Entree | Grocer to Table | Sides & Casseroles

Classic Mac & Cheese

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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!

Creamy macaroni and cheese with a crunchy topping.Pin
Classic Mac and Cheese

How to make classic mac n cheese

Make cheese sauce

  1. Melt butter in large pan, over medium low heat. Heat milk in another pan.
  2. Add flour to butter when butter bubbles. Stir to form a paste.
  3. Allow this paste (roux) to bubble for a few minutes. To cook the flour.
  4. Add warm milk. (Warming the milk will save you time stirring the sauce.)
  5. Add white pepper. Stir until sauce thickens.
  6. Add cheeses. Continue to stir until very thick.
Milk in pan. Butter and flour in pan. Roux bubbling in pan. Milk added to roux. pepper added to sauce. Cheese addedPin

Assemble macaroni and cheese

  1. Sauce should coat the back of your spoon.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  3. 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.
  4. Cover with more sauce and bread crumbs.
Cheese sauce coating back of spoon. Pasta in boiling water. Pasta added to casserole. Finished casserole topped with bread crumbs.Pin

Bake at low heat, 325°F for 30-40 minutes, until bubbly and slightly browned.

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Serving of mac and cheese on white plate with black rim.Pin

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.

Classic mac & Cheese on white plate next to casserole dish.Pin
Classic Mac and Cheese


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
  • Mushrooms

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
  • American
  • Swiss
  • Gouda
  • Gruyere
  • Parmesan
  • Mozzarella
  • Leyden
Whole casserole of mac n cheese.Pin

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.

Mac and cheese on white plate.Pin

Other delicious side dishes Recipes 

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Tools I use to make this classic mac & cheese

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That’s how easy it is to make Classic Mac & Cheese. Thanks for stopping by today!

Enjoy! And have fun cooking!


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Macaroni and cheese on white plate with black rim.Pin

Classic Mac & Cheese

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!

See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 387kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $5


  • 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.
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  • 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.


Calories: 387kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 205mg | Potassium: 208mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 461IU | Calcium: 218mg | Iron: 1mg
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  1. 5 stars
    The kids really love this classic mac and cheese! Your step by step instructions are so helpful – thank you!

  2. 5 stars
    Classics never go out of style, and I do so love a big portion of home-cooked mac n cheese. Thanks for the step-by-step recipes to help me make this amazing dish!

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