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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 8 oz. (1/2 pound or about 1¾ cups) macaroni or other medium tubular pasta (like penne or conchiglie)*
- 3 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon smoked paprika plus more for sprinkling on top
- 2½ 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 ⅛ 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.