Homemade Mac and Cheese

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This classic baked mac and cheese recipe with a buttered bread crumb topping is creamy and comforting. It's easy to make the cheese sauce from scratch on your stovetop, starting with a roux and adding milk, Cheddar, and Parmesan, resulting in a rich, decadent sauce that coats every nook and cranny of the noodles. Serve this comfort-food macaroni and cheese casserole with grilled meats, sloppy Joes, fried chicken or alongside a salad for a meatless dinner.

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Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
55 mins
Servings:
4

Skip the boxed stuff and make homemade mac and cheese tonight. This from-scratch macaroni and cheese recipe will become a staple in your dinner rotation.

Homemade Mac and Cheese Ingredients

These are the ingredients you'll need to make the best homemade mac and cheese of your life:

· Macaroni: This homemade mac and cheese starts with a box of uncooked macaroni noodles.
· Butter and flour: You'll need butter and flour to make a roux for the cheese sauce. You'll also need two tablespoons of butter for the topping.
· Milk: Use whole milk for the richest flavor and texture.
· Cheese: This baked mac and cheese recipe calls for Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses.
· Seasonings: Salt and pepper goes into the sauce, while paprika is sprinkled over the topping.
· Bread crumbs: Use store-bought dried bread crumbs or make your own at home.

Homemade Mac and Cheese
Valeria Eastham-Santos

How to Make Mac and Cheese

You'll find the full, step-by-step recipe below — but here's a brief overview of what you can expect when you make this crowd-pleasing homemade mac and cheese:

1. Boil the noodles: Boil the macaroni in salted water until the noodles are al dente. Drain and transfer to a prepared baking dish.
2. Make the cheese sauce: Melt butter, then whisk in the flour. Whisk in the milk, bring to a simmer, and stir in the cheeses. Season with salt and pepper and continue simmering until the sauce is thick. Pour the sauce over the noodles and stir.
3. Make the topping: Melt two tablespoons of butter in a skillet, add the bread crumbs, and toast until the crumbs are brown. Spread the topping over the macaroni and cheese, then sprinkle with paprika.
4. Bake the mac and cheese: Bake in the preheated oven until the topping is golden brown.

Best Cheese for Mac and Cheese

This homemade mac and cheese recipe uses a classic mixture of sharp Cheddar and Parmesan. Cheddar is a fantastic base, while Parmesan adds a more complex and salty flavor. Of course, you can adapt this recipe to suit your taste: Gruyere, Monterey Jack, and Gouda are all great options for macaroni and cheese.

How Long to Bake Mac and Cheese

At 350 degrees F, this macaroni and cheese should be perfectly golden brown and gooey after about 30 minutes.

Homemade Mac and Cheese
Photo by Allrecipes Magazine.

What Goes With Mac and Cheese?

This classic macaroni and cheese recipe works well as a side or entrée.

If you're serving it as the main dish, try one of these tasty side dish ideas:

· Roasted Garlic Lemon Broccoli
· Classic Restaurant Caesar Salad
· French Bread

If you're serving it on the side, meanwhile, consider pairing it with one of these hearty entrées:

· Easy Meatloaf
· Crispy and Tender Baked Chicken Thighs
· Juiciest Hamburgers Ever

How to Reheat Mac and Cheese

Allow the leftovers to cool completely. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to four days.

Reheat the homemade mac and cheese in the oven or in the microwave. If you're worried about it drying out during the reheating process, stir in a tablespoon or two of milk.

mac and cheese in a glass pan
Maggie

Can You Freeze Mac and Cheese?

Yes, you can freeze homemade mac and cheese if you don't plan to eat it within four days. Transfer your leftovers to zip-top freezer bags in serving-size portions. Wrap each bag in foil, then freeze flat for up to six months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

Allrecipes Community Tips and Praise

"This is definitely a favorite in my house," says Magic. "I use almond milk instead of regular milk and add chicken to make it a macaroni chicken casserole. Also added more Cheddar."

"This recipe is unmistakably baked and homemade," according to one Allrecipes community member. "Anyone who says they don't like macaroni and cheese has never tried this recipe."

"So delicious," raves Amy Lemelin. "I added a teaspoon of crushed garlic and a dash of chili pepper. I typed with crushed saltines and cooked bacon. This is my new favorite recipe!"

Editorial contributions by Corey Williams

Ingredients

Macaroni and Cheese:

  • 8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni

  • ¼ cup salted butter

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 2 ½ cups milk, or more as needed

  • 2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

  • ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

  • salt and ground black pepper to taste (Optional)

Bread Crumb Topping:

  • 2 tablespoons salted butter

  • ½ cup dry bread crumbs

  • 1 pinch ground paprika

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8-inch square baking dish.

  2. Make the macaroni and cheese: Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tender yet firm to the bite, about 8 minutes; it will finish cooking in the oven. Drain and transfer to the prepared baking dish.

  3. While the macaroni is cooking, melt 1/4 cup butter in a medium skillet over low heat. Whisk in flour and stir until the mixture becomes paste-like and light golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

  4. Gradually whisk 2 1/2 cups milk into the flour mixture, and bring to a simmer. Stir in shredded Cheddar and finely grated Parmesan cheeses; season with salt and pepper. Cook and stir over low heat until cheese is melted and sauce has thickened, 3 to 5 minutes, adding up to 1/2 cup more milk if needed. Pour cheese sauce over macaroni and stir until well combined.

  5. Make the bread crumb topping: Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add bread crumbs; cook and stir until well coated and browned. Spread bread crumbs over macaroni and cheese, then sprinkle with paprika.

  6. Bake in the preheated oven until topping is golden brown and macaroni and cheese is bubbling, about 30 minutes.

    Macro view of a creamy spoonful of homemade mac and cheese being served.
    Chef Mo

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

845 Calories
48g Fat
65g Carbs
37g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 845
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 48g 62%
Saturated Fat 30g 149%
Cholesterol 142mg 47%
Sodium 881mg 38%
Total Carbohydrate 65g 24%
Dietary Fiber 3g 9%
Protein 37g
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Calcium 865mg 67%
Iron 3mg 19%
Potassium 522mg 11%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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