Baking Mac And Cheese
- Baking macaroni and cheese is optional. I always bake my mac and cheese further as it tastes so good. But if you dont have an oven or the time, then just mix and serve.
- Do top with breadcrumbs when baking as they add a lovely crispy and crunchy layer.
- Feel free to add seasonings, herbs and spices of your choice. I keep it simple with crushed black pepper and a bit of ground nutmeg. A dash of mustard powder also perks up the flavor.
- To add some fiber and extra nutrition to in the dish, simply mix in some steamed veggies.
Faqs About Homemade Mac And Cheese
This mac and cheese recipe is one of my most popular, so here are some of the commonly asked questions.
How do you store mac and cheese?
Store the leftovers of this homemade mac and cheese recipe in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Since it thickens as it cools, you may need to add 1-2 TBS of milk when it’s reheated it to restore its original creaminess.
Can homemade mac and cheese be frozen?
Yes, you can freeze this homemade mac and cheese, however I don’t recommend it. Since this mac and cheese recipe is so easy to make, there’s really no need to freeze it. If you’re looking for a freezer-friendly mac and cheese recipe check out my baked mac and cheese!
What main dish goes well with mac and cheese?
If you’re looking to serve this mac and cheese recipe as a side dish instead of the main event, here are some suggestions for other dishes that pair well with it: meatloaf
What Makes This Macaroni And Cheese Recipe So Extra
If youve ever had baked macaroni and cheese thats dry or grainy then you know what Im talking about here. We want our mac n cheese luscious and saucy and CREAMY! Creamy mac n cheese is the best mac n cheese.
I have a few tricks up my sleeve with this recipe that make it the creamiest around:
And one final tip: This dish is best served fresh from the oven! Try to time it so youre eating it at its ooey-gooey best.
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Ask Eric: How To Make A Beautifully Smooth Cheese Sauce
Dear Eric: Please help! I am almost 80 years old and my cheese sauce always curdles when I make macaroni and cheese. It looks terrible and tastes blah. Jewel Townsend
Dear Jewel: I wish you had contacted me sooner, because thats a long time to be having your cheese sauce curdling. But I hope the following advice will ensure smooth sailing, or should I say smooth saucing, the next time you make it.
To review, cheese sauce is simply white sauce, also called béchamel, that has been flavoured with cheese.
To make the white sauce, you start by making roux, a mixture made by cooking in a saucepan a combination of flour and butter or other fat. You cook the roux a short while to get the raw flour taste out of it. For a white sauce, you do not let the roux darken, as you would for a brown sauce or gravy.
Warm milk is slowly incorporated into the roux, creating a smooth mixture. If you add the milk too quickly, use cold milk or simply dont whisk fast enough, you could get lumps in your sauce as bits of roux will cook and turn into small balls before theyve had a chance to be smoothly blended into the milk.
Once youve added the milk and gently simmered and thickened the white sauce, its time to add the cheese.
How and when you add the cheese is critical to making a smooth sauce.
Do not add the cheese to the sauce while is still sitting over the heat, as that can cause the cheese to overcook, start to separate and turn your sauce into an oily-surfaced, curdled-looking mess.
Can I Bake This Recipe
At this point of stovetop mac and cheese, you can choose to transfer to a 9 x 13 inch baking dish, top with more cheese and other toppings of choice, bake at 350 degrees F. for 20-25 minutes for a baked mac and cheese. This is another fantastic option. Adding buttered bread crumbs and bacon is another winning option before baking to add a nice crunch. Try adding cooked beef or chicken for more dinner options too.
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How To Make Macaroni And Cheese
This recipe has 3 main parts:
Lets start with the pasta!
I like to use elbow macaroni for this recipe, because its traditional and I love the way the little hole in the middle fills up with creamy cheese sauce. YUM!
But you can use whatever type of pasta you like. Just be sure to boil it in lots of well-salted water , and undercook it slightly. Drain the noodles one minute before the directions on the box say. This will help your final product to be extra-creamy and delish!
Toss the macaroni in a little bit of butter while its still hot, to keep it from sticking together while you prepare the other components.
- Extra-sharp Cheddar
To me, these 3 cheeses, along with the spices in the cream sauce, combine for the perfect balance. But you can feel free to sub in any of your favorites!
I also think these would be great choices:
- American Cheese
Just to name a few!
Whatever you decide to use, do yourself a favor and grate it yourself. Dont buy the pre-shredded stuff! It contains additives that prevent it from melting smoothly. Its so much creamier when you take a few extra minutes to shred your own cheese. I run mine through the food processor and its done in seconds.
THE CREAMY SAUCE
Once your noodles are boiled and your cheese is shredded, its time to start the sauce.
Once the flour and butter are combined, whisk in a little of the milk.
Now you have whats called a bechamel sauce .
Is Macaroni And Cheese Healthy
Well, no, not really. Our creamy baked mac and cheese recipe calls for lots of cheese and butter, which is what makes it taste amazing. If you want healthy, you could try this version of healthy mac and cheese.
To be clear, we don’t eat this mac and cheese recipe every week or every month. For us, this is a special occasion dish and everyone loves when they see mac and cheese on the table!
If you’ve tried this recipe, please rate the recipe and leave a comment below!You can also follow me on , , , and . And please join the to get all the Southern Food and Fun recipes.
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Can I Freeze Macaroni And Cheese
I get asked that a lot and my answer is always no. As the pasta and cheese sauce sit, it will thicken and when you thaw it and bake it, the creamy consistency is just gone. Its thick and gloppy. Plus if you freeze it and its still a bit warm, water crystals will form and then thaw into your dish and could make it separate when you bake it. Besides, its so fast to make, theres not really a reason to freeze your macaroni and cheese.
Gather & Measure The Ingredients
This easy mac and cheese recipe is super fast-paced once you start cooking, so it’s important to have all the ingredients measured and ready to go! As you can see there are only eight, common ingredients in this recipe that most of us have on hand at all times! We will discuss the ingredients and possible substitutions later in this post .
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How To Make A Mornay Sauce
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This is the same base I use for my Homemade alfredo sauce as well. Alfredo is made with parmesan while I use a few different cheeses for my Mac and Cheese.
I always use some type of cheddar traditional cheddar will give you a classic yellow mac and cheese. I typically use white extra sharp cheddar, Gruyere and Monterey Jack cheese.
I buy blocks and shred the cheese myself for a smoother sauce and better flavor. The pre shredded cheese tends to have less flavor had have a coating to keep them separated that I dont love in my cheese sauce.
Take the sauce off the heat and add the cheese in batches while stirring. Next taste the salt and see if it needs any additional salt! Then add it to the pasta.
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.
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Find Tons Of Other Dreamy Cheesy Meals In Ree’s Bestselling Cookbooks
And stir together until its all melted. Go ahead and turn off the heat.
Now its time for seasoning! Add about 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt If youre sensitive to salt, start really low and work your way upand remember that the cheese imparts quite a bit of salt to the mix.
BUTand this is importantbe careful not to UNDERSALT the mac & cheese. It really needs ample salt to put the flavor over the top.
*I also use paprika, cayenne pepper, even ground thyme every now and then. Play with different ground spices and see what you like best.
And finally, add plenty of black pepper, of the Black Dust variety. Honestly, I love freshly ground pepperbut not in homemade Mac & Cheese. For me, it has to be the powdery stuff.
Now THATs what Im talkin about.
And guess what? You can just steam some fresh broccoli and spoon some of this over the top. Kids from all over the land will show up at your doorstep.
Did you know a single serving of broccoli is positively loaded with Vitamin C?
Now just dump in the drained, not-fully-cooked macaroni!
And stir the mixture together.
I use a little less than the full amount of cooked macaroni, because I love it extra creamy and coated. Just add it according to how you like it.
Now, you can either dish it up as it is right now, which makes for an ultra-creamy love fest
OR you can pour the macaroni into a buttered baking dish. This is a 2-quart dish, but a 9 x 13 pan would work just fine.
Kinda like this.
Homemade Macaroni And Cheese: What Kind Of Cheese Should I Use
I honestly use different cheese combinations almost every time I make this mac and cheese recipe but the one I always come back to is sharp cheddar and Gruyere. If you cant find Gruyere, Jarlsberg Swiss cheese is the best substitute. Other cheese that work: mozzarella, jack cheese or pepper jack for a little zip, American and Velveeta as well for a creamier cheese sauce. This baked mac and cheese uses 6 cups of cheese so just
To add even more flavor to my homemade mac and cheese, I add Parmesan to the Panko topping so good!
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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! .
Creamy Baked Mac And Cheese
The Chunky Chef09/30/2019
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This baked mac and cheese is a family favorite recipe, loved by both children and adults. It uses a combination of cheeses, layered in the dish as well as melted into a rich and creamy cheese sauce, for the ultimate in cheesy deliciousness! Perfect for a comforting dinner or as a holiday side dish!
Looking for other comfort food dishes? Check out my Homemade Sloppy Joes, Creamy Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Crockpot Meatloaf, and Homestyle No-Boil Mashed Potatoes!
BAKED MAC AND CHEESE
Baked mac and cheese. Its nearly the universal comfort food, and there are SO many variations! In fact, I almost didnt post this recipe, as there are SOOOO many mac and cheese recipes available, and most people already have their favorite way of making it.
Of course, theres no right way or wrong way, so Im here sharing the way I like to make my mac and cheese .
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Best Mac And Cheese Sauce
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
No matter if youre making stovetop mac and cheese or baked mac and cheese, this is the best mac and cheese sauce on the internet!
Made with simple ingredients such as a mac and cheese roux, cheddar cheese, salt, and pepper, this cheese sauce for mac and cheese is creamy and scrumptious.
Obviously, if youre on this site you are a cheese lover. I mean, we are The Cheese Knees after all!
Every cheese website deserves to have a signature mac and cheese sauce thats easy to make, creamy, and perfect on any noodle! PS: if you havent tried our classic mac and cheese, you need to now!
Do You Need To Bake Mac And Cheese
Creamy mac and cheese recipes that start with a roux-based sauce , do not need to be baked before serving. A creamy stovetop mac and cheese recipe is designed to go straight from the pot to the plate no oven necessary. You could also serve this mac and cheese without baking it will just be really saucy. By contrast, Southern-style mac and cheese recipes must be baked in order to cook the egg and help the dish set.
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Switch Out The Cheese
Instead of using the powdered cheese packet that comes with a box of mac and cheese, take an extra five minutes to make a homemade cheese sauce. You can use any type of cheese, but we prefer sharp Cheddar. For full instructions on how to make homemade cheese sauce, refer to this recipe. Alternatively, stick with the standard powdered cheese-butter-milk combination, but bolster the sauce with a few slices of American cheese or a handful of shredded Cheddar to make it extra cheesy.
How To Store And Freeze
- Baked macaroni and cheese will keep in an airtight container for three to five days in the refrigerator.
- It also freezes well, put the casserole in a freezer-safe container to use as a side dish for a family meal, or put in individual containers for lunches or snacks. Mac-n-cheese will last in the freezer for up to three months.
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What To Serve With Baked Mac And Cheese
Mac and Cheese is worthy of serving as a meal in its own right, served with just a fresh green salad or simple vegetable side. Nothing heavy because Macaroni Cheese is so rich as it is!
As a side dish, it will compliment virtually any non-Asian main dish. From simple Baked Pork Chops to Steak, a Roast Chicken to Crispy Garlic Chicken Thighs, the only things I probably would not serve with Mac and Cheese would be very light summery mains such as a Tuna Tartare just a little too much contrast.
And of course, festive gatherings! Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter alongside a grand Roast Turkey or your Herb & Garlic Butter Slathered Turkey Breast, the juicy Roast Pork with impossibly Crispy Crackling or your Prime Rib thats so perfectly blushing pink all the way through, it makes you want to weep.
Holidays would not be the same without this Mac and Cheese!! Nagi xx
Quick Mac And Cheese For One
A quick recipe for mac and cheese for one. Easy, cheesy, and oh so good.
Is it lunchtime? Is it dinner time? Are you starving? Do you need a mac and cheese fix? Yes? Well, Ive got just the thing for you: mac and cheese for one.
This homemade macaroni and cheese is just as quick as the kind that comes out of a box, is one thousand times more delicious, and wont leave you with a mass of gross congealed leftovers.
I grew up in a boxed mac and cheese household, and just like when I learned how to make homemade mashed potatoes, when I discovered how easy homemade macaroni and cheese was to make, I had no idea why we hadnt just been making it from scratch all along.
It takes exactly the same amount of time, and if you keep a basic stocked kitchen, cheese and any sort of pasta in your house, YOU HAVE THE INGREDIENTS TO MAKE THIS.
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