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Best Macaroni and Cheese Ever

This truly is the BEST Macaroni and Cheese recipe ever! It’s loaded with three different kinds of cheese, is ultra-creamy, and is pretty much everything you could ever want out of homemade mac and cheese. You’re going to love it!

A serving of the best macaroni and cheese on a dinner plate. There are two forks in the background and a container of pepper next to the plate.

My love for carby, cheesy, salty, creamy, crunchy things is a love story that will go on until the end of time. Hey, I totally love and drink my protein green smoothies every day, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love a big bowl of homemade macaroni and cheese too!

You can have both things in your life. Balance…it’s all about balance!

We are happy to report that after testing many macaroni and cheese recipes we have THE BEST macaroni and cheese recipe ever for you! 

Gooey, creamy, cheesy, and everything you could ever dream of in a homemade mac and cheese. We have created the best macaroni and cheese ever, and you’re going to be obsessed with it!

A pan with macaroni, cheese sauce and a wooden spoon. A container of salt is in the background.

Ingredients You Will Need for the Best Macaroni and Cheese

This ingredient list may look long but don’t let it intimidate you, but all of them are crucial and needed to make the best homemade macaroni and cheese!

  • Cornstarch
  • Monterey Jack Cheese 
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese 
  • Elbow Macaroni Noodles 
  • Bread 
  • Butter 
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt 
  • Pepper 
  • Yellow Onion 
  • Ground Mustard
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Hot Sauce
  • Whole Milk
  • Heavy Cream

A pan with macaroni, cheese sauce and a wooden spoon.

How to Make Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

For all the specifics for making this homemade macaroni and cheese recipe, head down to the recipe card. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Mix the Monterrey Jack and Cheddar Cheese with the cornstarch and set it aside.
  2. Preheat oven.
  3. Boil a large pot of water and add kosher salt and pasta.
  4. Cook the pasta. Drain it and set it aside.
  5. Put bread, butter, parmesan, salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse until ground.
  6. Sauté onion with butter in a large skillet. Add the mustard, and then the milk and cream.
  7. Once the cream has a gentle boil, add the cheese and cornstarch mixture. Add Worcestershire, salt and pepper.
  8. Add the pasta to the sauce and fold everything together.
  9. Pour into a baking dish and top with the bread crumbs you created and bake.

Baked Macaroni and cheese in a casserole dish. There is a fork and a container of pepper next to the dish.

What’s the Best Cheese for Mac and Cheese? 

You can use sharp cheddar or white cheddar cheese. Smoked Gouda and Fontina are also good cheeses to use in macaroni and cheese. Monterey Jack is a good cheese to mix with another cheese of choice. 

What’s the Best Pasta for Mac and Cheese?

My suggestion is to select a pasta with plenty of surface area and nooks and crannies to capture as much of that cheese sauce as possible. Stay away from long thin pasta like spaghetti and use pasta like shells, elbow macaroni, or penne. These are perfect for holding all the cheesy goodness!

What to Serve with Macaroni and Cheese

You can definitely make this easy baked macaroni and cheese recipe your main dish, but if you want to make it a feast, use this as a side dish and make on of these your main dish:

Oh, and don’t forget to invite me!

A casserole dish with baked mac and cheese. The mac and cheese is topped with browned bread crumbs.

Can Macaroni and Cheese Be Left Out?

Macaroni and cheese should not be left out for more than 2 hours. Bacteria can grow if it is left out longer.

How Long Will Mac and Cheese Keep?

Macaroni and cheese that is covered or stored in a container with a lid, will keep for 3-5 days in the refrigerator.

How to Reheat Macaroni and Cheese 

This creamy macaroni and cheese can be gently reheated in the microwave. If reheating larger servings, cover with foil and reheat in a 350F oven until warmed through. 

Can You Freeze Macaroni and Cheese? 

Macaroni and cheese freezes very well. Put it in a container with a tight-fitting lid or in a heavy-duty freezer bag and freeze for up to 18 months.

Easy homemade macaroni and cheese on a dinner plate. It is topped with browned bread crumbs.

What Can You Substitute For Heavy Cream?

  • You can combine milk and butter for an easy, foolproof substitute for heavy cream that’ll work for most recipes. Use 1/4 cup melted butter and 3/4 cup milk.
  • You could also use half and half and butter or soy milk and olive oil. Use 7/8 of a cup of half and half and 1/8 cup melted butter or use 1/3 cup olive oil and 2/3 cup soy milk.
  • Evaporated milk can also be a substitute for heavy cream in recipes.  Substitute equal amounts of evaporated milk for heavy cream.

Can You Substitute Yellow Mustard For Ground Mustard?

Yes, substitute 1 tablespoon of yellow mustard for each teaspoon of ground mustard.

How Do You Know When Pasta Is Done?

The best way to tell if pasta is done is to taste it. Pasta should be cooked to al dente, which is firm to the taste. Once it bakes in the oven, it is perfection!

A casserole dish with baked mac and cheese. The mac and cheese is topped with browned bread crumbs and has a spoon in it.

Tips for Making the BEST Macaroni and Cheese Recipe 

  • For the cheeses: Buy blocks of cheese and shred them yourself. Don’t use pre-shredded cheese that you buy at the store. It won’t melt properly and get all yummy creamy.
  • For the breadcrumb topping: We prefer making the breadcrumb topping ourselves. It tastes much fresher and crisper than the pre-made kind sold at the grocery store. 
  • For the cornstarch: The cornstarch is a key ingredient in this recipe as it helps thicken the sauce. If you can’t have corn, you may be able to use all-purpose flour or another substitute instead. I can’t say for sure that you’ll get the same results though! 

More Cheesy Pasta Recipes You Will Love!

Raised in the Kitchen - Carrian Cheney
178 days

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A serving of mac and cheese on a dinner plate. There are two forks in the background and a container of pepper next to the plate.

Best Macaroni and Cheese

0 from 0 votes
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 12
This truly is the BEST Macaroni and Cheese recipe ever! It's loaded with three different kinds of cheese, is ultra-creamy, and is pretty much everything you could ever want out of homemade mac and cheese.

Ingredients

For the mac and cheese:

  • 1/4 Cup Cornstarch
  • 8 Ounces Monterey Jack Cheese , shredded
  • 16 Ounces Sharp Cheddar Cheese , shredded
  • 16 ounces Elbow Macaroni Noodles
  • 2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter , cubed
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt (divided)
  • 1 Teaspoon Pepper (divided)
  • 1/4 Cup Yellow Onion (minced)
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Mustard
  • 3 Cups Whole Milk
  • 2 Cups Heavy Cream
  • 1 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Hot Sauce *optional but you don't taste it

For the topping:

  • 4 Slices Bread , torn into pieces
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter , cubed

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, toss together the cornstarch and cheeses. Set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • In a large pot of boiling water, add 2 tablespoons kosher salt and the pasta. Cook until just past al dente. Drain and set aside.
  • Pulse the bread, 2 tablespoons of butter, parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a processor until coarsely ground.
  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, add the remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Once melted, add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes or until tender. Add the mustard and stir to combine. Add the milk and cream and bring to a simmer.
  • Bring the cream up to a gentle boil and add in the cornstarch and cheese mixture, whisking until smooth. Add worcestershire and hot sauce (optional) and season with the salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the pasta and fold everything together.
  • Pour into a buttered 9x13-inch casserole dish and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake 10 minutes.

Notes

Macaroni and cheese can be frozen for up to 18 months.
Nutrition Facts
Best Macaroni and Cheese
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 502 Calories from Fat 378
% Daily Value*
Fat 42g65%
Saturated Fat 26g163%
Cholesterol 135mg45%
Sodium 742mg32%
Potassium 192mg5%
Carbohydrates 12g4%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 19g38%
Vitamin A 1413IU28%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 572mg57%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

A serving of the best macaroni and cheese on a dinner plate. There are two forks in the background and a container of pepper next to the plate.

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