Welcome, fellow food enthusiasts! Today, we embark on a culinary journey that will transport us back to our childhoods, when comfort food held a special place in our hearts. What could be more nostalgic and satisfying than a velvety, gooey, and utterly irresistible macaroni cheese? This classic dish has become a staple in households around the world, loved by both young and old alike. So, get your aprons on, sharpen those knives, and let’s dive into the art of creating the perfect macaroni cheese recipe. Prepare to awaken your taste buds and experience the ultimate cheesy delight that will leave you craving for more.

Classic Macaroni Cheese Recipe

Welcome to the ultimate comfort food recipe: classic macaroni cheese! This dish is a beloved favorite for all ages, combining tender macaroni noodles with a rich, creamy cheese sauce. Whether you’re looking for a quick and easy dinner or a comforting side dish, this macaroni cheese recipe is sure to satisfy your cravings. So let’s get started and unlock the cheesy goodness!


  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste

General Information:

  • Making Difficulty: Easy
  • Preparation Time: 10 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 30 minutes
  • Servings: 4-6


Step 1: Cook the Macaroni

Making macaroni cheese starts with cooking the macaroni noodles. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the macaroni according to the package instructions. It’s important to slightly undercook the macaroni as it will continue to cook in the cheese sauce later. Drain the noodles and set them aside while you prepare the cheese sauce.

Tip: Be sure to salt the water generously to flavor the macaroni as it cooks.

Step 2: Make the Cheese Sauce

In a separate saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted, add the flour and whisk continuously for about 1 minute to create a roux. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking constantly to combine. Continue cooking the mixture, stirring frequently, until it thickens and comes to a gentle simmer.

Add the shredded cheddar cheese and Gruyere cheese to the sauce, reserving a small amount of each for topping. Stir the cheeses until they melt and the sauce becomes smooth. Incorporate the Dijon mustard and paprika, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

Step 3: Combine the Macaroni and Cheese

Once the cheese sauce is ready, remove it from the heat and add the cooked macaroni to the pot. Gently stir until the macaroni is evenly coated in the cheese sauce. This is where the flavors start to come together, giving you that ooey-gooey mac and cheese texture we all love.

Tip: If the sauce seems too thick, you can thin it out by adding a splash of milk until you achieve the desired consistency.

Step 4: Bake the Macaroni Cheese

Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Transfer the macaroni cheese mixture to a baking dish or individual ramekins. Sprinkle the reserved shredded cheeses over the top for an extra cheesy crust. For an added crunch, you can also mix breadcrumbs with melted butter and sprinkle it over the cheese layer.

Bake the macaroni cheese for about 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and bubbly. Keep an eye on it to ensure it doesn’t brown too quickly. Once done, remove from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before serving.

Step 5: Serve and Enjoy!

Now comes the best part—digging into your homemade macaroni cheese! Serve it piping hot as a main dish or as a side to complement your favorite proteins. This recipe is versatile, so feel free to add your own twist with additional ingredients like crispy bacon, sautéed mushrooms, or diced tomatoes.

Remember, the cheesy goodness may be tempting, but let it cool for a few minutes to allow the flavors to meld together. Enjoy this soul-warming dish with family and friends, and savor the comfort it brings.

Step 6: Store and Reheat

If you have leftovers, you can store the macaroni cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. When reheating, it’s best to warm it in the oven or microwave in short intervals, stirring occasionally to ensure even heating. You may also need to add a splash of milk to restore the creamy consistency.

Step 7: Try Variations

This classic macaroni cheese recipe serves as a foundation for endless variations. Experiment with different cheese combinations like Monterey Jack, fontina, or mozzarella. You can also make it more indulgent by adding lobster chunks or caramelized onions. Let your creativity run wild, and enjoy the cheesy journey!

With its creamy, cheesy goodness, macaroni cheese captures the essence of comfort food. Whether you’re cooking for a weeknight dinner or a special occasion, this classic dish is always a crowd-pleaser. So go ahead and grab your ingredients, follow the step-by-step instructions, and indulge in a bowl of homemade macaroni cheese that will warm both your heart and taste buds.

macaroni cheese recipe

Important Things to Keep in Mind When Making This Macaroni Cheese Recipe

Macaroni and cheese is the ultimate comfort food that brings back childhood memories and satisfies our cravings like no other. But making the perfect macaroni cheese dish requires more than just boiling noodles and sprinkling cheese on top. To ensure your mac and cheese is a crowd-pleaser every time, here are some important things to keep in mind.

1. Choose the right cheese: When it comes to macaroni cheese, the cheese you use is crucial. While cheddar is the most popular choice, you can get creative by combining different flavors like Gruyere, Fontina, or Monterey Jack. The key is to use a combination of cheeses that melt well and provide a balance of creaminess and flavor. Experiment with different cheese combinations to find your perfect mac and cheese.

2. Cook the pasta al dente: The pasta is the main component of mac and cheese, so getting it just right is essential. Be sure to cook the pasta until it is al dente, which means it still has a slight bite to it. Overcooking the pasta will result in a mushy mac and cheese, so keep a close eye on the cooking time and test the pasta for doneness. Drain it immediately once it reaches the desired texture.

3. Make a velvety smooth cheese sauce: The cheese sauce is what takes a macaroni cheese dish from good to outstanding. To achieve a velvety smooth sauce, start by making a roux with butter and flour before adding milk and cheese. Whisk continuously to prevent any lumps from forming and be patient as it thickens. To add an extra dimension of flavor, consider adding spices like mustard powder, paprika, or a dash of hot sauce.

4. Don’t skimp on the toppings: While the mac and cheese itself is delicious, adding some toppings can take it to the next level. Whether you prefer a crunchy breadcrumb crust or some crispy bacon bits sprinkled on top, toppings can provide texture and added flavor. Get creative with your toppings and consider options like sautéed onions, chopped herbs, or even some caramelized mushrooms for an extra touch of gourmet.

By following these important tips and tricks, you can make a macaroni cheese recipe that will have everyone reaching for seconds. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party, feeding a hungry family, or simply craving a comforting meal, mastering the art of mac and cheese will make you a kitchen superstar. So gather your ingredients, get your pots and pans ready, and prepare to indulge in the ultimate cheesy delight.

Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to our frequently asked questions section where we answer some of the most common queries regarding macaroni cheese recipes.

1. Can I use any type of cheese for my macaroni cheese recipe?

Absolutely! Macaroni cheese is a versatile dish that can be made with a variety of cheeses. Cheddar cheese is the most commonly used cheese, but you can experiment with other types as well. Gouda, mozzarella, or even a combination of different cheeses can be used to create unique flavors in your macaroni cheese. It’s all about finding the cheese that you enjoy the most!

However, it is important to note that certain types of cheese may have different melting and flavor profiles, so it’s recommended to use a cheese that melts well and has a good flavor when mixed with macaroni. This will ensure a smooth and delicious macaroni cheese dish.

2. Is there a way to make a healthier version of macaroni cheese?

Absolutely! While traditional macaroni cheese recipes can be rich and indulgent, there are several ways to make a healthier version without compromising on flavor. One option is to use whole wheat or gluten-free pasta instead of regular pasta to increase the fiber content. You can also reduce the amount of cheese or opt for lower-fat cheese options to lower the overall calorie and fat content of the dish.

Additionally, you can sneak in some veggies like cauliflower, carrots, or spinach into the sauce or as mix-ins to increase the nutritional value of the dish. Another tip is to use a milk alternative, such as almond milk or soy milk, instead of regular milk to reduce the saturated fat content. With a few tweaks, you can enjoy a delicious and healthier version of macaroni cheese!

3. Can macaroni cheese be made ahead of time?

Absolutely! Macaroni cheese can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for a convenient and quick meal. After preparing the dish, let it cool completely, then transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate. When you’re ready to eat, simply reheat it in the oven or microwave until warmed through.

It’s important to note that the texture of the macaroni cheese may change slightly after being refrigerated, as the pasta can absorb some of the moisture from the sauce. To prevent it from becoming dry, you can stir in a little milk before reheating. Making macaroni cheese ahead of time not only saves you time but also allows the flavors to meld together for an even tastier dish!

4. Can I make macaroni cheese without using an oven?

Absolutely! While baked macaroni cheese is a classic preparation method, you can still enjoy a delicious macaroni cheese dish without using an oven. One option is to cook the pasta according to package instructions, then drain and mix it with the cheese sauce on the stovetop. Heat until the cheese is melted and the sauce is creamy.

If you prefer a crusty topping, you can achieve a similar effect on the stovetop by cooking the macaroni cheese in a skillet or frying pan with a little butter or oil. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the bottom layer gets crispy. Flip it over or stir to crisp up the other side. This stovetop method ensures a cheesy, gooey, and flavorful macaroni cheese without the need for an oven!

5. Can I customize my macaroni cheese recipe with additional ingredients?

Absolutely! Macaroni cheese is a versatile dish that can be customized to your liking with additional ingredients. You can add cooked bacon, diced ham, or sautéed vegetables such as onions, peppers, or mushrooms to add extra flavor and texture to your macaroni cheese. You can also experiment with different herbs and spices like paprika, garlic powder, or even a pinch of cayenne pepper for a little kick.

Furthermore, macaroni cheese is a great dish to use up leftovers. You can add leftover cooked chicken, chopped tomatoes, or even some leftover cooked broccoli to give your macaroni cheese a delicious twist. The options are limitless, so feel free to get creative and make your macaroni cheese recipe truly your own!

How to make the EASIEST Creamiest and Cheesiest Oven-Baked MAC & CHEESE

In conclusion, the macaroni cheese recipe is a timeless classic that never fails to satisfy. Its rich and creamy sauce, paired with perfectly cooked pasta, creates a comforting and indulgent dish that brings back memories of home. As a professional chef, I have seen firsthand the joy that this simple yet delicious recipe brings to people’s faces. Whether it’s for a family dinner, a potluck gathering, or just a cozy night in, macaroni cheese is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. So grab your apron, gather your ingredients, and get ready to create a dish that will leave everyone asking for seconds. Happy cooking!