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How To Make The Best Homemade Macaroni And Cheese

Updated on January 16, 2012

Homemade Mac And Cheese

We've all had Macaroni and Cheese from the box, and I'll admit that I still do from time to time - like when I'm starving after a long night out and I want something salty and easy to make! I even keep a box with the cheese-like powdery stuff for such emergencies - it lasts pretty much forever - though if forced to choose, I would rather eat the kind with the cheese-like sauce...

For most of my life I didn't know that it was even feasible to make Macaroni and Cheese from scratch. Mac and Cheese was a staple food when I was growing up, and it always came from that blue box. Then a few years ago I found a recipe for the real thing and was shocked at how simple it is!

Making homemade Mac and Cheese doesn't take much longer than making it from a box, but the difference in taste between the two is like night and day. And if you have a food processor to grate the cheese, it's even quicker!

This particular recipe is quite rich and uses a LOT of cheese and milk, so I usually save it for holidays and special occasions. It's always a terrific hit at potluck dinners, and it has become a go-to dish when people ask if I can bring a covered dish to party or other get-together (which they always do!)

What Makes It Great?

I use a blend of two different cheeses for extra flavor, but in a pinch you can just use your favorite Cheddar. I also use a mixture of Evaporated and Whole Milk - I find that when I make a Cheese Sauce with Whole Milk alone, it's sometimes a bit chalky.

I like to add some veggies to my Macaroni and Cheese, and I list a few other additions you might like to try at the end of the recipe.

This recipe makes enough to serve 6 people, but it can easily be scaled up for holidays or other get-togethers - just double all the ingredients and use a 3-quart casserole, instead!


It's Comfort Food!

There's nothing quite as nice as homemade Macaroni and Cheese - it's one of those great comfort foods that always gives me a lift...


Equipment


Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 3 slices Bread
  • 1/2 pound Elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 12 ounce can Evaporated Milk, plus enough Whole Milk to make 3 cups
  • 1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 cups (about 9 ounces) White Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • 1 cup (about 4 ounces)  Monterey Jack or Gruyere Cheese, grated


Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Tear the Bread into pieces and place the pieces in the Food Processor bowl with the Chopping Blade. Pulse the Bread a few times to create large bread crumbs.
  3. Transfer the Bread Crumbs to a mixing bowl.
  4. Pour 1 tablespoon of melted Butter over the Bread Crumbs and stir to evenly coat the Bread Crumbs with Butter.
  5. Set bread Crumbs aside.
  6. In a separate mixing bowl, mix the Grated Cheeses together.
  7. Cook the Macaroni according to the instructions on the box, but reduce the cooking time by half. (The Macaroni will finish cooking in the oven) When it's done cooking, strain it into a colander and run it under cold water to stop the cooking process, then set aside to finish draining.
  8. Meanwhile, warm the Milk in the microwave or in a small saucepan.
  9. In a large, high-sided non-stick skillet, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of Butter over Medium heat.
  10. Once the bubbles subside, add the Flour to the Butter and whisk to create a Roux.
  11. Slowly pour the warmed Milk over the Roux, whisking continuously to maintain a smooth texture.
  12. Continue whisking for 5 or 6 minutes until thickened. (This is a classic "Bechamel Sauce" - you can see how it's made in the video following this recipe!)
  13. Remove the pan from heat.
  14. Add the Salt, Pepper, Nutmeg and Cayenne to the Bechamel Sauce.
  15. Stir in most of the Cheese - save about a cup's worth for the topping.
  16. Pour the Cheese Sauce over the Macaroni and stir to completely coat the Macaroni.
  17. Spray the Casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  18. Pour the Macaroni and Cheese mixture into the Casserole dish.
  19. Sprinkle the remaining Cheese over the top, then sprinkle the Buttered Bread Crumbs over the Cheese.
  20. Bake for 30 minutes until crust is golden brown.
  21. Remove Casserole from the oven and let it rest on the stovetop for 5 minutes.
  22. Enjoy!


Optional Additions For The Best Homemade Mac And Cheese

Before adding the Cheese Sauce to the Macaroni, try one or more of these additional ingredients!

  • 8 to 16 ounces of frozen peas, corn or edamame
  • Fresh Broccoli florets
  • Cooked, crumbled Sausage or Ground Beef


This Recipe is from Edweirdo's Cookbook!

Looking for more fast and easy cooking recipes?

Check out Edweirdo's Cookbook for great FREE recipes online!

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How To Boil Pasta The Right Way!

How To Make Bechamel - The Base For Our Cheese Sauce!

More Great Side Dishes

Now that you have The Best Homemade Mac & Cheese, why not add some Great Garlic Mashed Potatoes to the Thanksgiving Dinner Menu!

Part Of Any Great Thanksgiving Menu!

This Homemade Mac & Cheese is the perfect side dish to The Best Roast Turkey Ever!

You can also make a Great Sage Sausage and Apple Stuffing to complete that Thanksgiving Dinner Menu!

Comments

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  • FOREX NINJA profile image

    FOREX NINJA 6 years ago

    Excellent article,very very bookmarked.Thanks for sharing these with cool images which really fit in.

  • Maggie Elaine profile image

    Maggie Elaine 7 years ago

    Great article! We love Mac and cheese at our house. Sounds yummy!

  • Edweirdo profile image
    Author

    Edweirdo 7 years ago from United States

    @snakebaby - It's easier then it looks! Give it a try - it's much tastier than that stuff from a box :D

  • snakebaby profile image

    Sabrina Yuquan Chen (陈玉泉) 7 years ago from Boston, MA, USA

    This looks so complicated, I'd be dead before I get there, I think, hehe, because I hate cooking. At home, only my son loves Macaroni and cheese, you know the stuff we get from supermarket. I wonder whether this homemade would taste very different that even I would love?

  • AuntySa profile image

    AuntySa 7 years ago from Austalia

    This is a great article and every on-the-go parents should try this. It looks yummy just by looking at the recipe. HI love pasta, I hope I can try this out soon.

  • hypnosis4u2 profile image

    hypnosis4u2 7 years ago from Massachusetts

    I love pasta but unfortunately carbs are pretty much out of my diet from now on but not my kids.

  • Youngcurves19 profile image

    Youngcurves19 7 years ago from Hawaii

    that looks Awesome! I have a pretty good macaroni recipe too you should try it! Its soooooo good

    https://hubpages.com/food/Baked-Macaroni-YUM-YUM

  • profile image

    LEWJ 7 years ago

    Man! That macaroni dish sho' look good!

  • prowork profile image

    prowork 7 years ago from Marietta , Ohio USA

    It always taste better homemade . You did a great job.

    https://hubpages.com/health/Learn-If-You-Have-Bing...

  • Edweirdo profile image
    Author

    Edweirdo 7 years ago from United States

    Thanks Pamela! It's definitely worth a try :D

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    Recipe looks great and I will plan on trying it. good hub