Homemade Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
This Homemade Creamy Macaroni and Cheese is the ultimate comfort food. And from one mom to another, you might want to go ahead and just double the recipe right from the start. It’s just that good! Rich and creamy, this baked mac and cheese is the perfect side dish to any meal.
We love macaroni in our house. Throughout all the years, we’ve made and eaten our fair share. Now that I know how simple it can be to make homemade creamy macaroni and cheese, I can promise you that I’ll never be making it from the box ever again. If you’re looking for an awesome failproof dish that everyone is going to love, this is the one for you.
With the holidays coming up, you’re going to want to make this recipe. It’s one that is going to be requested and your new job to make and bring to the family gatherings over and over again. And when people start lining up and asking for the recipe, be proud to share it! It’s such a delicious recipe that everyone should be able to make it all year round to enjoy.
Ingredients Needed For Homemade Mac And Cheese
- Large elbow macaroni noodles
- Butter and flour
- Half and half
- Whole milk
- Salt, pepper, paprika
- Gruyere cheese
- Sharp cheddar cheese
- Chopped parsley for garnish
- Garlic powder
- High quality grated (powder) Parmesan cheese
How To Make Homemade Creamy Macaroni And Cheese
- Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and preheat oven to 350°.
- In a large pot boil water and cook macaroni per package directions for al dente.
- Drain cooked macaroni and add 2 tablespoons of butter and cooked macaroni to pot, stir well to keep the noodles from sticking.
- Melt remaining butter in large skillet over low/medium heat. Add flour and whisk to combine. Let cook for about 1-2 minutes. Slowly add half and half while continuing to whisk, add milk and whisk.
- Add salt, pepper, paprika, Cajon seasoning, whisk. Cook, stirring/whisking consistency, for 4-6 minutes until thickened to a cream consistency.
- Remove from heat, add cheese and stir.
- Add macaroni to cheese mixture and stir well.
- Dump macaroni into 9×13 baking dish. Top with remaining 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese.
- In a medium mixing bowl combine all ingredients for bread crumb topping and stir well.
- Sprinkle Panko topping over the cheese.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until it starts to lightly brown. Don’t overcook or it won’t be saucy.
What Cheese Is The Best To Use For Macaroni and Cheese?
While this recipe calls for Gruyere and sharp cheddar cheese, you can honestly use whatever cheese you want. If you have certain people in your house that prefer a mild taste and flavor, Colby jack cheese and cheddar cheese would be a safe choice. And if someone in your house likes the dish to be a little bit spicy, you can add in some Pepper Jack cheese or even a little bit of habanero cheese as well. Monterey Jack is a softer cheese, it melts velvety smooth and is always a great choice because it’s so creamy.
One thing to remember when making homemade mac and cheese, make sure to use freshly shredded cheese. Pre-shredded cheese has too many preservatives and chemicals in it and does not melt well. So for the real homemade taste, freshly shredded cheese is recommended.
What Else Can You Use Instead Of Panko?
If you’re not a fan of panko or just don’t happen to have it in the house, you can always top this mac and cheese with something else instead. Adding more cheese on top is never going to be an issue so that is always a solid back up plan. Or just eliminate the topping altogether.
How Do You Store Leftover Macaroni and Cheese?
Having leftovers of this dish might be rare (because it usually gets gobbled up in one sitting) but if you do, you can easily store it in the fridge for later. Simply add it into an airtight container and make certain to keep it covered. Keep in mind that if the macaroni and cheese does have panko on it, it’s not going to be as crisp when it’s reheated. Other than that, you will need to add a little liquid to the bowl when reheating though.
Can You Add Additional Toppings Onto This Creamy Macaroni and Cheese?
I know what you must be thinking, toppings on macaroni and cheese? While it might sound crazy, it’s actually delicious! If you love macaroni but want to give it a flavor lift, why not add some toppings to change it up?
You can add more cheese, parmesan cheese, hot sauce or even some chopped up cilantro. The great part about adding toppings is that every single bowl can taste a little bit different, but keep in mind that this mac and cheese is amazing as the recipe has it!
Also, one other important thing to keep in mind is that if you’re going to add toppings, make certain that you do so to your bowl only. That way you can doctor it up to taste as you want it and let everyone else do the same as well.
And not only can you add additional toppings, you can also include some protein into the macaroni as well. For instance, diced up ham, crispy bacon, or even diced kielbasa sausage would be a great addition to add and change things up once in a while. And, for the kids, hot dogs are always a favorite addition.
Just wait until you whip up this homemade macaroni and cheese recipe. Making it homemade is absolutely worth it and will have you craving this great recipe every single day. Now that the weather is changing and it’s starting to get a bit chilly, fill up your tummy with this warm, delicious bowl of comfort food.
If you’re looking for more comforting home cooked dinner recipes, check out some of our favorites below:
- Chicken Broccoli Fettuccine Alfredo
- Mexican Tater Tot Casserole
- Cheesy Taco Lasagna
- Instant Pot Chicken Sausage Alfredo Pasta
- Crock Pot Country Style Pork Ribs
Try This Homemade Mac and Cheese Recipe Today
- 16 oz box large elbow macaroni noodles
- 1/2 cup salted butter, divided
- 1/3 cup flour
- 2 cups half and half
- 2 cup whole milk
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp Cajon seasoning, optional
- 1 1/2 cups Gruyere cheese, shredded
- 3 cups Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded and divided (2 cups, 1 cup for topping)
- Chopped parsley for serving
- 1 1/2 cups Panko bread crumbs
- 4 Tbsp butter, melted
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/3 cup high quality grated (powder) Parmesan cheese
Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray and preheat oven to 350°.
In a large pot boil water and cook elbow macaroni per package directions for al dente.
Drain macaroni, return to pan and add 2 tablespoons of butter, stir well to keep the noodles from sticking.
Melt remaining butter (6 tablespoons) in large skillet over low/medium heat. Add flour and whisk to combine. Let cook for about 1-2 minutes. Slowly add half and half while continuing to whisk, add milk and whisk.
Add salt, pepper, paprika, Cajon seasoning, whisk. Cook, stirring/whisking consistency, for 4-6 minutes until thickened to a cream consistency.
Remove from heat, add cheese and stir.
Pour cheese mixture into macaroni, stir well.
Dump macaroni into prepared baking dish. Top with remaining cup of Sharp cheddar cheese.
In a medium mixing bowl combine all ingredients and stir well.
Sprinkle Panko mixture topping over the cheese.
Bake uncovered for 18-20 minutes or until it starts to lightly brown. Don’t overcook or it won’t be saucy.
Recipe Inspired by The Chunky Chef
Here are a few pics that are the perfect size to pin to Pinterest.
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