A homemade mac and cheese recipe is great to have in your back pocket as everyone loves mac and cheese! Mac and cheese is great to take to BBQ’s, potlucks, school events, or just to have for an evening at home!
And just like this American Goulash recipe, homemade mac and cheese can be filling and delicious!
Homemade mac and cheese is everyone’s favorite comfort food! I have yet to meet anyone who didn’t like mac and cheese!
It’s versatile, can handle add-ins and different flavor combinations. Aside from a pot of chili, I can’t say the same thing for many other dishes.
Basic Homemade Mac and Cheese Ingredients
Pasta – The most popular pasta shape would be elbow macaroni, but you can use almost any kind of pasta. I like shaped pasta as the grooves and indentations are great for holding the cheese sauce.
Butter – Everything is better with butter right? I prefer to use real butter in my recipes. You need the butter, or a source of fat to help make a “roux” or the sauce base. Olive oil can be used but it will have a distinct flavor.
Flour– The flour will mix with the butter to form the roux. Together they will thicken your cheese sauce.
Dairy – I most often use milk for my mac and cheese recipe. Whole milk is ideal because of that fat content, but really, you can use whatever you have in the fridge. You can also use half and half, heavy cream, and evaporated milk.
Cheese – You definitely want to use a good melting cheese. Cheddar, Swiss, provolone, mozzarella, fontina, gruyere, Gouda, and Parmesan are great for melting into a luscious sauce. Cheeses like feta, goat cheese, cottage cheese do not melt sufficiently.
You can also add cream cheese and mascarpone cheese for an ultra rich and smooth cheese sauce.
How To Make Homemade Mac and Cheese Recipe
Prepare your chosen pasta, according to package directions.
Melt butter in a large saucepan that has been placed over medium heat. Whisk in an equal amount of all-purpose flour until combined and a thick paste has formed.
At this point, you need to slowly stream in the dairy that you are using. Whisk the mixture constantly. Whiskin will prevent any lumps from forming and will ensure that all the ingredients combine.
Allow the mixture to bubble around the edges and thicken.
Once the milk has thickened, it’s time to add in your cheese! You can shred your own cheese or use pre shredded cheese if that is easier! This is a good time to add cream cheese or grated Parmesan cheese if you are using.
Once the sauce is smooth, fold your al dente pasta into the cheese, turning to coat. At this point, your macaroni and cheese recipe can be served!
You can also turn this side dish into a baked mac and cheese by topping with bread crumbs and baking in the oven. This dish can really go either way!
How To Make Make Mac and Cheese In Advance
When I need mac and cheese to be made in advance, I will often make the pasta in advance, then keep it in the fridge until it is almost time to be served. The cheese sauce does not take more than 15 minutes or more to come together. Combine and serve the pasta!
Alternatively, you can make the mac and cheese as stated here. Place the combined pasta in a baking dish, cover, and refrigerate. Bake the mac and cheese in a 350-degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.
Can Mac and Cheese Be Frozen?
Yes, it can. Prepare the mac and cheese as instructed. Place the pasta in a baking dish and cover tightly. Freeze pasta for up to 3 months. When needed, place the mac and cheese in a 350-degree oven. Bake the frozen pasta for 1 hour.
What Can I Add to Homemade Mac and Cheese?
- I often stir in shredded rotisserie chicken (or almost any protein) to make my mac and cheese a meal.
- Cook broccoli florets with your pasta to get a dose of vegetables in your mac and cheese.
- Sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, and black olives will give mac and cheese a Tuscan flair.
- Feta, black olives, garbanzos beans, spinach, and tomatoes will lend a Greek flair.
- Black beans corn, green chilies, and ground beef will turn this into a Mexican mac and cheese!
More Delicious Pasta Recipes:
- 1 lb cavatappi pasta
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 8 oz package Italian Blend shredded cheese
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Reserved pasta water
- Prepare pasta according to package directions; drain, reserving a cup of pasta water, set aside.
- Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until combined. Mixture should form a paste.
- Slowly whisk in heavy cream, whisking constantly to avoid any lumps. Whisk until milk has been incorporated.
- Cook milk until it begins to thicken, taking care that milk does not bubbly over and burn.
- Reduce heat and stir in shredded cheeses until smooth.
- Add pasta to cheese sauce, stirring to coat.
- If mixture is too thick, add a little reserved pasta water to thin out the sauce. The starch from the pasta water will keep the sauce nice and thick.
- Serve immediately.
Amount Per Serving Calories 8