Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

5 from 1 vote

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Nothing better than Macaroni and Cheese! Get this simple, classic, cheesy recipe for Macaroni and Cheese featuring three kinds of cheese and a crispy, salty topping. And for all of my pasta recipes <— see here!

macaroni and cheese on a white plate

Macaroni and Cheese | Stovetop or Baked

There are probably a million and one recipes for Macaroni and Cheese out there with all sorts of variations, but today I’m posting a classic, simple, homemade version of Macaroni and Cheese that is the biggest crowd-pleasing dish. Perfect as a side dish or as a stand-alone meal and adaptable enough to serve as a stovetop macaroni and cheese or baked casserole style. Totally knocks the store-bought, boxed version completely out of the water!

Main Ingredients Needed

This classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe is seriously so easy to make. Start out by gathering up these ingredients! Chances are, you probably already have most of them on hand.

  • Macaroni – elbow pasta is the best kind of pasta to hold this type of sauce. You could go with another type of pasta if you’re in a pinch.
  • Flour + Butter – to make a roux.
  • 2% Milk – this starts to thin out the roux but still keeps it creamy.
  • Nutmeg – just a pinch!
  • Salt – to taste.
  • Cream Cheese – cubed. This really brings a lot of tangy delicious flavor.
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese – that sharpness is a great compliment to the rest of the recipe.
  • Smoked Gouda – smokey delicious gouda!
  • Gruyere – salty, creamy, and nutty.
  • Seasoned Breadcrumbs – this could be Italian breadcrumbs or any other sort of seasoned breadcrumbs that you like.

If this recipe sounds good, try my other mac and cheese recipes: Pumpkin Mac and Cheese, Camping Mac and Cheese, Smoked Sausage Mac and Cheese, and Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese!

Spoonful of Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese Pro Tips

Stovetop vs. Baked. If you’re going to serve this as a stovetop version of macaroni and cheese, cook the pasta completely through until it’s al dente. If you’re planning on baking in the oven, drain 1-2 minutes before it reaches al dente. Over baked pasta turns mushy which does not a tasty macaroni and cheese.

Careful with the Milk. Since there is a lot of milk in the bechamel sauce, bringing it to a boil for an extended period of time will scald and separate your sauce! To remedy this, once it starts bubbling and thickening, reduce the heat down to low immediately. Then whisk in the cheese to the sauce.

How to Make Macaroni and Cheese

For full details on how to make this classic macaroni and cheese recipe, see the recipe card down below 🙂

Cook Macaroni Pasta

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook macaroni one minute less according to package directions. Drain completely and set aside.

Make the Sauce

In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook 30 seconds. Pour in milk and continue whisking until sauce thickens. Add in salt, nutmeg, and cream cheese cubes. Whisk until completely melted. Slowly add in remaining cheeses and whisk until thick and creamy. Remove from heat. Stir in macaroni to coat in sauce.

Top with Breadcrumbs + Bake

Pour into a baking dish and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake 10-15 minutes.

Serve hot and bubbly!

scoop taken out of macaroni and cheese in a baking dish

Leftovers

Store leftovers in an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to 5 days!

Freezing Instructions

Or you can freeze your macaroni and cheese by storing it in a freezer bag for up to two months. To reheat, bake at 350 degrees for 20-3o minutes or until heated through.

Make-Ahead

If you plan on making this ahead as a baked macaroni and cheese dish, you’ll want to skip the breadcrumb topping and cover to store in the fridge.

When you’re ready to reheat, bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. Once it’s mostly warm, stir in a little bit of milk to loosen up the sauce. After it’s back to the creamy consistency you expected, top with breadcrumbs and finish baking.

Even More Mac and Cheese Recipes!

Below is the printable recipe card. Be sure to save, pin, bookmark or print this recipe because it’s a good one!

Have a great day, friends!

5 from 1 vote

Macaroni and Cheese

Nothing better than Macaroni and Cheese! Get this simple, classic, cheesy recipe for Macaroni and Cheese featuring three cheeses and a crispy, salty topping.
servings 8 servings
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. macaroni
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 5 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 4 cups 2% milk
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • salt to taste
  • 3 oz. cream cheese cubed
  • 1 ½ cups sharp cheddar cheese grated
  • 1 ½ cups smoked gouda grated
  • 1 ½ cups gruyere grated
  • 3 tablespoons seasoned bread crumbs

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook macaroni one minute less according to package directions. Drain completely and set aside.
  • In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook 30 seconds. Pour in milk and continue whisking until sauce thickens. Add in salt, nutmeg and cream cheese cubes. Whisk until completely melted. Slowly add in remaining cheese and whisk until thick and creamy. Remove from heat. Stir in macaroni to coat in sauce.
  • Pour into a baking dish and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake 10-15 minutes and serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 707kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Cholesterol: 128mg | Sodium: 711mg | Potassium: 405mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1100IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 835mg | Iron: 1.5mg
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baked macaroni and cheese, macaroni and cheese, macaroni and cheese recipe

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