Homemade Mac and Cheese

Best Macaroni and cheese recipe – the cheesiest, CREAMIEST homemade mac n cheese you’ll ever make! Macaroni pasta covered in sharp cheddar cheese, melted into a warm cream sauce, and topped with a perfect panko crust. The whole family will definitely approve!

Homemade Mac and Cheese

baked mac AND CHEESE recipe

We are gearing up for the holidays and will be sharing all of our favorite recipes with you! One of the dishes we HAVE to have at our holiday meals is Mac and Cheese. Not only is it a great side dish, but all the kids LOVE it.

Macaroni and cheese is always a quick and easy go to for dinner to, especially when you cant think of anything to make. The kids never complain (it’s pasta – and is loved as much as our Creamy Penne Pasta and Fettuccine Alfredo) and its nice to not have to deal with whining at the dinner table. Well, have you ever made homemade Macaroni and Cheese? If not, today needs to be the day!

We wanted to share our homemade version, which has become a family favorite. It’s a baked mac and cheese recipe that is easy, cheesy and so delicious! It’s great for dinner and for holidays too.

How to Make Mac and Cheese

Cheesy Mac and Cheese

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.

Begin, by cooking pasta according to package directions, and set aside. In large saucepan, melt 1/2 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.

Add the hot pasta to a greased 9×13″ baking dish. Sprinkle 6 cups shredded cheese over the pasta (yes, you can cut that down if you want). Pour the thickened cream sauce over the pasta and cheese. Let it sit until the cheese has melted and then stir together.

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 325ยฐ for 14-15 minutes. Serve warm, and ENJOY!

Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe

Best Mac and Cheese Recipe FAQ

This cheesy mac and cheese is simply the best. Here are some more notes about the recipe!

What cheese is best for macaroni? Most cheeses work well for mac and cheese, but our favorites are cheddar and American cheeses.

Can you add bacon to this recipe? Of course. You can add cooked bacon right before pouring the pasts into the casserole dish, or you can sprinkle pieces on top for the last 10 minutes of baking.

Can this be made ahead of time? We make this ahead of time quite often. Just make completely and cover in the fridge for up to 24 hours ahead of time. You may need to add a few minutes to the baking time. ๐Ÿ˜‰

How to store mac and cheese? We suggest letting it cool before storing it in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

How to freeze mac and cheese? Again – store in an air-tight container and place in freezer for up to 2 months. Let thaw overnight in fridge before baking.

Best Mac and Cheese Recipe

I never said this recipe was healthy, but oh man, is it good!! It’s full of cheese and the Panko crumbs on top make it even more delicious!

Make it a meal by adding these other recipes:

For more cheesy recipes, check out:

Macaroni and Cheese Recipe VIDEO:

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

4.83 from 17 votes

Best Macaroni and cheese recipe - the cheesiest, CREAMIEST homemade mac n cheese you'll ever make! Macaroni pasta covered in sharp cheddar cheese, melted into a warm cream sauce, and topped with a perfect panko crust. The whole family will definitely approve!

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 1655 kcal
Author Kellyn Carpenter

Ingredients

  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 4 c. milk
  • 6 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 TB garlic salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 TB butter
  • 1/2 c. panko bread crumbs

Instructions

  1. Boil pasta according to package directions. In large saucepan, melt 1/2 c butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic salt and pepper to taste. Slowly pour in 4 cups milk, whisking until smooth. Heat to a low boil until thickened. Remove from heat.

  2. Add hot pasta to a greased 9x13" baking dish. Sprinkle 6 cups shredded cheese over pasta. Pour the thickened cream sauce over the pasta and cheese. Let sit until the cheese has melted and stir together.

  3. 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.

  4. Bake at 325 for 14-15 minutes. Serve warm.

Recipe Notes

TRIED AND TRUE FINDINGS:
  • DIFFICULTY: SIMPLE
  • HOW MANY DOES IT FEED: 6-8
  • ANY CHANGES MADE: USED GARLIC SALT
  • ANY SUGGESTIONS FOR NEXT TIME: NONE

Recipe adapted fromย That Which Nourishes

Easy Baked Mac n Cheese Recipe

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Author

Kellyn Carpenter

Kellyn is a mom of 4 and loves to try and test out new recipes. She loves to find the best dinner and dessert recipes around and share them with those in the blogosphere.

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Comments

  1. I alwsys use some sharp cheese and instead of bread crumbs , i use rosemary and olive oil flavored triskets crushed …. the triskets work good on chicken casserole too…

  2. Made this last night and it was delicious!! Velveeta always grosses me out so it was nice to find a simple recipe that can create the cheesy texture with cheddar cheese. The garlic salt was a game changer and I got so many compliments!! Thank you ????

  3. This was hands down the best & EASIEST homemade mac & cheese recipe ever. My sisters are super picky about mac & cheese and they loved it! It was the perfect addition to our Father’s Day lunch. Going to be a staple for me moving forward!

    1. You should be able to. When my cursor is over the pictures, the PIN it button appears. You may need to add the Pintrest button, if you don’t have it on your computer. I hope that helps. Let me know ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Made this today for my son’s Eagle Scout Court of Honor. I actually multiplied it by 5 (it fit in two really large aluminum trays). I used mild cheddar instead of sharp, and added Havarti cheese slices before cooking. Instead of panko, I used crushed up ritz type crackers for the top. (I also left out the garlic.) It was so creamy and awesome and I got so many compliments. Thanks so much. It was the first time I have ever made homemade mac n’ cheese!

  5. I love trying new recipes for just 2 my husband & I sometimes my family of 4 who live beside us! Iโ€™m really excited ???? to try your mac & cheese for Thanksgiving day! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! ???? ????????

  6. This looks delish!! Would I be able to make ahead and bake it after Iโ€™ve had it in the refrigerator? Iโ€™m not sure of that will affect the outcome? Thanks!!

  7. I just came across this recipie I didnโ€™t have macaroni noodles but I had penne so I used that it was so good lol

  8. I’ve tried many recipes from online over the years, but this is the first time I felt the need to comment on one. Macaroni and cheese is one of my favorite dishes, but I’ve never been able to make a satisfying homemade one until now. This is definitely a recipe I will be making over and over again. Thank you for sharing such an amazing meal!

  9. Hello! Made this today and flavor was delicious but my husband felt like it had a little chalky texture to it. What did I do wrong? Also when should I add the garlic salt, I didnโ€™t see it in the directions?

    1. You add it in step one. I just say salt, but it is the garlic salt ๐Ÿ™‚ I am not sure about the chalky texture. I’m thinking it is not letting the sauce cook long enough, like Tara mentioned. Mix well ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. You should maybe modify the recipe to say garlic salt. I missed this addition too because โ€œadd salt and pepper to tasteโ€ has a different meaning than โ€œadd a tablespoon of garlic saltโ€. I noticed my garlic salt left over at the end of the recipe and was disappointed i wasnโ€™t prompted to use it. Hopefully it still has the great flavor everyoneโ€™s raving about!

  10. Just made this for my group of picky eaters. My crew loved it! My pickiest eater just went back for seconds! I used 4cups preshredded cheese, cheddar and Colby jack because that’s what I had. So good! Keeping this recipe handy for future use! Easy to make too, as I’m a novice in the kitchen.

  11. Hello.
    Just to clarify.. I am a paranoid cooker.
    With your “Best Macaroni and Cheese”, you poor the cream sauce over the shredded cheese and then you mix them together in the pan???
    Please let me know. I would LoVe to make this for my family and for a meal I am taking to a family on Friday (4/16/18).

    Thank you for your time and for your yummy recipes.

    1. Yep, pour the sauce over the cheese & pasta, let sit for a minute, to melt the cheese, then stir right in the pan. Good luck! It will be a hit! Thank you for trying my recipes ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. Come up with your own recipe it’s easy everyone has their own blend of cheeses to use and you really don’t have to use the flour mixture I don’t if you bake it the macaroni will absorb the liquid and become creamy anyway

  13. Tried the home made mac & cheese tonight. Let me tell you, I’m the only female in our 6 person household that includes a couple ridiculously picky eaters, & I can’t thank you enough for this recipe! Everyone loved it! Thanks again & keep ’em coming!

  14. I don’t believe the nutritional information is correct. It can’t possibly be 1600+ calories per serving, right?

  15. We only used 4 cups of cheese as I as only putting in 2 cups at a time, 6 seems like way too much! Turned out great!

  16. Very good recipe! Made this tonight for dinner. I used rotini instead of macaroni, I also just had garlic powder instead of garlic salt. Equally delicious.

  17. I found this to be the best because you pour the sauce over the cheese unlike most recipes that tell you to add the cheese into the sauce. I found that doing it this way gives it a creamier consistency awesome technique thank you so much!

  18. Love love love this recipe. I have a lot of vegans in the house so I substituted vegan cheese and vegan milk and my family loves it. My nieces say I make the best mac and cheese now ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. I’ve never liked mac and cheese from the box so my kids don’t get to eat it often. BUT this recipe is delicious and has become a regular favorite at my house. My kids and I thank you!

  20. I made this for a barbecue open house for a friend and it was awesome! What makes this so creamy is making the roux (the flour and butter) keeps the cheese from separating. Also, I took 6 thick strips of bacon, crisped it up and mixed them with the Panko bread crumbs and sprinkled it on top before placing the whole dish in my Traeger Grill and smoked it rather than baking it in the oven. The smoke made it perfect for this barbecue party!

  21. THANK YOU for this crazy easy and very YUMMY macncheese. Hate box macaroni, but love homemade, and this one has become my new favorite. I like to add 1 tsp of dried mustard but I know that’s not for everyone. BTW, I have frozen the leftovers and they warmed up great! ๐Ÿ™‚