Potluck, picnic, or party, everyone loves homemade creamy mac and cheese!
Try making this easy homemade mac and cheese recipe! It’s stove top quick, economical, and without a doubt, it puts the Kraft name to shame! For the best homemade mac and cheese sauce, we use real butter and a super cheesy combination of cheddar and sharp cheddar cheese.
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It’s ten times better than the Velveeta and Stouffer’s versions, plus it’s made healthy with no preservatives or dyes! Why buy a boxed version when this simple recipe is super quick and delivers 5-star results! It will be a family favorite for years to come! It tastes great as a side dish to pork or even Smoked Chicken Breasts.
I taught my niece to make this, and she was shocked about how easy it was, and that it takes about the same amount of time as boxed mac and cheese! It’s simple and quick, and my daughter makes it for lunch regularly.
Homemade Mac and Cheese Ingredients
Start with the freshest of everything for maximum cheesy flavor! Macaroni pasta is the standard for this recipe, but feel free to use pastas that are heavy enough for the cheese sauce to cling to, and to make it totally original! Try:
- Bow-Tie (Farfalle)
All of these will work perfectly. My boy always asks for the bow tie pasta (because he also loves bow tie pesto pasta salad)!
Best Cheese for Homemade Mac and Cheese
- Sharp cheddar will give mac and cheese its signature flavor of creamy tartness!
- Using white cheddar will up the presentation appearance and make mac and cheese look super elegant!
- But, why stop there? Try pepper jack cheese or even try smoked gouda or fontina!
How to Make Homemade Mac and Cheese
The best homemade mac and cheese always starts with the sauce.
- First, make a roux by cooking the butter and flour together in a saute pan. Slowly adding whole milk while the roux is browning is the foundation for a creamy sauce without lumps.
- Once the sauce mixture is the perfect consistency, fold it into the prepared pasta (al dente is best) season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.
PRO TIP: A dash of dry mustard brightens up the creamy richness of the cheese, and so will a dash of white pepper!
PRO TIP: Heavy whipping cream makes for a super-rich sauce! Use in place of the milk, or part of the milk. Whisk in the cream little by little, adding in more once it is fully melted into the roux mixture. SO creamy!
Mac and Cheese Recipe Variations
With this simple, basic mac and cheese recipe under your belt, you’re ready to make this mac and cheese your own!
- Another reason to love this simple recipe is that it can level up to a fancy baked casserole with toasted bread crumbs on top!
- Or add some chopped lobster and cream cheese for an extra elegant creamy mac and cheese!
- For a Cajun casserole, add some tabasco or red-hot sauce, ground sausage, sliced okra, and a sprinkling of bread crumbs for the perfect party entrée!
Seriously, the possibilities are endless! What are your favorites?
Mac and Cheese Leftovers
Homemade mac and cheese stores beautifully and even tastes better the next day when all of the flavors have had a chance to blend!
Keep it in an airtight container and place it in a microwave-safe container for reheating.
Homemade mac and cheese can be frozen, but may thaw out a little soggy. But that’s no problem, just add some freshly cooked pasta and re-season with salt, pepper, and a bit of dry mustard. Try it with a sprinkle of parmesan on top, and serve with warmed up rotel tomatoes. It will taste as good as new!
Homemade Creamy Mac and Cheese
- 1 pound macaroni pasta or preferred pasta (16 ounces)
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 2 Tablespoons flour
- 1 ½ cups milk
- 3 cups cheese cheddar, sharp cheddar
- Boil water and cook pasta according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, melt butter on medium heat in a large saucepan. Add flour, mix in to butter and cook for 2 minutes. Slowly add milk a little at a time, whisking continuously. Add about one third of cheese at a time, whisking until thoroughly mixed each time.
- Fold in pasta and serve.
Nutrition information does not include optional ingredients or garnish and is an estimate. It may change based on actual ingredients and cooking methods used.
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