mac n cheese recipe

Creamy baked mac n cheese with a crispy top

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Mac n cheese is a synonym for comfort food. Soft and creamy macaroni with cheese that melts in your mouth, what else do you need? Whether you already made this popular baked pasta or you want to try it for the first time, you probably notice that mac n cheese recipes differ a lot. The choice of cheese and the additional ingredients that someone puts makes every recipe different, at least a bit. If you are still searching for a perfect mac n cheese recipe, you definitely need to try this one. 

One night my hubby and I were experimenting with the recipes and cheeses and we came up with our own combination of cheese ratios. As a result, we cooked mac n cheese that is better than any other we had so far. I am happy to share this mac n cheese recipe with you!

How do you make mac n cheese from scratch?

Homemade mac and cheese is actually easy to make, although you need at least one hour total time of cooking and preparation. The most demanding part is cooking the cheese sauce because you need to do it at lower heat. In other words, you need some patience and stirring, but it really pays off. The moment that cheese melts in your mouth, you will forget the effort you put to stand by the stovetop and stir the milk with cheese. 

If you wonder how to make mac n cheese from scratch, here are all the steps revealed:

  1. Cook macaroni (pasta) according to the packaging instructions.
  2. Shred the hard cheese(s).
  3. Cook milk with butter and flour.
  4. Add all types of cheese one by one and stir until combined well.
  5. Pour the cheese sauce in a baking pan together with macaroni.
  6. Optional: fry the breadcrumbs with bacon or prosciutto at high heat and top the macaroni and cheese with them. 
  7. Bake mac and cheese for about 30 minutes at 175 degrees Celsius.

What is the best cheese to use for macaroni and cheese?

mac n cheese recipe

When you cook macaroni and cheese you need to combine at least two types of cheese- hard and soft. Gruyere and cheddar are the most used cheeses for this dish. As for soft cheeses, many use mascarpone or philadelphia cream cheese. Here’s what combination of cheese we used in this mac n cheese recipe:

  • Emental 
  • Cheddar 
  • Mocarela 
  • Cream cheese 

What is the best pasta for mac n cheese?

The classic choice of pasta in almost every mac n cheese recipe is elbow pasta. You can also use shell pasta, cavatappi, radiatori, campanelle, but I also like to use fusilli. Basically any type of pasta that has holes or nooks so the cheese can stick to it. 

What can I put in my mac n cheese?

 Other than cheese, this mac n cheese recipe calls for bacon or prosciutto. You can use any type of cured meat to put on top, or in the sauce. Fried bread crumbs with cured meat is the best topping, if you want that crunchy flavor. You can also add some veggies in mac n cheese, like broccoli or mushrooms. But, the classic version is always the best choice. 

Can I make mac n cheese without milk?

Instead of milk, you can use half and half to make cheese sauce for mac and cheese. Some recipes call for both milk and cooking cream (half and half). For this mac n cheese recipe, milk is good enough because the focus is on different cheese types. Milk is more natural than cooking cream so it doesn’t change the flavors of cheese. 

Do you put egg in mac n cheese?

Using eggs in mac n cheese can change the texture and flavor completely. If the cheese you use has mild taste, you can put eggs to get that stronger flavor. But have in mind that putting eggs in mac n cheese can make the sauce curdle. 

mac n cheese recipe

Why is my mac n cheese gritty?

When you cook the sauce for macaroni, don’t put all the cheese at once to prevent it from becoming gritty. Always shred the cheese and cook it at lower heat. Remove the pot from the stove to add cheese, don’t add it to the boiling sauce. 

Why is my mac n cheese dry? 

You didn’t put enough cheese or milk. You can try to fix it by adding more grated cheese and milk, and bake it for additional 10 minutes or so. 

How do I know when mac n cheese is done? 

When the top gets golden color and most but not all of the sauce is evaporated, your mac and cheese is done. Don’t worry if there is little liquid left, macaroni will absorb it eventually. You don’t want to eat dry macaroni and cheese, believe me. 

mac n cheese recipe
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Mac n cheese recipe

Creamy baked mac n cheese with a crispy top 



Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Course: Appetizer, Breakfast, dinner, lunch, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cheddar cheese, cheddar sauce, cheese, mac and cheese, mac n cheese, macaroni
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 355kcal

Ingredients

  • 400 g pasta
  • 350 g milk
  • 75 g butter
  • 5 tbsp flour
  • 150 g cheddar cheese
  • 150 g emmental cheese
  • 125 g mocarela
  • 300 g cream cheese
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • one handful prosciutto
  • 1 cup bread crumbs

Instructions

  • Cook macaroni (pasta) according to the packaging instructions.
  • Shred the hard cheese(s).
  • Cook milk with butter and flour.
  • Add all types of cheese one by one and stir until combined well. When adding cheese, remove the pot from the stovetop and mix it nicely, then put it back on the stovetop. The sauce is done when it looks stringy.
  • Pour the cheese sauce in a baking pan together with macaroni.
  • Fry the breadcrumbs with bacon or prosciutto at high heat and top the macaroni and cheese with them. 
  • Bake mac and cheese for about 30 minutes at 175 degrees Celsius.

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