Macaroni and Cheese is the cheesiest you can make and will keep you from ever buying boxed mac and cheese again! This recipe gives you a super creamy meal that both kids and adults will crave. Trust me, the entire family will eat this up in no time. If you love macaroni and cheese, don’t miss this Bacon Mac n Cheese version!

Spoonful of Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients & Substitutions

Elbow macaroni: If you don’t have elbow macaroni, use the pasta you have on hand. I also love cavatappi, fusilli, and penne noodles.

Butter: I used unsalted butter. Salted butter also works, but you may want to lessen the amount of salt.

Milk: For the creamiest macaroni and cheese, use whole milk. However, you could use 2% or 1% (even skim) if that is what you have on hand.

Cheddar cheese & Mozzarella cheese: These are our preferred cheeses, but you can certainly kick it up with whatever cheese blend you would like.

Ingredients for Macaroni and Cheese
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How to Get Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

I am on a mission to make sure no one has grainy homemade mac n cheese ever again… and in my research discovered this awesome tip. Do NOT put the pan back over the heat to melt the cheese. The ingredients in the pan are already hot enough to do the job of melting the cheeses. If you get cheese too hot that is when you will end up with a grainy texture. After you have stirred in the cheese, pour the mixture over the cooked noodles and serve. Best served hot! 🙂

Pouring Cheese Sauce into Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese Variations

If you want your Macaroni and Cheese a little creamier, add a bit more milk. Are you looking for some protein to beef up the noodles? Try adding ground beef, chicken, bacon, tuna, or sausage. It’s also fun to try different cheeses in this homemade recipe. Top it all off with some bread crumbs and serve it with my Homemade Apple Sauce. Trust me on this one! Some people even go so far as to put apples in the macaroni and cheese!

Overhead Bowl of Macaroni and Cheese

Storing and Reheating Macaroni and Cheese

To Refrigerate: After the mac and cheese has cooled to room temperature, store it in an airtight container. It will last up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

To Freeze: For longer storage, freeze the macaroni and cheese in a freezer-safe container. It will last up to 3 months. Be sure to label and date the packaging. When ready to enjoy, first, let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Reheating: To reheat an individual serving, add 1 tablespoon of milk per cup of macaroni and cheese, and then heat for 60-90 seconds in the microwave. You could also reheat it on the stovetop. To reheat a larger portion, place macaroni and cheese in an oven-safe dish. Pour in 1 tablespoon of milk per cup of macaroni and cheese, cover with foil, and bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes, or until heated through. Stir well before serving.

Big Spoonful of Macaroni and Cheese in a Bowl

More Macaroni Recipes

4.60 from 10 votes

Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
If you really want the cheesiest mac and cheese, this Macaroni and Cheese is what you want to make! You just may never buy boxed mac and cheese again!


  • 16 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked al dente and drained
  • ½ cup (1 stick / 113 g) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup (62.5 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups (735 g) whole milk, warmed
  • 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
  • 1 cup (113 g) sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated
  • ½ cup (56.5 g) mozzarella cheese, freshly grated
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • parsley, chopped for garnish


  • In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
  • Add the flour and whisk constantly for 1-2 minutes, or until the mixture turns light brown.
  • Remove from heat and gradually pour in the warm milk, whisking constantly.
  • Return the pan to the heat, whisk another 3-5 minutes or until thickened.
  • Add the salt, garlic powder, ground mustard, and cayenne pepper and stir to combine. Remove from heat.
  • Add the cheeses, stirring to melt.
  • Pour the sauce over the top of the cooked elbow macaroni. Stir to combine.
  • Season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with chopped parsley.


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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

  1. I made this recipe this evening. In my opinion too much flour, became almost sought before adding cheese. Less flour more cheese. Mac wasn’t creamy as a result. Good flavor but texture was average. Avoid the Cayenne pepper for more traditional flavor and less heat.

    1. It sounds like you weren’t able to make the roux… if the flour wasn’t incorporated then it may seem “too much”.

  2. I made this Mac and cheese for dinner tonight, and for starters I made a half recipe. When I got to the salt, I thought 1 1/4 tsp is a lot… So to error on the side of safety I decided to add only a 1/2 teaspoon. You can always add more if you need to but you can’t take it away if you’ve already put it in there. I was very glad on my decision, because it was the perfect amount. I realize everybody’s taste is different. I thought the recipe had great cheese flavor and texture. I added in some dehydrated onions, but other than that, kept to the recipe. Thank you for your recipe.

  3. So good! My husband and kids loved it!!! I reduced the salt to 1 1/2 tsps left out the cayenne and added diced ham steak and topped with crumbled ritz crackers and broiled to toast them. Will definitely make this again!

  4. Turned out pretty good, used spiral pasta with sharp cheddar plus grated mozzie. Added panko topping with more cheese and baked for 20 minutes to brown the top and heat thru. Also used a spoonful of Worcestershire to the sauce. Very quick and nicely creamy! Would make again with either bacon, chicken, chopped jalapenos and other things. A sprinkle of smoked paprika on the serving adds an extra dimension.

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