
Homemade Baked Macaroni and Cheese on a spoon

Other Delish Pasta Sides!

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Homemade Baked Macaroni and Cheese on a fork
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Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

This baked macaroni and cheese recipe is so easy to make with simple pantry ingredients!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Candace

Ingredients  

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Cook pasta per package and drain, reserving a small amount of pasta water.
  • In a small pot, melt butter then remove from heat. Stir in flour until well combined.
  • Return to heat and add milk gradually. Whisk constantly until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and add dry mustard and 1 cup of cheese, stirring until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Combine pasta and cheese sauce together. Add onion if using. If it is a little dry, mix in some reserved pasta water.
  • Add to casserole dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 10-15 minutes, until bubbling.

Notes

  • *Substitute all purpose flour for whole wheat flour if needed.
  • Double the recipe if desired.
  • Bake in a 3 quart baking dish or 9″x13″ casserole dish.
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Nutrition Information

Calories: 536 | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 52mg | Sodium: 282mg | Potassium: 324mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 565IU | Calcium: 359mg | Iron: 1.4mg

Nutrition information does not include optional ingredients or garnish and is an estimate. It may change based on actual ingredients and cooking methods used.

Course Lunch, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American

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About the author

I am a wife, mother of two, and professional accountant. I love fantastic food, and it is so often the center of our lives, from everyday dinner, to family gatherings, and special evenings at fabulous restaurants. I have always loved cooking and baking, with my mom and grandma, and now, with my daughter and son. I love trying new recipes while enjoying my favorites too. I’m so happy to share them with you.
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