Classic Mac & Cheese is a creamy, homemade version of the popular stuff in the box! Just like your mom used to make, this Macaroni & Cheese has a crunchy topping!
Macaroni and Cheese is the epitome of comfort foods! I mean, have you ever heard anyone say, “I don’t like Mac & Cheese!”? No, my friends. No you haven’t. But, if you are going to eat it, you have to make this Classic Mac & Cheese. The stuff in the box? Fuggedaboutit! Now don’t get me wrong. Kraft did a magnificent job of putting this classic dish in front of a whole lot of college kids, for an easy meal, when cramming for all of those finals, but… once you make your own, you will NEVER eat that stuff in the box again!
How to make classic mac n cheese
Make cheese sauce
- Melt butter in large pan, over medium low heat. Heat milk in another pan.
- Add flour to butter when butter bubbles. Stir to form a paste.
- Allow this paste (roux) to bubble for a few minutes. To cook the flour.
- Add warm milk. (Warming the milk will save you time stirring the sauce.)
- Add white pepper. Stir until sauce thickens.
- Add cheeses. Continue to stir until very thick.
- Sauce should coat the back of your spoon.
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Once pasta is drained, reserving some pasta water, add some sauce and some of the pasta water to pasta, so that pasta doesn’t stick together. Add to casserole.
- Cover with more sauce and bread crumbs.
Assemble macaroni and cheese
Bake at low heat, 325°F for 30-40 minutes, until bubbly and slightly browned.
Can this recipe be frozen?
Yes. Macaroni and Cheese freezes well. Don’t add bread crumb topping. Wrap unbaked casserole with plastic wrap and then with aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. To heat, allow to thaw in refrigerator until thawed. Add bread crumbs to the top. Bake in a slow oven (325°F), until bubbly and browned on top.
Macaroni and Cheese can be totally customized to your family’s tastes. How do you customize Mac & Cheese?
- Use different cheeses.
- Add vegetables, like peas, broccoli or corn.
- Add other proteins, beef, chicken, pork, seafood, Italian sausage, bacon and venison are all good choices.
- Spicy ingredients like hot peppers or chili powders, or your favorite hot sauce.
- Fruits, namely apples. Think apple & bacon or apple & sausage
Cheeses that are good
Using different cheeses for your cheese sauce, will deliver a totally different flavor profile, which will lend itself to many different applications!
- Mild Cheddar
- Sharp Cheddar
Pro tips for making the BEST Mac & Cheese
- Always add some of the pasta water to the sauce and pasta. The starch helps the sauce adhere to the pasta.
- Always use a blend of cheeses.
- Use sharp cheeses for flavor and mild cheeses for melting. Sharp cheeses tend to break when the casserole is baking.
- Cook you pasta just shy of al dente because it will cook further when baked.
- Heat milk before adding to cheese sauce to save time.
Other uses for this Foolproof Cheese Sauce.
Other delicious side dishes Recipes
- Hasselback Sweet Potatoes
- Casserole Marie Blanche
- Spanish Rice
- Foil Packed Grilled Potatoes
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Tools I use to make this classic mac & cheese
Contains affiliate links, for full disclosure, see FTC Disclosure, here.
That’s how easy it is to make Classic Mac & Cheese. Thanks for stopping by today!
Enjoy! And have fun cooking!
Classic Mac & Cheese
- 4 Tbsp Butter
- 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1.5 cups Milk whole milk works best
- 1.5 cup cheese cheddar, mild
- 1 lb pasta whatever shape you like
- Heat milk in pot.
- Melt butter in large saucepan.
- Add flour and stir into a paste. Cook for 3-4 minutes to cook flour. Stirring constantly.
- Stir until partially thickened.
- Add cheese. Stir until melted.
- Add white pepper. Taste to adjust salt. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Cook until almost al dente. It will continue to cook when baking.
- Drain pasta, reserving some pasta cooking water.
- Add pasta to casserole dish. Cover with cheese sauce and some of the pasta water. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top.
- Bake at 325°F for 30-40 minutes, until bubbly and slightly browned.
- Do not add salt until after cheese has melted. Different cheeses have different salt content.
- Do not overcook pasta.
- Always pre-warm milk.
- Mix different cheeses for other flavor profiles.
- Use the majority of mild cheese (2/3) and then add lesser quantity (1/3) of sharp cheeses for flavor.
- Leftovers keep for 4 days.
- Reheat in microwave.
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