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!
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.
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! 🙂
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!
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.
Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese
- 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.
Did you make this recipe?
Thank you for making my recipe! You took pictures, right? Well go ahead and post them on Instagram! Be sure to mention me @iambaker and use the hashtag #YouAreBaker.