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. Hi Amanda👋 I like to make mac aand cheese for my grandkids. One thing that is hard to avoid is when the pasta absorbs a lot of the sauce. Do you have any suggestions that could help avoid this? Thanks!

    1. I am wondering if you could toss your pasta in a little melted butter or spray with a little cooking spray…just for a light coating?

  2. I was taught this way in high school Home Ec. many, many, many years ago! Only way to make it. And any cheese will do – really! but try to have some Cheddar in it. 🙂

  3. Yummy, easy but very salty. Next time I will cut salt in half or more. This is a keeper and appreciate the secret to having creamy cheese vs gritty.

  4. Hi this snack really great not only for kids but for the whole family love it
    Amanda i have a favor could you help me how to make pocket shawarma wrap? thank you so much.


  5. Am trying the recipe for supper. Now I know why the cheeses lump together. Just stir in and let melt. Thanks

  6. Making Mac and cheese for years, save some pasta water I can add it later to make it creamer when it thicken

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