Here's your step-by-step guide to the best macaroni and cheese of your life.
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There's no dish quite like macaroni and cheese. With tender elbow noodles enveloped in decadently creamy baked Cheddar and savory spices, there's no wonder why it's one of the most beloved pasta dishes of all time. If there's one recipe you need to master, this is it. Learn the tricks to making the most mouthwateringly creamy, rich, and flavorful mac and cheese ever in our step-by-step guide.

The Perfect Roux for Macaroni and Cheese

whisking and cooking butter and flour in a pot to make roux
Photo by Meredith
| Credit: Meredith

An easy rule of thumb? Equal parts fat (butter is better) and flour. Melt the butter on medium heat until you hear it sizzle, then add the flour. Gently cook the mixture on for up to four minutes to cook the starch out of the flour.

Add Spices

Some spices and herbs are oil soluble. The flavors develop better in hot butter than if you add it to the cream sauce later.

Use Cold Milk

Hot roux + cold milk = no lumps. Whisk the milk in quickly, and allow it to slowly come up to a simmer. Use half-and-half or heavy cream for an even richer result.

Start Cooking

Bring your white sauce up to a simmer on medium heat, and let it cook on medium-low for about eight minutes. While your white sauce is simmering, grate your cheese.

Creamy mac and cheese with chicken and a salad on a white plate
Creamiest Mac and Cheese
| Credit: Allrecipes

Get the recipe: Creamiest Mac and Cheese

Combining Macaroni and Cheese Ingredients

Turn off the heat, and slowly add the grated cheese slowly to the roux. Make sure and save some for layering and topping.

Adding the Pasta

Boil your pasta in generously salted water. Make sure it's drained well, and combine it with the cheese sauce in the casserole dish. For an evenly creamy consistency, separate your noodles into layers with grated cheese in between — each bite will have a velvety finish and you'll have enough cheese left over to create the crisp, trademark topping.

Baked Mac and Cheese
Credit: Meredith

You're Golden

Bake the macaroni for 20 minutes. The pasta is already cooked, so you just need to bake a beautiful golden crust on top for a perfect bite.

Ready to get cooking? Try our top-rated Homemade Mac and Cheese. Then explore our entire collection of Macaroni and Cheese Recipes.

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