Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese

This baked mac and cheese is a family favorite recipe, loved by both children and adults. It uses a combination of cheeses, layered in the dish as well as melted into a rich and creamy cheese sauce, for the ultimate in cheesy deliciousness!  Perfect for a comforting dinner or as a holiday side dish!

Looking for other comfort food dishes?  Check out my Homemade Sloppy Joes, Creamy Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Crockpot Meatloaf, and Homestyle No-Boil Mashed Potatoes!

Rich and creamy homemade baked mac and cheese, filled with multiple layers of shredded cheeses, smothered in a smooth cheese sauce, and baked until bubbly and perfect! #macandcheese #comfortfood #macaroni #cheese #sidedish #comfortfood #holidayfood

BAKED MAC AND CHEESE

Baked mac and cheese.  It’s nearly the universal comfort food, and there are SO many variations!  In fact, I almost didn’t post this recipe, as there are SOOOO many mac and cheese recipes available, and most people already have their favorite way of making it.

Of course, there’s no “right” way or “wrong” way, so I’m here sharing the way I like to make my mac and cheese (the way my family loves it too).

Cheese sauce pouring over pasta to make homemade Mac and cheese

HOW TO MAKE MAC AND CHEESE

If you’ve never made homemade mac and cheese before, it can seem a bit daunting.  But don’t worry, we’ll break it down and take it step by step!

  • Boil the pasta, drain.
  • Make the cheese sauce by combining a fat (butter), and starch (flour), then whisking in the milk products.
  • Cook the sauce until it’s nice and thick.
  • Add in shredded cheeses, stir well.
  • Combine cheese sauce with cooked pasta.
  • Transfer half of the mac and cheese to a baking dish, sprinkle with more shredded cheese.
  • Top with the rest of the mac and cheese, top with more shredded cheese.
  • Bake and prepare to thoroughly enjoy!

Baked mac and cheese in baking dish

COOKING TIPS FOR BAKED MAC AND CHEESE

  • Boiling the pasta – cook the pasta less than you normally would.  I like to boil my elbow pasta for between 4 and 5 minutes.  The pasta will continue to cook in the oven, and you don’t want it to get mushy.
  • Use room temp liquids – if you can… cold liquids generally take longer to thicken than warmer ones.  I usually set my milk and half and half out while the water for the pasta is coming up to a boil.
  • The cheeses – use your favorites!  Our personal favorites are the cheddar and gruyere used in this recipe, but you can be very creative with the cheese selection here.  Mozzarella, gouda, smoked gouda, swiss, monterey jack, colby jack, colby.  There are plenty of reader comments down below the recipe that talk about the cheeses they used!
  • Shred your own – I know it’s a pain, and it’s SO tempting to use the pre-shredded cheese in the bags.  But those bags of cheese contain a starchy substance that keeps the cheese from clumping… which also prohibits it from melting as well as it should.

Bowl of creamy baked mac and cheese

VARIATIONS OF MAC AND CHEESE

  • Bacon – if you love bacon, feel free to add some crispy, crumbled bacon to the topping, or even inside the mac and cheese as well!
  • Stovetop – if you’d prefer not to bake this mac and cheese, you don’t have to! Make sure you boil your pasta until al dente (check the packaging for correct times), and you’ll only need about 3 – 3 1/2 cups of cheese total.  No need to layer the pasta and cheese, just add all the cheese to the sauce, then combine with the pasta.
  • Different Toppings – I’m a huge fan of the cheese layer on top, since it gets nice and crispy, but we also love tossing 1 cup of panko with 2 Tbsp of melted butter and using that as a topping.  1 cup of crushed Ritz crackers with 2 Tbsp of butter work amazingly well too!
  • Different Baking Times – the recipe calls for a lower baking temperature and time, but most of the time I find myself adjusting that based on my family’s tastes.  I like to bake this mac and cheese at 350 F degrees for 30 minutes, then broil for 2-3 minutes to get that glorious cheesy “crust”.

MAKING MAC AND CHEESE AHEAD OF TIME

  • Make as directed (but do not bake), transfer to baking dish and cool completely.  Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate 1-2 days ahead.
  • Before baking, let dish sit on counter for 30 minutes.
  • Bake at recipe temperature for 25-35 minutes, until hot and bubbly.

As a caveat, this recipe, as with most mac and cheese recipes, loses some of it’s creaminess when made ahead.  This dish has been tested when made right away, which yields the best results.  

I would increase the amount of sauce slightly if you need to make this recipe ahead of time.

Forkful of cheesy mac and cheese

STORING MAC AND CHEESE

Any leftovers need to be refrigerated and covered tightly.  Mac and cheese can be stored this way for 3-4 days.

To reheat, stir in a little bit of milk or cream and microwave partially covered with plastic wrap.  Stir often as it reheats.

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT USED IN THIS RECIPE

  • Box Grater – remember, the best mac starts with freshly shredded cheese!

BE SURE TO SCROLL DOWN TO CHECK OUT OTHER READERS’ COMMENTS!

AND DON’T FORGET, IF YOU’VE MADE THIS RECIPE, LEAVE A COMMENT AND PLEASE GIVE IT A STAR RATING!

Post has been updated in September 2019 with new photos and additional information.

Rich and creamy homemade baked mac and cheese, filled with multiple layers of shredded cheeses, smothered in a smooth cheese sauce, and baked until bubbly and perfect! #macandcheese #comfortfood #macaroni #cheese #sidedish #comfortfood #holidayfood

Creamy Homemade Baked Mac and Cheese

This baked mac and cheese is a family favorite recipe, loved by children and adults.
4.97 from 300 votes
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Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Servings: 8 - 10 servings
Calories: 665
Recipe Author The Chunky Chef

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. dried elbow pasta
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 1/2 cups half and half
  • 4 cups grated medium sharp cheddar cheese divided
  • 2 cups grated Gruyere cheese divided
  • 1/2 Tbsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and grease a 3 qt baking dish (9x13").  Set aside.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  When boiling, add dried pasta and cook 1 minute less than the package directs for al dente.  Drain and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil to keep from sticking.
  • While water is coming up to a boil, grate cheeses and toss together to mix, then divide into three piles.  Approximately 3 cups for the sauce, 1 1/2 cups for the inner layer, and 1 1/2 cups for the topping.
  • Melt butter in a large saucepan over MED heat.  Sprinkle in flour and whisk to combine.  Mixture will look like very wet sand.  Cook for approximately 1 minute, whisking often.  Slowly pour in about 2 cups or so of the milk/half and half, while whisking constantly, until smooth.  Slowly pour in the remaining milk/half and half, while whisking constantly, until combined and smooth.
  • Continue to heat over MED heat, whisking very often, until thickened to a very thick consistency.  It should almost be the consistency of a semi thinned out condensed soup.
  • Stir in spices and 1 1/2 cups of the cheeses, stirring to melt and combine.  Stir in another 1 1/2 cups of cheese, and stir until completely melted and smooth.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine drained pasta with cheese sauce, stirring to combine fully.  Pour half of the pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish.  Top with 1 1/2 cups of grated cheeses, then top that with the remaining pasta mixture.
  • Sprinkle the top with the last 1 1/2 cups of cheese and bake for 15 minutes, until cheesy is bubbly and lightly golden brown.  

Video

Notes

Mac and Cheese can be made ahead:

  • Make as directed (but do not bake), transfer to baking dish and cool completely.  Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate 1-2 days ahead.  
  • Before baking, let dish sit on counter for 30 minutes.
  • Bake at recipe temperature for 25-35 minutes, until hot and bubbly.  

 

FIVE CHEESE VARIATION:

Replace cheese amounts with the following:
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Colby cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Muenster cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

 

FOR A CRUNCHIER TOPPING AND FIRMER CONSISTENCY:

  • Prepare recipe as directed but bake at 350 or 375 F degrees for 20-30 minutes.  Broil at the end of baking for approximately 2-5 minutes, until golden brown and crunchy.
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Rich and creamy homemade baked mac and cheese, filled with multiple layers of shredded cheeses, smothered in a smooth cheese sauce, and baked until bubbly and perfect!

Family Favorite Baked Mac and Cheese | Rich and creamy baked mac and cheese, filled with multiple layers of shredded cheeses and smothered in a smooth cheese sauce for the ultimate macaroni and cheese! | http://thechunkychef.com

 

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771 comments on “Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese”

  1. Hi I wanted to ask what do you mean by 2 1/2 cups half and half in the ingredients as there is nothing written next to it and what does this mean in the instructions: Slowly pour in about 2 cups or so of the milk/half and half.

  2. Wow! So i just made this mac and cheese and let me tell you that this was to die for! 🤤 I haven’t been in the kitchen in so long, the recipe wasn’t that difficult for a 20 year old either ! 😂 So I am responsible for making mac and cheese for this year’s Thanksgiving and initially I was going to test a BUNCH of recipes, but I think I found the one seeing that my family were the taste testers and completely loved it! Even my dad was shocked! 

  3. I love to cook. I’m always looking for new recipes for my menu, which makes me always interested in my work. Today’s my lucky day, baked mac and cheese is great, just follow the instructions and everything is easy, I like that. Thanks for your sharing

  4. I have to say that I was worried thinking of all of the butter, cheeses, half & Half and whole milk going into this dish. We normally only drink 1% milk. However, if you’re looking for a creamy, cheesy, tasty homemade Mac & Cheese, this is your recipe, right here! It is definitely rich but the flavors are very nice! I did follow the recipe with the only detour being I used 1/4 tsp. of smoked paprika before I noticed that my halved recipe said to use .13 tsp. of paprika and I added a cup of shredded old cheddar to the gruyere and sharp white cheddar. Thank goodness I used my Starfrit cheese grater as it’s so much easier and faster when grating a lot of cheeses! I found it creamy and delicious and my hubby said it’s the best Mac & Cheese he’s ever had in his life!!! I definitely would recommend this recipe as long as you’re not on a low-fat diet!!!

  5. About to make this recipe, have you ever tried it with crushed ritz crackers on top? My daughter wants me to add that, bit I’m curious if it’ll dry everything else out

  6. can I omit the butter, flour and milks and use heavy whipping cream instead?

  7. I made this the night before for a family event. Doubled the recipe, used 4 different cheeses…not a speck left and EVERYONE wanted the recipe! Hands down the BEST and easiest mac and cheese ever! THANK YOU!!!

  8. Was my first time making homemade mac and cheese so I was a little nervous making it for my entire family, but it turned out sooo good! Everybody loved it. Didn’t change a thing!

  9. I’ve tried many mac and cheese recipes, but this has been by far the best so far. I absolutely love it! I’ll definitely be using this recipe again!

  10. Hello, I’m in the process of making this amazing Mac n cheese. But was wondering, can it not be baked? My daughters prefer it not. 

  11. Made it 2x-AMAZING. Suuuuuper creamy and cheesy. Delicious even without being baked. I’m sure you could cut the roux/cheese/milk in half and it would still be delicious. Give this recipe a try- you will NOT regret it. I use nutmeg and cayenne instead of paprika.

  12. I have made this several times now and each time it gets rave reviews!  This is my new go to recipe for Mac and Cheese!

  13. How many people can this recipe feed? (doing this for a school project)

  14. Recipe was DELICIOUS!
    1ST time I made it note for note. 5 STARS

    2nd time I used 2C sharp white, 2 cups gouda, 2 cups monterey jack. the creaminess was unbelievable!!!! I also added ground mustard and a dash of cayenne. I decided to cook the noodles less so that i could put it in the smoker for some time before baking. BEST decision EVER!

    Thank you SO much for taking the time to put this recipe together. An absolute hit!

  15. Do you have this recipe for the slow cooker??

  16. This is the best mac n cheese I’ve ever had. So creamy and cheesy. Big hit with the family.
    Alterations: I only had salted butter so I omitted adding any salt. Used a mix of cheddar, gouda, and gruyere. Also used penne pasta. Delicious!

  17. This looks absolutely delicious! Yummy!

  18. Tripling this recipe this month to make for our Fall Coed Baby Shower BBQ!! I’m trying to do the math for the cheeses, I’m looking at 12 cups of the cheddar and not sure which size brick that is. Costco has them in 2.5 lbs and 5lb bricks! I’ve never shredded this much cheese! Which should I get?! Same with the 6 cups of gruyere cheese I need and the store sells only 6oz bricks! HELP

  19. I just made this exactly as the recipe says and it is amazing!!  Absolutely delicious. My family loved it. So cheesy and creamy. 

  20. Love those crispy brown pieces of cheese on top!

  21. WOW!! This mac and cheese looks incredible!! My family would absolutely LOVE this!!

  22. Can’t wait to serve this again for dinner this week! It was such a hit; easily a new family favorite recipe

  23. This turned out to be the creamiest recipe I’ve tried, versus others that became curdled. Fresh grated cheese and warmed milk helped.

  24. Nothing beats an easy, cheesy, and creamy recipe like this one. I love family favorites like this and will be adding this to our menu soon.

  25. Simply delicious! A new go to for sure!

  26. I am NOT a cook and have never made baked mac & cheese, but this turned out wonderfully! I knew I’d have a lot of leftovers (meaning a lot of reheating) and I cannot stand mushy pasta, so I cooked the pasta for a couple of minutes less and it was perfect. I also added in 1/2 tsp ground mustard. Thank you for this great recipe!

  27. I don’t see on the recipe where you use the whole milk. I would assume that it is in sep 4. Thanks

  28. Would the amount of cheese be equivalent to a 32 ounce block of sharp cheddar and a 16 ounce block of gruyere before grating?

  29. I would like to add broccoli to this. How would I do that? Just put some raw florets in before baking?

  30. How many days in advance can you make this recipe with it still being good? Is three days in advance still okay? Thanks!

  31. Hi, how many cups of cheese would you need if you used shredded instead of grated? Thanks in advance 🙂

    • It would be the same amount 🙂

    • I bought the pre-shredded cheese once and I found that it doesn’t even melt and the leftover “cheese” never went moldy, after sitting in the fridge for about a month (because I suspected it wasn’t real cheese). I’ve since read that it is a fake cheese…

      https://www.kcet.org/food/pre-shredded-versus-freshly-grated-cheese-whats-the-difference

      “As a test case for this article, I compared a block of cheddar cheese with a bag of pre-shredded cheddar from the same company. The shredded cheese contained — in addition to the ingredients also listed on the block of cheese — potato starch, powdered cellulose, and natamycin.

      Potato starch is pretty much what it sounds like. It’s sold commercially for use as a thickener, and has desiccating and anti-clumping properties that help keep cheese shreds separate. Cellulose pops up in the ingredient lists of a lot of pre-packaged foods. The tasteless, ultra-fine powder is derived from wood pulp (really), and can be used to add dietary fiber, as a thickener, as a stabilizer, to improve mouthfeel or to prevent caking. In the case of shredded cheese, the two are often used in combination with one another because while cellulose is more effective, it also creates a visually unappealing coating. Potato starch is translucent, so cutting the cellulose with it allows manufacturers to use more without losing the color and look of their cheese.

      Natamycin is an anti-mold agent that is typically suspended in solution to a concentration of five to 10 parts per million, then sprayed on cheese shreds to coat them as thoroughly as possible. It’s tasteless, non-toxic, and naturally occurring, and has been used in commercial food production for a long time. It’s also non-water-soluble, so it can’t enter the human digestive tract. That means it doesn’t count as an antibiotic, although it is sometimes prescribed by doctors to treat eye infections.”

  32. Absolutely delicious. I used whipping cream instead of whole milk and seasoned my cheese sauce with Sazon. Thank you!

  33. THE BAKED MAC & CHEESE WAS MORE THAN A FAMILY FAVORITE. EVERYONE KEEPS ASKING US FOR THE RECIPE.
    A REAL FAMILY PLEASER.

  34. Love this recipe!!! I’ve made in 2 years in a row for my kid’s birthday party and kids and adults love it! I’ve used gluten free pasta and I’ve substituted some 1% milk when i dont have enough of the whole milk/ cream and it comes out great every time!

  35. I am planning on making this for a Church gathering. First, if you make it ahead and refrigerate it, is it dry? I have tried that with another recipe, and the noodles absorbed the liquids and were huge, and the mac & cheese was dry. Second, if I make this recipe, and then a half of recipe more, will it still fit into the 9×13 pan? I need to make it for 15-18. Thanks

    • Hi Karen, to answer your second question, I don’t think it would fit into a 9×13. I would pick up a deep dish lasagna pan (the disposable ones) and use that, as I’ve doubled it in one of those before, so I know a 1.5x recipe would fit. To your first question, with any pasta recipe with a sauce, it will be drier when made ahead, just because the pasta will absorb the sauce. You could try to counteract that by making the sauce a little thinner than usual, so there will be more liquid, but whenever making mac and cheese ahead of time, you do lose some of that ultra creaminess.

  36. I’m making this for my family tomorrow. Can I make the sauce, cook the macaroni, put it all in the pan together and then cook it in the oven once I get to the event? Is that possible or should I just cook it tonight and warm it up tomorrow? 

  37. WOWZA! I made this for my family last week, it was delicious! I was testing out some new Mac and Cheese recipes for the holidays since I hadn’t quite found the perfect one. This will be my go to recipe from now on! 😉 Thank you for sharing! Yay!

  38. I added ground beef. It was amazing. Thank you for this great recipe!!

  39. Where did you buy your cheeses?

  40. Can you freeze this recipe and bake from frozen / thawed? I’m trying to make a bunch of frozen meals ahead before baby comes.

  41. oh my goodness so delicious!!!i used sharp cheddar, gouda, muenster, and colby ! yummmmmm

  42. Wow wow wow! This Mac N Cheese was amazing. I’ve always had trouble with sauces thickening and the cheeses fully melting but not this one. Absolutely delicious. We had some leftover pulled pork that we added and it kicked it up another notch, which we didn’t think was possible. I will definitely be storing this recipe away to make again. Thanks for posting for all to enjoy! 

  43. Amazing! The whole family devoured it! I used mild cheddar and marble jack. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe!

  44. Delicious! I modified by using only sharp cheddar and added granulated garlic, otherwise followed the directions to the letter. Dreamy creamy baked shells and cheese. Thanks so much for the wonderful recipe!

  45. What difference would it make if i do not add the all purpose flour? 

  46. This was the best macaroni and cheese that I’ve ever made, the plus Factor it was quite easy. I have a 16 year old son who is so picky with everything… one of his favorite things to eat is macaroni & cheese, trust me I have tried too many. No success, but this one when I took it out the oven along with other things that I cooked with it, he went straight for the mac & cheese left everything else alone👀 let’s just put it like this I had to ask him to please think of other people who had to eat. 3 Plates Full. Nailed it😋😍 5 Stars. Thanks so much for this wonderful recipe sincerely Regina

  47. FABULOUS!!! BEST EVER and i have tried many combinations. Love the mix of cheeses… so creamy and delicious. I finally found the perfect mac and cheese recipe.
    Gail

  48. Yummy and easy! I made it ahead and baked it for 35 minutes. Everyone loved it!

  49. This is the best Mac&cheese…. EVER! Brought it ad a side dish to a party & it was everyone’s favorite!

  50. Best Mac and cheese recipe ever!  I love substituting different cheeses. Easy and forgiving. 

  51. Mine turned out amazing! I used sharp cheddar, grueyer, and gouda…because I love gouda. Consistency was perfect! Keeping this one. 

  52. How many servings does this recipe provide?

  53. I used 1/4 cup less of flour, and it still tasted like a floury mess. 

  54. Made this today for my son’s Knights of Columbus picnic. My son said it was awesome & he heard rave reviews. This is definitely a keeper😊

  55. Can I use 1lb of any type of noodle? I ended up buying Cavatappi noodles bc my grocery store was out of almost all pasta!

  56. I love this! I used 2 boxes of chickpea pasta shells and the Costco Mexican mix of grated cheese. No one wanted to wait for it to bake, so ate it immediately. We were hungry and impatient. Still great!

  57. This has become our family favorite. Often requested for birthday dinner. I use mozz cheese instead or gruyere. Love it. Great heated up.

  58. Wow! That was so amazing!!

  59. This was the best Mac and Cheese I’ve ever made! My kids ate every bit of it over a 6 or 7 day period! There are only 3 of us so that says a lot for your recipe! I didn’t use gruyere because it was too expensive! I substituted Havarti!

  60. Hi there 🙂

    Not sure if this has been already asked so apologies in advance – I live in the UK and although I have measuring cups, do you know the rough metric measurements so I know how much to buy at shops etc?

    Thanks

  61. I’m making this for about fifty people this weekend, but when I did my test run, I was pretty disappointed because it wasn’t cheesy enough?? Does four cups mean four cups grated or 32 oz of cheese? I just want it to be perfect and maybe it’s my misunderstanding?? Please help

  62. I made this tonight with Sharpe cheddar and swiss gruyere baked for 20 mins @ 375 degrees. Broiled for 5 mins…made a nice crunchy top.
    Can’t say enough but this mac and cheese is the BOMB.

  63. I just made this for dinner tonight. But where I’m going to not have a broiler. Can I cook it broil the top and reheat it later in the oven?

  64. Hi (: I am planning on trying out this recipe tonight, it looks to be the best one I have found so far. However, my siblings are picky about “stinky” cheeses like Gruyere (but they like parmesan). Any suggestions on replacements for the gruyere? Thank you! 

    • You can use swiss as a replacement. As stated in other reviews…it’s a very forgiving recipe so using different cheeses doesn’t really mess it up. I do cook it much longer than stated…usually about 40 minutes. I find that 15 minutes isn’t nearly enough time. My family loves it!

  65. Can I freeze this recipe? It sounds amazing and I cannot wait to make!

    • I’ve never attempted to freeze this recipe, so I can’t say for certain that it’ll work out well.

    • I do meal prep and because I had made this before and it was amazing, I thought I’d see if would be good out of the freezer.

      I prepared it and baked it. Then I portioned it out into meal prep containers and froze them.

      Grab one out of the freezer, place a damp paper towel over it and microwave on high for 3 minutes, remove the paper towel, stir,  then heat on high for another 3 minutes and it’s perfect.

  66. This is an excellent mac and cheese, the only thing I did differently was to add 1tbs of Worcestershire sauce 1/2 tsp dried mustard and 1/2 tsp of garlic powder for some extra flavor and some panko crumbs. It came out delicious. The only mac and cheese honestly I ever found better was Lecellier Lobster Macaroni & Cheese with Mascarpone at Disney world which btw I can’t find a recipe for 🙁 ,but as far as classics go this is by far one of the best I have tried.

  67. Great!! I am ditching my current Mac and Cheese recipe for this one! This is SSOSOSOSOSOOOO yummy!

  68. Made this yesterday and it was a hit. It was very easy to make. I love the layering aspect of the recipe. My very fit and skinny friend had four huge servings! It was a hit all around!

  69. Wow is that cheesy…. i did the 5 cheese variation with the highest quality cheeses i could buy locally. It is so cheesy. I think the flavor of the gruyere is a bit overpowering, I kinda wish I replaced it with some other cheese, dunno what i would trade it out for, it does add a complexity so I dunno if it could be replaced.

  70. Could I use rice flour instead of regular flour?

  71. Can I bake this in a 13×9 foil dish?? if so, how long do I bake for and do I keep it at the same temperature? thanks!!

  72. OMG!!! I loved this recipe!! Thank you! I didn’t have Gruyere cheese so I used Gouda cheese instead, added bacon and green onions (and a few other spices- Jamaican style)… It came out great! My family and friends enjoyed it thoroughly. I have been instructed to make more often!! lol

  73. Best recipe. My Husband loved it.Thank you for sharing😊

  74. Hey there, do you think I could substitute Gruyere Cheese for Velveeta cheese? Couldn’t find it. (I can’t wait to try this recipe btw!)

  75. If I am making this the night before should I undercook the noodles a bit?

  76. What’s half&half?

  77. This was a crowd pleasing Mac and cheese. The only thing I changed was to place buttered breadcrumbs on top and baked! I followed instructions (to the letter, I usually don’t) and it was easy.  A little time consuming shredding the cheese but well worth the time. I fed 10 people and sent everyone home with leftovers! 

  78. Thank you for sharing this recipe 

  79. I am an experienced cook and I have made many Mac and cheese recipes. This is by far the easiest and best tasting Mac and cheese recipe I have ever made. The two cheeses were perfect. l won’t make another recipe, this is the best.

  80. Best Mac & Cheese EVER! I doubled the recipe so it would feed 5 for a lazy Sunday lunch. It was so rich, so cheesy and just so good! I did use the seasonings and I think this just added another dimension to the flavour. Thanks for another great recipe!

  81. OUTSTANDING! Will be a “go-to” forever!

  82. I’m looking for a mac and cheese recipe for my daughter’s birthday picnic. Would this hold up if it sat for 30 minutes before serving?

  83. Substituted mozzarella for gruyere, it is the best mac n cheese I’ve made at home!

  84. I followed the step of your recepi and it came out so good. Since my household is not a big fan of cheese and diary products, I only used four cups of medium cheddar cheese (no gruyere cheese), less butter, less flour, 2 cups of half-and-half and whole milk.

    I served steamed broccoli and grilled breast chicken as side dishes. Everybody love it. 🙂 I follow more for other recepi. Thanks, Chunky Chef.

  85. is it milk AND half&half or milk OR half&half??

  86. Loved the cheese combo. Very tasty. I will add a little pepper jack cheese or cayenne pepper for a little spunk next time but lots of folks prefer no ‘spunk’ and this is tasty without delivering the spunk
    .

  87. Can you add truffle oil to this? If so, do you know how much?

  88. Recipe was good (did the 5 cheese version). Tonight we are replacing the pasta with riced cauliflower for a low carb version. It is just as good. 

    • WAIT! Riced Cauliflower… ok how does that work? How much cauliflower did you use and did you have to adjust the recipe? I would love to try this with cauliflower.

      • I didn’t really measure just used almost a large bag of frozen cauliflower that I thawed in the microwave and squeezed out the excess water. Did not adjust anything 

  89. I NEVER comment on recipes, but this is THE MF (sorry, but expletives are necessary!) BEST mac and cheese I’ve ever had let alone made. I just found this recipe by accident and now I’ve sent it to all my friends who trust me. Follow this recipe to the letter and you won’t be sorry.

  90. First attempt at homemade Macaroni and Cheese, and made it for 4th of July, and it could not have turned out better. It was favorite of the whole meal for most. I had to use a different combination of cheeses because I couldn’t find Gruyere, but it was really a hit. It takes much longer than the box I grew up eating, but it was worth the work! Thank you for the post.

  91. It was good used Gouda and cheddar (not a good mix) the pasta was boiled for 8mins then baked at 350 for 15min

  92. Amazing recipe, family loves it and won`t eat any one else`s lol

  93. Absolutely trying this tonight…question though, if I wanted to add bacon 🥓 should I mix it into the cheese sauce or just put it on the top? Also, after I cook the bacon should it “rest” before hand or just throw it in greasy?

    • I would cook the bacon and let it sit on a paper towel lined plate so it soaks up the excess grease, and you can mix it in with the cheese sauce if you want. I usually add about half to the sauce, and half on top.

  94. How many servings does this recipe make?

  95. If I wanna double the recipe, should I double the ingredients and time?

  96. If I choose to add Panko breadcrumbs, do I add them after adding the last layer of shredded cheese on top or do I use the breadcrumbs as a substitute for the last layer of cheese? 

  97. Hands down the best mac n cheese recipe I’ve come across! This is now my go to recipe!

  98. Loved it it was so amazing

  99. This may sound silly (forgive me) but can you actually buy half and half at the supermarket ? This is my first time making this dish and Ive never heard of half and half before 🙂

  100. I made this today and it was absolutely DELICIOUS! Definitely my favorite dish! Plus, it actually takes a bit less time than I imagined, so it’s perfect!
    Here are the slight alterations I chose to do, however to don’t have to do them for the Mac and cheese to be delicious!
    -don’t put olive oil on the pasta. You don’t need it
    -you don’t need to salt the water for the pasta
    -putting bread crumbs on the top is delicious for a good crunch!

  101. This recipe looks delicious!  I am definitely going to try it. I have several types of cheese in my fridge including ‘swiss’ cheese.  Would you recommend adding Swiss cheese to the recipe?

    Thanks

    Theresa 

  102. Haven’t made this yet, but planning on it. I was wondering if I’m using a glass baking dish, would I lower the temperature or keep it at 325? Thanks!

  103. Can you use shredded cheese instead of grated?

  104. This is wonderful. I will definitely make it again.

  105. Can you cook this in crock pot?

  106. Excellent creamy and oh, so cheesy of a dish!
    My family loved it. I know I will be making this again and again.

  107. I love how you use gif for the photos, interesting to see. I like to have baked mac and cheese on rainy night. Will give this recipe a try with bacon topping. Thanks so much.

  108. I’ve mad crock pot Mac & Cheese, I’ve made baked Mac & Cheese… every time they just came out okay… this recipe though, I loved this! This is what I was looking for in a Mac & Cheese dish. Even my little one loved it. The only change I made was was the Guyere cheese. I couldn’t find it in our stores so I substituted it with smoked Gouda and it was amazing! This is definitely my go to baked Mac recipe from now on! Delicious!

    • I’ve seen several people say they couldn’t find Gruyere. I know that Krogers has the biggest selection of cheese. Try there if you haven’t yet. 😊

      • Hi, I searched multiple stores and eventually found it buried right near the DELI with other fancy cheeses, not in the actual cheese section🙃
        Hope that helps someone!

  109. This is the first time I’ve ever made mac & cheese and I’m so glad I came across this recipe. It was fabulous! I used cheddar cheese, mozzarella & smoked Gouda with some Old Bay seasoning. Yummerzzz!!!!

  110. I forgot to pick up half and half at the store today. Would using all whole milk still work without changing the consistency or flavor? 

  111. Followed the recipe exactly. I was a little worried that it would be too soupy, but it bakes up creamy and perfect, not soupy at all. My husband and I both agree that it was the best mac and cheese we’ve ever had. This is also a perfect dish to bring to parties, potlucks, etc. Absolutely amazing!

  112. A really delicious Mac and cheese recipe! I think layering the noodles and cheese is the key. Genius! I had to change it up with the cheese because I didn’t have all of the ones from the recipe. I used 12 oz cheddar, 8 oz Monterey Jack, 4 oz queso fresco and 4 oz cream cheese. I melted the cream cheese into the butter mixture. I also put a little cayenne pepper in with the spices. I made this for a family party and it was a big hit. I will definitely make this again! Thank you!

  113. Amazing. 5 stars

  114. Made it today, the 4 year old I had lunch with gave it a thumbs up and said “This is good, I don’t want to eat kid macaroni and cheese anymore. Only this kind!” She ended up eating her bowl then half her Nana’s. I was too lazy to weight the cheese so I think I may have used about a cup too much Cheddar. But it was DELICIOUS and I’ll still manage to choke the rest down.

    #1stworldproblems

  115. I have tried many mac and cheese recipes and this one hit the mark. The entire family loved it. My roux was runny; therefore I added more flour (approx. 1-2 T) to thicken it up and cooked it until it turned a golden brown color. I used mild cheddar, Gruyere, and Colby-jack cheese. I also added dry mustard, onion and garlic powder. Next time will try the Habanero cheddar as mentioned in another reply below.

  116. Sooooo amazing!! I used Gouda in stead of the Gruyere and it turned out phenomenal! Thank you so much! 

    • I loooove Gouda cheese and was wanting to use that instead so I’m glad I found your comment saying it turned out awesome! Did you still use the medium sharp cheddar as well?

  117. My family LOVED this recipe! This will now be my “go to” macaroni and cheese recipe. Thank you so much for sharing.

  118. Super good, for anyone who wants to keep the richness of the Gruyere, but add some kick. Boar’s Head makes an amazing Chipotle smoked Gouda. The spice and bit of smokiness is really good in Mac & Cheese. Note, there’s NOTHING wrong with this recipe. I’d eat it as written multiple times a week. If you like heat another good swap’s Habenero Cheddar. Depending on where you live it might not be easy to find, but it’s gooooodness. Going to go shopping tonight to get the stuff to make it with Habanero Cheddar and Chipotle smoked Gouda.

  119. Added Cotija! Delish.

  120. Made this for Easter 2019. Going to make it again for Memorial Day BBQ. It is heaven on earth!

  121. The color looks so yummy. I like cheese, so will try this recipe soon. Thanks for the post.

  122. My daughter just made this for the first time and said it was the best homemade macaroni and cheese she has ever made!

  123. I loved the recipe. I made this for my high school Culinary Arts class. I made the 5 cheese variation and baked it at 350 F for 20 minutes and it was so tasty. I never have even thought of the idea of layering the mac and cheese like lasagna and it proved to be a success!

  124. Can this be frozen then baked a week later?

  125. Hello, I recently made this and it turned out great. Be FOREWARNED it is riiiiiicccccchhhhh! I did modify the mixture more to what my family is used to for Macaroni and Cheese.

    So what did I do?
    – Omitted buttering the dish. There is no need given the amount of fat in the dish.
    – Omitted 1/2 cup of half and half (oh don’t worry, I bring the fat back).
    – Omitted the Paprika
    – Omitted the added salt. Again between the salt in the pasta water and the salt naturally in the cheese, you do not need extra salt. Your choice on that though.

    So what did I add?
    – Added 1/2 cup of sour cream to replace the 1/2 cup of half and half removed.
    – Added 1/2 tsp. of dried mustard (Colemans).
    – Added 1/2 tsp. of onion powder.
    – Added 1/2 cup of Parmesan, divided. I put 1/4 cup in the cheese sauce mixture and 1/4 cup was sprinkled on the top as the last step before baking.

    Other changes:
    – Used 1 eight ounce block each of Extra Sharp Cheddar, COJACK, and Swiss cheeses.
    – Made it Gluten Free by using Bob’s Red MIll One 4 One flour and Barilla’s GF Elbows. Both of which worked well. The Barilla only has 12 oz of pasta vice a pound of conventional pasta, but it works perfectly fine.

  126. This is absolutely delicious and rich. Such a comfort food. I added chunks of ham to mine.
    Thank you.

  127. Yum! Simply Yum!! 

  128. I have made this for a year now and my friends call it comfort “crack!!  Also use Cougar Gold and it’s amaaazing!   Thank you chunky ached for this fantastic fool proof recipe! 

  129. So so so good!! Thank you! I added an entire head of steamed cauliflower and that was delish too! 

  130. Do you have any suggestions in regards to using fresh pasta and not boiling it first? I understand make the sauce a little thinner but what would the cooking time be then?

  131. Can this be made ahead of time? I want to have it ready to just throw in the oven. 

  132. do you have to use unsalted butter

  133. I haven’t made this recipe yet. if I were add artichoke hearts (frozen), could I still add them and refrigerate for a day?

  134. Delicious!

  135. Could this be easily made in a crock pot? I want to bring it to a sports recognition dinner.

  136. Family loves this recipe and requests it often!  I have tried so many other mac n cheese recipes and they always ended in disappointment.  

  137. This sounds and looks delicious !!!!!!! Im going to make it for dinner tomrrow and i cant wait !

  138. Hands down, this is the best mac n cheese dish ever!!!! I did change it up a little. I chopped up some bacon, onion, and garlic, sauteed all that and added it after the sauce was done. I also added two teaspoons of dry mustard and four teaspoons of truffle oil to the sauce before adding the cheese and then a little bit grated nutmeg. Delicious!!! So cheesy with the layered cheeses. I also warmed up the milk and half and half just to room temperature before adding it to the rue. So good and easy to make. Will always use this recipe when making mac n cheese.

  139. Love this recipe! We make it every holiday now that we’ve found it a few years ago!

    Is there a 2-4 serving size recipe?

    • I’m so glad you love this recipe! For that serving size, I would halve all the ingredients, and bake it in an 8×8 pan for the same amount of time and at the same temperature 🙂

  140. I made this again for Easter dinner yesterday. I did the 5 cheese version, although I subbed out the Gruyere for a sharp cheddar as it was way less expensive. I toasted up some panko breadcrumbs in a skillet with butter and added during the last 10 minutes of baking. Everyone (and I mean everyone) raved about how good it was, and I must agree. I pride myself on making a great mac and cheese, and due to the cost I only make it for Thanksgiving and Christmas. This was the best one yet and will be my recipe to follow moving forward. I think the half and half makes it. Either way, it’s fantastic. I wish I had some leftovers to enjoy, but everyone took some home with them so 🙁 Thank you for a great recipe.

    • I am trying to figure out how this is “such an expensive dish”? Prime Rib is expensive, hence why I make it on Christmas only. Dairy products are overly expensive, the noodles are 3 bucks for a box, maybe 10-15 bucks on cheese,and Panko breadcrumbs are 2 or 3 bucks for a can of them.

      Sharp Cheddar–I’ve used this before, and it ruins the taste (IMHO) and as described in the recipe above. If you think Gruyere is too expensive, try gouda.

  141. I neec to make mac n cheese muffins as an app for a party. Would this recipe work?

  142. Made this for our Easter Dinner. Made it exactly as stated except i was concerned that the cheeses were not strong enough. I like cheeses that bite back. I happened to find a new product at the market yesterday. They were sheets of Parmesan cheese that can be used as wraps for deli meat, instead of using bread, I put those in between the layers and on top, can you say awesome.  Because it was. Thank you for such a wonderful recipe and i have tried many.  

  143. These look absolutely delicious! You have amazing food photography too :] Thank You So Much for this awesome sharing!

  144. This is amazing! We did sharp cheddar, gruyere, and gouda and it was to die for! Everyone asked for the recipe. Made a double batch and it froze very well.

  145. Just took this out of the oven. Easter Sunday side dish. Snuck a taste. Yum.

  146. I made this last month and used a mixture of cheddar, Swiss, Parmesan and Colby. It was absolutely delicious and also reheats well for any leftovers. I’ve now agreed to make this for Easter Sunday dinner and was wondering if you have any idea on average number of servings? I need enough for about 25.

  147. The most unbelievably decadent Mac and cheese ever. We prefer with only a really good old sharp cheddar and your option for a crisper and firmer crust. Fantastic recipe! Thank you 🙂

  148. Would I be able to freeze this recipe? And if so how long should I leave the casserole out on the counter and how long should I bake for?

    • I haven’t specifically tested freezing this recipe, as freezing dairy can sometimes be a problem. But if you try it, I would thaw it overnight in the refrigerator, and then leave it on the counter for 20 minutes or so before baking as directed by the make-ahead directions in the recipe.

  149. I have made this probably five times now. Definitely a keeper. The first time I made it I had to swap the Gruyere because I could not find it in my local supermarket so I got jarlsberg instead. We all love this recipe. This is now my ‘go to’ mac and cheese recipe

  150. Adding ground mustard to this is the only tweak I’ve found that makes the already fantastic recipe better. If you want to give it a try, I recommend a half to a full teaspoon to give it just a little extra flavor. By far my favorite recipe for anyone who says they’re a mac and cheese connoisseur.

  151. This was amazing! So creamy and delicious.

  152. I have just made it. Really good recipe, favorite of all I have tried, it will be my recipe now.

  153. I used 3/4 cup flour/butter and 1 3/4 cup extra skim milk and only 1 cup of light cream. No one knew the difference

  154. I adapted your wonderful recipe a bit but wanted to say that added the shredded cheese btwn the layers of the pasta & cheese mix is genius! I added pepper jack to the mix for a kick and added breadcrumbs do the top for crunch.

  155. Perfect from the first time and the kids loved it.

  156. Hi,

    Can i leave the mac n cheese in the oven after baking coz i need to fetch my kids from sch. Will that cause the cheese to dry up or should i just take it out and let it cool? Which is better?

    Thank u!

  157. Hello! I was just curious about the water amount in the third step please when it says while watsr is coming to a boil. Thanks!

  158. Used what I had on hand which was cheddar cheese. Delicious. Will make again with both cheeses. Thanks 

  159. Great recipe for a delicious dish. Thank you for sharing and continue to do it more

  160. We decided to take this and sub out the cheddar for pepperjack, added some parmesan into the topping cheese layer and we also added bacon (one person made the sauce while the other cooked fresh bacon). We also broiled the dish at the end for 5 minutes.

    This recipe is enough to feed 6 people for sure! Or more if you serve it with something else as a side. We grilled some chicken in a castiron skillet, slice it, and put it on top of our mac n cheese.

    SOOOO DELICIOUS!

  161. FOR SURE THE BEST I’VE EVER MADE

  162. Delicious! I didn’t have the cheeses listed, so used what I had on hand—mozzarella, white cheddar, smoked Gouda, and the Mexican cheese blend. Followed the directions exactly and topped with cheese and the Italian Panko butter crumbs. I will definitely make again! Thank You!

  163. Fantastic recipe. Thank you! 

  164. Do I mix the pasta and the cheese together 

  165. My son made this in his homeschool co-op so we tried it tonight for dinner. I used 2% milk instead of whole and canned evaporated milk instead of half & half. For the cheese I used sharp cheddar, mozarella and smoked gruyere. I think next time I will leave out the gruyere because it was a little strong to me. Also we used shells instead of elbow macaroni – per my son’s request – that’s what they used in his class. Very good recipe & makes a large dish – enough to share- which is what I am going to do! I’m sure my parents will like it too!

    • I did this once with smoked gouda and honestly wasn’t a huge fan. Go with a regular gruyere next time instead of a smoked one and I think you’ll love the difference!

  166. Amanda, this looks wonderful! I’ll try it today. Thank you for sharing!

  167. Oh My Goodness. This recipe was so good!!!

    I was unsure about this recipe because both my husband and my son do not like Swiss (Gruyere Cheese). I will also say that the combination of Swiss and Cheddar seemed “off” to me, but the reviews were so positive I decided to try it. Personally, I get tired of always catering to the “unimaginative palates” of my spouse and son. If my son had his way, we would eat boxed Velveeta Mac and Cheese 5 nights a week, My husband is a meat and potatoes kind of guy.

    That said, this was a real risk. I decided if they really hated it, I could freeze it and use it for a “shut in meal” or take it to a Bible study group dinner.

    I made the recipe almost exactly as posted. The only difference being that I had less than 1 cup of mild cheddar/Mexican blend that I wanted to use up that I included into the sharp cheddar mix. After otherwise making the recipe as directed, I added leftover diced ham.

    All I can say, was it was good the first night, but even better the second day. My husband works second shift which means that whatever I make for dinner tonight, he eats the next night. Both my husband and my son requested the leftovers.

  168. OMGEEEE!  This is the best mac and cheese i’ve had!  Made it about 2 months ago and making it tonight to have with meatloaf! Everyone raved about it! I’ve not used Gruyere cheese before and my store had a hickory smoked one.  Thanks for this recipe!  It’s a keeper in my book now!

  169. I have searched high and low for “the” Mac n Cheese recipe.  This is it!!  Love it, my whole family loves it.  I topped with seasoned panko breadcrumbs for a little crunch.  

  170. Amanda, thank you! I made this exactly as recipe states and it was delicious. It has wonderful flavors.

  171. Can I use only half and half? If so, how much should I use?

  172. Hey there! This recipe looks awesome but can it be baked with bread crumbs on top?

  173. Could you tell me what 2 1/2 cups of half and half is please. 

    • Half and half is a dairy product here in the US which is part cream, part milk. It’s found in the dairy aisle. If you can’t find it, you could simply substitute with 1 1/4 cups cream and 1 1/4 cups milk.

      • is that double or single cream that i was use for the substitution?

      • I am having my son’s high school graduation party this Saturday evening and wanted to add a homemade Mac and cheese dish for the kids that are coming and this dish sounds great. I would probably make 3 dishes ahead of time and bake them the day of the party on Saturday. Do you think I could bake them in the disposable aluminum 9×13 pans. We will have a party of 50-70 people here for his party so I want everything disposable as much as possible 😊

  174. My daughter loved this recipe so much that she requested me to make this for her wedding. There will be 50-60 guests. Can I double recipe and use a larger baking dish? Any suggestions would be so helpful. Has the slow cooker recipe been created yet?

    • I’ve not tested this recipe on that scale, so I can’t say anything for certain, unfortunately. I would assume it could be done by baking it in a larger dish, it just might take a little bit longer. The slow cooker mac and cheese will be an entirely different recipe, as you’d have to add specific ingredients to help make it smooth and creamy in a slow cooker setting.

  175. This is so tasty 😋 😋😋 I made 2 batches and ate it all by my self in like 2 hours Yum 😋 like I’m only 300 pounds but boy this is tasty my wife chyanne left me because I ate it all when she said not to eat all of it. But very great and easy recipe if you want your wife to leave you.

  176. This was an amazing mac and cheese recipe! We loved the cheese in the sauce and layers! The half and half made it extra creamy. May add the buttered panko next time but this is perfect as it is! Mac and cheese is my favorite food!

  177. I want to learn how to do it.

  178. Delicious! Fam fave!

  179. We had to do a gluten free version and family LOVED it! I added a gluten free garlic bread topping on top of the cheese. Comfort food to the max!! This is moving into our regular rotation.

  180. Amanda, thanks! Made this last night so quick, easy and tasty!

  181. In your recipe variations to make this ahead of time you say don’t bake it and then in the next sentence you say cool it down so I’m confused if you can bake it ahead of time or if you don’t bake it a head of time..Also if I added crab to it can I still make it I had a time

  182. Loved this recipe…finally a Mac n’ cheese that satisfied my craving. Tried many recipes, and none of them were ever quite “the one”…this was the one! I think the layers made the difference (I really love cheese)! I sauteed some shallots in the butter, sprinkled in some ground mustard in the sauce and also layered bacon in-between and because my husband likes crunch, I topped it off with buttered Pablo! This wad TO DDIE FOR! Thank you!

  183. Thanks for this I really needed something to cook that was simple and good I’m young but I want to cook when I get early and this impresses almost everyone at my party

  184. Amanda, this recipe would be perfect for those cold nights. Looking forward to making this for my family.

  185. This was amazing. It was a hit at my son’s birthday celebration! I followed the recipe exact, but added a half teaspoon of mustard powder. I will definitely make it again and make two trays next time.

  186. I turned this amazing dish into a lobster mac and cheese recipe for the holidays. So delicious!

  187. So I made this recipe using cheddar and Monterey Jack back in November and it was absolutely delicious! The best Mac and cheese I’ve ever tasted! Unfortunately the past 2 times I’ve made it I get a really strong flour taste and I am not sure what I’m doing wrong/different. Any tips to help get rid of such an intense taste of flour? 

    • Hmm, the only thing I can think of is that you’re not cooking the roux long enough. Once you add the flour to the melted butter, cook it a minute or so, which gets the raw flour taste out. Then go ahead and add the liquids.

  188. It is the best mac and cheese!

  189. Loved it. I used sharp yellow chedder and extra sharp new your white chedder with a flour in my roux. Turned out delicious. Thanks for sharing! 😀

  190. Excellent. I have made this several times. I usually halve the recipe but tonight I did it all. I don’t know if it’s just me but I feel like I could have added more pasta it makes SO MUCH. All I had on hand was half and half. I did two cups of half and half and then I watered down some half and half. I probably could have just used two cups of half and half and water for the rest it gets pretty creamy and thick. I never use the full amount of flour/butter either. I usually toss everything together save for some cheese to sprinkle on top.  I usually use smoked gruyere and a combo of cheddars. This is pretty much a foolproof recipe. Sometimes I bake it sometimes I don’t.  

  191. This recipe sounds tasty, You did an incredible job with this! easy to make and really good with cheese! My entire family loved it, I’m definitely going to try, hope it as good as you do :)) five stars for you and thanks so much for this Amanda!

  192. Do you have a slow cooker version of this? I would love to be able to use my crockpot if I could. 

  193. Thanks for this recipe! I put Panko on top, & a little paprika. Also, a third of the cheese was mozzarella, and the rest medium cheddar. It is great!

  194. **long comment (includes weight measurement conversions)**
    Ok let me start off by saying this recipe is FANTASTIC. I consider myself to be a bit of a Mac n cheese  connoisseur, and I have experimented with many different recipes in hopes of finding “the one”. 
    A few nights ago, my friends and I organized a “Mac n cheese cook off“. There were a total of 5 Mac n cheese submissions (including my Mac n cheese, using THIS recipe). And this Mac n cheese dominated!! Out of the 9 voters that were there, each and every one of them voted for this Mac n cheese. There was no runner up, just one clear winner. And this was it. Although I did make a few tweaks, I did follow pretty closely to the recipe. 
    I was surprised that the recipe did not call for many seasonings, so I decided to add in some dry mustard powder (a MUST for any Mac n cheese recipe!!), nutmeg, pepper, garlic powder, and a pinch of cayenne. I also added some finely crushed up ritz crackers to the top and set the oven to broil just a few minutes before taking it out. 
    I also added in about 2 tbsp cream cheese (that’s all I had on hand), as I read somewhere that it helps the sauce to keep its creamy texture. 
    Wowowowow. This Mac n cheese was TO DIE FOR. Next time I make it, I would like to experiment with smoked Gouda! 
    I highly highly recommend this contest winning Mac n cheese!! My search is now over. 
    Also, I do all my measuring in grams, so for anyone interested, here are the conversions:
    1/2 cup butter = 115g
    1/2 cup flour = 64g
    1 1/2 cups milk = 375ml 
    2 1/2 cups cream = 592 ml
    4 cups grated cheddar = 460g
    2 cups grated Gruyere = 230g

  195. Just made this and very simple and easy to make.

    I live in England so we do not have half and half, i just used 2 cups of whole milk and 2 cups of extra thick double cream – Its turned out so creamy and yummy!

    Also, for cheese I used a blend of mozzerella, cheddar and red Leicester. Worked out perfectly. So if anyone from the uk wants to try this, I recommend those simple switches 🙂

  196. Followed recipe exactly…except I did not have Gruyere. Substituted Velveeta (yes, Velveeta!) and combined with Cabot extra sharp white cheddar and it was phenomenal. So creamy and delicious.

  197. Amanda, thank you very much! I like this! Wonderful combination of ingredients. It look so yummy!

  198. Do I need to mix the half and half and the whole milk?

  199. Yum yum yum. Added dry mustard 

  200. Absolutely delicious!! First time for me to make a homemade mac and cheese. Easy recipe to follow.

  201. Could I freeze this after it’s made?

  202. THANK YOU AMANDA!!!  This recipe is da bomb!!!  My 17 and 13 year olds are extremely picky eaters. I have made various homemade Mac and cheese through the years which my children would look forward to and I can now say the search is over!!  

    When I now say I’m going to make mac and cheese they ask is it the recipe you have made lately?  When I say yes, they say oh that is really good mac and cheese.  No more box Mac and cheese in this family – YAY!!!!!  Thank you again!

  203. Really delicious mac and cheese. My kids loved it. This will be my number 1 recipe to go to now. Thanks 

  204. Definitely the best baked mac recipe I have made and I have tested MANY!  I made as directed but added some panko crumbs on top.  So yummy!

  205. Seriously the BEST mac & cheese I’ve ever made! I have been searching and trying to find the creamiest, super cheesy macaroni and cheese and here it is! I made a full recipe for my family of 5 as a side dish but froze half the sauce for another day. It defrosted like I never put it in the freezer and everyone couldn’t stop talking about how delicious it was!

  206. I actually have a question, I would like to make this recipe, but I’m a single person with no one living with me. Are you able to possibly give me directions for just an individual so I’m not making an over abundance that will go bad before I finish it all. Thank you so much if you are able to help me

    • Hi Jennifer 🙂 I would cut all the ingredients in half (for a main course dish) and into fourths (to serve as a side dish). Make it as directed, no change to the baking time. That way you’ll have enough for the night you make it, and 1-2 days worth of leftovers.

  207. Hello, can you use heavy whipping cream instead of half & half?

  208. Tops! All 7 of our family loved this recipe.  I especially liked that the littles ate it right up. It was perfectly creamy. The flavor was so good.

  209. Do I have to use half and half? Can I just use milk?

  210. What is half and half? Thanks.

  211. Simply perfect. Have made this several times and have had rave reviews from old and young alike. Nice job.

  212. My first time ever making mac and cheese (minus box recipes) this was the best mac and cheese I’ve ever tasted! It stole the show as a side dish and was the only thing that I had seconds of. So delicious!

  213. Best Mac & Cheese I ever made!  I made this dish for a party, and the guests were begging for more!  Wish I had made two trays. For first-time makers of this dish, it will seem like A LOT of cheese when you’re done shredding, but follow the directions exactly as written (especially when whisking the sauce) & you’ll be in Mac & Cheese heaven!  I used four, 8 oz blocks of sharp cheddar and two, 8 oz blocks if Monterey Jack. SOOOOO yummy!!

  214. I added crumbled 1 cup each of bacon, cubed ham and cubed andouille to this recipe. It worked. 

  215. I made this tonight! My family and I are calling this McComfort Food! Delicious and filling! 

  216. Tried this last night and it was a hit! This is the first recipe I’ve made that doesn’t get too dried out. Thank you! But now this begs the question, what’s the best way to reheat our leftovers and keep the creaminess??

    • I’m so glad you loved it! Mac and cheese is notorious for becoming greasy when reheated, and this is no exception. I’ve found reheating it in the oven or on the stovetop helps keep it the least greasy though.

  217. I have made this recipe a number of times for my family.  We LOVE it.  Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful delight!!!

  218. Help! Is the salt for the sauce or for the pasta?

  219. Absolutely delicious !
    I used what cheese we had on hand and it worked out perfect.
    We couldn’t get enough of it. Making it again today, so I came back for the directions again.
    Thank you so much for the recipe and all the tips.

  220. This recipe has caused unprecedented martial issues in my home! I made it once for my wife (yes, I am a man and the kitchen IS my domain… deal with it!!!) and now about once a week she comes home with a big bag of cheese, macaroni, etc. and insists that I make it for her! Fortunately, its one of the easiest things that I make and when she’s happy I’m happy! I even keep a spare in the basement freezer that she never explores which makes it even easier. I add chunks of ham to mine as well.

  221. Just made this recipe and it was, in one word…DELISH!

    VERY EASY recipe to make. I stuck with the original gruyere and cheddar mixture. My store only had smoked gruyere and I was a bit worried but it added a really nice smokey flavor that paired well with the ribs.

    Obviously this is only an occassional treat as it chock full of cheese, butter, half and half and whole milk…but for a once in awhile indulgence, I’ll definitely make it again!

  222. For once the recipe I attempted came out perfectly. This mac and cheese is the best in the whole world..I know this because my son and husband said so, and I agree. I cooked it exactly according to the directions and baked it on the 350 setting for 30 minutes and then broiled it, because we are fans of the chewy cheesy crust topping. Thank you for sharing.

  223. This is the very best Mac and Cheese! I’ve made it several times, each time varying the cheeses and some of the additions/substitutions that others have commented on. The last batch, I doubled, using mild cheddar, sharp cheddar, Velveeta, mozzarella and gruyere. Then followed the recipe exactly, using shredded cheeses for the topping. HUGE HIT for our party.
    I’ve never tried using cream cheese or Brie as one of the cheese selections. Has anyone tried those?

  224. Many thanks, Scotland don’t stock half and half in our stores. When you live in a little villiage and i mean LITTLE we dont get luxuries like yourself. I’ll try double cream with full fat milk……we have two grocery stores. TESCO and CO-OP. we don’t even do fast food. Is that full fat or semi skimmed?. Will let you know if I’m successful.

  225. OMG!!!! This is the BEST mac and cheese ever! It has the perfect consistency and so creamy. It was a big hit and absolutely no leftovers. Thank you very much!

  226. I made this recipe because there was an aged cheddar on sale at the grocery store. I could not have imagined a better use for this cheese. I also used some asiago on hand. My husband, coworkers, I absolutely loved it.

  227. I just made this (my first attempt at mac n cheese) and it turned out perfect! Thanks for sharing.

  228. I made this tonight,and it definitely was a hit! Will make it again for sure. Thank you for sharing your oh so delicious recipe! 

  229. The recipe is good but I cut everything connected to sause and topping in half (cheese, butter, milk, cream etc) – and it turned out great! Just the right amount of creamyness and cheesyness.

  230. Made this tonight. Only had American and Cheddar cheese, used Italian bread crumbs on the top but followed your instructions. I have make home made Mac and Cheese with wonderful results but this with the paprika and a bit of garlic powder….Wow!

  231. The best mac & cheese I’ve ever made.👌
    Wonderful. Made it for the first time tonight. It is a keeper! Could never find a great mac & cheese recipe till now.

  232. I made this for the first time last night. It was fantastic, and I almost want to say the leftovers are even better if that’s possible. Keeper for sure!

  233. made this for Christmas eve using sharp cheddar and swiss… it came out wonderful. Baked it right in the warming trays, it came out wonderful and didn’t dry out in the warmer either! It’s my new “go to” for Mac and cheese!
    thank you so much!!

  234. I made mine with 4 different cheddar cheeses and smoked gouda and it was absolutely the best! I went very well with my smoked brisket and baked beans!

  235. Made this Mac and cheese for Christmas- it was delish! New addition for the holidays everyone loved it. Used sharp Cheddar and Gruyere 

  236. This came out very well ,it looks delicious and I will try it again , maybe with some bacon .

  237. I made this recipe for a potluck & it was a big hit! I’m making it again today for New Year’s! Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe. 

  238. I’ve made this before and baked it and it’s delicious!! My husband liked it better before I baked it. Can I make this up until the baking part and hold it in a warm crock pot for a party? Will it separate after a couple hours???

  239. Best homemade Mac n cheese recipe!

  240. Loved loved loved this recipe! My family and I were out of town for Christmas and we voted on making a home made mac n cheese as a dinner side. I have made other recipes in the past and they were always just “meh”. When this one came up in the search and I saw who made it, I just knew I had to try it! I ended up reversing the cheeses (4 cups of Gruyere and 2 of Cheddar) because that’s what was had on hand and it was so fantastic! It was even better as left overs! The cheese sauce turned out perfect and was not at all greasy (probably because we switched the cheese amounts.) I served it with toppings of red onion, bacon, and avocado and again, positive reviews from a very picky foodie family!

  241. Thank you for sharing your amazing recipe! This is my new favorite mac n cheese recipe now! I did three layers and used the whole wheat elbow macaroni. I made it for our Christmas dinner and everyone loved it. I have requests to make it again. The combination of Gruyere and extra sharp cheddar is amazing. My husband is eating the leftovers now and all I hear are oooohs and ahhs.

  242. This is really helpful app if you dont want to buy mac and cheese

  243. I’m confused. The recipe ingredients calls for 1 1/2 cup of milk and 2 1/2 cups of half and half, however when I read the instructions you only mention using 2 cups total. Very confusing, what about the other 2 cups?

    • The next sentence in step 4 says to pour in the remaining milk/half and half. You add the liquid in stages so it develops into a smoother sauce.

    • She mixed the two milks. She poured in 2 cups of the mixture, mixed it into the butter and flour mixture, then she poured the rest of the milk (that would be the other 2 cups of mixed milk).

  244. This recipe will be a hit for my next vacation.

  245. Made this for Thanksgiving and family said that this was the best dish of all (over turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, etc..!) Then made it for Christmas and they all went on about how this needs to be at every family holiday. It’s such a hit! The only thing I added was “garlic and cheese” croutons – smashed up – on top before baking to add a bit of flavor and crunch.

  246. Best ever!!! Wrote my review but forgot to rate all the stars possible!! 

  247. As many others below I made this for Christmas dinner and it was the a HUGE HIT!!! Saving as my go to recipe from now on!! Seriously the BEST Mac n cheese I’ve ever made! 

  248. I can’t find Gruyere cheese anywhere does anyone know a good substitute?

  249. This recipe turned out so well and was super easy. Its taken me so long to find a good mac recipe and I’m so glad I made this one. I served it at a big work Christmas party and it was a huge hit.

  250. This recipe was a hit at my family’s Christmas dinner this year. Slight variations I Made due to what I had available: 1.5 cups half and half. 1.25 cups 2% milk and .5c heavy cream. Added the beau monde seasoning with the spices and topped with bacon chives and Italian bread crumbs. Best Mac and cheese I’ve ever made. Thanks!

  251. I never write reviews but this time i had to. I’ve followed other mac n cheese recipes and this is by far the BEST MOST AMAZING mac n cheese recipe ever. Very creamy, not dry at all. Great taste . I made it today for Christmas and everyone loves it! Thank you for sharing your recipe.

  252. This is a great recipe. Even my finicky eating daughter enjoyed it. I gave this 4 stars instead of 5 because I think adding a layer of cheese in between the pasta mixture was too much cheese. I will, however, add this to my recipes and the next time I make this, I’ll omit the layer of cheese. 😁

  253. I made this macaroni and cheese for Christmas Eve. I followed the recipe closely, but added 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder to the sauce. It was fantastic. My brothers are very picky when it comes to mac and cheese, and they both loved it. Thanks so much!

  254. Finally! My grandma made the best Mac n cheese ever. I’m 56 and have never been able to make a decent Mac n cheese until this recipe.   Made for the family on Christmas Eve and got lots of compliments and I loved it as well.   I did add a little more milk than called for and also added a little bit of Velveeta in the layers.   Will only use this recipe from now on!

  255. Made this today for Christmas tomorrow!

  256. I made this for Thanksgiving and loved it. Have you ever tried this same recipe in a crockpot?

  257. I just made this for a party thing at my job and doubled the recipe and it was amazing. I wasn’t even sure I was doing it right because I doubled it but came out great. I subsisted the Gruyere cheese with this “Mac and cheese” blend at Stop & Shop becusss they didn’t have the Gruyere cheese and it wasn’t surprisingly good. My boss and even some co worker was saying they loved it so much .

  258. Is this to be baked covered or uncovered?

  259. I made this for my five grown up children who were home for a long Christmas weekend. It was a huge success! Easy to make with very few ingredients.

  260. I am not sure where to buy the Gruyere cheese, I have been to Wal-Mart, Fred Meyer, and Natural Grocers! Can you tell me where you buy this cheese?

  261. My sister in law made this for Thanksgiving and it was a HUGE hit! I just finished preparing the make-ahead version and plan to bake it in the morning and transfer to my crock pot to keep warm for a work potluck…fingers crossed!

    • I was reading your review on preparing the Mac and cheese dish. You posted that you backed the Mac and cheese as directed then you transferred it to a crock pot. How did that hold up for you? I’m having a graduation patty and would like to do the same. The Mac and cheese will be in the slow cooker for probably about 4-5 hours. Did you just keep it on low or warm and what were your results? Thank you, Shelly
      [email protected]

  262. I made your recipe  as written substituting only Swiss cheese for the Guyere. I taste tested it before baking and it was fabulous. When I baked it, it still tasted great but the cheese was very stringy and not the smooth texture of the cheese sauce that I mixed into the macaroni. Is this dish normally very stringy after baking? If not, any ideas on where I went wrong. Thank you.

    • It sounds like your cheese separated a bit during the baking process. Completely melting the cheese into the milk mixture will help reduce the probability of a grainy sauce. Also, definitely grate your own cheese (not sure if you did or not), and if you’re having trouble with creaminess, try using room temperature half and half and milk, and room temperature cheeses.

  263. My wife is gluten free, I have had really good success with substituting the 1/2 cup flour and about 1 cup of half & half the past to make the cheese sauce with 8oz of cream cheese to make Alfredo in the past. Any advise for this recipe? Should I just stick to GF flour instead using an Italian knock-off solution? Thanks!

  264. what size dish would be good if i double the recipe ?? also doubling it would be ideal for 20 people correct ?😇

    • It depends if you’re serving this as a main dish, or a side dish. As a side dish, yes, doubling should be good for about 20 people. As a main dish, it will probably feed 12-15. I’ve doubled this in those really big foil pans from the grocery store (I think they’re labeled “giant lasagna pans”), but I’ve also had a reader who tripled the recipe using a roasting pan 🙂

      • well its for a party so since we have other food i figured just one serving for everyone would do, so i doubled it. it seems just about enough but we’ll see 😇 it tastes good before baking but my only problem is that im scared it’ll dry out by the morning. will it turn out fine once i bake it ?

        • You probably had your party by now😄 but I made mine the night before to bring to a party the following day. I refrigerated it with foil on top & we re-heated it the next day before the party and it was AWESOME!  Nice & creamy & not dried out. Everyone LOVED it!

  265. Can you make cheese sauce & pasta ahead and refrigerate separately to combine on day of baking?

    • That should definitely work, just make sure to heat up the sauce some before combining and baking… and stir the cheese sauce really well after it’s warmed. The sauce may separate a little bit, but should come together with a good whisking.

  266. Can you use all milk instead of half and half?

  267. So many times I see “best” in front of a recipe, I’m let down and it’s not in fact the best. But WOWZA this mac and cheese is hands down 1000% no doubt THE. BEST. Made it exactly as written and it was perfect. 2nd time I grated in 3 cloves of garlic into the milk mixture and picked a higher quality gruere cheese and it was just mind blowing! Absolutely delicious! Thank you so so so much for this amazing recipe.

  268. Would you recommend hand shredding the cheeses? Do you see any benefit over just buying already shredded? Also, just out of curiosity…why half and half vs. heavy whipping cream? Does it get any less creamy (do the noodles soak up the liquid and dry out) if you make it the night before and heat it up the day of?

    • I definitely recommend shredding your own cheeses. Pre-packaged cheeses are coated with a cellulose powder to prevent clumping in the bags, and it prevents them from melting evenly in the sauce. I’ve made this mac and cheese with all combinations of milk/half and half/heavy whipping cream, and any will work. My personal favorite is 2 cups half and half, 2 cups heavy whipping cream. Definitely rich! There is a little less creaminess if made before hand, but you could make a little extra of the sauce to counteract that if you wanted 🙂

  269. All I have to say is AMAAAAZING!!! This is by far the best Mac n cheese recipe I’ve ever made. I just made it for the family and they loved it!!! Thank you for sharing. This will be my go to recipe from now on. 

  270. Hi,
    I’m trying to figure out how to make this in a crockpot. Any advise? Or just stick to baking it? (First time hosting  big holiday and I’m freaking out! Have to cook a lot and I know I might lose my mind that day) 
    Thank you in advance for any help! 🙂

  271. Omg I love this recipe 

    However I didn’t read the serving s for my three person family 
    Help how do I store this?

  272. Has anyone ever added lobster to this recipe?

    • Lobsterman here! They’re pretty easy to add in, just boil some water (outside if you can as the process smells a bit) add “the bugs” or lobsters, and dont forget to take off the rubber bands on the claws! Unless you like the rubbery taste. Boil for 8 or 9 minutes if you’re talking an average 1.25lb lobster, until they’re bright red. Pick out the claw and tail meat, dice it into bite sized pieces and toss it in once you’ve brought together the pasta and cheese sauce.

      Good luck!

      • Thank your for the response to adding lobster. I made it for Christmas and it was a hit. I actually steamed 4 lobster tails for 8 mins. I cut them into pieces and layered the pieces in the middle of the pasta cream sauce mixture. It came out great.