How to Make Macaroni and Cheese--Best Mac & Cheese Casserole

Image: Macaroni and Cheese, Ready for the Oven.
Image: Macaroni and Cheese, Ready for the Oven. | Source

Can You Say "Comfort Food"?

Homemade Mac and Cheese Casserole: Bubbly, Crispy, Delicious!

Macaroni and cheese casserole is one of those comfort foods that is a favorite in many peoples' books. It makes a great-tasting casserole to feed a crowd and is a popular item to serve at picnics or potlucks.

Macaroni and cheese casserole can even be made ahead and frozen, then thawed and cooked, when needed. It is not hard to assemble and if you have your cheese grated ahead of time, you can make a large pan in about half an hour.

This recipe uses a white sauce and breadcrumbs. It is well worth adding these. The white sauce makes a creamy filling and the breadcrumbs add a pleasing crunch.

If you like hearty recipes, a pan of homemade macaroni and cheese is hard to beat and it tastes so much better than the stuff you buy in the package. I like to add lots of cheese, as most people do, which gives is such a good flavor.

Save Time and Your Fingers

If you find yourself shredding large batches of cheese, one of the best kitchen tools you can get is a cheese grater. Cheese graters are affordable, far safer than the metal kind that can also grate your fingers, and make short work of shredding large amounts of cheese. This is one of the best tools to have in your kitchen and something I wish I'd gotten years ago.

Homemade Mac and Cheese Casserole: nothing beats the taste!

Mac and Cheese Casserole Ingredients

  • 1 pkg. (8 ounces) elbow macaroni
  • 1 small onion chopped fine
  • 2-4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 1/2-1 tsp. dry mustard (depending on preference)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • onion powder
  • paprika
  • seasoned salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1-2 cups milk
  • 1 pkg. cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 pimientos, diced (optional)
  • 1/2- 1 cup cup breadcrumbs
  • 3 tomatoes, sliced into wedges (optional)

White Sauce--adding a white sauce between your noodles makes for a better casserole

Image: Making White Sauce for Macaroni and Cheese Casserole
Image: Making White Sauce for Macaroni and Cheese Casserole | Source

Making Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

Step 1: Grease a large casserole dish.

Step 2: Cook macaroni

Step 3: Make a white sauce: saute onion in butter. Whisk in 2-3 tablespoons flour, a pinch of dry mustard, salt, pepper, seasonings, and Worcestershire sauce; whisk in 1-2 cups of milk and simmer until mixture thickens.

Step 4: Layer macaroni, white sauce, cheese and breadcrumbs in a casserole dish. Top with grated cheddar cheese and breadcrumbs. (The breadcrumbs are essential--they make your mac & cheese crispy and tasty.)

Step 5: Bake uncovered at 325 degrees for 30-40 minutes until mixture is bubbly and crispy around the edges.

Step 6: Remove mac and cheese casserole from oven and let sit 5 minutes.

This recipe makes the best homemade macaroni and cheese I've ever tasted.

* Adjust amounts of cheese and seasonings to taste.

Ham Adds a Smoky Flavor

If you have left over ham, chop it and add it to macaroni and cheese for a great-tasting casserole to feed a hungry crowd! In the picture above, I took left-over mac and cheese, added in chopped ham and topped it with more cheese before warming it in the oven for a second serving. It was every bit as good with a second reheating and the ham imparted a smoky flavor.

Mac & Cheese Time-Saving Tips

  • Grate and freeze your cheese ahead of time so that when you go to make mac and cheese this is already done.Grease casserole dish for easy clean-up later. Grease along top edge to prevent cheese sticking.
  • Run a knife around edge of casserole dish as soon as you remove it from oven. This prevents cheese sticking to sides of dish.
  • Cut your mac and cheese into squares before cheese hardens. This makes for easier removal for servings.
  • Use a lidded casserole dish so that your casserole stays warm and to keep casserole from drying out when storing in fridge.

I like using a large enamel pan for my mac and cheese as pictured in this Hub.

hese pans take a beating and they keep everything warm for a long time, which is great if you are serving a crowd.

They are deep which is great if you are making a big batch of food.

A dish with a lid is preferable to an open-faced casserole pan because the lid keeps your casserole warm during the dinner hour.

At times, I make my mac and cheese ahead and freeze it right in the pan, covering it with a large plastic freezer bag.

Macaroni and Cheese Recipe - Tom Jefferson's Mac and Cheese

What to Do With Left-Over Macaroni and Cheese

If you've made a large pan of macaroni and cheese and now aren't sure what to do with the left-overs, rest assured that you can reheat them. If you are worried that the noodles may expand or becomes mushy from a second or third reheating, there are a couple of ways around this:

  • For additional heatings, uncover your dish, so that the top of the casserole becomes crispy.
  • Another delicious alternative is to break up and fry your mac and cheese.

Because mac and cheese is so delicious, most people don't bat an eye if the noodles overcook, but frying helps them to keep their shape.

Mac and Cheese Variations

Some cooks like to "fancy up" their homemade mac and cheese. Once you have the basic recipe down, it is easy to add in a few extras. Smokey-flavored meats work best with cheese.

Meats to Add to Mac and Cheese

  • Crumbled bacon
  • Chopped ham
  • Sliced wieners
  • Chopped garlic sausage
  • Chopped hot or spicy sausage

Vegetables to Add to Mac and Cheese

  • Spinach
  • Green peppers
  • Pimiento
  • Tomato

How to Make Macaroni and Cheese

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Comments 6 comments

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States

I have to try this recipe. It looks a lot better than the one I have. Thanks so much. Voted up!


oil country n dakota michelle 5 years ago

th

is is an amazing recipe


Athlyn Green 6 years ago

Hi Mike,

This is one of my favorite recipes--a real comfort food! thanks for the feedback.


Michael Shane profile image

Michael Shane 6 years ago from Gadsden, Alabama

Your hub is now bookmarked in my recipe folder....Thanks!


Jenn 6 years ago

Delish looking recipe, I've never thought to use worchestershire in the dish, I'll try it! Love the look of the cheese lattice on top. Yum!


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Oh I want to try these... :) Bookmarking this one!

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