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This is a simple, classic, and oh-so-tasty macaroni and cheese. Almost as easy as opening the box, but a hundred times better. This easiest macaroni and cheese recipe is comfort food in a casserole dish that you should give a try today.
🫕 What makes this recipe special?
Who doesn’t like a simple, classic Macaroni and Cheese? This is the super easy version of the traditional baked dish. Perfect for Thanksgiving, a holiday, or just a wonderful dinner.
This would be a great side for this Sous Vide Prime Rib with Horseradish sauce or maybe served alongside this cheesy mashed potatoes recipe. Maybe it would be a great weeknight dinner side to go along with this Spicy Italian Meatloaf? Whatever you are cooking for dinner, make sure to treat yourself a bit!
Macaroni and cheese are the prominent ingredients, but this homemade recipe has a bit more.
- Whole milk
- Sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese
- all-purpose flour
- Salt and Pepper
See the recipe card for quantities.
By following this recipe, you are basically making one of the 5 French mother sauces, or a bechamel sauce. Yeah, it sounds fancy, doesn’t it? It really isn’t all that fancy, but knowing how to make a bechamel sauce (along with the other mother sauces) can give you a lot of power in the kitchen outside of our easiest macaroni and cheese recipe.
Cook that macaroni and mix it with the sauce. From there, bake the dish with some extra cheese on top.
🤷 Substitutions and variations
There are many different things you could try with this recipe.
- Pasta – Macaroni is in the name, but I wouldn’t hesitate to substitute many of the smaller kinds of pasta. Shells, penne, or spirals could work great for this recipe.
- Cheese – I call for cheddar, but any melting cheese would work great for this. A hard Gruyere could work great, hard mozzarella, or swiss.
- Bread Crumbs – I do not call for bread crumbs, but many people like them on their baked macaroni and cheese. I do this sometimes too. Feel free to add breadcrumbs before putting in the oven.
- Forget the Baking – Sometimes, I just go straight from the skillet to my plate. Mix all the ingredients in the plate and you have an easier macaroni and cheese.
- Ground Burger – Add a pound of cooked ground burger to the dish before you throw it in the oven. A great twist on the meal!
While this does not freeze well, it stores fairly well in the refrigerator for a few days. Just put in an airtight container and heat in the microwave or stovetop when ready to eat.
🎓 Macaroni and Cheese History tidbit
Did you know that Macaroni and Cheese dates all the way back to the 13th century? Crazy, right? I wrote a whole article on the history of mac and cheese. Check it out!
You can, but cooked pasta does not stand up very well to being frozen. I suggest eating the dish rather than freezing.
Cheddar works the best, but any hard, melting cheese works for macaroni and cheese.
📝 Tips and tricks
- If you want to make this recipe even faster, skip baking and eat it right after mixing the cooked pasta with the cheese roux.
- Some cooked and crumbled burger goes great in this.
😋 Did you make this recipe?
That is awesome, and thank you so much for giving this macaroni and cheese recipe a try. If you could leave a rating in the comment area below, it would be greatly appreciated. This lets me know how I am doing and also helps others decide if they want to make this recipe. Most of all, thanks for visiting Ramshackle Pantry.
This easy, homemade macaroni and cheese recipe is sure to delight. All you need is a few ingredients you probably have at home and a little bit of time.
- 2 cups dry macaroni
- 2 cups whole milk
- 4 cups sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- 4 Tablespoons salted butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
- Cook macaroni as directed on package
- While macaroni is cooking, in large saucepan melt butter on low
- When butter is fully melted, slowly start sprinkling flour in the pan and continuously mix. The idea is that the mixture of flour and butter will form almost a paste.
- Pour in just a little of the milk and whisk until smooth. Keep on repeating until all milk is blended in.
- Turn heat to medium-high and continuously stir. We want to get the sauce just to boiling and thicken.
- When the sauce starts to heat up, you will notice it start to thicken. Just continue to stir and once boiling, continue stirring for one minute.
- Remove from direct heat and slowly add 2 cups of the cheese to the bechamel while stirring.
- Once this is a smooth sauce, add cheese sauce and drained macaroni to a baking dish and mix together.
- Add remaining 2 cups of cheese to top of macaroni and cheese
- Put the dish into the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until top layer of cheese is golden brown.
Keywords: easiest macaroni and cheese