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

Tender macaroni is cooked in a rich, cheesy, and creamy sauce until bubbling. Topped with shredded cheddar that bakes to a golden brown, savory crust.

With this classic dish, it’s easy to make the best mac and cheese casserole.

Homemade Baked Macaroni and Cheese on a fork

Best Baked 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 bits and pieces of cheese left in the refrigerator for a budget-friendly version.
  • Balance this rich main dish with a crisp red leaf or kale salad. Indulge in a little peach crisp for dessert too!
ingredients to make baked macaroni and cheese labeled: pasta, shredded cheese, milk, dry mustard powder, whole wheat flou, butter, salt and pepper

Easy Cheesy Ingredients

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 whatever you have. Hard cheeses like Parmesan or Romano are best grated and used for the topping.

Macaroni Elbow macaroni is the standard 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. Swap in Dijon or any mustard you have on hand and 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. The options are endless!

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 (per the recipe below).
  2. Whisk in milk a little at a time as the sauce thickens.
  3. Remove from heat and add remaining sauce ingredients.
  4. Combine cheese sauce with pasta, pour into the casserole 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 a foil-covered dish in the oven until the cheese is melted and heated.
  • Add milk to loosen 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



  • 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.


  • *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.
5 from 13 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

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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