The Easiest Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

October 16, 2017 (Last Updated: August 15, 2020) - As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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.

easiest macaroni and cheese recipe picture

This is going to be my first run attempt at a macaroni and cheese recipe in our series. It will also be the easiest macaroni and cheese recipe we will use. On this first try, I am going to follow the recipe I just know and have made for a while. I will make an additional recipe in a few weeks when I have finished my deep dive into macaroni and cheese. The hope is that I (and maybe we) come out of the experience with a better macaroni dish and perhaps learn a bit of science and culinary history along the way. This recipe, however, has always served me well and is the bomb diggity bomb.

mixing cheese into a mac and cheese bechemel

Baked or Skillet macaroni cheese for our easiest macaroni and cheese recipe?

I have to be honest that my favorite kind of macaroni and cheese is the kind that is made straight in the pan with no baking. Possibly it is a remnant of the nostalgia I have for macaroni and cheese. It certainly would be an easier recipe to just cook this dish in the pan, but we are going to bring it a step further.

The reasoning is that there are many people who prefer a baked macaroni and cheese, and I get it. It adds additional cheese to the plate and it is hard to go wrong with that. Additionally, it adds an element of crispiness and crust that you just don’t get with pan cooked macaroni and cheese. So, for our easiest macaroni and cheese recipe, we are going full monty on the baking.

You are a fancy cook now

By following this recipe, you are basically making one of the 5 French mother sauces, 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. Enjoy the food!

completed mac and cheese recipe dish

Easiest Macaroni and cheese


The easiest macaroni and cheese recipe

picture of the easiest macaroni and cheese recipe

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.

  • Author: Ben Myhre
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 Minutes
  • Total Time: 1 Hour
  • Yield: 4 Servings 1x
  • Category: Casserole
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


  • 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


  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Cook macaroni as directed on package
  3. While macaroni is cooking, in large saucepan melt butter on low
  4. 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.
  5. Pour in just a little of the milk and whisk until smooth. Keep on repeating until all milk is blended in.
  6. Turn heat to medium-high and continuously stir. We want to get the sauce just to boiling and thicken.
  7. 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.
  8. Remove from direct heat and slowly add 2 cups of the cheese to the bechamel while stirring.
  9. Once this is a smooth sauce, add cheese sauce and drained macaroni to a baking dish and mix together.
  10. Add remaining 2 cups of cheese to top of macaroni and cheese
  11. Put the dish into the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until top layer of cheese is golden brown.
  12. Serve!
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.

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  • Reply
    October 16, 2017 at 11:06 am

    Oh boy now I can make this at home!

  • Reply
    October 18, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    Mac & Cheese is high on demand in my home when all the nephews and niece come visiting during the vacations! This easy recipe is great! Thanks for sharing

    • Reply
      October 18, 2017 at 1:18 pm

      Thanks for visiting Ramshackle Pantry!

  • Reply
    Veena Azmanov
    October 19, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    I love Mac and Cheese for exactly this reason. It’s so easy to make and the kids love it!! Its always a winner with them. This looks so good.

  • Reply
    Lois. O
    October 20, 2017 at 7:11 am

    This is an easy Mac and Cheese recipe! It would be perfect for the middle of the week potluck that my office has and not one has time to cook for. I am sure this will wow everyone

  • Reply
    Kathryn @ FoodieGirlChicago
    October 21, 2017 at 7:25 am

    Mac n cheese in all forms is always the best comfort food! Even better when it’s a super easy recipe!

  • Reply
    Jenni LeBaron
    October 21, 2017 at 10:04 am

    I love a good mac & cheese, and this one looks like it’s very simple to create! Yum!

  • Reply
    Marisa Franca @ All Our Way
    October 21, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    Nothing is more comforting than a huge bowl of mac and cheese. Whether it’s baked or rich and creamy right from the pan it is so doggone good. I do like your use of sharp cheddar cheese — it gives it an extra kick. Great recipe.

  • Reply
    October 21, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    You can never go wrong with Mac ‘N Cheese! It’s pure comfort food for the heart and soul.

  • Reply
    Denise Wright
    October 22, 2017 at 7:39 am

    Mac n cheese is something that I have a hard time making but crave. I love that you made this in the skillet. I have never tried it that way and can’t wait to give it a shot. It looks so ooey gooey and cheesy!

  • Reply
    Vicky @ Avocado Pesto
    October 22, 2017 at 7:39 am

    Bechamel sauce is a great one to know how to make! SO much flavor in it! I’m all about mac n cheese in the pan too!

  • Reply
    Karyl | Karyl's Kulinary Krusade
    October 22, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    I LOVE mac & cheese. I could seriously eat it every day! And there’s nothing quite like baked mac & cheese for a little more luxurious dish. This looks delicious

    • Reply
      October 23, 2017 at 7:58 am

      I tell you what… I have been eating a lot of mac and cheese lately. At least 3-lbs-on-the-scale worth.

  • Reply
    October 23, 2017 at 7:43 am

    I love a good, creamy macaroni and cheese, especially with a cheddar bechamel. Cold weather comfort food at its best! Might have to make this for dinner tonight now that I have a craving!

  • Reply
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    […] far, as I do not think that breadcrumbs are an essential part of a traditional macaroni and cheese. My traditional macaroni and cheese recipe is heavy enough that it just does not need more. I do respect, however, that so many people do like […]

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    October 23, 2017 at 9:48 pm

    I love how easy this mac and cheese recipe is, and the sauce sounds divine! I am totally a baked mac and cheese fan 🙂

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  • Reply
    Danielle Wolter
    November 5, 2018 at 5:41 am

    This looks so gooey and cheesy I just can’t stop looking at it! I love making a mac and cheese with bechamel. For the longest time, I struggled with making it, it was always lumpy. Until I discovered bechamel. Love this recipe!

  • Reply
    November 5, 2018 at 5:46 am

    I looove macaroni cheese, and usually eat it straight from the pan like you. I tend to do a fatless white sauce out of laziness though – heat up the milk, then stir in a cornflour and milk paste when it’s boiling vigorously.

  • Reply
    Kate Hackworthy
    November 5, 2018 at 6:19 am

    Oh yes! Ooozy gooey cheesey mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food.

  • Reply
    Nicole Tingwall
    November 5, 2018 at 6:27 am

    I could eat mac and cheese for every meal! Love that this recipe is so simple!

  • Reply
    Annie @ Annie's Noms
    November 5, 2018 at 6:31 am

    This looks like pure heaven! I love homemade mac and cheese and love how easy this is!! I also love that it’s baked, the best mac and cheese recipes are baked!

  • Reply
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