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Old Fashioned Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Updated on February 5, 2013
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

Decades ago every good homemaker had a favorite old fashioned macaroni and cheese recipe. In the days before boxed macaroni and cheese mixes and powdered cheese food product, the real thing was filling, creamy, and comforting.

While the boxed versions are technically quicker, and arguably inexpensive, there is just nothing like real, creamy macaroni and cheese on a blustery autumn day. You may remember it with a variety of cheeses, with crumbs on top, or made in a loaf pan and sliced . However you crave mac and cheese, one of these recipes should quell the most insistent craving and whisk you off to a retro kitchen, at least in your mind.


Tips for Perfect Old Fashioned Macaroni and Cheese

There are no real tricks to it but a couple of tips might help you produce a casserole dish of macaroni and cheese that a 1950s sit-com mom would be proud of.

  • Overcook the macaroni slightly. Not to mushiness but cooked well past the a la dente stage.

  • Use a sharp cheddar

  • Do not scrimp on the fat. Low fat macaroni and cheese is not what it's about, here.

  • If you are going to use bread crumbs to top your mac n cheese use Panko. They stay crispier.

  • Use organic ingredients for the best results. All the fillers and fake foods are not good for you.

  • If you make it in a clear glass casserole dish you can judge the level of the milk better.

  • For a truly retro presentation make it in a loaf pan, let it cool and slice. Warm it back up.

  • If you find a recipe is too dry add more milk as needed. This is where it is nice to have a glass pan. My grandmother's recipe called for the milk to come a little over halfway up the sides of the pan.

  • Evaporated milk will make a creamier dish

  • You can make any of thes crockpot macaroni and cheese recipes by cooking in a crockpot on low for four to six hours. Add a bit more milk.

image:maryeaudet (c)2009
image:maryeaudet (c)2009

Basic Macaroni and Cheese

This is the basic version every mom had in her cookbook. Serves 6

  • 2 cups dry macaroni, cooked until tender and drained.

  • 1 teaspoon of salt

  • 2 cups cubed sharp cheddar cheese

  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder

  • 2 ¼ cup whole milk, scalded OR 2 cans evaporated milk


  1. Grease a casserole with butter and set it aside.

  2. Preheat oven to 350F

  3. Put a layer of the macaroni in the pan

  4. Sprinkle with a layer of the cheese

  5. Sprinkle with salt and mustard

  6. Repeat layers, ending with macaroni. Sprinkle generously with pepper

  7. Pour milk over all and bake for 30 minutes

*Variation, try using Swiss cheese in place of cheddar.


Creamy Macaroni and Cheese Supreme

Serves 6

  • ½ lb elbow macaroni, cooked and drained

  • ¼ cup butter

  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped onion

  • ¼ cup flour

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon of pepper

  • 2 cups half and half cream (light cream)

  • 2 tablespoons choped parsley

  • ¼ cup pimento

  • 2 cups shredded cheese

  • 1 cup Panko crumbs


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F

  2. Melt butter and sauté the onion in it.

  3. Add flour salt and pepper and mix well

  4. Stir in half and half

  5. Cook until smooth and thickened

  6. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until smooth

  7. Mix with macaroni and spoon into casserole dish

  8. Sprinkle Panko on top and bake for 30 minutes


You can add any of the following with great results

  • Cooked, crumbled bacon

  • Diced ham

  • Smoked sausage

  • Hamburger, browned and seasoned

  • Sauteed green peppers

  • Chipotle

  • 8 oz of cubed cream cheese can be mixed into the sauce


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    • GlstngRosePetals profile image

      GlstngRosePetals 5 years ago from Wouldn't You Like To Know

      Great article! Sounds yummmy I will give the creamy mac. a try. Thank you for the share. I also have a few recipes you might like as well. Have a great day.. Voted up!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      Even adults deserve some of this wonderful mac and cheese. Love this recipw and will bookmark. And it seems to be healthful enough for a treat.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

      I love Macaroni Cheese so another to look forward to.

      Take care and enjoy your day.


    • anndavis25 profile image

      anndavis25 6 years ago from Clearwater, Fl.

      Any way you cook's a winner.

    • GiftedGrandma profile image

      GiftedGrandma 6 years ago from USA

      Love mac and cheese! But it has so much salt so don't get to eat unless visiting someone making it for side dish. Hubby doesn't :o(

    • profile image

      Catherine1416 6 years ago

      I am new to Hubpages, and am just checking out some content. Because I love to cook and experiment with other recipes, I thought it would be a good idea to start in the food section. I too love macaroni and cheese and have a "gourmet" recipe for it as well. I completely agree with using full fat, whole milk, sharp cheddars. I've never heard of using beaten eggs, but the creamy texture of that sounds painfully delicious.

    • GrantGMcgowan profile image

      GrantGMcgowan 6 years ago

      I love macaroni, thanks for the recipe.

    • TroyM profile image

      TroyM 6 years ago

      I love the macaroni and cheese recipes.Yummies ...Thanks!

    • TravelinAsia profile image

      TravelinAsia 6 years ago from Thailand/Southeast Asia

      Just like mom used to make when I was a kid! We never ate Kraft dinner at my house... mom made macaroni from scratch!

    • profile image

      bashfully 7 years ago

      I don't have an oven at present, is there any way to make the macaroni and cheese without baking?

    • profile image

      Carolyn Jung 7 years ago

      Definitely have to have that tad of mustard to make it a great mac 'n' cheese. It's the little je ne sais quoi that makes this classic so perfect.

    • profile image

      Michele 7 years ago

      I love the macaroni and cheese recipes. I've never had macaroni and cheese layered with panko bread crumbs. I must try something new. Sounds delicious!

    • Judimae profile image

      Judimae 7 years ago from Seaford, NY

      Hi Marye, nice hub as well as some of your other food hubs. Love the macaroni and cheese recipes and also thanks for your hub on Panko. I must go to my supermarket and see if they have it. I have found many recipes using it so will check it out.


    • Neil Sperling profile image

      Neil Sperling 7 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

      Yummies - Add salmon or tuna too. Boy your recipe sure beats the crappy box stuff.

    • Breet profile image

      Breet 7 years ago

      I miss the old fashion mac 'n cheese! LOL :)

      Thanks for the recipe tips ~ I will have to try. Your article kind of makes me want to fix some now. Ha!

    • CulinaryFool profile image

      CulinaryFool 7 years ago

      These sound delicious!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      OOOOOhhhh, this sounds so good!

    • Michael Shane profile image

      Michael Shane 7 years ago from Gadsden, Alabama

      I'll have to try it out! Got it bookmarked! Thanks!

    • Hendrika profile image

      Hendrika 8 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      Very tasty! My mom used to make one that was completely set like a baked custard. She used basically the same recipe as the first one you have given but she added two beaten eggs to the milk. This gives you a yummy set macaroni and cheese.

    • Jane@CM profile image

      Jane@CM 8 years ago

      YUM, I've been looking for a good old fashion Mac & Cheese recipe! I have bookmarked this for future reference. Thanks.

    • elisabethkcmo profile image

      elisabethkcmo 8 years ago from Just East of Oz

      love your recipes and tips, can I put a link to this hub on my mac n cheese hub?

    • rmcrayne profile image

      rmcrayne 8 years ago from San Antonio Texas


      I grew up with homemade baked macaroni and cheese. I was very lucky to have my mom, grandmothers, and numerous aunts from whom to learn how to make great baked macaroni and cheese. I agree wholeheartedly with your key points: macaroni slightly overcooked, sharp cheese, full fat cheese and milk, evaporated milk. I too use a glass baking dish. I’m glad you addressed the dryness issue. When taking baked macaroni and cheese to a covered dish dinner, many do not take into account that if their dish does not have enough milk, the entire dish will set up pretty firm, resulting in a much less desirable overall texture.

    • Jerilee Wei profile image

      Jerilee Wei 8 years ago from United States

      Tried the Creamy Mac n Cheese Supreme and it is wonderful. Actually, made it for dinner tonight, and it was all I could do to not have it for breakfast. Thanks!

    • Triplet Mom profile image

      Triplet Mom 8 years ago from West Coast

      Oh yummy!! Mac n Cheese is my favorite and there are so many different ways it can be made and they are all pretty yummy. I am going to give some of your hints a try.

    • Jenny30 profile image

      Jennifer 8 years ago from Canada

      I love Mac n' Cheese! I love how you mentioned using organic ingredients. I have to try it that way!