Easy Cheese Sauce For Mac And Cheese

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Basic Cheese Sauce for Mac ‘n Cheese

Of course, theres still plenty of room for customization here. Thats the fun part!

The possibilities are endless, so if youre looking for an awesome base recipe that you can make for any occasion, this is the one!

Cook The Fat And Flour Together

Begin by heating 2 tablespoons oil or fat in a saucepan over medium heat until a pinch of flour sprinkled into the oil will just begin to bubble.

Then, whisk in 3-1/2 tablespoons of flour to form a thick paste the consistency of cake frosting. Continue whisking as the roux gently bubbles and cooks to the shade desired. Do not allow the roux to bubble too vigorously, or it will burn rather than brown.

The Best Cheese For Mac And Cheese

Sharp Cheddar is my first choice for flavor however you can certainly use your favorite cheeses. Mix it up and use a bit of gruyere, or even pepper jack for a little kick. If you have bits of cheese leftover, you can combine them all together in this easy homemade cheese sauce.

This recipe has a special ingredient that is a little bit unconventional but makes it extra yummy AND it is optional. The addition of cheddar cheese soup makes the sauce a little bit extra velvety and just adds a little something. I think its much better than Mac and cheese with Velveeta! Give it a try! .

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How To Make Mac & Cheese In 15 Minutes

While mac and cheese can be made in the Crockpot or baked in the oven, this is an easy mac and cheese ready in minutes.

  • Melt butter in a saucepan & whisk in flour per the recipe below .
  • Whisk in liquid a bit at a time until smooth. Add seasonings and cook until thickened.
  • Remove from heat, stir in cheese until smooth. Stir in the cooked elbow macaroni.
  • How To Make Cheesy Pasta

    easy macaroni and cheese sauce

    Have all of your ingredients prepped and ready to go, because this cheesy pasta sauce comes together quickly and requires your full attention!

  • Cook the pasta in a large pot of well-salted boiling water until al dente, according to package directions. Drain.
  • While the pasta cooks, fry the bacon in a large skillet or Dutch oven until it’s crispy. Remove the bacon to a separate paper towel-lined plate, reserving some of the drippings in the pan.
  • Sauté the zucchini and onion in the bacon drippings until the vegetables are tender. Remove the veggies to the plate with the bacon.
  • Whisk together the cheese sauce by combining the melted butter and flour, and then gradually streaming in the milk.
  • Simmer the sauce for 3 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat.
  • Stir in the cheeses, salt, garlic powder, and pepper, whisking until smooth.
  • Add the cooked pasta, bacon, zucchini, and onion, and stir until everything is coated in the cheese sauce.
  • Garnish with fresh lemon zest, chopped fresh herbs, or crushed red pepper flakes.
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    Kid Friendly Recipes To Explore:

    If you make this recipe, Id love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen

    Q: Do your children have a favorite food that you make something they request again and again? Id love to hear from you in a comment below. We are always looking for inspiration

    How Long Does It Take To Make Homemade Mac And Cheese From Scratch

    This easy Mac and cheese recipe is on the table in about 10-12 minutes. If youre looking to make the whole recipe in one pot then it will take a bit longer, which is still about 15-16 minutes.

    I like to make the cheese sauce while the pasta is cooking so I can get dinner on the table in a flash but if youre not pressed for time and can spare and extra 8 minutes, then boil the pasta in the pot first. Drain and then make the cheese sauce in the same pot. Still quick, still easy, still creamy deliciousness!

    I like to serve this Super Easy Macaroni and Cheese with a simple salad OR these Fish Nuggets. Sometimes we even like to mix in a bit of these stewed tomatoes. I dont know why but it totally reminds me of my childhood and so we still serve it that way now.

    Its also FABULOUS in the school lunchbox stashed in a thermos so it stays hot until lunch. Which for my little guy is so early its like Brunch.

    If youre looking for MORE one pot, quick and easy dinners you have to try this simple Taco Pasta Skilletits an oldie but goodie. Or this insanely amazing Pumpkin Pasta Skillet. Its my absolute favorite thing about fall.

    To see more fun food and our favorite places to go out in the Philly area follow us over on

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    How To Make Homemade Mac And Cheese

    Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese isnt that mystical. Its rather simple to make in just a short time.

  • Boil a pot of water and cook the pasta according to the package directions.
  • While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and whisk in the flour.
  • Stir in the milk and cook until thickened
  • Stir in the grated cheese and then add the cooked/drained pasta to the cheese sauce.
  • Grab a fork and dig in.
  • How easy was that?

    How To Thicken Mac And Cheese

    2 Easy Ways to Make Cheese Sauce Like a Chef | Mac ‘n’ Cheese & Cauliflower Cheese

    Usually, mac and cheese come with tomato sauce and bacon, which gives the dish a smoky and salty flavor. However, sometimes you are looking to make your mac and cheese more creamy to get that gravy-like texture.

    Its not very difficult to accomplish this and its also not very time-consuming. The question then arises: how do you thicken mac and cheese?

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    Choose Your Cheeses Thoughtfully

    You might think you can just throw whatever cheeses you happen to have in the fridge into your mac and cheese, and, to a certain extent thats true. But if youre looking to make the creamiest mac and cheese you possibly can, youll want to be a little more discerning. A cheese like Parmesan, for instance, isnt going to melt super well, meaning its better for a topper than for your creamy cheese sauce. Cheddar and similar cheeses that melt well will make your sauce the creamiest it can be.

    The most popular approach is to make your mac and cheese entirely on the stovetop.

    Most of the stovetop recipes are based on the same basic process:

  • Start with a roux of equal parts butter and flour.
  • Make your roux into a bechamel sauce by slowly adding milk.
  • Make your bechamel into a mornay sauce by adding your cheese.
  • Combine with your cooked pasta and warm it all through.
  • Thats not to say its simple though. Making a roux is fiddly and time consuming. So why do it?

    How To Make Homemade Mac And Cheese Step By Step Photos

    Start by shredding an 8oz. block of sharp cheddar. Its very important to shred the cheese yourself instead of using pre-shredded cheese. For more information on that, see the section above the recipe titled Avoid Pre-Shredded Cheese.

    Next, boil 8oz. of macaroni according to the box directions . Drain the macaroni in a colander.

    You can start the cheese sauce either while the macaroni is boiling, or wait until its draining and just make it in the same pot to save on dishes. Add 3 Tbsp butter, 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour, and ½ tsp onion powder to the pot.

    Place the pot over medium heat and allow the butter to melt. Whisk the butter, flour, and onion powder together as the mixture begins to get bubbly and frothy. Cook and whisk for about one minute after it becomes bubbly.

    Whisk 2 cups of milk into the butter and flour roux. Continue whisking as the milk begins to heat .

    Allow the milk to come up to a gentle simmer, at which point it will thicken to the consistency of heavy cream or gravy. Turn the burner off at this point.

    Season the sauce with ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp hot sauce, or the seasonings of your choice .

    Begin adding 8oz. shredded cheddar to the pot, one handful at a time, whisking until it is completely melted before adding more. If the sauce cools down too much to continue melting the cheese, you can put it over low heat briefly, but avoid allowing the sauce to simmer again. Overheating cheese sauces will cause them to break and become grainy and oily.

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    Experimenting With Homemade Mac And Cheese

    For me, boxed mac was the gateway drug that led to years of experimentation. Steps on my journey included:

    • Adding different real cheeses to boxed mac .
    • Toying with the ratio of milk, butter, cream, and salt in my own early recipes.
    • And while my fellow teens were having a goth phase, I was having a Velveeta phase.

    Im glad those days are history, because now that were grown-ups, we dont ever have to settle for anything less than the Creamiest Mac and Cheese ever again.

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    How To Make Roux

    Easy Homemade Mac and Cheese Recipe

    Roux takes just a few minutes to make. Whether you are making just enough for a single dish, or a batch to divide and freeze for later, the proportions of ingredients are the same: 1 part oil or fat and 1 part all-purpose flour, by weight. If you have a kitchen scale, this is easy to measure. If you do not have a kitchen scale, use measuring cups or spoons to measure 1 part oil or fat and 1-3/4 parts all-purpose flour.

    We’ll explain how to make a small batch.

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    What Is The Best Cheese For Macaroni And Cheese

    Basically, any well melting cheese would work great in this macaroni and cheese recipe. I like to stick with a mild cheddar because it looks and tastes most like the box but it also melts incredibly well leaving you with the best creamy Mac and cheese recipe youll ever try.

    I have used other cheeses in my Mac and cheese recipes like this Five Cheese Baked Macaroni and Cheese.its amazing but its not as quick to make plus the cheeses used are a bit more spendy than the cheddar used for this Easy Macaroni and Cheese.

    Add Liquid To Make A Sauce

    After cooking roux, you’ll usually add a liquid ingredient to make a sauce .

    To ensure lump-free thickening when making sauces, the liquid ingredient should be cold or room temperature, and slowly whisked into the hot roux. Do this by adding the liquid a little at a time, whisking until smooth between each addition, until the roux forms a thin paste, then whisking in the remaining liquid and bringing the mixture to a simmer. Cold or room temperature roux is simply whisked into a simmering soup or sauce until it dissolves. These methods ensure the roux is incorporated slowly and the mixture will not form lumps.

    Roux begins to thicken soon after it is combined with a liquid, but it must be simmered for 10 to 20 minutes in order to reach its full flavor and thickening potential. This additional cooking time allows the flour to soften and absorb the liquid, resulting in a silky smooth soup or sauce. If the simmering time is too short, the flour in the roux will remain grainy.

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    Two: Add Milk And Seasonings

  • Next comes the milk. If the roux is hot, the milk should be cool, but if the roux is cool, the milk should be hot. When you combine the ingredients at different temperatures, they heat up at a moderate rate not too fast, and not too slow creating a velvety-smooth sauce.
  • Pour in the milk gradually while whisking the roux until the mixture is smooth, then add seasonings if you wish. Traditional seasonings for béchamel are diced or grated onion, a bay leaf, a couple cloves, and a pinch of nutmeg.
  • Simmer the sauce until it gets to the consistency you want, then strain out any seasonings. If you’re in a hurry, you can simmer the sauce over high heat, but you’ll want to keep whisking to prevent it from burning.
  • White Pepper Vs Black Pepper:

    Stovetop Mac and Cheese Recipe with Easy One Step Cheese Sauce

    White pepper and black pepper are both the fruit of the pepper plant. They are processed differently which causes the change in color, and end up tasting slightly different. White pepper is hotter than black pepper, but black pepper has a more complex flavor. White pepper tends to have more floral and earthy notes to it.

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    How To Make Mac And Cheese:

    Making homemade mac and cheese couldnt be easier! The process is so simple, youll be able to memorize it quickly.

  • Cook the pasta
  • Stir together pasta sauce and whisk on the stove until thickened
  • Add sour cream, cooked pasta and serve
  • Cooks Tip: This mac and cheese recipe is quick and easy but DO NOT walk away from the cheese sauce. Whisk constantly while it is on the stove to keep it smooth and creamy. Do not overcook or boil, or it may curdle.

    Make The Cheese Sauce

    While the macaroni is cooking, make the cheese sauce. It’s really easy but there are a few notes that we’ll go over to ensure your success!

    Make a Roux

    This homemade mac and cheese sauce starts with a roux. What is a roux? It’s a mixture of fat and flour that is used to create thick sauces. Start by melting the butter and then adding the dry ingredients .

    Use a whisk to combine the ingredients until the mixture is homogenous . Let it cook for about 60 seconds before moving on!

    Add wet ingredients.

    After the roux has cooked for 60 seconds, add the milk and whisk the mixture really well. Add the sour cream or Greek yogurt and whisk again. At this point the mixture will be fairly runny. Cook over medium heat whisking every 10-15 seconds until the sauce starts to thicken.

    Do NOT let this mixture boil! If you do you may end up with a mac and cheese sauce that is too thick. Once the sauce has thickened enough to stick to a spatula, turn the heat to low. Then it’s time for the next step…

    Add the cheese & whisk until smooth

    Add the cheese and whisk until the sauce is smooth and all the cheese is melted. This will take 1-2 minutes over low heat. At this point it is important to taste the cheese sauce and adjust the salt/garlic according to your tastes!

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    How To Make A Bread Crumb Topping

    Combine the following and sprinkle over your casserole before baking.

    • 3/4 cup bread crumbs
    • 3 tablespoons melted butter
    • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
    • 1 tablespoon parsley

    This recipe makes an extra saucy creamy macaroni. Do not over-bake this recipe. You want it creamy and rich, over-baking will cause it to dry out. I find that 20 minutes is perfect in my oven, the cheese sauce will thicken slightly while standing.

    What Else Can I Add To Mac And Cheese

    Beer Cheese Sauce Mac and Cheese

    Heres where mac and cheese can get really fun. In addition to changing the cheeses, you can switch up the herbs and spices, add in some veggies, or your favorite protein to make your own homemade mac and cheese creation. Here are some other fun ingredients to add to your mac and cheese:

    • Cooked chicken

    The equipment section above contains affiliate links to products we use and love. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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    How To Make Homemade Mac And Cheese On The Stovetop:

  • Cook pasta: add the macaroni noodles to a pot of boiling hot water. Cook about 5 minutes until noodles are al dente . Strain and rinse the noodles with cold water to stop the cooking.
  • Prepare roux: melt butter, stir in flour and spices. Let this cook briefly, 2-3 minutes.
  • Stir in milk and let this cook for several minutes. The sauce will thicken while it cooks. Let cook at a gentle simmer.
  • Remove from heat and stir in cheese and the cream cheese.
  • Add the cooked noodles, stir to coat in the sauce.
  • Homemade Mac And Cheese

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    Homemade Mac and Cheese on the Stovetop. This irresistibly cheesy macaroni recipe comes together quick and easy. Not to mention the homemade cheese sauce is thick and creamy. Use your favorite cheese to make this a dish the whole family will love!

    Smooth and creamy, this Easy Homemade Mac and Cheese comes together in less than 30 minutes on the stovetop. This is the perfect family dinner! It also doubles as a side dish and pairs wonderfully with BBQ meats, like this smoked pulled pork.

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    Mac And Cheese Sauce Versatility

    Love this sauce and want to mix things up? Here are some ideas on how to repurpose this sauce for something other than mac!

    Use on any noodle all out of macaroni noodles? You can literally use 1 lb. of any noodle under the sun!

    Nachos we love using this sauce on top of nachos. Think loaded nachos with all the fixings + this cheese sauce.

    Burgers/Sandwiches how good would this easy mac and cheese sauce be on top of a burger or sandwich?! Im drooling.

    Chili Mac and Cheese mix this cheese sauce with 1 lb. of noodles and a batch of homemade beef chili for some chili mac! Check out our sister sites Chili Mac and Cheese recipe!

    Dip when I dip you dip we dip. Grab your favorite tortilla chip and dip away!

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