How To Make Baked Mac And Cheese With Bechamel
For specific instructions and exact times, please check the printable recipe card below.
For me, the best mac and cheese starts with a béchamel sauce made with a basic roux. The roux in this recipe is made with butter and flour. This is the base of most cheese sauces unless you use processed cheese like Velveeta.
How To Make Homemade Mac And Cheese
Making homemade macaroni and cheese is surprisingly easy and quick!
Easy Homemade Mac And Cheese
This Easy Homemade Mac and Cheese Recipe is made with 8 ingredients in 15 minutes on the stovetop ! Time to ditch the boxed mac and cheese for this irresistibly creamy, smooth & cheesy homemade recipe!
I have six kids and a husband with a taste palate of a 12-year-old-boy, which means we eat a lot of mac and cheese in our house. A lot of mac and cheese.
So naturally I created this easy homemade mac and cheese recipe so that we could consume less of the boxed varieties. Because I really care about feeding my family healthy meals that they actually enjoy! And did I mention that they love mac and cheese?!
Once you taste this homemade mac and cheese you and your family will say “goodbye” to powdered cheese forever, and say “hello” to this creamy dreamy real-cheese version again and again!
This homemade mac and cheese recipe is made with only 8 ingredients in 15 minutes! That’s the same amount of time it takes to make the boxed varieties, but with no preservatives or artificial ingredients!
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Tips For The Best Baked Macaroni And Cheese
Grate your own cheese. Yes, it’s worth the extra time to take a block of cheese and grate your own. Shredded cheese is handy, but it’s often coated with a very fine powder to keep the shreds from sticking together in the bag. That powder coating also happens to keep the cheese from melting as well as it could. But freshly-grated cheese will melt like a dream.
Cook the pasta to al dente. Since the mac and cheese has to bake for a bit longer in the oven, you don’t want to risk the pasta turning to mush. Cook the pasta to al dente so that it finishes cooking to the perfect texture while the mac and cheese bakes.
Warm the milk. Don’t skip the step of warming milk before you add it to the flour and butter mixture. Cold milk with make the flour mixture seize and turn clumpy. It will be difficult to get it smooth again before the next step.
Can I Freeze Macaroni And Cheese
I get asked that a lot and my answer is always no. As the pasta and cheese sauce sit, it will thicken and when you thaw it and bake it, the creamy consistency is just gone. Its thick and gloppy. Plus if you freeze it and its still a bit warm, water crystals will form and then thaw into your dish and could make it separate when you bake it. Besides, its so fast to make, theres not really a reason to freeze your macaroni and cheese.
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What To Serve With Baked Mac And Cheese
Mac and Cheese is worthy of serving as a meal in its own right, served with just a fresh green salad or simple vegetable side. Nothing heavy because Macaroni Cheese is so rich as it is!
As a side dish, it will compliment virtually any non-Asian main dish. From simple Baked Pork Chops to Steak, a Roast Chicken to Crispy Garlic Chicken Thighs, the only things I probably would not serve with Mac and Cheese would be very light summery mains such as a Tuna Tartare just a little too much contrast.
And of course, festive gatherings! Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter alongside a grand Roast Turkey or your Herb & Garlic Butter Slathered Turkey Breast, the juicy Roast Pork with impossibly Crispy Crackling or your Prime Rib thats so perfectly blushing pink all the way through, it makes you want to weep.
Holidays would not be the same without this Mac and Cheese!! Nagi xx
Instant Pot Mac And Cheese
The Chunky Chef03/23/2020
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This Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is ultra creamy and rich with a velvety smooth sauce! Ready in about 20 minutes, its always a family favorite. Perfectly cooked, every time, and no need to babysit the pasta, or even drain it! Made with no canned milk and no Velveeta.
This Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is the perfect comfort food! Recipes like my Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa and Instant Pot Sausage Tortellini Soup are great for when you want an ultra-comforting family meal thats ready incredibly fast. This is one of my Pressure Cooker recipes youll definitely want in your recipe box!
INSTANT POT MAC AND CHEESE
Youve been asking for it, and Ive been working on it this is the Instant Pot Mac and Cheese that will make your mouth completely water, and have you reaching for seconds.
The lusciously creamy cheese sauce, enveloping every noodle so full of flavor, yet so simply made.
This mac and cheese is just as easy as making that macaroni in the blue box but is SO much better for you. No preservatives and other hard to pronounce ingredients. Just pure cheesy goodness!
When I was developing this recipe, I used cheeses that I found melted really well, and gave a good classic mac and cheese flavor, however, Ill also be detailing different cheeses you can use if you prefer another mixture.
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How To Freeze Mac And Cheese:
If you know you want to freeze your mac and cheese, make sure that you quit cooking while your pasta is still slightly firm a couple minutes before you would want to eat it.
Let cool slightly before covering tightly and placing in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To serve, I recommend thawing at room temperature for several hours or in the refrigerator overnight.
Then you can add a big splash of water, broth or milk, and reheat in the oven or on the stove top until heated through. Stir at least a couple times once the pasta starts to warm up.
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Tips For The Best Mac & Cheese
Freshly grated cheese dont use pre shredded. They have anti caking agents that can make the sauce grainy.
No bloated overcooked pasta Cool macaroni slightly and lightly coat in butter. This stops the macaroni from absorbing more liquid while baking, resulting in bloated overcooked pasta and less sauce.
To avoid lumps in your sauce, stir constantly as you slowly pour the milk in and keep stirring once the milk is all added. If necessary, switch to a whisk to get rid of stubborn little lumps!
Plenty of sauce Because I like my Mac and Cheese saucy, not dried up so you can cut it like cake!
Can you make Mac and Cheese ahead of time? Most recipes are not suitable for making ahead, but this recipe is! The best way is to cool pasta then toss with sauce and adding breadcrumb topping. Cool, refrigerate or freeze then bake on the day of .
How long can Mac and Cheese stay in the fridge? Unlike most, this Macaroni Cheese recipe is good for 3 to 5 days in the fridge. Most Mac and Cheese will not keep well because theres not enough sauce so it gets absorbed by the pasta and youre left with dry, sauceless pasta.
Freezing? Yes! Assemble, cool, do not bake, just freeze it. Thaw then on the day of, bake per Note 5 in the recipe.
Add ins? This recipe is great as it is, but theres tons of add-in options. Add shredded chicken, sautéed onion and bell peppers/capsicum, bacon, hot sauce , dried herbs of choice.
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How To Make A Bread Crumb Topping
Combine the following and sprinkle over your casserole before baking.
- 3/4 cup bread crumbs
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon parsley
This recipe makes an extra saucy creamy macaroni. Do not over-bake this recipe. You want it creamy and rich, over-baking will cause it to dry out. I find that 20 minutes is perfect in my oven, the cheese sauce will thicken slightly while standing.
Basic Homemade Mac And Cheese Recipes
I’ve found 13 different and delicious mac n cheese recipes you’ll love. The start from simplest to gourmet. Bake your way to melted cheese sauce and noodles. The only tip I have is to never use pre-shredded cheese. It doesn’t melt as well and you won’t enjoy the results as much. Make these with your favorite pasta. Use elbow macaroni, rotini or penne. Boil in cold water according to package directions to make it al dente. Then make one of the following recipes for the flavor you want!
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Making Easy Homemade Mac And Cheese Ahead Of Time
There are many ways to prepare this Easy Homemade Mac and Cheese dish ahead of time.
Preparing the elbow noodles ahead and store in refrigerator before you are ready to make the cheese sauce is one way.
You can precook your noodles twenty-four to forty-eight hours before making cheddar sauce.
Another way you can prepare this homemade mac and cheese recipe is to make the entire recipe and pause before cooking in oven. Often times when I am feeding a crowd, I make the entire recipe in the morning and then bake forty-five minutes before I am about to serve.
How To Store Pasta Long Term
Pasta comes in many shapes and sizes, and I love trying all it in varies recipes. Most pasta that are bought are dry but, I have bought some fresh. Fresh pasta will not take long to cook but dry pasta will take a bit longer to cook.
I cook with dry pasta a lot because it is affordable and easy to store.
Store dry pasta after buying from the grocery store in a cool, dry place for up to a year. Fresh pasta will need to be refrigerated or can be frozen.
Refrigerate Easy Homemade Mac and Cheese Recipe for up to five days or freeze up to six months.
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What Type Of Cheese Should You Use
Cheddar is a classic choice for baked mac and cheese, and this recipe adds a bit of zing with an extra sharp version. Some other excellent cheeses include cream cheese, Parmesan, and Swiss, as the mild, buttery flavor and ideal melt make them great for this pasta dish.
Gruyere is a standout favorite for its creamy, nutty, and earthy flavor. Try half Gruyere and half cheddar the next time you’re feeling like switching up your baked mac and cheese recipe.
Homemade Baked Macaroni And Cheese Tips And Notes
- Remember that the pasta in baked mac and cheese has to cook twice. Make sure that you cook the noodles just until is about to become al dente . This will prevent the pasta from getting mushy and too soft while it cooks a second time in the oven.
- Always cook your pasta in salted water. This gives the dish flavor from the very beginning.
- To minimize dirty dishes, after draining the cooked pasta, return it to the large pot where you cooked the pasta in. Then, toss it with some oil or melted butter to prevent the noodles from sticking.
- After adding the cheese to the white sauce, make sure the sauce doesnt boil to prevent it from breaking.
- Dont over bake the mac and cheese. If you want a super crispy topping, place the baking dish under a broiler.
- Add about 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese to the Panko topping for extra cheesiness.
- You can use two types of cheese only when making this recipe.
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Variations Of Mac And Cheese
- Bacon if you love bacon, feel free to add some crispy, crumbled bacon to the topping, or even inside the mac and cheese as well!
- Stovetop if youd prefer not to bake this mac and cheese, you dont have to! Make sure you boil your pasta until al dente , and youll only need about 3 3 1/2 cups of cheese total. No need to layer the pasta and cheese, just add all the cheese to the sauce, then combine with the pasta.
- Different Toppings Im a huge fan of the cheese layer on top, since it gets nice and crispy, but we also love tossing 1 cup of panko with 2 Tbsp of melted butter and using that as a topping. 1 cup of crushed Ritz crackers with 2 Tbsp of butter work amazingly well too!
- Different Baking Times the recipe calls for a lower baking temperature and time, but most of the time I find myself adjusting that based on my familys tastes. I like to bake this mac and cheese at 350 F degrees for 30 minutes, then broil for 2-3 minutes to get that glorious cheesy crust.
Gather & Measure The Ingredients
This easy mac and cheese recipe is super fast-paced once you start cooking, so it’s important to have all the ingredients measured and ready to go! As you can see there are only eight, common ingredients in this recipe that most of us have on hand at all times! We will discuss the ingredients and possible substitutions later in this post .
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What Is A Roux
This classic stovetop mac and cheese recipe starts with a roux, which is a cooked mixture of flour and fat . The roux thickens the sauce and helps the cheese melt smoothly into the sauce instead of clumping up as it melts. While there are ways to make a cheese sauce without a roux, taking this extra step definitely creates the creamiest, dreamiest cheese sauce for your mac and cheese.
Can I Freeze This Dish For Later
Casseroles like this mac and cheese can easily be frozen without baking them prior. Before you can pour the mac and cheese into the baking dish, line it with aluminum foil that has enough overhang on all sides. Assemble the macaroni and cheese, tightly cover in foil, and freeze overnight.
Lift it out of the pan when frozen solid, label and put it in a ziplock bag, and freeze again until ready to eat. Let it thaw overnight in the fridge before you can bake it in the oven.
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Variations On This Skillet Mac And Cheese:
- Add different seasonings: hot sauce, ground mustard, cayenne, paprika, and Italian seasoning are all popular additions, but feel free to get a little crazy and see whats in your spice cupboard that would give it that extra little something.
- Salt and pepper to taste: I generally err on the side of less salty if possible, because its easy to add salt later. Taste once its cooked and adjust as necessary.
- Add in vegetables: if you want them cooked, or slightly cooked, add during the cooking process with the pasta. Vegetables like spinach that will soften quickly can be stirred in with the cheese.
- Add in cooked meats, like this Shredded Chicken or Instant Pot Chicken Taco meat or saute meat in the same pan before adding the liquid and pasta. This is a great way to add additional protein!
Homemade Macaroni And Cheese: What Kind Of Cheese Should I Use
I honestly use different cheese combinations almost every time I make this mac and cheese recipe but the one I always come back to is sharp cheddar and Gruyere. If you cant find Gruyere, Jarlsberg Swiss cheese is the best substitute. Other cheese that work: mozzarella, jack cheese or pepper jack for a little zip, American and Velveeta as well for a creamier cheese sauce. This baked mac and cheese uses 6 cups of cheese so just
To add even more flavor to my homemade mac and cheese, I add Parmesan to the Panko topping so good!
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