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The Best Macaroni & Cheese Ever

This recipe for classic baked macaroni and cheese is far and away the  most popular on my previous blog, The Hazel Bloom. It’s super creamy – not dry like some homemade mac and cheese can get. It’s cheesy. Oh yes. Very cheesy. It’s rich, ooey, gooey, and, yeah – in my humble opinion – the best macaroni and cheese recipe ever.

I say it’s the best macaroni and cheese recipe ever not because I have tried every single macaroni and cheese recipe in the world (though I have tried many) (and wouldn’t it be an incredibly noble cause to try every single one?!). It’s because whenever I take a glorious melty bite, I simply cannot imagine a better classic mac and cheese.

As I revisit, rephotograph, and sometimes slightly revamp recipes from past blog posts, I’ll be sharing the updated version here on Kitchen Treaty, which is now my main focus food-blog-wise. Quite naturally, I had to start with this recipe.

This is the best macaroni and cheese recipe ever. Seriously. Creamy, cheesy, straightforward, ooey, gooey – this macaroni and cheese will knock your socks off. Then go put ‘em back on and run a marathon, quick.

I can say this is the best macaroni and cheese recipe ever because it’s not really my recipe. I tweaked it a tiny bit – basically made it even more fattening – but otherwise, it’s someone else’s. It’s from someone named Bev, who posted her recipe on Recipezaar and to whom I am eternally grateful.

See, macaroni and cheese is pretty much my all-time favorite food. Always has been. Cases in point:

  1. One of my first-ever memories is of sitting down in front of the TV with a bowl full of macaroni and cheese and watching Emergency! – and feeling pure bliss.
  2. Not long after that was when I realized that a single macaroni and cheese noodle was actually not called a “macaroni and chee.” Major epiphany.
  3. Every birthday, my wonderful Gran actually used to wrap up boxes of Kraft dinner for me. Best presents ever!

I should probably stop there. I have a sneaking suspicion I’m coming off like a total freak.

So back to Bev. Bev posted a recipe that will forever be my go-to recipe for homemade mac and cheese. Before that, I had only experienced dry homemade mac and cheese. Goes into the oven wet, comes out dry. So annoying! But no more. I love you Bev!

Bev is probably totally creeped out now too.

I’m a total freakfest today. I guess I’ll just post the recipe. Mac and cheese lovers, come hither – this is the real thing!

Oh – and this recipe is great with many noodles other than macaroni (like penne, yum!) My most recent discovery is a wonderful pasta called “conchiglie.” It’s like giant macaroni noodles and it holds the sauce in the middle and oh. my. God. you just have to try it.

Okay, I’m shutting up now.

Here’s the recipe!

Add cooked and crumbled bacon to the top for your resident carnivore. He or she will declare undying love to you forevermore. Guaranteed.

Print Recipe

The Best Macaroni & Cheese Ever

The best macaroni and cheese recipe ever. Seriously. Creamy, cheesy, straightforward, ooey, gooey - this macaroni and cheese will knock your socks off.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Prep Time: 30 mins

Cook Time: 30 mins

Total Time: 1 hour


  • 8 oz. (1/2 pound or about 1 3/4 cups) macaroni or other medium tubular pasta (like penne or conchiglie)*
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika plus more for sprinkling on top
  • 2 1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 3 cups grated medium cheddar cheese*


  • Boil the pasta until al dente, according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking, and return to the pan you boiled it in. Set aside. (Mix in a little butter to keep the noodles from sticking if it's going to be awhile before you make the sauce)
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Over medium heat, melt the butter.
  • Add the flour, salt, dry mustard, pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika. Stir constantly over medium heat for about three minutes.
  • Stir in the milk.
  • Keeping on medium heat, whisk constantly for about 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens.
  • Remove from heat, and stir in 2 cups of the cheese, stirring until melted.
  • Pour the cheese sauce over the noodles and toss gently until all noodles are covered.
  • Add half the noodles to a two quart casserole dish.
  • Sprinkle on half the cheese.
  • Add the rest of the noodles.
  • Sprinkle on the rest of the cheese, and dust lightly with the smoked paprika.
  • Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until it starts getting a slightly dry and a tiny bit brown on top. Serve, topping individual servings with cooked, chopped bacon if desired.

*Please resist the urge to add more noodles to stretch the recipe. You need a lot of sauce with that pasta because the pasta soaks so much and it otherwise cooks down. Over-dry mac and cheese is such a disappointment - don't do it!

**Also resist the urge to add more cheese to the sauce. This can do weird things. Sprinkle more in between and on top if you must have more cheese.

Adapted from the Bev's Macaroni and Cheese recipe on

This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a portion of the proceeds.


409 Responses to “The Best Macaroni & Cheese Ever”

  1. Pingback: baked macaroni and cheese topped with bacon. | Cooking Pics

  2. kristy @ the wicked noodle posted on August 9, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Okay, here’s proof that the internet makes our world even smaller! I know Bev from Recipezaar! Well, I don’t KNOW her know her, but I made some of her recipes when I first began cooking {that are always fabulous, btw} and we’ve chatted from time to time. And here you are, mentioning her on your blog! Crazy.

    And this mac ‘n cheese has me swooning! Such a great comfort food and it’s a rare find to find a truly great mac ‘n cheese recipe. Thanks for sharing it!

    • Kare replied on August 12th, 2012 on 6:56 am

      Ha! That is awesome. I’m going to have to check out all her other recipes so I can *really* amp up my stalking. ;)

      • Ellen replied on June 15th, 2013 on 5:57 am

        Hey, I am going to try this for a Father’s Day event at the inlaws. My husband volunteered me for the Mac and Cheese. I want to make an incredible one. So many posted how wonderful this is. I want to try it, but I am so afraid I am going to wreck it. Is it really that easy to make and what cheeses would work with it. Just regular sharp cheddar. Thank you so much. The last few years our Mac and cheese made by someone else in the family has gotten real dry and crunchy. I don’t want that! Thank you! Ellen

      • Gina replied on September 9th, 2013 on 5:53 pm

        Loved this recipe. Proportions are perfect. Turned out crispy on top AND creamy. Made a couple of changes to suit my taste. Used Swiss cheese, Nutmeg instead of paprika and I added 1/2 cup Pinot Grigio. Some panko crumbs on top mixed with a handful more of cheese. Yummy! My husband likes his own version using Velveeta & Cheese Whiz, so we each made our own. He’s wolfing down mine! :) great recipe Kare! Thanks for sharing it with us!

        • fourstar replied on November 29th, 2013 on 2:39 pm

          I for one followed her recipe exactly and loved it, and I can say that because I stayed true to the original recipe.

          What you made is not even close to her original recipe, so how can you even say that you liked her recipe?

          Adding different types of cheese, wine, spices and breadcrumbs makes it an entirely different recipe. I know you mentioned that her proportions are great, but that’s all you really followed. You didn’t make HER macaroni cheese…

          • Shultzie replied on November 30th, 2013 on 8:47 am

            Fourstar, I was just thinking the same thing. If someone searches for “Best Macaroni and Cheese Recipe” why do they they proceed with totally changing the recipe? They should come up with their own, post it, and see how far they get. Stop hijacking other peoples recipes, Gina!

          • Truth replied on April 10th, 2014 on 12:20 pm

            Sadly there will always be one person that has to come in with their 2 cents. Well i got some ground breaking news for ya, coins aren’t worth squat these days so keep your 2 cents to yourself.

        • Kate replied on December 12th, 2013 on 6:06 am

          Made it with your changes. Delicious!

        • Chest replied on January 21st, 2014 on 8:49 pm

          Sounds delicious, Gina! I will definitely try your remix next time, though maybe without the nutmeg. Thanks to the OP for a great post!

      • Mary replied on January 9th, 2014 on 12:26 pm

        Can I use garden rotini? Will be trying the recipe for the 1st time Sat., for a party, & don’t want to mess up the taste of the recipe.

        • Karen Troughton replied on January 9th, 2014 on 7:26 pm

          Hi Mary, I have tried a couple of different types of pasta other than macaroni, with good results, though I have not tried rotini. So I can’t speak to how it will turn out. In my opinion, though, the recipe is pretty forgiving, and I’d be willing to bet it would turn out well. If you do try it, please do come back and let us know how it turned out!

    • Vanessa replied on July 28th, 2013 on 1:39 pm

      Best ever for sure! Also Filled a small dish on the side to freeze for later.

    • Tami replied on September 11th, 2013 on 1:00 pm

      do you think it would taste just as good with Colby Jack shredded cheese or should I not go there?

    • Ariel replied on October 25th, 2013 on 2:13 pm

      The best macaroni and cheese ever to hit the planet!!!!! My husband dies for this!!!!!

    • Tanya replied on December 27th, 2013 on 7:40 pm

      Awesome Mac and cheese! Will make again!

    • Dick O'Brien replied on January 8th, 2014 on 1:12 am

      Recipe worked well, just wish the introduction was less long winded

    • Linda replied on January 12th, 2014 on 11:57 am

      Tried this recipe today, my husband does not care for Mac’n cheese. He loved it said it was the best he ever had. He went for seconds,I did add a can of Italian tomatoes to some of the creme sauce. It was great! Try it.. and it was easy.

    • marina replied on February 12th, 2014 on 7:11 am

      Can you PLEASE stop calling different types of pasta ‘noodles’. They aren’t noodles. They are PASTA.
      Penne, Maccaroni, Conchiglie, Spaghetti.. they are types of pasta. They are not ‘noodles’.
      Please see this link:

      for what noodles are.

      • Karen Troughton replied on February 12th, 2014 on 7:34 am

        I grew up calling pasta “noodles,” and I’m not the only one who tends to use both words interchangeably. Right or wrong, personally I prefer to spend less time on semantics (and on correcting others) and more time enjoying life.

        • Teila replied on February 27th, 2014 on 1:24 pm

          If I could like your comment I would lol

        • Latasha Proctor replied on April 3rd, 2014 on 4:48 pm

          If I could like your comment I would too

      • Anne Sarah replied on February 24th, 2014 on 12:56 pm

        Geez, mellow out. Noodle, pasta, we all know what it is. Potato or Patato, whatever. You have way too much time on your hands. I am going to make this tonight. Hmmmm, should I use noodles or pasta lmao

      • Dorothy replied on March 10th, 2014 on 1:07 pm

        If “noodles” drives you nuts….imagine being married to a man who has always called any kind of pasta “spaghetti”!! Mac & Cheese is spaghetti! Rigatoni is spaghetti! Lasagna is spaghetti! You would have landed in divorce court years ago!


        Fabulous Recipe!

      • Uhuru replied on March 28th, 2014 on 4:54 pm

        So question is, did you try the recipe or not? That is what we are interested in. Did you? Pasta, Noodles, did you try the recipe? I want to try it out and I promise to write Pasta in the review…

    • Amy replied on April 11th, 2014 on 5:44 pm

      I thought it was awful. Followed recipe to a tee. Flour and cheese just don’t mix, had high hopes sorely disappointed. Kraft tastier.

  3. Diana posted on August 9, 2012 at 9:38 am

    I laughed aloud when I read the line about the singular “macaroni and chee.” Adorable!

  4. Rachel @ Bakerita posted on August 12, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Oh. My. Goodness. I was just telling my dad that mac ‘n cheese is my favorite food but I can never eat it because it’s so darn unhealthy…but I might have to cheat for this. It looks phenomenal. So creamy and cheese. Mac and cheese perfection! My noodle of choice for M&C is shells. I love how the sauce gets all trapped in the shell. So great. Can’t wait to try this!

    • someone replied on June 13th, 2013 on 10:22 am

      this chicks getting a boner over shells, but I gotta say I love shells too…

  5. Pingback: Tuesday Tip: Sriracha on Macaroni & Cheese | Kitchen Treaty

  6. Carl Minor posted on September 13, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    But wait … where’s the BACON!?!?! I see the delicious looking photos with bacon, but it’s not even mentioned once!

    • Sarah replied on November 16th, 2012 on 9:24 am

      It is mentioned under the photo of the bacon :)

      “Add cooked and crumbled bacon to the top for your resident carnivore. He or she will declare undying love to you forevermore. Guaranteed”

      I’m soooo going to try this tonight! :)

      • Kare replied on November 21st, 2012 on 2:00 pm

        Thank you Sarah! :)

  7. Pingback: Bacon Macaroni & Cheese | Cooking Pics

  8. Pingback: Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal | Kitchen Treaty

  9. Michelle posted on October 8, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    I had no problem stretching the recipe!

  10. Pingback: The Best Macaroni & Cheese Ever | Los Angeles Social Media Consultant

  11. Tracy D posted on November 17, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Instead of stretching, do you think it will work to completely double the recipe or should I make 2 batches? I need this for a Thanksgiving dish and “serves 6″ just won’t get it. Thanks!

    • Michelle S replied on November 20th, 2012 on 5:58 pm

      I need to quadruple it for Thanksgiving. I have made this as written several times now and my kids INHALE it. I am always the Mac n Cheese person at get togethers and I want to try this out on everyone, but not clear how much longer I should bake it with the recipe quadrupled? I sure hope we get a response on our comments soon! This stuff is so addicting!

      • Kare replied on November 21st, 2012 on 1:59 pm

        Hey Michelle and Tracy! I hope I responded in time; I’m so sorry I didn’t see your questions sooner.

        I’ve as much as tripled this recipe (no need to make separate batches, it doubles perfectly) and only needed to bake it for about 5 more minutes. Just keep a close eye on it once you hit 25 minutes. When it’s bubbly and starting to brown on the top you should be good to go!

        Hint: When you’re creating big vats of this stuff, I recommend using the slicer/shredder attachment on your Kitchenaid Mixer or grating the cheese via food processor grating attachment, if you have either of those things. Makes all that cheddar shredding SO much easier.

        Happy Holidays!

        • Henri replied on July 25th, 2013 on 11:54 am

          I’ve got to try this recipe. My husband doesn’t like mac and cheese, and I was wondering if this recipe freezes well?

    • Corinne replied on May 22nd, 2013 on 6:26 am

      I just made this with the recipe doubled and it was AMAZING. I had about nine people to feed and everyone was full- we even had leftovers!

      • Karen Troughton replied on May 24th, 2013 on 6:54 am

        Yay! I have as much as quadrupled the recipe for a large gathering. It was crazy! Multiple large pots going … a bit of mayhem. But worth it! :)

      • Ellen replied on June 15th, 2013 on 6:00 am

        Karen was it really easy to make and did you really love it. I am making it for a Fathers day at the Inlaws. I was volunteered to make a Mac and Cheese. The person who used to make it has two things not working, one she just had surgery and second her Mac and Cheese over the years has gotten dry and crunchy! HELP! I worry I am going to wreck it!!!!!

        • Ryan replied on November 10th, 2013 on 3:53 pm

          I found this recipe cheesy but bland :(

        • Ryan replied on November 10th, 2013 on 3:54 pm

          I found this recipe cheesy but bland :(

        • Ryan replied on November 10th, 2013 on 3:54 pm

          I found this recipe cheesy but bland :(

          • Rita replied on December 24th, 2013 on 11:59 pm

            Dude. We Get It. Merry Christmas!

          • A Barr replied on January 12th, 2014 on 10:08 am

            We all loved this recipe as is, except my son the spice lover who added a couple drops of tabasco to his portion. He too thought it bland and commented that the tabasco “was just what it needed”. I will definitely make this again.

  12. Lisa posted on November 19, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    I’m having a pot luck at work tomorrow and I just took this recipe out of the oven. I am looking so forward to tasting the results. I will let you know what my co workers thought of the mac n cheese, I’m adding the bacon too.

    • Kare replied on November 21st, 2012 on 1:43 pm

      I can’t wait to hear! I hope they loved it. :)

      • Kat replied on April 29th, 2013 on 10:53 am

        Sooooo… Was it yummie? Come on Lisa, we are all waiting… You said that you’d keep us posted… Xxx

        • PamN replied on July 21st, 2013 on 8:09 am

          I guess Lisa forgot! I Made this recipe yesterday for a get together and everyone, including myself, ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT! Totally awesome recipe. Thank you.

  13. Krys10 posted on November 22, 2012 at 1:48 am

    Any reheating tricks? I just made a huge batch of your yummy recipe for thanksgiving tomorrow, and cant throw the casserole dish in the microwave. How long would you suggest I leave it in the oven to reheat and at what temperature?

    • Kare replied on November 22nd, 2012 on 8:04 am

      Hi there,

      I’ve had the best success assembling the mac & cheese up to the point of baking, refrigerating, and -then- baking it for the first time right before serving (best to let it return to room temp before baking, or add a few minutes to the baking time to compensate for the colder mac & cheese).

      If you’ve already baked it, I’d suggest a 325 degree oven for 20 – 30 minutes, just until it’s bubbly again. It just might be a tad drier than it would have been had you only baked it once, but it will still be delicious. :)

      Happy Thanksgiving!

  14. Stephanie posted on November 22, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    I need to book mark you. Every time I make this, I have to come back to google for your recipe! We had a picky eater in the house. I made this, and it’s the first thing he ever went back for seconds on. Delicious!!

    • Stephanie replied on November 22nd, 2012 on 1:12 pm

      Also, I have to ask–are you intentionally making a roux for this? I live in south Louisiana, and your flour and butter base is the start to a lot of our recipes. I’ve never made a cheese sauce with it before, though.

      • Gill Slane replied on May 27th, 2013 on 10:43 am

        That’s really interesting, Stephanie (and I know your comment is olllld, LOL) – because I live in Scotland, and a roux is the standard way to start a cheese, bechamel or other milk-based sauce here. :)

        I love diversity and cultural differences – especially when they mean tasting more delicious recipes…and I do love Deep South food. Mmmmmmmmm. :-D

        • Anonymous replied on October 31st, 2013 on 9:59 am

          Here in New York it is the same too. Maybe in LA it’s not the standard for a cheese sauce but I don’t know any other way you could make it.

  15. Jen posted on December 20, 2012 at 8:09 am

    I’m going to try this for Christmas dinner. Can I prepare it a few days ahead up to the point of baking and refridgerate it before baking it?

    • Lisa Janelle replied on December 21st, 2012 on 1:41 pm

      REPOSTED from above – Hope this helps :) Im making this for Xmas and I cant wait!

      Hi there,
      I’ve had the best success assembling the mac & cheese up to the point of baking, refrigerating, and -then- baking it for the first time right before serving (best to let it return to room temp before baking, or add a few minutes to the baking time to compensate for the colder mac & cheese).
      If you’ve already baked it, I’d suggest a 325 degree oven for 20 – 30 minutes, just until it’s bubbly again. It just might be a tad drier than it would have been had you only baked it once, but it will still be delicious. :)
      Happy Thanksgiving!

  16. Pingback: This Week’s Bits & Bites: Best of 2012, Being Better in 2013, Charley Frickin’ Harper Glasses! | Kitchen Treaty

  17. Megan posted on January 10, 2013 at 11:32 am

    What size dish do you bake this in? 8 by 5 or 9 by 13?…..

    • Kare replied on January 13th, 2013 on 12:32 pm

      Hi Megan,

      I’ve actually baked this in several different sizes of baking dish, from a deep 5″ x 8″ dish to an 8″ x 8″ dish to a 9″ x 13″. All work great, but the bigger dish gives you more crispy top bits.

      • Gail replied on February 4th, 2014 on 7:21 pm

        This is tomorrow’s dinner…but not entirely sure if we will end up eating, as it tastes so good (in my head) that I may just end up rolling around in it.
        Gonna be a comfort food night, here in Michigan

  18. Megan posted on January 10, 2013 at 11:32 am

    What size dish do you bake this in? 8 by 5 or 9 by 13?…..

    • Andrea replied on January 12th, 2013 on 1:36 pm

      A two quart casserole dish, which is a circular one.

  19. Kris posted on January 17, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    If you can’t get medium cheddar (checked three stores), would one cup of mild and two cups of sharp suffice?

    • Kare replied on January 18th, 2013 on 8:38 am

      Hi Kris, so sorry medium cheddar was so elusive! Crazy! Absolutely – use mild or sharp cheddar, a combination, or you could even try some different cheeses if you were feeling daring (Gruyere, fontina, maybe a little Parmesan … all would be fantastic).

  20. Robin posted on January 18, 2013 at 8:05 am

    I made this a bunch of times in the past on a double batch but today I doubled the double batch and it came out a little watery. Will this thicken up once I cook it with the addition of the other 8 cups of cheese? Or do I have to start over? I am making it in a huge pan that fits in a table top warmer and cooked to the point of baking. I plan on doing the baking part tomorrow for a baby shower!

    • Kare replied on January 18th, 2013 on 9:06 am

      Hi Robin, I’ve made huge batches and have sometimes felt like there’s way too much sauce for all that pasta. But the pasta soaks absorbs so much of the liquid it always turns out perfect. I’m not sure if I’d ever describe it as having looked watery before, though. Hmm. I’d bet it’ll thicken up, but how about scooping a bit out into a ramekin and baking it now, just to see if it comes out the way you expect it to? Bonus: lunch! ;) Hope it turns out okay for you, and enjoy the baby shower!

      • Nancy Watsky replied on January 19th, 2013 on 4:56 pm

        Well, I finally found the best Mac and cheese recipe!

  21. Leslie posted on January 20, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    Awesome Recipe. I made this once before and it was amazing and I am making it now again. There was only one question I am confused about. I make double batches and so I double all the ingredients. Everything works out perfectly till I get to the part where I melt the butter in the pan and then add the ingredients. Every time I add the ingredients, It soaks up the butter and becomes chunky in my pan, so instead of waiting the 3 minutes of stirring, i end up adding the milk right away, so avoid burning. After I add the milk I have to break up the chunks but then everything seems to run smoothly and it tastes amazing. So am I missing something? Thank you so much for a wonderful recipe!

  22. Jill posted on January 26, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I have been searching for a good mac and cheese recipe for years! It has great flavor and is so creamy. I used 5 different types of cheese (I usually have that many on hand) and it turned out great.

  23. Pingback: Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

  24. Gudrun posted on January 31, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    I have hated mac and cheese all my life ever since I tasted it in the school cafeteria. My mom never made it, nor did I make it for my kids. Now I am 75 years old and ran across your recipe. WOW!! Have made this twice in one week….it is soooooo good! We are never too old to learn something new…I just wish I would have know this earlier. Everyone I knew back then always gave their kids the boxed kind. Yuk. Thank you for enriching my life with this taste treat.

    • Kare replied on February 22nd, 2013 on 11:30 am

      Gudrun, thank you so much for sharing. I’m so glad it’s made a mac and cheese convert of you! :)

    • Gill Slane replied on May 27th, 2013 on 10:46 am

      Gudrun, your comment made me smile SO much. I have friends in age from teenagers to their 80s (I’m 40, myself), and you’re never too old to grow a new food addiction! :D Exploration keeps us all young. x

  25. Gary posted on February 5, 2013 at 8:07 am

    Going to try make this in the next few days however, how big is a “cup”? Cups are all different sizes?

    • Kare replied on February 22nd, 2013 on 11:32 am

      Hi Gary, sorry I didn’t see your question sooner. In cooking terms a cup is equivalent to 8 ounces. I did a quick search and found this chart that you might find helpful.

  26. Kay posted on February 10, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Can I prepare this without baking and freeze for a crowd?

  27. Kay posted on February 10, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Can I prepare this without baking and freeze for a crowd?

    • Kare replied on February 22nd, 2013 on 11:24 am

      I almost always have a batch of this in the freezer, usually assembled up to the point of baking. It’s so handy to have some ready to cook up on a moment’s notice. It turns out pretty well, though I find it’s not quite as creamy as when you don’t freeze it.

      • Fay replied on December 16th, 2013 on 4:52 pm

        Hi Kara,
        I am making large batches of mac and cheese and freezing it for my holiday party on Sunday. I have 50 people coming. Is there anything I can do to keep the mac and cheese creamy.

        I ended up buying whole milk instead of skim before I came across your recipe, Is that an issue?

        Also, are the 3 cups of cheese packed into a cup or scooped up normally?

  28. John posted on February 10, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    This was AMAZING! I substituted peprika for Mrs. Dash Chipotle and chili powder and it came out great. The base for this recipe is key(butter and milk with cheese sauce). Add spices to taste. I’m never making Mac and Cheese any other way! Good stuff.

    • Kare replied on February 22nd, 2013 on 11:22 am

      Yay! Thanks for sharing, John.

  29. Jennifer posted on February 22, 2013 at 7:43 am

    I don’t have any dry mustard or 2% milk on hand, but I do have prepared mustard, skim milk, and half-and-half. Has anyone ever tried this with a fattier milk combination? I’m going to give it a shot and see if it turns out okay. This seems like the most promising recipe for mac & cheese I’ve come across, and I’ve tried many.

    • Kare replied on February 22nd, 2013 on 11:29 am

      Hi there, you know, I actually tried a squirt of regular prepared mustard once when I realized I was out of dry mustard. It really didn’t add the flavor of dry mustard. Personally I’d just leave the mustard out entirely if I don’t have dry mustard in my cupboard. A mixture of skim milk and half-and-half should work great! I’d think three parts skim to one part half and half should be just about right, but a quick Google search for milk substitutions might give you a more accurate ratio.

      Hope you love it!

      • Katie replied on June 23rd, 2013 on 4:27 am

        Try cayenne. It compliments cheddar wonderfully! However, this may be a “let them eat cake” suggestion, if you don’t have dry mustard, you may not have cayenne either!

        • Karen Troughton replied on June 24th, 2013 on 6:02 am

          That would be a delicious addition!

          • DC replied on January 28th, 2014 on 6:02 pm

            I didn’t have any dry mustard either, so I used Dijon and a tiny bit of Worcestershire sauce. Those are both part of another M&C recipe I sometimes use and I like the flavor they add. And I rarely have milk on hand (however, I did buy 2% for this recipe), so I often mix half and half with some water when recipes call for milk and it works out fine.

            This was a great recipe! Very cheesy and delicious. Especially with the bacon crumbled on top.

            • Karen Troughton replied on January 30th, 2014 on 6:36 am

              So glad you liked it! Thanks for sharing your adaptations. :)

    • Adole replied on December 5th, 2013 on 11:05 am

      I actually made this with half-and-half and it was creamy, and tasted really good. Could only eat in small doses though to keep my waistline in tact lol :)

      • Gail replied on February 4th, 2014 on 7:27 pm

        Well, at least SOMEone is minding her waistline. I know it’s said that a mind is a terrible thing to waste, but I feel that a waist is a terrible thing to mind. Just sayin’.

        • Uhuru replied on March 28th, 2014 on 5:06 pm

          LOL!!! that was funny.

  30. Celeste posted on February 26, 2013 at 9:29 am

    I made this last night and it was delicious. I used New York Extra Sharp Cheese and next time might go with Cabot’s Seriously Sharp. I used 1% milk and it was still very creamy.

    DH said it was the best macaroni and cheese he’s ever had. The little guy who doesn’t ever eat anything had two helpings. And the big kid didn’t like it but if his brother likes something then he doesn’t! LOL

    My question is can i make this the night before, leave it in the fridge and cook it the next day or will it not turn out the same.


    • Gill Slane replied on May 27th, 2013 on 10:50 am

      I think she replied to a similar question above, and said it turns out fine if you prepare it to the point of baking, then refrigerate it. When you want to eat, just bring it back to room temperature before baking it, or add on a few minutes to make up for the cold of the fridge. :)

      Hope I’m not too rude replying in her stead, but I’m reading this thread with great interest…I currently have a large casserole full of this in the oven, to stave off the cool Scottish evening! :D

  31. charlotte egbers posted on March 2, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    I just bought conchiglie noodles yesterday and I was looking for a mac and cheese recipe for these great looking noodles. Yours was the first I found and now I am so excited to get these things cooking! Thank you.

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  33. Krista posted on March 5, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    How many cups of macaroni is 8 oz? I have tried to look it up but am getting answers from 1 3/4 cups up to 4 cups. I am really looking forward to making this and don’t want to mess it up!

    • Person replied on March 14th, 2013 on 4:34 pm

      I would suggest getting a kitchen scale, which can be easily found for cheap and gives you much more accuracy in cooking and baking.

      But it was two cups of dry noodles for me.

      • Kare replied on March 14th, 2013 on 7:13 pm

        Thank you!

    • Kare replied on March 14th, 2013 on 7:11 pm

      Hi there, I usually just use half a package of pasta as it usually comes in 16-ounce boxes. Thank you for asking this – I will revise the recipe to clarify as soon as I can!

  34. Kris posted on March 13, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    This was the most amazing Mac n cheese I have ever made. My daughter loves bacon so I added bacon and I used Colby jack cheese and 1 cup of smoked Gouda and my husband likes jalapeños so I added a few fresh sliced in the corner for him….follow her pointers on not adding more cheese or more noodles and you will have an amazing dish!!! KEEPER!!!!!!

    • Kare replied on March 14th, 2013 on 7:15 pm

      Oh my! Your substitutions and additions sound unreal. Yum!

  35. IS posted on March 17, 2013 at 5:17 am

    At what point do you add the bacon?

    • Kare replied on March 17th, 2013 on 6:54 am

      Hi there, top with bacon when you serve it, if desired. Just sprinkle individual servings with cooked, chopped bacon. Thank you for asking; I should to mention that in the recipe. I’ve added it to the last step.

      • Michelle replied on March 24th, 2013 on 8:08 am

        Greek yogurt?

        That sounds disgusting.

        Don’t ruin great recipes.

  36. Jodi posted on March 17, 2013 at 11:48 am

    I made this with Greek Yogurt instead of milk, and left out the flour as the greek yogurt is very thick. I also added some minced garlic and green onions. On the top I sprinkled a little bit of parmesan, and it was absolutely delicious!!!!

    • Kare replied on March 17th, 2013 on 7:07 pm

      Greek yogurt is such a great idea for making a healthier version of mac & cheese – love it!

    • Maria replied on January 26th, 2014 on 6:20 pm

      What a fantastic idea! How much Greek yogurt did you use? Was it the same amount as the milk? Also, my boyfriend and I simply loved this recipe, but long for a combination of cheeses for our second try. What are your thoughts about a gruyere and white cheddar? Any cheese combinations you’ve tried and liked??

  37. Kristopher posted on March 19, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    Thank you for this amazing recipe…it truly is THE best macaroni and cheese recipe out there!

  38. Sonna posted on March 21, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    This was my first time to ever make home made mac and cheese. I had never made a gravy that way before either. This was so easy to make. I forgot to put the cheese in with the gravy, but it worked out just fine. I made a double batch with no problem, got tired of stirring for 20 min though, lol! Thank You so much for this recipe!

  39. myka posted on March 22, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    I made this for Christmas for my husband and myself but I need to make a double batch tomorrow for a family get together. I want to cook it in the crock pot…any ideas on how that will go?

    • Kare replied on March 23rd, 2013 on 6:12 am

      Hi Myka, I love this recipe for family get-togethers! As far as the Crock Pot goes … I’ve never tried it in a slow cooker so I can’t really speak to that. But I think that if you layer the sauced noodles and cheese in the Crock Pot (basically put it in the Crock Pot at the point of baking which I’m assuming is what you meant), it will probably turn out hot and melty-cheesy and be pretty good. I would miss the baked crispy topping and I would worry about it possibly drying out a bit as the noodles would probably soak in more of the sauce along the way. But hey, it could be totally fine too. :) If you do try it, please report back!

  40. Conrad posted on March 25, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Well, I had a craving for mac’n’chee tonight, but since they don’t sell it over here (Taiwan), I thought I’d give homemade a go. It’s in the oven right now…

    • Conrad replied on March 25th, 2013 on 9:38 am

      Oh yes. It is awesome. It’s like my mom used to make, but better (shh, don’t tell her).
      One thing: maybe specify that it’s 375 FAHRENHEIT in the recipe. Some of us are used to metric (also morons), and nearly burned our dinner. This would have been extremely tragic.
      Now I’m going to sit down for some mac’n’chee and Star Trek. This is going to become a weekly event.

      • Kare replied on March 26th, 2013 on 7:17 am

        Hey Conrad! So glad you liked it. Sounds like an awesome weekly event you’re starting. Klingons and chee. :) And, yes! I absolutely should specify Fahrenheit. Thank you for mentioning that. Updated!

  41. Chris posted on March 31, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    I made this recipe once before by the book. I made it again and tweaked it a bit. Added a sauteed onion, some kraft velveeta cheese and a splash more milk and that completely set it off. The original is great too, but I just like to improvise a bit when cooking.

    • Kare replied on April 1st, 2013 on 8:53 pm

      I love to improvise, too – I’m all for it! Love the idea of adding the onion, especially.

  42. Pingback: Attempts at ‘The Best Macaroni & Cheese Ever’ | Motherly Munchies

  43. Amanda posted on April 1, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    I will never make baked Mac and cheese any other way again! This recipe is fannnnntassstic!! My husband and I loved it! Thanks so much!

    • Kare replied on April 1st, 2013 on 8:43 pm

      Hey Amanda, so glad you both loved it! :)

  44. Lisa posted on April 6, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    I had only tried homemade mac & cheese once before and I was very disappointed in it, but I tried yours tonight and LOVED it! No more boxes for me.

    • Kare replied on April 8th, 2013 on 8:57 am

      Yay! It is such a great recipe, isn’t it? (I can say that without feeling like I’m bragging because really it’s Bev’s recipe with very minor tweaks. ;) )

    • Kare replied on April 8th, 2013 on 9:02 am

      Yay! Another convert! :) Don’t tell anyone, but I actually made up a box of the Annie’s box mac and cheese a couple months ago, and it had been so long since I’d made it that I just dumped the box into the water, cheese packet and all! Totally forgot the packet exists. I guess that’s a good thing. ;)

  45. Kristina Bond posted on April 7, 2013 at 11:11 am

    I’ve just had come across this recipe and it sounds great so I will be trying It out tomorrow!

    • Janis replied on April 12th, 2013 on 11:37 pm

      This recipe is real similar to the one I’ve been making for a long time except that I saute’ onions in the butter before adding the flour and the rest of the ingredients. I also use whole wheat macaroni noodles and top the mac and cheese with lightly buttered whole wheat bread crumbs before putting in the oven.

      Sure beats anything out of the box!

  46. jay posted on April 17, 2013 at 8:24 am

    This really was…the BEST mac and cheese ive ever had…i was a little nervous at first because until this dish, ive never baked mac and cheese before..but again this is the best ive ever had…THANKS!

  47. Kelly posted on April 19, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    I want to make this and freeze it for when our first baby arrives in a couple of weeks! Would you suggest assembling this dish and then covering and freezing and then to de-thaw and bake? Rather than baking first and then freezing?! Thanks!

    • Karen Troughton replied on April 23rd, 2013 on 9:26 am

      Hi Kelly – first and most importantly, congratulations! I actually made and froze a couple of batches of this when I was expecting, too. :) I assembled it up until the point of baking and then froze it. I tried to let it come to room temperature, or at least completely thaw in the fridge, before baking. The results were good. Still not quite as creamy and perfect as when you don’t freeze it and just bake it immediately, but still plenty delicious and the convenience is SO wonderful when you’re caring for a tiny little one. Best of luck and congrats again!

      • Cyn replied on April 23rd, 2013 on 7:53 pm

        Looking to try this awesome looking recipe out for a going away party this weekend, but just wondering if I should cover this with aluminum foil while its in the oven to further prevent it from drying out???
        Sorry if you’ve already answered this…. :)

  48. Aimee posted on April 30, 2013 at 7:49 am

    This was delicious, but it was almost too rich. I think I put too much cheese in the sauce. Would that cause that richness?

    • Karen Troughton replied on May 6th, 2013 on 8:40 am

      The cheese might make it a little richer … but this is pretty much an over-the-top rich mac and cheese recipe either way. Perhaps try less cheese between the layers next time? Glad you liked it nonetheless! :)

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  50. Tony B | Simple Awesome Cooking posted on May 22, 2013 at 6:18 am

    Hey Karen – I was just in search of a M&C recipe and was excited that you were Page 1 in SERPs. Our 20 month old has become a huge mac & cheese (and ham) fan, so I need to find an alternative to The Box asap. Going to give this a go today!

    • Karen Troughton replied on May 24th, 2013 on 6:57 am

      Hey Tony! So funny. The first time my daughter (now nearly 17 months) ate it (gosh, she was probably only like 8 months at the time), she devoured it with lots of “mmmmmmmmmmmmm” murmering. I was so proud! But the last several months it’s been no dice on homemade. Annie’s Homegrown bunny pasta from a box, though, she’ll eat. It kills me!

      Hope your little guy likes it. :)

  51. David posted on May 29, 2013 at 7:31 am

    This was really really good! I needed to make something warm and yummy for when the kids got home from school. I didn’t have macaroni, paprika, or 2% milk on hand. So I used the following: spaghetti, chili powder, 2 cups whole milk, and a half cup water. I also added 2 tablespoons of thinly sliced and chopped red bell pepper (gave a nice color and taste), 2 tablespoons of chopped onion, and half of an Eckrich Skinless Polska Kielbasa (cut into bite-sized pieces). Everyone loved it and there were no leftovers. Best Mac ‘n Cheese I’ve ever made! I will buy some macaroni to keep on hand for next time.

    • Karen Troughton replied on May 29th, 2013 on 7:24 pm

      Wow, that’s a very creative take (and sounds terrific)! Thank you for sharing. :)

  52. Kylah posted on June 6, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    Okay…so Im a born recipe “tweeker” but I started with the original recipe. Just added more butter……about 1/2 tsp. Of garlic powder and I sprinkled bread crumbs across the top with the bacon bits. Then sprayed the crumbs with spray butter. Looks…..smells and tastes wonderful!!!

    • Karen Troughton replied on June 10th, 2013 on 7:42 am

      I feel ya on the recipe tweaking. You’ve got to make it your own! So glad you liked it. :)

  53. Prince Evans posted on June 13, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    Your macaroni and cheese looks very scrumptious! This is definitely a to-die-for recipe! Especially the gooey cheese–very tempting.. I will definitely try this. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  54. rick posted on June 19, 2013 at 7:42 am

    Embarrassed to say, I’m 48 years old and I’ve never made homemade mac and cheese. Mainly, because I don’t eat a lot of it, but tonight I had a craving… I wanted grilled cheese and tomato soup (my ultimate comfort food) but I wanted to try something interesting. So I searched for homemade mac&cheese recipes and this one caught my eye. I made it per the directions and only sampled a spoonful(MMmmmm-Mmmm). Then, I cut 2 thick slices of French bread, lightly toasted them and buttered the outsides. I placed 1 cup of the mac and cheese, 4 thin slices of roma tomatoes, a little extra black pepper and a little oregano between the bread and grilled it on a very hot grill pan for about 30 seconds per side to crisp it up even more. It was fantastic with a side of harvest tomato soup. Can’t wait to finish off the leftover mac and cheese tonight! ~rick

  55. Emma posted on June 23, 2013 at 11:51 am

    is the ½ teaspoon dry mustard optional?

    • Karen Troughton replied on June 23rd, 2013 on 12:04 pm

      Sure. It adds some nice flavor and personally I would avoid going without it, but your mac & cheese should still turn out just fine without it. :)

  56. Theresa posted on June 25, 2013 at 5:44 am

    I added roasted vegetables to this dish, mixed it in with the cheese sauce and then sprinkled Parmesan on top too. Just a way to sneak some veggies in for me and my family. Loved it and thanks for the recipe. ;).

    • Karen Troughton replied on June 25th, 2013 on 8:14 pm

      What a great idea! Love it! I will sometimes sneak peas in for my little gal but hadn’t thought of roasted veggies. Must try!

  57. snazzy posted on June 30, 2013 at 10:45 am

    I just made this…yummmio! I added a bit of cayenne powder and went heavy on the paprika. Turned out delicious. Waiting for my husband to get home to try it :)

    • Karen Troughton replied on July 3rd, 2013 on 8:16 pm

      Sounds perfect! Hope you both loved it.

  58. Katie posted on July 1, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    I just made this mac and cheese and it was yummy. Mine was not as creamy and gooey as the pictures above look. In my opinion, this is not the best mac and cheese I have ever had, so I will continue my search for the “best mac and cheese.”

    • Karen Troughton replied on July 3rd, 2013 on 8:12 pm

      I’m glad you liked it, even though you will be continuing your search! Hey, there are worse things to do – test countless mac & cheese recipes until you find “the one.” I’d be all over that. :)

  59. jill posted on July 3, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    So I made this last night and it came out really good:] but I have a few questions 1st of all i used 3 8 ounce bricks of cheese (shredded them) and then i read today each 8 ounce of cheese equals 2 cups which i didnt realize cause i just thought 8 oz equals 1 cup (liquid)so how do you measure yours by cup or ounces? just want to be sure for next time and 2nd question is have you ever made this with other kinds of cheeses? and if so how did it come out and what kind did you use??

    • Karen Troughton replied on July 3rd, 2013 on 8:00 pm

      Hi Jill, yeah, unfortunately it’s not that simple – 8 ounces doesn’t necessarily = 1 cup. 8 ounces of cheese might be more like a cup in volume *before* shredding, but it’s two cups in volume after. These days when a recipe calls for cheese, I usually write it so that I’m stating both, e.g. 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (8 ounces) – assuming people will look at the ounces when buying the block of cheese in the store, and then hopefully also measure it after it’s grated. But this is an older recipe and I see I didn’t write it that way. I will update the recipe to reflect that, and thank you so much for asking. Sounds like your version must have been very, very cheesy! :) To answer your second question, yes, I have used various combinations of monterey jack cheese, pepper jack, a little Parmesan, and fontina. All great, though I prefer straight up cheddar as in this recipe the best. Here’s a variation with different cheeses (and some other stuff too):

  60. Samantha posted on July 5, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    The use of the word “ever” by every writer and blogger on subjective subjects is getting really annoying. It shows an extreme arrogance on the part of the writer — I can guarantee you have not eaten/tasted every mac and cheese recipe on the planet, so enough with the hyperbole.

    • Doris replied on July 25th, 2013 on 1:50 pm

      Yikes! Samantha—why so critical? It’s just an expression and maybe , just maybe, it is the best —ever!

    • Jennifer replied on August 16th, 2013 on 12:07 pm

      Have you made this mac & cheese? Of the ones I’ve tried (which granted have not been all of the recipes in the known universe, but in fact a decent sampling), this is by light-years the best.

    • Gail Ann Wacker replied on February 4th, 2014 on 7:41 pm

      How rude you are! Time to re-line the brakes between your brain & your keyboard! That was cruel & completely uncalled for.

    • Christine replied on February 23rd, 2014 on 9:14 am

      Wow, what a crabby pants you are! Maybe you need to eat some Mac ‘n Cheese. I’ve made this recipe and many others and I will say that this is a really great recipe.

  61. I liked it posted on July 10, 2013 at 9:39 am

    This was really tasty. I made it as a side dish for my family and they loved it. I will save this recipe for future references.

  62. Gillian posted on July 12, 2013 at 4:45 am

    I’m thinking about making this recipe. Cooking for my boyfriend’s family for the first time. I’ve always been a good cook, regardless, I’m a little on edge about it. Never made mac + cheese before. Is this something I could put together in the morning, refrigerate, and then bake later???

    • Karen Troughton replied on July 14th, 2013 on 9:25 am

      Hi Gillian, I’ve made this ahead of time and then baked it with good results. It might not turn out *quite* as creamy because more of the sauce will soak into the noodles. I’d bring it to room temperature before baking (just sit it on the counter for 30 minutes or so before popping it in the oven). Smart thinking to make this ahead of time – the less stress the better! Good luck – I’m sure dinner will be perfect. :)

      • Helen replied on July 24th, 2013 on 3:57 pm

        Karen, does it matter if the milk is cold, room temp, or warm? What I remember from making a roux, one component should be hot, one cold. Thoughts?

        • Karen Troughton replied on July 27th, 2013 on 9:33 am

          Hi Helen, I find it doesn’t make a difference. I’ve used room temp milk (just because I had it sitting out on the counter for awhile before I got around to doing the cooking) but usually, I just use milk straight from the fridge. I add it in a slow-ish stream and whisk – have never had a problem with lumpiness. That’s a great question!

          • Helen replied on July 28th, 2013 on 7:35 pm

            I made it this weekend, big hit with the crowd! Thanks! I cooked the pasta and was surprised and concerned that it wasn’t enough. I then made the sauce and soon realized that the pasta would expand. It was more than enough.

  63. Gabriella jennett posted on July 18, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    I made this recipe for my boyfriend and dad and they absolutely loved it! The bacon was a really tasty, nice touch. It was also a SUPER easy recipe that doesn’t require a lot of ingredients you don’t already have. I will definitely be making this again soon!!

  64. steph (whisk/spoon) posted on July 23, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Delicious! Thank you!!

  65. Rachel posted on July 25, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    Who is this Bev person that everyone keeps talking about? lols.

  66. Monta posted on July 26, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Hello! I’m from Latvia and i’m going to make and eat mac and cheese for the first time. I’m excited for this, haha.

  67. Isabel posted on July 29, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    This tasted sooo good !

    • Fiona replied on October 3rd, 2013 on 12:57 pm

      2 weeks ago I made Nigella’s macaroni cheese…. not a patch, not even half a patch on this one. I did change it a little, added 3 rashers of chopped cooked smoked bacon to the sauce… I have just eaten some and it is the best ever.

  68. Dawn Anderson posted on July 30, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    I’ve made this twice now, and everyone raved about it. It’s the only Mac n Cheese I’ll make now. I use regular cheddar to melt in, and then sprinkle pepper jack between the layers. Everyone liked the mild kick. It also reheats in the microwave really well, which isn’t true for most recipes. Yum!

  69. Margaret posted on July 31, 2013 at 12:56 am

    I make mac and cheese for my son but he has to heat it up and sometimes later on in the day or next day . Will this be ok in fridge and heated up . The recipe I use is lovely but a bit dry on occasion when reheated . Thanks

    • Gail replied on February 4th, 2014 on 7:44 pm

      Personally, I add a bit of milk and mix it in just prior to reheating. Seems to work pretty well.

  70. Ellen Juliano posted on August 3, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    I love to cook and have tried a lot of mac ‘n cheese recipes but this one is the keeper for me! Thanks so much for sharing it <3

    • Karen Troughton replied on August 8th, 2013 on 7:23 am

      I love hearing this! Thank you for commenting. :)

  71. Phyli posted on August 7, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    I wasn’t sure how this would come out. Most other recipes for creamy mac & cheese called for Velveeta which I don’t have and would rather not use. This came out sooo creamy with the Medium Cheddar Cheese alone. This was excellent. So excellent I had to post a comment which I’ve never done before for any recipe website! Good Job. Even the husband that isn’t big on any pasta meals, especially mac & cheese but he loved it and chowed it down so quickly.

    • Karen Troughton replied on August 8th, 2013 on 7:16 am

      I feel the same about Velveeta. I think it tastes SO sinfully great and gets all melty and perfect, but, yes – I would also rather not buy it and use it, I prefer to stick with whole foods when possible. So I was thrilled with this recipe too. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! Glad you both loved it.

  72. Rachel posted on August 7, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    I always hated baked mac and cheese because most recipes loose their creaminess. Unfortunately my husband likes the crunchy bits of baked so he was always a bit bummed when I’d serve stovetop mac and cheese. I’m so happy to have finally found a recipe we both can enjoy!

    Although I do not recommend using white whole wheat flour. (Not sure why I was kidding myself that it’d be healthier…) It’s still yummy, but the nuttiness overpowers the flavor of the cheese.

    • Karen Troughton replied on August 8th, 2013 on 7:14 am

      Yes, I gave up on baked mac and cheese for awhile for the same reason! Always so disappointing to stick it in the oven all creamy and have it come out dry. I read recently that you can spread mac and cheese on a cookie sheet and cook it that way basically to replicate the crunchy top with the entire batch. You could bake half on a cookie sheet for him and half in a regular baking dish! Though – I’ve never tried it, so I can’t speak to the actual results. :)

  73. Brenna posted on August 15, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    My boyfriend has never had homemade mac n cheese before, just powdered box stuff (blech!) , so I’m making this for dinner for him tonight! It looks really similar to how my mom used to make it, sans the smoked paprika. If I use regular paprika and a dash of liquid smoke will that achieve similar results? Or should I forgo the paprika altogether? Thanks!

    • Karen Troughton replied on August 16th, 2013 on 7:59 am

      Hi Brenna, sorry I didn’t see this comment until this morning. I would probably just leave the smoked paprika out if I didn’t have it. But I’m very curious about your idea for a substitution – if you tried it please be sure to share how it turned out!

      • Brenna replied on August 16th, 2013 on 8:06 am

        I did end up adding a splash of liquid smoke to the sauce before adding the cheese, and then used cayenne instead of paprika, but just a very small amount, a couple of shakes. Now I’m Italian and rarely ever measure anything, but when I saw you said that adding more cheese does weird things to the sauce, I figured I’d measure absolutely everything I did with this (except the liquid smoke and cayenne, I just went with gut feel there). Oh. My. Goodness. This was hands down the best macaroni and cheese I’ve ever made or eaten. My boyfriend, who works very heavy construction for about 10-12 hours a day, always comes home with a huge appetite. He ate about half the pan, along with some barbeque chicken and homemade biscuits, and the whole time he was just moaning and groaning and saying he never knew! He never knew that mac and cheese could taste like that! He’s stated that he’d like this to become a weekly staple of his diet. ^_^ So happy! Thank you so so so so much!

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  75. Kalah posted on August 20, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    This was delicious! I was iffy with it since I’m not a fan of this style of Mac and cheese (the kind you bake) but this has really changed my mind. It was really good. It wasn’t hard to make either, if you are aware of how to make flour gravy that is… (Good thing my Mamma trained me well, since that would be the hardest part.) it was yummy all around though. I really liked the smoked paprika in it also.. It gave it a bacon taste without adding it in there. Very awesome.

  76. Nikki posted on August 22, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    I just made this today, and for some reason, after having cooked it for 30 minutes at 375, It was rather lumpy inside. The outside was wonderful! I was just hoping that you had a remedy for the middle tasting slightly grainy…

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  78. Renee posted on August 23, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    This was perfect! My family loved it! I added some grilled chicken so we could call it a meal and everyone was pleased. I added a little more salt and pepper but I wouldn’t change anything else! Thanks for sharing!

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  81. Jessica posted on August 27, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    I made this tonight and my husband and I absolutely LOVED it! I used freshly grated colby cheese instead (skipped the bacon) and sprinkled some italian seasoned panko break crumbs on it after it came out of the oven…flawless! My husband said (and I agree!)…literally the best mac n’ cheese recipe ever! Will definitely be making this again! Thanks for posting it :)

    • Karen Troughton replied on September 2nd, 2013 on 8:19 pm

      Woo hoo! I just love comments like this. Thank you for taking the time to post it. So glad you loved it and your adaptations sound fab.

  82. AmandaMax posted on August 30, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Just made this tonight. I’m eating it as we speak. Absolutely delicious!!! My new favorite mac and cheese. :)

    • Karen Troughton replied on September 2nd, 2013 on 8:13 pm

      Hey AmandaMax, so glad you liked it. Thanks for coming back and commenting! :)

  83. Sam posted on August 31, 2013 at 8:37 am

    Was wonderful. We did it with mozzarella and wished we had made more!

    • Karen Troughton replied on September 2nd, 2013 on 8:12 pm

      I love the ooey-gooeyness that mozzarella adds to the mix!

  84. Anne posted on September 2, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    I want to make a HUGE batch, like for 100 servings. I have a extremely large cast iron dutch oven. Do you think preparing it to the point of baking as you have suggested, 2 days in advance, then baking it prior to serving it in this huge pot will affect the quality? Any changes you would suggest? Thanks for input. It is for this Saturday, September 7th.

    • Karen Troughton replied on September 2nd, 2013 on 8:11 pm

      Hi Anne, wow! That is quite the undertaking! I have as much as quadrupled the recipe and the big thing I find when waiting to bake it is that it turns out a tad drier than it does if you bake it immediately. I think that the pasta just soaks up more of the moisture. I haven’t tried larger quantities (yet) so I can’t speak to it exactly but perhaps make a little extra sauce to help make sure it doesn’t dry out? Maybe a ratio of 11:10 or even 12:10. You could also make the sauce a couple of days in advance then gradually heat it back up and add it the just-cooked pasta right before baking – but I haven’t tried that either. Maybe some other folks reading this can throw in some suggestions? Best of luck to you, please report back if you get the chance!

  85. kyle posted on September 3, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Am I the only person who added milk (slowly slowly slowly) and had their roux totally ruined?

    Everyone else is happy with their results but I had a perfectly fine roux, added milk slowly and just watched it ball up and turned to inedible chunks of mush. I continued to mix it for 10 minutes but all I was doing was moving around muck.

    Is there some other bit of info that should be in the recipe or what? I guess I’m frustrated cause I’m in the process of trying to make this for dinner and cannot get passed that step which sounds so very simple in the recipe but which is NOT working for me in real life here in my kitchen…instead I have all kinds of things half-ready to go but no cheese sauce.


    • Kare replied on September 3rd, 2013 on 2:16 pm

      Yikes! It sounds like either way too much flour or not enough milk. Try adding some more milk? I don’t even pour the milk in very slowly these days. Have never had this problem – sorry!

    • Ms Frau replied on February 6th, 2014 on 11:49 pm

      Your heat is probably a bit too high AND you’re adding milk too slowly – it is evaporating away as you add it.

      The reason milk is added slowly is so that you don’t get a layer of roux (flour/butter) that won’t mix in to the very liquid milk. Think of making hot chocolate from a mix. It mixes much better if you add a little milk at first, as you mix. Then add the rest.

      Turn the heat down or use a heavy bottom pan, add COLD milk for best results to the hot roux, and add in sufficient quantity to mix with the roux, once that’s mixed, you can pour the rest in. Roux isn’t really about how fast or slow – it’s about not putting too MUCH in all at once.

      Oh, and use a whisk! Lumpy sauces can often be saved with a big whisk.

      Thanks for posting your recipe!! I’ve been a search for the Best for my blog for several years, now, and I love the idea of putting cheese between the layers…

    • Christine replied on February 23rd, 2014 on 9:21 am

      I make sure to use a very heavy bottomed pot and I also use a wire whisk both when mixing the roux and when I add the milk. Never, ever had a lumping/balling problem.

  86. Emily posted on September 4, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    Amazing! I made this for the family tonight & my dad came in after eating it and stated, “that may be the best Mac n Cheese I’ve ever had.” I made it with skim milk which saved on calories and it still came out amazing. I also added pinko flakes to the top which added extra crunch to it! I will definitely be making this again and will be using this as a base recipe for other Mac n Cheese varieties (I.e. Lobster Mac, Truffle Mac, etc.)

  87. Catherine posted on September 7, 2013 at 11:56 am

    I liked this but the family is pouting because the sauce is grainy, rather than smooth like the (ugh) boxed mixes. Anything I can do to smoothe it out?

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  89. Susanmkc posted on September 10, 2013 at 10:34 am

    I read you have tripled, I need to x 6 this!!
    I’m going to look at large foil roaster pans at the store…
    I will divide in at least 2 if not 3 pans for my team dinner. I’m really only concerned about making the sauce well- think 2 batches of sauce would work (triple size in each sauce pan?
    Need to prepare tomorrow!

  90. Laurie posted on September 10, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Great m&c very similar to the one I make – this had the added paprika. I always sprinkle bread crumbs over half, for hubby and I. The kids don’t like them but we love the extra crunch!

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  92. Kim posted on September 16, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    2 out of the 5 residents at my house agree: This IS the best macaroni and cheese recipe. (3 of the 5 don’t count bc they prefer Kraft, so it’s unanimous–THE best!) They’ll change their tune when I add bacon next time, I guarantee it.

  93. Sunny posted on September 16, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Unbelievably good! Even my bf, who can usually offer constructive criticism for recipes I’ve tried, had nothing but good things to say about this one!! The crispy bacon was a definite bonus!

  94. Lauren posted on September 21, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    I’m really excited to try this recipe, but I’m wondering if anyone has tried adding chicken to it…my husband is all about the meat :) If someone has, did you pan fry the chicken and add by chunks? Shred it? Did you have to make extra sauce? Thanks!

  95. Sandy posted on September 21, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Made this for dinner tonight ~ absolutely delicious! I added a dusting of Panko breadcrumbs over top & it was really fantastic!

  96. Loma posted on September 23, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    You don’t mention what size pan to use for cooking this recipe. Could you please tell what size pan to use that works best for the cooking time you recommend? Thank you

    • Karen Troughton replied on September 23rd, 2013 on 6:02 pm

      It’s a little buried, but it’s in there! I use a two-quart casserole dish. I have a deep 5″ x 8″ dish that I usually use for this recipe.

  97. kath posted on September 23, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    that’s the worse mac ncheese,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

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  99. Ani posted on September 26, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    I have made this 3 times already !! In the last month !!!!
    And is always sooo goodddddddd !!!!!!
    Thank you !! Thank you so much !!!!!
    From Cuba ..Ani !

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  101. Sarah L posted on September 27, 2013 at 3:53 am

    I love this recipe because it doesn’t require cream or any other ingredient I don’t already have on hand. Thank you (and Bev) so much!

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  103. Sonia posted on September 30, 2013 at 7:06 am

    Made this today for cast and crew members and everyone absolutely loved it! So I tried some..I have to say it was very nice. Will definitely use this recipe again…thanks for posting

  104. Laura posted on October 1, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Just made this and its cooking in the oven now….im sure the pots I made it in are clean enough to go back in the cupboard, tastes delish! cant wait to eat :)

  105. faizah posted on October 2, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    My family loves this recipe! I’ve made it 4 time since August.

  106. faizah posted on October 2, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    My family loves this recipe! I’ve made it 4 time since August.

  107. JAY posted on October 4, 2013 at 7:19 am


  108. Charlie posted on October 5, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    Have everything for the mac and cheese… EXCEPT the dry mustard! WHAT DO I DO?

  109. Kathleen posted on October 6, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    I made this tonight and although the consistency was superb, I found it a little bland. I will have to add a few spices in it next time to simply give it a fuller flavor. Over all, I am very happy with this and will surely make it again.

    I give it 3 stars simply because it didn’t have the abundance of flavor I was looking for but besides that, the recipe is really easy.

  110. Shaila posted on October 7, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    Your blog post was a stitch! It alone was enough to inspire me to try the recipe. This recipe was fantastic! A heartfelt thanks out to you and Deb. I too am a vegetarian who married a carnivore and I am beyond excited to have found your blog.

  111. Susie posted on October 7, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Well, i’ve tried several recipes that claim to be “the best” mac and cheese, and have always been disappointed. Not this time…this was absolutely delicious. I used Cabot Seriously Sharp cheddar (my Costco sells it in big bricks) and sprinkled cooked bacon on top before serving, and my husband couldn’t get enough of it. He was too busy chewing to say how good it was, but he gave it two big thumbs up and so do I!

  112. Susie posted on October 7, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Well, i’ve tried several recipes that claim to be “the best” mac and cheese, and have always been disappointed. Not this time…this was absolutely delicious. I used Cabot Seriously Sharp cheddar (my Costco sells it in big bricks) and sprinkled cooked bacon on top before serving, and my husband couldn’t get enough of it. He was too busy chewing to say how good it was, but he gave it two big thumbs up and so do I!

  113. eliz posted on October 9, 2013 at 2:33 am

    I don’t usually post on recipe sites, but in this case I have to! I’ve tried different mac&cheese recipes for years and now the search is over. We had this after a rainy hockey practice and the kids loved it. My daughter said “now I know what they mean by “comfort food”!” I followed the recipe quantities and timing exactly and I see you have it down to a perfect formula. I did sprinkle cooked bacon (lardons) onto the first layer of noodles which gave it some nice flavour. Will make again and again.

  114. Michael Jacoby posted on October 9, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Will it hurt this to double, triple or more the recipe?? I want to make for my daughters 4th b-day party this weekend but don’t want to ruin it. I want to make in a BIG aluminum foil pan for all the kids (and adults).

  115. Shannon Cody posted on October 11, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    Mac & cheese perfection! …Added bacon and jalapeño.

  116. Kandace posted on October 13, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Oh My Cheesiness! I had this at a friend’s house, and she directed me to your site for the recipe. That being said . . . I’m getting married and want mac & cheese at the reception. I’m trying to see if this would be feasible at such large amounts, since it is AMAZING . . . do you find that the 5 or 6 servings is “main dish” servings, or side servings? Any thoughts to how many “side servings” 1 pan would render?

    • Karen Troughton replied on October 20th, 2013 on 9:28 am

      Hi Kandace! Congrats on your upcoming wedding! I’d say the servings are on the heftier side – 5ish good-sized main dish servings. As a side? 7-8ish I would think. Good excuse for me to make this again and serve as a side and see exactly how much I get out of it. :)

  117. Eric posted on October 13, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    I made it today, a double batch. It was my first time as well as my first time making a roux. Kind of cool.

    Sadly, my kids (6,7,10,12) didn’t like it 10% they would have enjoyed Kraft Mac and Cheese. I was really disappointed that I raised them to like the processed stuff over the batch I worked hard on.

    I am bummed. I enjoyed it, but thought they would adore it.

    • Karen Troughton replied on October 20th, 2013 on 9:30 am

      Ha, it’s funny you say this – my toddler currently much prefers her “bunny mac cheese” from the box over my homemade. I was just lamenting that fact recently! I grew up on Kraft myself (and loved it), but made the conversion somewhere along the way – I’m sure your kiddos will someday too! :)

  118. Dave posted on October 15, 2013 at 1:44 am

    Would there be a reason that my batch has sort of a powderey/grainy texture? Still tastes delicious! Just curious if that’s how it’s supposed to turn out or if I messed up somewhere during the process. Feed back would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks for the recipe!

    • Eric replied on October 16th, 2013 on 7:44 am

      Are you talking about the texture of the roux? Mine had a grainyness to it that I just attributed to the flour being fried in butter before the cheese was melted into it.

      Looking back, I wish I had fried up some bacon to break into it, might have made a difference to the kids. The jalapeno idea someone above mentioned sounds good too.

    • Kim replied on October 18th, 2013 on 4:04 pm

      I too had this problem. I just made it for the first time tonight and you could really taste the flour in it. Wondering if instant blend flour would have worked or maybe using less. I agreed that it still tasted good, but I was disappointed. I like my mother’s homemade recipe much better.

      • Karen Troughton replied on October 20th, 2013 on 9:25 am

        Hi Kim – thanks for trying the recipe! Bummed to hear you were disappointed though. Just wanted to double check – did you cook the flour and the butter together for the three minutes before adding the milk? The point of doing that is to eradicate the flour taste. Not sure why that would happen otherwise!

    • Karen Troughton replied on October 20th, 2013 on 9:24 am

      Powdery/grainy definitely doesn’t sound right. The only possible reasons I can think of might be that there was too much flour, or perhaps the sauce cooked too long/over too high of heat. I’ve never had that problem so it is difficult to troubleshoot. Sorry that happened, but I’m glad you still thought it tasted delicious! :)

    • Esther replied on October 20th, 2013 on 10:55 am

      Low & slow…I tried a different recipe a couple of weeks ago and got the grainy texture because I tried to rush the roux and the milk curdled. Made a double-batch of this recipe tonight w/a can of evaporated milk plus enough of the 2% to meet the required qty, 4 different types of cheese & the sauce was amazing (before baking). Main difference was the temp…cooked the roux over very low heat and added the evaporated milk first, little-by-little, whisking constantly and only adding more after the previous amount of milk was thoroughly & smoothly incorporated Maybe this is basic for many, but it wasn’t for me. Can’t wait to taste the baked result!

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  121. Lager posted on October 20, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    I make mine very similar. Believe it or not I went to the supermarket and got some elbow noodles, my first time making mac and cheese from scratch. Low and behold there is this recipe on the back of the store brand “Piggly Wiggly” box of elbow noodles. Same thing exactly! Mustard, paprika, etc. I’ve got some in the oven going right now! I do put panko on top after it’s done and stick it under the broiler for a crunchy topping.

  122. Lager posted on October 20, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    I make mine very similar. Believe it or not I went to the supermarket and got some elbow noodles, my first time making mac and cheese from scratch. Low and behold there is this recipe on the back of the store brand “Piggly Wiggly” box of elbow noodles. Same thing exactly! Mustard, paprika, etc. I’ve got some in the oven going right now! I do put panko on top after it’s done and stick it under the broiler for a crunchy topping.

  123. Laurie posted on October 22, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Amazing! Had made several different recipes in the past, but was never quite satisfied with the outcome. This is easy and nice and creamy too! My grown boys loved it! This will be the only one I’ll ever make now. Thanks for sharing :)

  124. sasa posted on October 23, 2013 at 8:24 am

    can i replace the dry mustard with classic yellow mustard ? thanks before!

  125. david posted on October 26, 2013 at 3:18 am


  126. Bill posted on October 27, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Excellent Recipe – I think you are doing prepared mustards a disservice by saying if you have no powdered mustard leave it out completely. I frequently make roux based cheese sauces and find a nice Dijon mustard can be great ( if the quantity is correct.) A Hot English style removes the need of adding jalapeno or cayenne.
    Also you will find that most cheeses do not have to be grated before adding to the sauce – quite large chunks of cheese will happily melt into the sauce – they just take a little longer. saves the time and hassle of finding a grater.

    • Karen Troughton replied on October 28th, 2013 on 10:51 am

      Very good points, Bill! I’ll have to try the mustard variations (I love those ideas) and the cubed cheese as well. Thanks!

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  128. Steve posted on October 27, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    I did this exactly as written above. But I multiplied everything by 4 and made a huge portion for a party. It was a massive hit.

    Everyone kept asking “who made the mac and cheese”?

    • Karen Troughton replied on October 28th, 2013 on 10:38 am

      Yay! So glad everyone liked it. Isn’t that the best feeling?! :)

  129. Karen Olsen posted on October 28, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    I’m sure it will be delicious, but I would like to point out that the measurement in terms of cups for the macaroni is incorrect. 8oz is about 2 3/4 cups, not 1 3/4.

    • Karen Troughton replied on December 1st, 2013 on 12:32 pm

      Hi Karen, thanks for your comment. I think I should probably reword that bit of the recipe for clarification, because really the volume measure can really differ based on the type of pasta you’re using. Even various sizes of elbow macaroni can differ greatly. It’s best to go by ounces.

  130. Christine Cooper posted on October 29, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Thanks for this recipe. Very easy peasy. For me it’s a basic that I can really play with. Biggest hit ever was me turning this in to a Lobster Mac’n Cheese dish. I served it in individual ramekins (took cooking time in to consideration) and also used a little bit of Panko breadcrumbs on the top. It was a massive hit with my guests. Of course with Lobster being pricy, it is saved for special occasions.

  131. Sofia posted on October 29, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    I’m 14 and I usually make dinner for my family so they can eat right when they get home from work, this recipe was so simple and delicious my family LOVED it, my only mistake was not making a double recipe :)Thanks for posting this I’m definitely going to be making it again soon

  132. Birdie posted on October 31, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    Would it be possible to “assemble” the entire dish, but not bake it until the next day? I just don’t know if it would be too dry at that point.

    • Emilie replied on November 2nd, 2013 on 10:51 am

      Somewhere buried in here, she said you could make it up until the point of baking, refrigerate and then when you’re ready to bake it, set it out for a while to get it close to room temperature before baking it. She said it may be a bit drier then if you had immediately baked it…..

      I have to quadruple the recipe for Thanksgiving and as tempting as it sounds to make ahead, I won’t because this recipe is much too good to want to mess with it!

      Good Luck!!

  133. Aujourd'hui, j'ai testé posted on November 6, 2013 at 3:12 am

    Hi Karen, thanks for the recipe ! I made this with Gouda cheese and ground cumin, it was delicious indeed ;)
    See you!
    –Aujourd’hui, j’ai testé

  134. Lisa posted on November 8, 2013 at 10:20 am

    I’ve been combing the Internet All day looking for the perfect mac & cheese recipe to make for my boyfriend’s kids. His 10-year-old is a picky eater and I have never made macaroni and cheese from scratch. Want to impress the kids so I need this to come out creamy and I’m not sure about paprika, black pepper and dry mustard for kids.?
    I will give it a go and maybe add a little extra butter and milk for creaminess.

    Any suggestions for tweaking this recipe (if necessary) for kids are welcomed!

    • Rachell replied on November 27th, 2013 on 10:14 am

      You don’t even taste the pepper, mustard and paprika. They are a necessity when making mac n cheese though. My kids loved it and they are picky.

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  136. lorrie posted on November 16, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    Can mac-n-cheese be baked @ 350…..

    • Rachell replied on November 27th, 2013 on 10:13 am

      Yes I would just cook it a little longer is all.

  137. Mark posted on November 17, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    This was really not good at all.

  138. Rachell posted on November 27, 2013 at 10:12 am

    This is by far the BEST mac n cheese EVER!!!! I just made it for the first time last night and doubled up on the recipe. I didn’t have real butter nor did I have “smoked” paprika, just the regular kind. I found after taking the first few bites it needed a little more salt (I personally love salty) but next time I will use salted butter and see if that fixes the issue. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING THIS!!!! I have tried several in the past and they never give me that comforting feeling that a creamy mac n cheese does. It is my all time favorite food. Thanks again this will be a dish I made for EVERY special occasion and on those cold and wet days I’m stuck at home feeling sorry for myself. LOL

    • Karen Troughton replied on December 1st, 2013 on 12:33 pm

      Hi Rachell, thanks so much for your comment. So glad you liked it!

  139. Eryn posted on November 27, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    I have made this recipe a ton since I have found it. The best mac and cheese ever, there was no lie in the advertising! Thank you for sharing!

    • Karen Troughton replied on December 1st, 2013 on 12:22 pm

      Thank you, Eryn! :)

  140. Steve posted on November 27, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    An outstanding Macaroni and Cheese! Thanks for the great recipe. I’ve made this a few times now as it is my new go to mac n’ cheese. I didn’t change a thing the first couple of times because I dont think it needed any changes. Lately I’ve been using 2/3 cheddar and 1/3 manchego (my favorite) and it might have just gone from a 10 to an 11.

    • Laura replied on November 28th, 2013 on 9:57 am

      This recipe looks great! I want to make it for a family gathering this weekend and was wondering if you have tried it with whole wheat penne? Or does the whole wheat make it too dry?

      • Karen Troughton replied on December 1st, 2013 on 12:21 pm

        Hi Laura, you know, I love whole wheat pasta but I haven’t tried it with this particular recipe. You may want to add just a tad less pasta just in case the whole wheat tends to absorb more of the sauce, but beyond that, I’m not really sure! If you tried it, please let us know how it turned out!

    • Karen Troughton replied on December 1st, 2013 on 12:22 pm

      Hi Steve, mmmmm, manchego – that sounds heavenly! Now I need to give that a try, too. :)

  141. Arielle posted on November 28, 2013 at 10:45 am

    I have been waiting to use this recipe and a holiday alone, seemed like the perfect time to break out my favorite comfort food! I am learning to cook different dishes and this was so easy, but made me feel like I was using the little bit of skills I possess to the fullest! I am not a big fan of cheddar so I substituted one of the 3 cups with 1 cup of parmesan and I am so happy with the results! This is my second favorite mac & cheese, right after my Granny’s! I won’t tell my parents this though lol.

    Are there any recommendations of a cheese that has a little more “bite” to it? Or is there a spice that I could add for substitute for dry mustard? (I am allergic).


    • Karen Troughton replied on December 1st, 2013 on 12:20 pm

      Hi Arielle! I have made this one with several different kinds of cheese. Mozzarella adds an incredible element of just pure cheesiness, though not much “bite.” Find the sharpest cheddar you can, or Gruyere can be a great addition. You’re on the right track with adding some Parmesan, too! I would just leave out the mustard and I think you’ll still like it. I can’t really think of any comparable substitute, sorry! It just helps give a little kick to the cheddar flavor.

  142. Samantha posted on November 28, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    Just made this again for Thanksgiving. It turned out great as usual. I quadrupled the recipe in order to have enough to feed everyone. This filled two 9X13 pans. I made it to the point of baking it and then I put it in the fridge for most of the day. When it was dinner time, I put it in the oven and about 30 minutes later, it was perfect. It wasn’t dry. Everyone loved it.

    Tip about salt- be sure to HEAVILY salt your pasta water. That will make sure you get some salt into the pasta.

    • Karen Troughton replied on December 1st, 2013 on 12:23 pm

      Thanks for sharing your tips for make-ahead success! Great idea on salting the pasta water, too. Hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving!

  143. Christina posted on November 28, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    Delish! All I did different, was stir in 1/2 cup sour cream in the noodles to keep them from drying out before I made the cheese sauce. And to the cheese sauce, I added a squeeze of Sriracha and a dash of ground nutmeg. After trying many different recipes for mac and cheese and it not tasting quite right… this one is a definite keeper!

  144. Susan Phillips posted on November 29, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    I have never posted on a website before, but this was the best mac and cheese that I have ever made…..and, believe me, I have tried more than a few recipes. I didn’t change a thing. The only thing that I will ever change in the future is the quantity! Thanks so much for all of your experimentation and getting the ratios just right. I look forward to making many more recipes from your site!

  145. Eleanor Murillo posted on December 1, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    A birthday party for twelve people. Ages fourteen to ninety eight. This Mac and Cheese was all that it claimed to be. I doubled the recipe but followed it faithfully. It needs nothing else. It was perfect, elegant party food. Every plate was clean not a drop left. The gourmet cook amongst us wanted the recipe. The pasta and cheese only eater had stars in her eyes. Sooooo good. Thank you.

    • Karen Troughton replied on December 2nd, 2013 on 10:20 am

      I LOVE this comment – thank you so much for taking the time to come back and post this. So glad everyone liked it.

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  147. amy posted on December 3, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    I have a foolproof way of warming up leftover mac n cheese. Put your serving in an ovenproof dish, using sharp knife make little openings in the top and drip drops of milk into the slits all over the top. It’s ok if the milk starts to trickle out the bottom, but don’t over do. Then top w/ a little more cheese and seal w/ foil and cook lo, like 325-350, for about 25 minutes. Gentle methods work! May even be better the 2nd time around if you’re patient.

    • Karen Troughton replied on December 6th, 2013 on 2:15 pm

      Amy! That is a seriously brilliant idea.

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  149. Adole posted on December 4, 2013 at 10:13 am

    I’m so excited to try this!! I’m making this with meatloaf and green beans! :) I’ve been on the hunt for so long, but from the reviews looks like this might be a keeper.

  150. Eric@thatdarneddad posted on December 5, 2013 at 9:46 am

    Thanks for the inspiration! I am a dash of this and throw some of that in there type of cook. My version is in the oven right now. I can only hope it turns out as good as yours looks.

  151. Adole posted on December 5, 2013 at 10:56 am

    I had to come back and rate! This is an extraordinary recipe…I finally know how to make creamy mac and cheese! So good! My picky SO loved it and took the majority of the leftovers to work, lol!

  152. Deidre Rick posted on December 9, 2013 at 6:57 am

    My daughter is actually mad at me because I have never made this for her before and refuses to make Kraft Mac and cheese for herself. While it says the serving sizes is 6 my father, daughter and I almost cleared the whole pan. I had to take it away so that we could also have some for dinner tonight. I did modify the taste a little to our taste buds, but an excellent recipe as is.

  153. Kathy posted on December 9, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    I made this with a variation on the cheeses: I did 1 1/2 cups Cabot lowfat sharp white cheddar, 1 cup Gruyere, 1/2 cup Pecorino. It was divine!!

  154. Kullerz posted on December 10, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    I made this today as my son absolutely loves Macaroni & Cheese. I followed your recipe to the dot.. The texture was just perfect unlike the usual slodge. My son gave me a big thumbs up… Thank you so sooo very much xx

  155. Laura posted on December 15, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    I just finished making this and it was delish! I mixed grated parmesan with the cheddar to make it a little more tangy and added a toasted bread crumb crust to the top in the last ten minutes of baking for added texture.

    • Karen Troughton replied on December 16th, 2013 on 6:45 am

      Sounds like perfection! Parmesan and bread crumbs are great additions.

  156. Joyce posted on December 20, 2013 at 7:02 am

    I need tha carb count and serving size. My 6 year old granddaughter has diabetes and loves mac and cheese. She can have anything but we must have the carb count. If anyone posts recipies please keep this in mind. Carbs and serving size Thanks

  157. Chris posted on December 24, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    This one lives up to its name. I made this for Christmas dinner, and several people commented that it was the best macaroni and cheese they ever had. We all laughed when I showed them the printed recipe entitled, “The Best Macaroni and Cheese Recipe Ever.”

  158. Rita posted on December 25, 2013 at 12:06 am

    Hi Karen! What about small chunks of cheese, instead of shredded, will that turn out fine? Thanx. Merry Christmas!

  159. Apple posted on December 25, 2013 at 3:41 am

    I made this (doubled the recipe, but only added 3 cups of milk because I felt that after adding it in half cup increments it was more than enough sauce for the pasta! 5 cups – because the original called for 2.5 cups – would definitely have been too much) for the pre-Christmas dinner party I host every year (that happened 2 nights ago)! It was phenomenal! This was my first time making mac and cheese and everyone loved it.. So much so that they were asking for seconds before they’d finished their firsts! This will definitely be my go-to recipe! And the funniest thing is I’m lactose intolerant so I couldn’t even try it for myself.. But it looked and smelt amazing and the silence and fighting over the last piece spoke volumes! Thank you for such an incredible flawless recipe! Going to try more of yours more often!

    • amy replied on December 28th, 2013 on 1:20 pm

      just to confirm, when doubling recipe you doubled everything except for milk in which case you used a total of 3 c, correct?.

      thanks, can’t wait to try!

    • Tracey replied on February 13th, 2014 on 11:22 am

      My family is Lactose intolerant and I used Lactose free milk with no issues. Everyone enjoyed it.

      • Tracey replied on February 13th, 2014 on 11:24 am

        Sorry, I doubled the recipe and also doubled the milk. It turned out fine.

  160. loretta posted on December 26, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    This is soooooooooooooo good. As the recipe reads, it’s delicious. Don’t even try to change it.

  161. Kiko Shoge posted on December 27, 2013 at 10:57 am

    I made it for my family’s Christmas dinner and everyone loved it! I didn’t add the bacon because we have a vegetarian in our family, but it turned out really good anyway. I also reheated all of the leftovers in the oven days later for the same amount of time and temperature as stated in the recipe, and it still tasted amazing. :)

  162. Annette posted on December 28, 2013 at 7:06 am

    So, I asked my husband what he wanted me to make with the ham I purchased. He emailed me this recipe and I made it last night. I have to tell you, we LOVED it! My husband is not (in my opinion)an easy person to cook for and he said, “This was the best meal you’ve made in a LONG time.” No easily won praise here! His review more often than not is, “It’s okay, but I don’t need to eat it again.” lol He’s a challenge for sure! Thanks for sharing this recipe. You can bet it will be made many times in our house! :)

  163. Stacey posted on December 28, 2013 at 8:58 am

    I want to make this for a potluck at work, but need to use a crockpot to keep warm. Should I bake it the night before and re-heat next day in crockpot, or make it and cook in crockpot next day at work?

  164. Pingback: makaronid juustuga (mac & cheese) | tsempionideeine

  165. Cara posted on January 1, 2014 at 11:33 am

    Wow! This recipe was absolutely delicious :) Although I did not use the dry mustard or smoked paprika – I’m sure it would have been even better. My husband LOVED it and wants it again soon! Thanks for the recipe, this definitely is the best macaroni & cheese EVER !!

    • Karen Troughton replied on January 4th, 2014 on 8:00 am

      Hi Cara, so glad you liked it! I think readers will appreciate knowing it can still turn out fantastic without the mustard or paprika, so thank you for sharing that! :)

      • Naomi replied on January 8th, 2014 on 7:51 am

        YES! I was just wondering if this would still be good without the mustard (my 2-year-old is allergic), or if I should find another recipe altogether. I’m thrilled to hear you found it delicious even without. Thank you!

  166. Lynn posted on January 3, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Congratulations on a winner. My hubbie wants me to make this all the time; it is his new ‘all seasons’ (esp winter) comfort food. I kept it pure for the first few times; now experimenting with onions, ham and jalapenos. It is still awesome but with a bite. A regular on my table; gets requested all the time. Thanks for the great tips on measuring the pasta and cheese; this stuff is fantastic! Thanks

    • Karen Troughton replied on January 4th, 2014 on 7:34 am

      Hi Lynn! So glad you and your hubby love it! I’ve been working on new version with jalapenos, too. Love the heat!

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  168. Rae posted on January 3, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    Hello! Is there anything I can substitute out for the smoked paprika? I’m having difficult locating it and was hoping for something easier to find.

    • Karen Troughton replied on January 4th, 2014 on 7:31 am

      Hi Rae, I’d say just leave it out. It adds a nice little smoky touch but it certainly isn’t mandatory. For what it’s worth, sometimes I’ll actually grab hard-to-find food items from Amazon – amazing how you can find everything under the sun on that site.

  169. Megan posted on January 4, 2014 at 1:25 am

    This looks so good. I tried to stay true to the recipe but I accidentally added double the paprika. But the sauce still tasted great. It is in the oven now! excited to try :)

    • Karen Troughton replied on January 4th, 2014 on 7:29 am

      Hee – I’ve done that before too (both the accidental doubling and, of course, the sauce-tasting). :) Hope you loved it!

  170. Char posted on January 6, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    I made this tonite & I found it had a flour-y taste. I made it as directed. Anyone else have this problem? Maybe I didn’t cook the butter flour mixture long enough?

    • Karen Troughton replied on January 7th, 2014 on 4:34 am

      Hi Char, if you don’t cook the roux for the full three minutes, that can definitely cause a floury taste in the final product. Or does your stove happen to run a little cold? Maybe try cooking the roux over higher heat next time? I’m sorry to hear you were disappointed but I do hope you try again and the result is a better one!

      • Char replied on January 7th, 2014 on 11:21 am

        I actually did cook it for 5 mins over my gas range, because to me the butter flour ratio looked off. I doubled the recipe and maybe when doubling, it doesn’t need 1/2 cup flour in the roux? I’ll try again with a smaller batch. With so many good reviews, I must have made a mistake somewhere.

  171. Tracey posted on January 6, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    I made this tonight for my very fussy daughter and my Gluten free husband. Used GF Barilla pasta, King Arthur GF flour, a pinch of xanthum gum to modify the recipe for GF diet. Excellent recipe. Complete hit. New Favorite!!


    • Karen Troughton replied on January 7th, 2014 on 4:31 am

      Hi Tracey, I’m so glad you and your family liked it! Those are great tips for keeping it gluten free – thank you so much for sharing your modifications, maybe that will help another GF family that wants to try it.

  172. Pingback: Epic macaroni cheese | Dreaminspice

  173. Pingback: Best Homemade Macaroni & Cheese | The Williams Family Blog

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  175. Naomi posted on January 14, 2014 at 6:47 am

    I made this last night, with gluten-free Barilla pasta. It was INSANE. My husband and I loved the smokiness from the paprika, and consumed entirely too much of it. Thank you!

  176. Michelle posted on January 14, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    Made this tonight exactly except I used spicy brown mustard in place of dried and added about 5 slices of bacon on top and it was PERFECTION. Huge hit.

  177. Pingback: Mac and Cheese | A Broad At Home

  178. Pingback: Eric’s Food Law – January 15th 2014 | Eric's Food Law

  179. Holly King posted on January 19, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    When I make this I sometimes add pepperjack and smoked paprika and to make it spicy and with regular cheeses I add just a tiny bit of white truffle oil which is fabulous! Sometimes I also use a bit of crushed Stove Top dressing for the topping mixed with parm. cheese if I run out of bread crumbs.

  180. jodi posted on January 19, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    This was DELICIOUS! The only thing different I did was added some minced onions when I added the milk, and I put bread crumbs on top, DELICIOUS!!!

  181. Gretchen posted on January 21, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    O.K., I believe I’ve finally found it! This is the best mac and cheese ever! I live in Indiana (the big ‘deep freeze’) and was thinking about mac and cheese all day. I only changed the recipe because I didn’t have the exact ingredients on hand. I just couldn’t force myself out into the snow/slush/zero temps. I used 2c. 1% milk and 1/2 c. heavy cream. I also used 2c. mild cheddar cheese, and used 1 c. of “seriously sharp” cheddar (because that’s what I had) for the middle and the top. Fabulous!!!

    • Karen Troughton replied on January 21st, 2014 on 4:29 pm

      Sounds good to me! So glad you liked it. Stay warm! :)

  182. betsy posted on January 22, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    WIll the taste or creaminess vary if you buy pre-shredded cheese instead of block cheese and shredding it yourself? Thanks!

  183. Julie posted on January 25, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    Just made this for 15 hungry high school scoccer players.
    They loved it. I made two double batches. One with bacon one without. The bacon one was more popular.

  184. Laurie posted on January 26, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    Very creamy and good – made a nice amount, but we still had half left over. I substituted whole wheat penne, used white whole wheat flour, used reduced fat shredded SHARP cheddar cheese, used about 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika, and used 1 cup skim milk and 1 can fat free evaporated milk. Was great – think next time I will just use skim milk for all of it and lower the calories. I figured out it was about 262 calories for 1/9th of a recipe. I followed all amounts exactly. I’m not a big mac and cheese fan, but it was VERY CREAMY and proportions were right on.

    • Karen Troughton replied on January 30th, 2014 on 7:01 am

      Hi Laurie, thanks so much for sharing your adjustments to make a much lighter (but still delicious) mac and cheese!

  185. Pingback: Jalapeno Mac & Cheese | Kitchen Treaty

  186. Melanie posted on January 27, 2014 at 9:49 am

    Could this be made to the point of just before baking? I’m thinking of making this for the Super bowl. I would like to prep the day ahead and then just pull it out of the fridge to bake. Thoughts? Thank you!

    • Colleen replied on January 27th, 2014 on 2:45 pm

      This is almost identical to my mom’s recipe but she also added a small finely diced onion to cook in the butter before adding the flour and she added a teaspoon of worshester sauce and breadcrumbs/parmesan cheese to the top. I was looking for a similar recipe because the recipe I have in my head is missing measurements. This recipe looks pretty close, and I am going to try to reconstruct her recipe. She died three years ago and never got the measurements-We had made it many times together before. Your recipe has all the other ingredients and it looks “right” :). Will try tonight. Thank-you for posting this!!

      • Colleen replied on January 29th, 2014 on 10:48 am

        Hi-I made the recipe and ALSO discovered the grainy flour taste. I am well practiced home cook who likes to experiment with complex recipes so I was careful with the rue and used good quality “Sharp” cheddar. It then occurred to me the possible source of the problem. When I normally make white sauce-I heat the milk first to almost boil before adding to the rue and do not keep the sauce on the burner for very long, as it thickens quickly-I wonder if the cold milk and the length of time on the burner effects the break down of the flour? The onion was a definite plus for flavor as was a teaspoon of worshester sauce to the milk mixture. Will try with bacon next time as my hubbie is a bacon lover. We served last night’s meal with simple broccoli on the side.

        • Karen Troughton replied on January 30th, 2014 on 6:33 am

          Hi Colleen, hmmm – maybe that’s it! I’ve been wondering also if it depends on the type of stove (gas vs. electric, etc.) or even if people are using pre-shredded cheese instead of shredding it themselves. Did you happen to use the cheese out of the bag? I’m assuming not if it was good quality. I make the sauce using the cold milk and have not had the flour taste problem, but maybe starting with warm milk would eliminate the risk altogether. It can be so tough to troubleshoot issues when I’m not right there!

      • Karen Troughton replied on January 30th, 2014 on 6:53 am

        Hi Colleen, I hope it was at least close! We had something similar happen with my Grandma. So many of her incredible recipes were made from sight and feel … we did have her write down the recipe for her famous dinner rolls but when one of us has tried to make them, they’re just never quite the same. Maybe there is something to that whole theory that “love” can make a recipe. :) All the best to you!

    • Karen Troughton replied on January 30th, 2014 on 6:56 am

      Hi Melanie, yes it can! It might be a *tad* dryer than if you went straight to the oven with it, but still delicious. Make sure your pasta is al dente.

  187. Patty posted on January 29, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    Just curious, if I’m using rotini (all I have), am I still only using 1 3/4 cups? I’m at the point where I’ve just mixed the sauce into the noodles and it looks like soup…. Last time I used macaroni and it came out perfect, just seems like I have way more liquid this time?

    • Karen Troughton replied on January 30th, 2014 on 6:29 am

      Hi Patty, different pastas have different volume measurements – to the point where I’m wondering if I should even list the cups as a guideline in the recipe. I would go with weight first. Do you have a kitchen scale? Maybe use that to make sure you have 8 ounces. Or, if you have a 16-ounce bag of pasta, use half. :) Hope it turned out for you.

  188. Pingback: Presenting: Mac N Cheese | Serendipity

  189. Clayton posted on February 6, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    Haven’t tried the recipe yet, but I must say, I love the crunchy top on Mac & Cheese. When we were kids , we always fought for the crust on top. Creamy is nice, but I’m thinking I’m going to bake this on a cookie sheet so I get nothing but crust. We like BAKED, crunchy make and Cheese at our house, not Mac and Cheese soup.

  190. Amanda S posted on February 8, 2014 at 10:13 am

    This mac n’ cheese is so darn good that I don’t care if I can’t poop for days. Make it. Make it now. Don’t change a thing about the recipe; it’s perfect.

    • Karen Troughton replied on February 11th, 2014 on 3:40 pm

      lol – this might be one of my favorite comments ever! :)

  191. Leslie posted on February 8, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    Haven’t made it yet. Sure it will be great but even if I somehow ruin it; your pre recipe blog and humor were well worth it. Thanks for making me chuckle.

    • Karen Troughton replied on February 11th, 2014 on 3:39 pm

      Ha, thanks so much, Leslie! I do hope you love the recipe too though! :)

  192. Pingback: Mac and also Cheese | BoxEats

  193. Lee posted on February 12, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    This is awesome. I have tried many Mac and cheese recipes and found them akin to wallpaper paste. This is fabulous. The paprika and mustard make it. Love love love it and a fave of my wife and daughters too.

  194. Pingback: **Recipe** Mac and Cheese! | The Toddling Pigeon Pair

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  196. Lindsey posted on February 20, 2014 at 6:49 am

    Recipe was perfect! I added diced tomatoes and ham to mix it up a bit. Absolutely love it!

  197. Pingback: CLASSIC NORWICH RECIPIES | Twins Together

  198. Jules posted on February 22, 2014 at 9:07 am

    I found this recipe a few months ago and have been making it at least once a week for family and friends ever since. Like others, I’ve tweaked it here and there using different types of cheese, pastas & smoked paprika (sweet or hot) and have had excellent results all the way around. I’ve got a pound of blue cheese I’m trying tonight (fingers crossed).

    Here are some other ideas that have worked well for me:
    Bake in an iron skillet; add CHIPOTLE Tabasco sauce to individual servings; use bacon drippings/grease instead of butter – gives it a mild smoky taste; before baking, slice up & put veggies at the bottom of the pan, then layer in mac n cheese mixture. My family liked yellow squash & zucchini the best, but broccoli (flowerets AND the stem, sliced) and carrots work well too.

    Thank you for sharing this recipe and thank you to all the commenters with the recipe tweak ideas – they motivated me to try some new things!

    • Jules replied on February 22nd, 2014 on 9:11 am

      And oh ya – FIVE stars for sure. *****

  199. Sam posted on February 22, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    Woke up this morning craving macaroni cheese despite not eating it since primary school!! I looked online for recipes and this jumped out at me because it had such a high rating with lots of reviews. I chose to make this one and ignore the BBC versions etc and it was the best decision I could’ve made! It was absolutely lovely, I chose to add bacon to the top too :) As a university student this recipe is great in it’s simplicity because I can’t afford to have loads of different ingredients but also so so tasty! Only issue I had was that some of the measurements were in cups and I don’t have any to measure with, took me a while to find out all the conversions online cos it’s different for different food but in case anyone else has the same problem these are the ingredients I used:
    • 8 oz macaroni pasta
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon paprika plus more for sprinkling
    • 200g cheese
    • 42g butter
    • 32g flour
    • 625ml milk

    (Left out the mustard and black pepper just because I don’t like them)

    Thank you for a delicious and simple recipe! It’s going to be a firm favourite in my student house!

  200. jen posted on February 23, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    A delicious mac and cheese! I too am a veggo shacked up with an omni and it’s always an interesting kitchen puzzle coming up with meals for us both :)

    • Karen Troughton replied on February 26th, 2014 on 6:48 am

      “Kitchen puzzle” is such an great way to describe it! I love that. Glad you liked the mac and cheese!

  201. Jennifer posted on February 25, 2014 at 10:53 am

    Was wondering if anyone had cooked this mac n cheese in a muffin tin? Have an event and want to do “small plate” food and thought mac n cheese cups may work? Would appreciate any tips. Thanks

    • Karen Troughton replied on February 26th, 2014 on 6:32 am

      I haven’t tried it, but I bet it would be delicious! Lots of nice crispy bits. If you try it, please come back and report!

  202. Cocopai posted on February 27, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Mac and cheese is my ALL time favorite dish, and i have been looking high and low for the perfect recipe, but every time there has been something not quite right. But this is hands down, the best mac and cheese i have ever eaten. I cannot believe how good this was! Me and my best friend made this together, and she is also a huge mac and cheese fan. We highfived eachother after having the first bite. The only things we changed was that we used whole wheat flour instead of regular, and we added a tiny bit of nutmeg to the sauce. We also used a couple of different cheeses (Cheddar and Edam cheese mainly, plus a little bit of parmesan.) And on top we added some panko (Japanese bread crumbs). It was the best thing ever. My mouth is seriously watering just thinking about it!:) Thank you so much for this recipe!!

    • Karen Troughton replied on March 4th, 2014 on 11:31 am

      Yeah! So glad you two liked it! LOVE hearing that it works with whole wheat flour; thank you for sharing that.

  203. Mom posted on March 2, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    My teenage daughter loves macaroni and cheese so I want to teach her how to make it from scratch rather than a box. She has a problem with textures (moderate OCD), though, and doesn’t like the idea of baking this and having a crunchy top. Will this recipe work without baking it? Thanks

    • Karen Troughton replied on March 4th, 2014 on 11:34 am

      Hi there, yes, it works without baking! It will seem a little soupy at first, but it should still be plenty tasty. There are also some terrific-looking stovetop mac and cheese recipes out there that might work better; Google “stovetop mac and cheese” and you’ll see tons of possibilities! Good luck!

  204. Wilton Recipe Right posted on March 9, 2014 at 7:33 am

    A delicious mac and cheese! I too am a veggo shacked up with an omni and it’s always an interesting kitchen puzzle coming up with meals for us both :)

  205. Sabrina posted on March 10, 2014 at 8:16 am

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I have searched high and low for a good mac n’ cheese recipe for a child’s birthday party for days now. I had a go-to, but it has disappeared (I cried a little). This recipe is the only one I found that had similar ingredients and no weird add-ins. I’ll come back and let you know how it turned out. Thanks again!

  206. Brian posted on March 10, 2014 at 6:14 pm


    I’m in the middle of making this and feel sure I’ve done something wrong. Help? My problem is in making the sauce: it’s not thickening. I checked the quantities three times, and the only substitution I made was to use 0% milk (it’s all I had). Would this make the difference? I stirred for three minutes, added the milk, whisked on medium heat for ten minutes… and it’s still as, well, milky as when I started. No thickening. I took it off the stove and added the cheese, which helped slightly, but it looks like too much quantity for a half-pound of pasts and, like I said: it’s liquid, not sauce-like.

    Remove from heat, and stir in 2 cups of the cheese, stirring until melted.

    • Kare replied on March 10th, 2014 on 9:08 pm

      Hi Brian, probably the sauce just needed to cook a little longer, possibly due to the non-fat milk. But because you’ve already put the cheese in, I’m hoping you just stirred the pasta in and baked it. The sauce might still be a little thin after baking but hopefully still delicious! Even when the sauce thickens well, it still seems like a lot of sauce for the pasta, but it turns out great. Anyway – I hope this turned out for you. Maybe next time try increasing the flour a smidge and cooking the sauce a little longer. Hope that helps at least a little. :/

  207. Rick posted on March 13, 2014 at 6:53 am

    Made this for the first time this week. Substituted cumin for dry mustard (did not have any on hand)also added cubed chicken breast. Brought over to share at friends house and it was the most talked about dish among many fine dishes. Cumin added an earthy flavor that everyone liked. Used skim milk, added a little more flour to the roux and it thickened up fine. Doubled the recipe without any problems. Excellent dish.

    • Karen Troughton replied on March 13th, 2014 on 7:47 am

      Cumin – I love that idea! So glad everyone loved it. :)

  208. David posted on March 14, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    I havent tried making this myself but on another site a few years ago I learned a couple of tips on how to make a good cheese sauce that really helped me. First is that if you get the cheese too hot it will become chunky (as it appears to be in the pictures here). The tip that worked for me to prevent getting the cheese too hot is to take the milk mixture off the heat before mixing in the cheese (which I see you directed in your recipe, probably it has to do with the baking at 375 afterward). The second tip was that you can prevent the stringyness of the melted cheese by adding some acid in just after the cheese is melted (or almost melted). For the acid I use some vinegar, wine, or lemon/lime juice (probably about 2 tablespoons of lime juice for the size of your recipe). I guess these are only useful tips if you like creamy smooth cheese sauce.

  209. ellen posted on March 16, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    OMG just made this recipe i improvised and added 1/2 cup sour cream with milk …..had no whisk wished i did tho would have been so much easier but very tasty….but it worked…..

  210. Taylor posted on March 20, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    The consistency and texture of this recipe reminded me of Stouffer’s Mac N’ Cheese (which I mean as a compliment). Often times, baked Mac N’Cheese gets too dry as you mentioned and this wasn’t at all. I love the hint of smoked paprika too. I will definitely make this recipe again. Thanks!

  211. Pingback: The Bomb-Diggity Truffled Mac & Cheese With Maple Bacon – Sam Likes It Hot!

  212. Me posted on March 24, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Pretty bland. An okay recipe.

  213. Nick Scardino posted on April 3, 2014 at 10:41 am

    I’ve always struggled with mac n cheese – it always came out dry, bland, gritty, just overall not appetizing. I gave this recipe a shot and it blew me away. In fact, I made it twice this week just to make sure the first time wasn’t a fluke!

    I used cabot’s “seriously sharp” yellow cheddar (never knew the difference between their brands) and the flavor was amazing. I followed the recipe strictly, my only addition was to add a bit of my home made hot sauce after it baked in each serving and mix it in. Will definitely be making this again, thanks for the recipe!

  214. SImplyOldSchoolCookingReese posted on April 3, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    This mac and cheese recipe looks amazing. Perfect addition to the table when you need a quick and popular dinner.

  215. posted on April 5, 2014 at 5:29 am

    Best Mac and Cheese Recipe

  216. Fiona Stevenson posted on April 5, 2014 at 5:49 am

    I made this mac & cheese, and my friends and I agree that it needs it’s own twelve step program to stop eating it!! This is now my go to recipe for Mac&Cheese!

    • Karen Troughton replied on April 7th, 2014 on 2:50 pm

      Ha – yeah, I’ll have to join that 12-step program along with you and your friends.

  217. James posted on April 6, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    As a newly Retired IT Professional and “chef-in-training” I believe we have a keeper. I’ve been wanting to try a Mac / Cheese recipe since my new cooking for the family career began. My wife and daughter make a good Mac/Cheese, I just wanted to do something different as it’s just my nature to try things. After reading this recipe I felt this is the one and it was in fact “The One”! Just made this tonight, followed the recipe to the letter, all ingredients using optional Conchiglie Pasta which I have used in other recipes, followed directions including stirring to the minute, adding bacon as an option and also adhering to the “Note” about wanting to add additional pasta, so tempting but did as instructed! Results after serving my family and getting a rating from each, which are very picky eaters, a definite “5 Star” from all – Creamy and Cheesy, perfect taste and consistency – Will definitely make this again, Thank you Koren for the recipe and the explicit instructions, enjoyed making this for my family and enjoyed the eating even more so!!!!

    • Karen Troughton replied on April 7th, 2014 on 2:47 pm

      Yeah! Victory! Love this comment; so glad you (and the family) like it. Conchiglie might be my very favorite pasta for macaroni and cheese – it’s just perfect. Congrats on the retirement!

  218. Pingback: Mac & Cheese | A ticket to the world

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  220. Theresa posted on April 16, 2014 at 3:31 am

    Fantastic recipe. I’m fourteen years old, and i can hardly peel a potato, let alone make myself dinner, but this recipe came out perfectly! Absolute hit with me and my brother, we basically inhaled it and even went in for seconds :’) If anyone’s looking for a nice crunchy layer on the top, sprinkling bread crumbs and a good helping of pepper works wonders, I’ve found.
    Again, great recipe, doesn’t take too much skill, and comes out absolutely perfect! Thankyou!

  221. Maggie posted on May 4, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    My goodness, i think I’ve found THE mac and cheese recipe! This stuff is seriously so darn good, my entire family gobbled it up in a matter of hours! So so yum, and I topped the whole thing with panko-a fabulous addition! Thanks so much for the recipe-this will be my go-to from now on!

  222. Candy posted on May 5, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    Love this Mac and cheese recipe. Thank you for the tip to resist the temptation to add extra cheese and pasta. A common mistake I’ve made in the past.Made for a dinner party and received so many compliants I tweeked the recipe slightly by heating fresh thyme, Rosemary and garlic in the milk then staining it to be used in the recipe. Adds an awesome flavor.

  223. Maggie posted on May 6, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    I made this tonight, and followed the recipe exactly because I didn’t want to waste the amazing cheddar I bought. I even timed the stirring to make sure I didn’t muck it up. Came out terrible. Tasteless and disgusting. Fed it to the dogs and mourned the loss of delicious cheese.

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  228. Rosemary posted on May 15, 2014 at 6:07 am

    I don’t know what I did wrong, but it was not creamy, it was grainy. I only found mild cheddar so that’s probably why it was tasteless?

  229. Ariel M posted on May 19, 2014 at 10:03 am

    I usually use a family tradition recipe when I bake Mac-n-cheese but I couldn’t find it yesterday for my fiance’s birthday dinner. I wanted it to be really good so I searched and found this recipe. It was different than your typical recipe for Mac-n-cheese (but I’m all about different). I was worried it would be hard, but it was super easy and came out amazing. I doubled up on the recipe, yet only used about 4-4 1/2 cups of milk. We also don’t have medium cheese in our grocery store so I used mild. I baked for about 30 minutes and it came out amazing! I did add bacon crumbles all over the top before putting in the oven as well. I will definitely be using this recipe again! Thanks!

  230. Jesse posted on May 29, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Finally found a recipe that satisfies me. I am extremely picky about baked mac and cheese, and this is the perfect consistency. The only gripe I have is that it needs just a wee bit more salt to bring up the taste. Other than that, I loved it. I like a crunchy crust so I crushed up some Ritz crackers and sprinkled on top.

  231. Karen posted on June 20, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    Yum, yum, yum!!! Made it for my mother in law who is battling cancer. Its her favourite and I know she’ll love it! Followed recipe as written. Thank you for sharing!

  232. Debbie posted on June 25, 2014 at 6:46 am

    I love making homemade macaroni and cheese. I came across yours yesterday and figured I would try something new. I had family and friends over for a cookout and figured I would give it a whirl. Let me tell you it was the best I ever had. Everyone commented on how delicious it was and very creamy. This is definitely a keeper. Thank you for sharing. This is my number 1 recipe and definitely a keeper.

    • Karen Raye replied on June 29th, 2014 on 4:37 pm

      I’m so glad you (and your guests) liked it! :)

  233. Gabrielle posted on July 3, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    Awesome recipe, I made others that just made me sooo mad I vowed to never make baked again. But I’m not a quitter, so I compared this recipe with other so called” great” baked mac and cheese recipes and noticed this one had more liquid with less cheese. I also liked that you don’t use bread crumbs, I never really understood why they were needed, I don’t want my mac and cheese to crunch. Can’t wait to try this recipe with different kinds of cheeses. Thank you so much for posting this!!!!

  234. Iszah posted on July 15, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Hi there,

    I was wondering.. If I were to add chicken into this dish, would it affect the consistency and creaminess of the mac & cheese?

    Any suggestions?

  235. Iszah posted on July 16, 2014 at 6:14 am

    Hi there. I was wondering…If I were to add chicken into this dish, would it affect the consistency and creaminess of the mac & cheese? Any suggestions?

  236. Jen posted on July 16, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    Holy, Kar! You can do no wrong, girl and you’re making me a kitchen superhero in this house (I do give you credit though!)

    Made this exactly as directed and it came out perfectly! And I have a “dry mac and chee” history so it was lucky they gave me a second chance! Thanks, Kar!

  237. Kristin posted on July 18, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    It would be helpful if you wouldn’t attach three huge color photos to the printed recipe. The food looks good but I don’t need to waste all that ink for a recipe.

    • Karen Raye replied on July 21st, 2014 on 6:21 am

      Hi Kristin, thanks so much for letting me know about this – I didn’t realize those photos were showing up on the print recipe page. Fixing that now!

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