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.
4.96 from 489 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 (measured after grating)
  • 2 cups grated Gruyere cheese divided (measured after grating)
  • 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.
  • Remove from the heat and 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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1,233 comments on “Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese”

  1. A couple years ago I was on a mission to find a creamy Mac and cheese recipe. After countless recipes I gave up. I googled and researched everything I could, but every recipe came up short. The biggest issue I had was texture. Most of them turned out gritty. I randomly searched for a Mac and cheese recipe the other day and stumbled across this one. My life has forever been changed. This is the real deal. Smooth and creamy with a delicious cheesy taste. Absolutely fantastic!! Thank you for sharing!  

  2. I have tried a lot of baked Mac and cheese recipes but yours is my favorite. I’ve made it about 4 times now and it is always sooo good. I live in NM and we have green chilie cheese at Sam’s. Half of my cheese is with this yummy cheese and it gives it a bit of a kick. I can’t get over how creamy this recipe is. Thank you so much for sharing. 

  3. How many cups is 1 pound of dry pasta?  I’m getting conflicting answers from Grandma Google. 

  4. Cant find Gruyere cheese anywhere is there a substitute I can use and on the cheddar cheese can it be sharp or mild ?

  5. This was seriously so good. I’ve made homemade mac and cheese before and it has come out oily from all the butter. This was creamy and delicious! I made it for my 46th birthday and everyone loved it. We used it as the base for a Mac and Cheese bar with fun toppings: fresh basil, Roma tomatoes, ground turkey, taco seasoning, etc. Everyone loved it! I will definitely make this again! So creamy! Thank you!!

  6. I baked mine in my Traeger smoker as I had room and it was already cooking some chickens. Absolutely delish!

  7. Very best mac and cheese recipe ever! My husband loves it and can’t get enough. Tonight I’m cooking up some shrimp and will slather them over the top. Tomorrow morning it’s in the frying pan with onions, sizzle, add eggs, cover with lid. Oh the crunchy bits. My love to – The Chunky Chef!

  8. MIy family loved this recipe, I’m asked to make it every other weekend for when their friends are over!😍

  9. This was delicious and very easy to make!  Hardest part was shredding the cheese but totally worth it.  Yum!

  10. This recipe is a keeper and a hit at my 4th of July get together. Followed the recipe to the T with some Panko breadcrumbs on top and it was delicious! 

  11. Thank you! I didnt have the cream or paprika but still came out delicious. I boiled my noodles in 2%milk instead as well. Will be using this from now on 😉

  12. Thank you so much for the recipe! If I halve this, would I use an 8×8 pan? Or…

  13. I have read below that the recipe will work well with GF noodles and flour. What about substituting Almond or Oat milk?

    • You can absolutely sub almond or oat milk! I just used almond milk for this recipe and everyone loved it!!

  14. I use this Mac and cheese recipe for everything, even if it’s just the base. I vary the cheeses depending on what kind of Mac and cheese I’m feeling that week, but this is a fantastic recipe to make a cheesy, creamy baked Mac. 

  15. Amazing recipe!!

  16. Can I use fat-free half and half? If I do, should I change the milk ratio?

  17. AMAZING! My kids devoured it. We made it with gluten free noodles and GF flour, and used a little sour cream to thicken because we only had skim milk on hand. This is going in the books. Best Mac recipe we have found after 2years of searching for a good replacement that would work GF. Thank you!! 

  18. Taught my g-daughter this recipe to teach her how to read a recipe and cook it. Came out delicious.

  19. I’ve never made the recipe before but would like to make it. I only need an amount for 2 people. Do you think I should cut the recipe in half and then in half again or will that change the taste of the recipe too much. What do you think is best?

    • As long as you’re changing the amount of all the ingredients equally, it won’t mess up the recipe at all 🙂 I’m not sure if you’re making this as a main dish or a side dish, but we’ve found we always need a bit more, as people generally want seconds. If you hover over the serving size number, a slider bar will pop up. Just slide the bar in either direction, until the number of servings you want shows, and it’ll automatically calculate the correct amount of each ingredient.

  20. I have tried many times to make a tasty Mac & Cheese and this recipe is Hands Down the Best I have Ever tasted!!
    (I used only old Cheddar and added pieces of hotdogs and of course some bread crumb with crushed Toppables. Yummm

    Thank you Chef!

  21. this turned out so amazing!!! definitely making this again the family loved it!!

  22. We have made this recipe 3 times and it has become our go to for home made mac and cheese.. The only variation we’ve made is to add smoked gouda into the cheese mixture..It’s absolutely delish! Thanks for sharing

  23. I’m doing low carb(I have a noodle replacement already)and would like to replace the flour with xanthum gum. Do you think that would work?

  24. It was good but why did it come out so greasy! 
    I made another recipe and same thing…very greasy.. is it the cheese? I used Gruyere cheese and sharp Cheddar cheese along with a little bit of Monterey Jack cheese that I had left over… These were blocks of cheese that I shredded

    • Oh no, I’m sorry you had this experience! It could very well have been the cheese, I’ve noticed different types and even brands of cheese will vary in oil content.

    • Hi! Don’t use sharp cheddar, or use less, but make the bulk medium cheddar (not mild.)
      Sharp cheddar does melt very greasy. My sister always used Cracker Barrel and hers was fantastic. I can’t wait to try this too.

      Good luck!!

  25. Out of this world good!  This will be my go to Mac and cheese from now on!  Just finished my second helping!

  26. Just made this exactly per the recipe (broiling the top) It was nothing short of WOW! A definite keeper. 

  27. So deliscious. I used fontina cheese instead of guyere cheese (due to cost) along with white american and colby Jack cheeses. Excellent and raves from my youngest (adult) son for adding real bacon pieces to his. Youngest grandson gobbled it up, too even though it was very different than his mama’s boxed mac and cheese.

  28. Delicious…yes…delicious…The entire Mac and Cheese was gone…!!! Feed 10 people…Every one loved it. Made it exactly per your instructions. Thank you for making Fathers Day a success! 
    One of the best I have ever made….Perfection…BRAVO to The Chunky Chef!!!

  29. Omg I made this and it was epic. Some of the quantities seem too much but I persevered and wow. Whomever you’re cooking for, they better be hungry. I oiled my cooked pasta in liberal amounts of truffle oil and dressed the serve dish in same. It was amazing 😉 

  30. I have everything except milk…. anyway to make it work without milk?

  31. I made this recipe based on the 5 star rating. It didn’t disappoint. I was sure that there would be way too much cheese and it would be swimming in oil. That wasn’t the case…it was the perfect balance of creaminess and flavor. I followed the advice of one reviewer and topped the dish with panko breadcrumbs mixed with some melted butter. It was the perfect finishing touch! 

  32. This recipe was yummy! My family loved it. Thank you! 

  33. Great flavors, however I got a slightly, not much, grainy texture and oil seperation. I followed but seemed to have this issue. Any help? Thanks.

  34. I made this for a BBQ and it was a HUGE HIT!  Everyone loved it.  I used GF noodles and GF to make a GF version and oh my gosh, this is the best Mac and cheese ever.  I got so many compliments on and the whole dish was gone!  Will be making again. 

  35. Can I make this ahead and freeze? Would you recommend baking it first or preparing it but freezing before baking

    • I haven’t tested freezing this recipe, but I believe other readers have successfully done so, so I think it would be just fine 🙂 My recommendation would be to prepare it and freeze before baking. Then thaw overnight in the refrigerator and let sit on the counter at room temperature while the oven is preheating to warm it up a bit. Then bake as directed, adding a bit of extra time since it might need a bit longer to be hot and bubbly throughout.

    • I only have 2% milk and evaporated milk on hand. Will the evaporated milk work instead of half and half?

  36. I would like to prepare this a few hours ahead of the cooking time. Do you think I should make any adjustments and will those hours sitting give different results? Thanks.

  37. …forgot to add, used smoked paprika, and sprinkled Italian bread crumbs over top with a 1/3 stick of melted butter over that before baking. Baked at the 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

  38. First time ever posting about a recipe, that’s how good it was… and what a HIT it was at today’s party!! This, with out a doubt, will become a staple ‘must bring’ and ‘must have’ from here on out. THANK YOU!!!

  39. Easy recipe and SO yummy! I have had a recipe I’ve used for years, but tried this to find one that is more creamy. I made it exactly to the instructions, except I didn’t have half & half, so I used the last of some whipping cream I had and then for the rest, I use whole milk. Everyone preferred this recipe to my old one, so this will be my new “go to!”

  40. I always get positive feedback but today I only had heavy whipping cream on hand and omitted all butter to compensate, but it turned out so oily. Maybe I should have used less HWC?

    • It could have been the heavy cream, it definitely has more fat content. Did you use the same cheeses you normally do? I’ve noticed different types and even brands of cheese will vary in oil content.

  41. Best ever!  Thanks for sharing!

  42. Oh, I meant to add that I also make this recipe using gluten free pasta and flour. It holds up beautifully. Because gluten free flour thickens more quickly than regular flour, I do cook it a few minutes beyond thickening at a lower temperature in order to cook the flour thoroughly and not have a raw flour flavor. Thanks for such a tasty recipe.

  43. This mac and cheese recipe is truly THE BEST! It has become THE most requested food from my college kids, all their friends, and my friends too. The gruyere cheese makes this recipe scrumptious. I follow the recipe as it is written. Why mess with perfection? 🙂 If I have leftovers, I cut them in individual sized servings, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze them. To reheat and eat, I put the individual serving in a bowl, add a few tablespoons of milk, cover, warm them in the microwave for 1 minute or so, stir, and serve. The serving is as delicious as fresh out of the oven, just more of a stirred mac and cheese consistency than baked. 

  44. I don’t own half-and-half, is it fine if I omit that from the recipe? or what can I replace It with other than heavy cream or any cream in general… I only have milk.

  45. ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!! The milk roux took about 15-20 minutes to actually thicken up (may have had the heat too low) but overall easy to follow and absolutely delicious! Couldn’t find a good price on Gruyere at the store so went with Jarlsberg instead and still SO GOOD! My family loved it — thanks!!

  46. If I could give this Mac and Cheese recipe 10 stars I would.  The best Mac and Cheese ever!  I did add some extra seasoning( garlic powder, onion powder and a pinch of cayenne and about 2 cups of broccoli florets. 
    This recipe is definitely a WOW!

  47. This was delish! No changes made. Topped with ritz crackers that I crumbled and tossed in melted better. A huge hit for family dinner night with extended family!!!

  48. I made this at the last minute last night to accompany pork spareribs. I only had whole milk and pre-shredded cheese, but other than sprinkling Cajun seasoning on the first layer, I followed the recipe to the letter. This is THE best mac n cheese I have ever made, and that is not hyperbole. I can’t wait to try this with some jalapeño jack and sharp cheddar. Thank you!

  49. This recipe is excellent! My toddler loved it. I used cheddar and American since that’s what I had on hand, and heavy cream/milk instead of half and half. The leftovers were good as well.

  50. Can you substitute the flour with a different ingredient?

  51. Everyone loved it. Made it with cheddar and mozzarella. I used mostly cheddar for the sauce and then cheddar/mozzarella combo for the layer toppings. Also topped with panko bread crumbs (1 cup tossed in 2 tbsp melted butter). Delicious!

    • SO GOOD! And so decadent! I was craving a rich and creamy mac and cheese. Boy did I find it! I am SUPER picky about mac and cheese, but this didn’t disappoint. I followed the recipe, but used colby jack instead of gruyere because the store didn’t have. I could have eaten all the mac and cheese from the stove it was so good! But I baked it. I was concerned it would dry out, but it was so rich! My pan can’t go into the broiler, but I will find one that can so I can try the crispy top! I can’t wait to make this again and experiment with more cheeses! Thanks, Chunky Chef!

  52. Hi

    My son loves mac and cheese and I would like to make this tonight but m not sure what half and half is?

  53. I have tried it many times and finally succeeded with this recipe. It’s great to enjoy their flavor. Thanks for your recipe!

  54. OH MY GOD
    I actually licked the pot that had the cheese sauce cause it was so rich and creamy!!
    Will definitely make again

  55. Wow – delicious! This is a great recipe!! I did cut the recipe in half because there’s only two of us and added some extra cheeses; 2 cups sharp cheddar, 1 cup Gruyere, 1 cup asiago mixed into the noodles and topped with 1 cup of parmesan. We will never be buying store bought or boxed mac and cheese again.

  56. FIVE STARS! Soooooooo yummmmmmyyyyy. Thank you for this! 

  57. We are a family of 4. If we cut it down to 6 servings, would it mess up the recipe? 8-10 is quite big for us

    • Shouldn’t mess it up at all 🙂 If you hover over the serving size number, a toggle bar will pop up. Just slide back until 6 servings shows, and it’ll automatically calculate the correct amount of each ingredient.

  58. Made this for dinner tonight. The hardest part was finding gruyere cheese, but it was definitely worth the hunt. This was SO GOOD! It’s creamy and cheesy and absolutely delicious. My son has already said I need to make this to take to our family’s house out of town. It will be on the list to take for Father’s Day.

  59. I tried to leave 5 stars but for some reason it wouldn’t let me. 
    This recipe was so awesome! My family loved this creamy baked Mac and cheese. It didn’t last long at all. I used the sharp cheddar and Gouda cheese…..Amazing! I will be making it again real soon!

  60. How do you type that sound Homer Simpson makes with his mouth hanging open while he makes a gurgling sound?

    It was exactly as good as I hoped!! The only down side is that I got full so quick I felt like I missed out on eating it for longer.

  61. I made this and it was great! I added the Panko crumbs on top and it was perfect.

  62. Can low fat evaporated milk be substituted for the whole milk and/or half and half?

  63. Hi, I’m making this tonight for my husband- he wants macaroni & cheese & beef. How do you recommend I adjust the recipe to add ground beef? Thanks!

  64. Its an expensive recipe but DELICIOUS!!!  And, it’s a hit every where I go!

  65. Delicious I sautéed 1 clove garlic and chopped 1/2 onion to butter before adding flour and liquids, and 4 different cheeses white cheddar, sharp cheddar, guyer, mozzarella.
    Made it for a barBQ my sons love macaroni and cheese, great leftovers .  I will cut the center cheese very rich only make for special occasions.

  66. I love this recipe. This is the creamiest baked Mac n cheese I’ve ever had.  My family likes it with crumbled bacon mixed through and sprinkled on top. 

  67. My kids loved this recipe and it was easy. I brought it to a BBQ and it was a big hit as well. I chose to use white cheddar, American, gruyere, and Monterey jack. Also added a hint of Cayenne. I didn’t use the extra 1.5 cups of cheese in the middle, only layered cheese on top and broiled to give it a nice crust. 

  68. Hi!I’m just wondering if I can not use the half and half???

  69. Looks delish! I’m planning to make for a driveway get together with neighbors this weekend. I would like to make this in individual cups so we can maintain social distancing. Would there be any different baking instructions (temp,time) for individual foil cups? Thanks!

    • Sounds like a fun time! I would keep the temp the same, and it may need less oven time, I’d just watch them. You’re not really cooking them, just browning the top 🙂

  70. Very delicious and very rich! I wasn’t able to eat much but it was super satisfying. Just means we will have a lot of leftovers 🙂 I might also do 2/3 the amount of cheese in the future. Definitely a crowd pleaser! I could not find gruyere so I used cheddar, monterrey jack (gave a nice little spicy kick), and a little parmesan. I also could not find half & half but found a hack online to mix 3/4 cup whole milk and 1/4 cup heavy cream which worked out well. The spices were spot on, I put a little extra sprinkle of everything on top and it was perfectly seasoned. Thanks for the recipe!

  71. Excellent! My family loved it! This will be our go-to recipe for Mac & Cheese. Solid base recipe that can be adapted in many ways to reflect your mood or taste!

  72. The BEST Mac N Cheese recipe ever! I cut the recipe in 1/2 since there’s only 3 of us and used the 8×8 pan- it was Perfect and Delicious! Thank you for the recipe!

  73. Wow it looks delic im 11yrs old and im cooking dinner today my sister will love this so quick and easy

  74. Goood…how can it not be?!? 
    However, compared to other Mac and cheese recipes I’ve made, I hate to say that frankly? There is about 2 cups too much cheese. It’s almost too hard to swallow…metaphorically speaking. I kept thinking, gawd if corona virus doesn’t kill me? Clogging my arteries will.
    Sorry this is prob true of Mac and cheese in general. It just so happens that I made your delicious version.

  75. Best macaroni n cheese recipe ever!!! My kids are extremely picky and have never liked homeade mac n cheese. This one they loved and ask me to make it all the time!!! I didn’t change anything up, I used Colby jack, cheddar and mozzarella because that’s what I had in the fridge.

  76. Made this with 3 different cheeses DELICIOUS

  77. Wow, this looks sooo tasty. Thanks for the great idea.

  78. Hi. Can you please tell me what half cup is in Oz. I live in the UK and am more confident cooking in Oz. Also, I only have semi skimmed milk at home. Can I still make this dish?

  79. This is the fourth Mac n cheese recipe that I’ve tried since quarantine started, and I think I found the perfect recipe. All the others were super disappointing, but this was what I was hoping for when I set out to find the best homemade Mac n cheese. Tastes similar to the amazing, expensive Mac n cheeses I’ve had at nyc restaurants. I am gluten intolerant so used Barilla gluten free pasta and King Arthur gluten free flour (the best brands for those ingredients in my opinion) and it was delicious. Couldn’t tell it was gluten free. 

  80. This is a great recipe. It uses staples most of us have on hand and comes together quickly. made half the portion of the recipe. I used kasseri and mild cheddar cheese. It is crazy cheesy and delicious. This is exactly what I hoped it would be, my go to macaroni and cheese recipe. Thank you.

  81. This is my go to Mac and cheese. Love it. The kids ask for it all the time

  82. I made this a couple of weeks ago, and have not been able to stop thinking about it.  Very creamy and decadent.  Perfect.  I made up a blend of cheeses based on what needed to be used up in my fridge, and then filled in the rest with cheddar and jack.  I had a small chunk of Truffle Toma from Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese, a hunk of fresh goat cheese, and a hunk of good parm that made up about 1/2 of the cheese called for.  

    Anyway, thanks for this recipe!  It’s a “keeper!”

  83. The recipe is delicious. The ads have been the most frustrating on any pin I have ever pinned.

    • I’m sorry you were annoyed by the ads. They shouldn’t be intrusive, so I will chat with my ad provider. However, ads are how I can continue to offer my recipes, week after week, for free 🙂

  84. For a really crunchy topping, scrunch a packet of crisps, (chips in US) either Cheese and Onion flavour, Tomato Ketchup flavour if they are available in the US or plain, into small pieces and sprinkle over the grated cheese topping.

  85. I have found your recipe from my friend, she showed it to me, It was great and I had to try it right away. Thank you.

  86. so good. my family loves this recipe so much! I will definitely be making this again. 

  87. another question do you think if I cut all the ingredients in 1/2 to make a smaller portion, it would come out the same..Honestly I can’t see why not, but i figured I ask anyway. I’m thinking this is on the menu for diner tonight. that as long as I can find all the ingredients with this quarantine happening.

  88. I was wondering which brands do you favor for the gruyere and cheddar cheeses?

  89. The absolute best! This is my absolute favorite Mac n cheese😍 I’ve tried a few recipes but they never turned out like this! Will definitely be using this recipe from now on!

  90. I made this 2 weeks ago for my b.day, I doubled recipe and used my biggest pyrex pan. Came out So Perfect and while there was little leftover, it reheated beautifully unlike most baked mac and cheese I’ve done in past 🙂
    It was such a hit all my boys requested it again so will make tomorrow. Definitely agree with the Grate Your Own Cheese!!!! I used sharp cheddar, co-jack and mozz combo. I found the food processor with shredding disk greatly helpful and quick for this step!!! Thank you for the recipe!!!

  91. I made this recipe exactly as written with the exception of the cheese. I used 3 varieties of white cheddar cheese and it was absolutely delicious! This is by far the creamiest macaroni and cheese recipe I have ever made! My family loves it!

  92. Delicious 😋 I put some panko bread crumbs on top. Best Mac and cheese ever!

  93. hi there. gonna try make this in a couple days   Medium sharp ( do you mean an old cheese)? sharp means old to me, but med means med. haha so not sure,  I’m sure any chese would be fine , but if I can’t find gruyere during this Covid situation, would Moneteray jack be a good sub? 
    and whole milk ( is 2%  fatty enough?)
    thanks and can’t wait to try it > Making for my 22 year old son 

    • You can honestly use any kind of cheddar you’d like, but the kind I regularly pick up just says Medium Cheddar on the block wrapper 🙂 Monterey Jack would be a great substitute, as this is a very forgiving recipe. Whole milk will work as well, you just might need a little bit longer for it to thicken. Hope you both love it!

  94. This Mac and cheese is the best BY FAR. I love this recipe. I’ve made it numerous times for my picky eaters and they love it equally. The only question I have, is about the amount of butter.. could that be reduced so it won’t be so oily?? I’ve followed the recipe verbatim EVERY time (except one time I added breadcrumbs tot he top..YUM.. but the grease level I have a concern with. Other than that, best recipe yet!!!

    • I’m so glad you love the mac and cheese! You could try reducing the butter, but more than likely the greasy/oiliness you’re noticing is coming from the cheese. Make sure when you add the cheese, the sauce is off the heat, as overheating the cheese can get a bit greasy.

  95. Super delicious! My kids love it so much. I add cayenne pepper extra as we loves a lil bit spiciness. I’ve tried others, but this is the winner! 

  96. Best mac and cheese i’ve made! 

  97. So delicious! I used 1 cup of heavy whipping cream and 3 cups of whole milk (I started with a different recipe then realized I didnt have all the ingredients). I had 4 blocks of sharp cheddar and mozzarella, I used an 8oz block of each for the top and the other two I mixed together for the rue and middle. 30 minutes at 350 for 30 minutes then 2 minutes on broil.

  98. These mouthwatering images are telling me to make this mac and cheese tomorrow for myself. 😉 loved it by the way! thanks for sharing your recipe.

  99. So good!!! I would add less salt though but that’s all I would change.

  100. not my favorite, but thanks for sharing

  101. if putting a cracker crust on top, do you pull it out after baking for 20-30 minutes, top it with the cracker/panko, then cook it on broil for the remianing 2-3 min?

  102. Hello. I am making this tomorrow. Can I make it with salted butter and then reduce the amount of salt in the sauce? Thank you!

  103. Since it was my first time making homemade Mac N Cheese, I found this recipe and followed it as is— it was a great success!! The guests were seasoned Mac eaters so I was nervous how my first attempt at this would be received! Served with Easter dinner for 6. Recipe says it serves 8-10, but hardly had any left overs- folks were going back for seconds. Did use Gruyere and medium cheddar as directed. Even grated it too! So very much worth the effort! This is a keeper! I’m looking forward to trying more if Amanda’s recipes!

  104. This was a winner hands down. I used 
    Extra sharp cheddar,Monterrey Jack and Colby 
    Jack. 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

  105. This is my new go to recipe, Definitely the best Mac & Cheese ever!!! 

  106. Would it be OK if I used 2% milk instead of whole milk?

  107. I made this for my daughters 20th birthday on April 1st. Since we are on stay home orders I wanted to try something she would get at a restaurant! And I am so happy I tried this one! The recipe has a lot steps they are easy to do and follow. This dish is the BEST mac and cheese I have ever had and the leftovers are just as good!

  108. Found this recipe a while back and haven’t used another since!! Quick question…all I have on hand is heavy whipping cream and skim milk. Is there a way I can use these and if so how would I do it? Thank you!!! 

  109. Question? When it says 2 1/2 of half and half what is this please

    • Half and half is a common dairy product in the US, consisting of half milk, and half heavy cream. If you don’t have this where you live, I would use 3 cups whole milk and 1 cup of heavy cream 🙂

      • Hey!
        Thanks for the quick recipe, I’m fixing to make this now. I saw when others were asking for a 1/2 &1/2 substitute you recommended 1cup heavy cream and 3 cups of milk…do you mean for that to total 4 cups when the recipe calls for 21/2 cups? Or were you just giving and example of a 3:1 ratio?

        Thanks!

  110. I am a novice with this type of mac n cheese..and the clarity of the recipe plus tips and video, i was able to excell the first time. This will be my go-to recipe niw. Thank you dies not express my deep appreciation!

  111. Well I have been making this Mac n cheese for awhile now. Everyone loves it and I feel like a great chief now. My mother was a wonderful cook and after she passed the Holliday meals fell on my sister and I.( no we never spent much time in the kitchen with mom big regrets) but my sister couldn’t handle the heat so it was swim or drown and watch the family fall apart. I found this recipe and and learned a few tricks from our butcher and bam I’m the house all the siblings and kids and there spouses refuse to skip. Thank you so much for your yummy recipes. Sorry it’s so long. 

  112. This mac & cheese is definitely the ultimate!! I have made alot of mac & cheese in my lifetime but this is my favorite now. I made it & my hubby loved it. I even impressed my in-laws…my father in law is so critical of food & he told me it was excellent.. I beamed with such relief. Thank you.

  113. I’m cooking and freezing food for a family member who is on dialysis. Can I make individual portions up to step 7 and freeze them?

  114. Just made this for Sunday lunch BBQ. Delicious!
    The family said to go ahead and make it again.
    Recipe was easy to follow and I made no modifications. I used sharp cheddar and medium cheddar cheese.

  115. So I’m kind of late on this but seriously ….. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

    I never grew up on mac and cheese but a few years back I fell in love when I tried it at a restaurant in lower east side, NYC. Since then, I was addicted and would order it whenever I’d see it on menus only to mostly be disappointed. I became sort of a mac and cheese snob—  on the hunt for the perfect flavor, texture, and most importantly- cheese stretch!

    Now, I’ve never been a cook; i was always thrown out the kitchen when I was younger and it’s a miracle i could boil water. My last bf was a chef and he sort of empowered me to not be so intimidated in the kitchen and not be afraid to make mistakes. About three years ago, after we broke up, I began to look up recipes and actually cook. Of course I just HAD to attempt a mac and cheese. I scoured online for mac and cheese recipes and even though the task was daunting, on two separate occasions I followed two different recipes and they were a freakin disaster. Everything was off (the flavor, the texture of the noodles, NO CHEESE STRETCH) although there were rave reviews. Awful. I was so discouraged and never attempted to make mac and cheese again until last year. I stumbled upon this recipe and i don’t even remember what motivated me to try again. I hesitated because I didn’t want to waste my time and money on another failed outcome. 
     
    I tried anyways and I followed the recipe but added nutmeg and copious amounts of black pepper. I held my breath when I removed the pan from the oven. I didn’t even wait for anything to cool before I popped the first forkful in my mouth, anticipating failure…. DUDE!!!!! It came out PERFECT! I couldn’t believe it. 

    This is literally the mac and cheese of my dreams— the goodness, the cheesiness, the stretch, the flavors!! I’ve made it so many times since then and the few people I’ve shared it with love it too. 

    Thank you again so much for sharing this amazing recipe!!!! If I can do it then anyone can !

  116. Followed recipe exactly as is & turned out amazing! I’m so happy to have finally found a go to mac & cheese recipe!!!

  117. Yummy yummy using this receipe for my daughters wedding Mac and cheese bar. Can it be frozen?

  118. I made this last night, for my boyfriend and I, and it was amazing!!! Neither of us can have wheat, so I used gluten free pasta, and gluten free flour. I also used coconut milk and half & half. I buy high quality pre shredded cheeses, sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack blend, and a mix of Italian cheeses blend. Recipe was cut in half, and it turned out absolutely perfect!!! Those needing GF alternatives, this was really good, and neither one of us could tell the difference. Just make sure you’re using a quality GF flour brand. (I use Arrowhead Mills Organic All Purpose Flour – Gluten Free; and Barilla or Ronzoni brand noodles)  I served it with broccoli. I sent my brother pics because he is a diehard Mac & cheese lover, and he asked for the recipe! I have always hated Mac & cheese in the box and wouldn’t ever eat it, my BF on the other hand loves them… so I found this recipe to satisfy his need for M&C, and this is by far a wonderful mouth full of amazingness! 

  119. Recipe was amazing! Everyone loved it, almost had an Alfredo taste to it very creamy and delicious. Added a teaspoon of garlic powder for some extra flavor 🙂 

  120. Would this be ok to use reg milk and almond milk.  Because of the quarantine i have to be creative with what i have 

    • I’ve not tested it, so I can’t say for certain, but I certainly understand having to use what you have… we’re in the same boat. I would think it would work, although you may have to cook the sauce a bit longer to thicken it up.

  121. This recipe is almost criminally good! Hands down, the best homemade mac and cheese ever. I added some steamed, cut-up cauliflower to the macaroni and that was good, too.

  122. This is amazing, so creamy!

  123. This is my go-to recipe for Mac n cheese. We live it sooo much! I add about a 1/2tsp of ground mustard to my sauce as well as a tint sprinkle of nutmeg. We always use bacon and sometimes I make it with shredded brisket as well. It’s gluttony in a bowl but worth every calorie ☺️

  124. That shit smacked. 

  125. I have never in my life had mac and cheese that was so good. When we finish eating a batch my husband always asks for me to make it again. It’s too rich to eat every day or I would!!! Recommended. It’s pretty easy to make too. Even quicker when you have the ingredients prepared ahead of time.

  126. My family and I absolutely love this recipe, thank you so much for sharing!! 

    If I followed the make ahead steps, do you know how long it would need to cook in a crock pot?

  127. I made the Mac and cheese And OMG ITS SO GOOD!!!!! ❤️😍❤️

  128. My daughter has made this recipe for her family and says it is fabulous! She is going to cook it for my birthday dinner however we do have one in the family with celiac disease. Is there anything that she can use for thickening in lieu of the wheat flour?  Thank you in advance for any feedback.

    • I don’t have any experience cooking gluten-free, as no one in my family has celiac disease, but another reader commented that she used gluten-free flour (bob’s red mill brand) and a gluten-free pasta with great results 🙂

      • Use the  pasta brand Taste Republic. You will find it in the refrigerator section in store. These products are great. Tastes like regular pasta. I use gluten free Betty Crocker flour. I have tried Bob’s Red Mill brand over the years before big name brands started to make flours that were gluten free and Red Mill always has a after taste that I didn’t find appealing.  Now if you don’t want to use flour the other option that works is corn starch. I usually use one table spoon of corn starch to one cup of milk when making gravy. Wisk corn starch in milk and pour into simmering liquid. If it is not at the consistency just add more corn starch to milk repeat steps. My wife has Celiac disease and with my food back ground I can pretty much take any recipe and make it gluten free.

    • I would give this recipe 20 stars if I could.  Ever since I found the recipe and made it to take to a friend’s dinner party, this is always what I’m asked to bring.  Everyone loves it!  To keep the cost down a bit (especially because I’m usually at least doubling the recipe), I sub Kerrygold Dubliner for the gruyere.  Ive never made it with gruyere so I don’t know how different it would be but it’s absolutely yummy with the Dubliner.  

  129. This was so yummy!!!

  130. This was a hit at our party! I doubled the recipe and also assembled it a day before, and baked it the day of. To double, I bought a large disposable pan (called a Giant Pasta Pan). I made the recipe as-is, except for the sauce I did the recipe x2.25 (meaning I added in an extra 1/4 recipe for the sauce, so instead of 2 sticks of butter to double, I did 2 sticks + 2 T). I assembled it, covered with foil, and refrigerated overnight. I took it out about 1.5 hours before baking, then baked at about 375 degrees for 45 minutes, then turned up the temp to continue baking until it browned on top (I have a commercial range and the broiler section wouldn’t fit the large pasta pan). It turned out oh-so-creamy and delicious! Guests raved about it and were requesting the recipe. It was great reheated the following day in the microwave with a little milk. AWESOME RECIPE!

  131. This was so good! It was very filling, we’ll be warming up the leftovers for tomorrow. I didn’t have the Gruyere cheese so I used a little mozzarella and shredded taco cheese along with the sharp cheddar. Thanks! 

  132. Best mac n cheese recipe. My kids beg me to make it!

  133. Loved it!  Works very well when you 1/2 the recipe.

  134. Delicious! We cut down the salt and left out the center cheese layer. Everyone loved it. Thank you!

  135. Can you bake in 2 smaller dishes?  What would be the timing for that?  Same or less time given the dish is smaller?

  136. The Ultimate Creamy Baked Macaroni and Cheese recipe is EXCELLENT! I followed the recipe to a T and it came out perfect. This is a great recipe – my family loved it!!! Thank you !

  137. I was looking for a truly creamy, non-greasy mac and cheese and found this decadent version.
    I made it last night with an extra sharp cheddar and gruyere and IT. WAS. AWESOME.

    I did a panko crust on top because that’s how we like it so I ended up layering some of the extra cheese into it. It was borderline greasy that way so next time, I’ll subtract the 1.5 cups of the cheese meant for topping.

    This is going to be my go-to mac and cheese from now on.

  138. Awesome! Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese is my favorite food. It’s great to be able to make it yourself at home, actually it’s not as difficult as I thought, thanks for your detailed recipe guide. Best regards!

  139. I am going to try making this tomorrow for dinner!! It looks amazing!!!! I’m going to try it with medium cheddar, smoked cheddar and havarti. I’m not exactly sure the amounts of each cheese I should use. Any advice would be wonderful!!!!

  140. Great recipe, thanks for sharing! This is now a request for my husbands potlucks! I follow your recipe completely but I do add a garlicy panko crust for preference. Thanks again!!

  141. Made this for 3 and we had leftovers for days!! This recipe makes a ton of Mac and cheese! BUT IT’S DELICIOUS!! I used medium cheddar, gruyere, and Gouda cheeses. I’ll be making this again for a group of 8 and I’m planning on cutting the recipe in half. 

  142. Everyone wants the recipe! It’s creamy deliciousness! I followed recipe exactly the way it is, even doubled a couple times, and it comes out PERFECT! Thank you for sharing 

  143. So I made this recipe twice and I’m telling you…this is absolutely DELICIOUS!!!!! Everyone that has tried this so far has said it’s the best Mac N Cheese they’ve had. Thank you for the recipe 🙂

  144. I cant wait to make this recipe for my grand daughter’s baby shower! I toggled the recipe up to the max so I’ve got the ingredient adjustments but how should I adjust cooking temp/time? I’m going to use a disposable party pan. Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you for this recipe.

  145. My boyfriend and I made this together as our first attempt at a baked Mac n cheese, and it turned out phenomenally. We subbed the Gruyere for a combination of Monterey Jack & Swiss, but it was still delicious. The recipe was a breeze to follow (which was a blessing considering neither of us are masters in the kitchen by any means) and we’ll definitely be cooking it again!

  146. Can I make the sauce ahead 2 days, then just make the pasta, assemble and bake when needed?

  147. How many servings does this recipe make? I have never made a mac-n-cheese before and am trying to figure out if I would need to double the recipe.

    • Well it depends if you are serving this as a side dish, or a main course. As a side dish, I’d say it would serve 10. As a main dish, I’d say 6-7. If you hover over the servings number (right above the written recipe, in the navy part), a toggle bar will appear. Slide that until it’s the number of servings you want, and it will automatically calculate the ingredient amounts for you 🙂

  148. I made this for my Birthday dinner party, and so far the cheese sauce taste awesome, can’t wait to see how it tastes once it is baked and have the guests tell me about how good it is. I tripled the recipe, for that many people.

  149. So good!  I added bacon and the Panko crust.  I baked my at 350 for 30 mins then under the broiler for the Panko crust for about 2 mins. My husband asked me to make this again.  I did cut the recipe in half.  Thank you! 

  150. So good!  I added bacon and the Panko crust.  I baked my at 350 for 30 mins the under the broiler for the Panko crust for about 2 mins. My husband asked me to make this again.  I did cut the recipe in half.  Thank you! 

  151. Is it possible to make this recipe using just light cream instead of the milk & half/half combo?

  152. Have made this mac m cheese 10 x now since finding your recipe, by far the best mac n cheese recipe ever, the whole family absolutely love it, only mac n cheese recipe I will ever use again.

  153. Do you add both the 1.5 cups of milk and 2.5 cups of half and half or just one of the two.

  154. Mac and cheese never fails. This recipe is vert tasty!!

  155. Hi .I am ignorant about the half and half in this recipe.Please do explain.I am not an experienced cook

    • Here in the US, half and half is a dairy product that is half whole milk and half heavy cream. It’s found in the dairy section of grocery stores. If you don’t have half and half where you live, you can replace the 2.5 cups with 1.25 cups whole milk and 1.25 cups heavy cream.

  156. Just made this! Came out so good. My husband said this is our new Mac and cheese recipe. I’m going to try the 5 cheese variation next time but it was excellent!

  157. Hat’s off to you!  I’ve eaten and made a lot of mac and cheese in my life – but yours takes the Crown!  More work than normal – but well worth the effort!  Everyone always loves it!!  Thank you!!

  158. I made this last night and I have to say it was amazingly delicious.i did not use the cheese where I had to sell a limp to purchase. I substituted it with equal parts of grated Parmesan cheese and Fontana cheese along with extra sharp cheddar. And I agree with those who commented that they will only use this recipe. 

  159. I have followed these directions three times and everyone enjoyed the mac and cheese. My granson ate mac and cheese for the first time, in November, for Thanksgiving dinner and loved it.
    I made it for Christmas dinner and all enjoyed it and commented me. Some hat it for the first time. A couple had it from fast foods eater. Said what they had there did not come near to taste to what I made. Today, before leaving, returning home after a long visit with my daughter and family. I am making it again.

  160. Always wanted to make homemade mac and cheese and this recipe was perfect (I used heavy cream instead of half and half). It tasted fantastic… will always make it this way

  161. This looks delicious! I’m going to make it tomorrow but why don’t you use eggs?

  162. This Mac and cheese was amazing!  First of all, mine came out of the oven looking just as beautiful as your pictures. That never happens. I’ve tried many Mac and cheese recipes over the years and my family agreed that this I don’t need to anymore. I made it with medium cheddar, sharp white cheddar, and Colby jack cheeses. 

  163. Excellent recipe !! It’s a keeper !

  164. This was the BEST mac-n-cheese recipe i’ve made.  The entire family went crazy for it!  It wasn’t dry, wasn’t custardy, it was creamy and delish.  I used medium cheddar and swiss.  This will be my go to when I need a baked mac-n-chese dish!

  165. I just made this for the first time. This will be my go-to recipe now for mac & cheese. I used extra sharp cheddar & fresh grated parmesan-I like a super cheesy sharp taste. I also added 2 finely diced jalapeno peppers, 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic & I topped it with crumbled bacon. Nothing like taking it over the top right?!? Anyway, it came out spectacular if I don’t say so myself!

  166. This was the best Mac n cheese I’ve ever made!  Thank you!!

  167. If I wanted to make this ahead but put it in the Crock Pot to heat it back up and didn’t bake it all all, do you think that would be okay?

  168. Best Mac and cheese I have ever made! I made it last year for thanksgiving and my family is requesting it again for New Years. I used sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, I just can’t remember if I used salted or unsalted butter… I know your recipe says to use unsalted butter… if I’m using Monterey Jack cheese again, should I use unsalted butter? And which brand would you recommend? I’m making a lot this year for our family so we have left overs and using gruyere cheese would be too expensive! 
    Thanks! 

    • I’m SO glad you love this recipe as much as we do! The salted or unsalted butter doesn’t really change on the cheese used, and you can truly use either. Just if you use salted butter, cut back on the salt a bit and taste test to see if the sauce needs more 🙂 I prefer Land O Lakes brand of butter, and Cabot is a great brand of Monterey Jack cheese. Oh I hear you, I hate how expensive Gruyere is!

  169. I tried this recipe today & hands down it is the best Mac & cheese ever!  I used cheddar cheese & Swiss.  I also added some dried mustard to the sauce.  Delicious,

  170. I have upcoming get together and have to use a crockpot. Would this recipe be ok in one? 

  171. WOW! So good Me and my fiance loved it! Very easy to make

  172. Can you half the recipee

    • Sure can! In fact, if you hover over the servings number, a toggle bar will appear. Slide that until it’s the number of servings you want (in this case, halved would be 4), and it will automatically calculate your halved ingredients for you 🙂

  173. Served it last night for guests; it was a big success!

    One question, though: I used “Medium Cheddar,” is that the same thing as “Medium Sharp Cheddar?”

  174. first time making mac and cheese today, and i am very happy with the results!!! i wanted it to be a bit spicier, so i used half of jalepeno monterey jack cheese and half habanero cheddar, and everyone loved it!! i also added some chilli flakes and a tiny bit of sriracha into the cheese sauce. (did not add paprika as i did not have any, and it does not do much for flavor). followed the rest of the recipe exactly, and was so happy with how it turned out. just had to adjust spiciness with my seasonings, which is just a personal preference. wonderful recipe!

  175. Can you use heavy whipping cream for half and half substitute. 

  176. My boyfriend and I are in charge of the Mac & Cheese for our family dinner tonight. His mom bought us Velveeta to use. Do you think that will that work? 

  177. Made it for Christmas Eve. Your honey baked ham and Mac and cheese was a huge hit.
    It’s a keeper.

  178. I made this for our Christmas eve dinner. It was a huge success! I followed the recipe but also added a few pinches of nutmeg. I’m not waiting until next Christmas to make this again!

  179. Super yummy! Extra gooey and the taste is wonderful.

  180. Best macaroni and cheese in the world. I used sharp cheddar, medium cheddar and Muenster. My family loves it and it has replaced our former favorite loaded potato casserole. 

  181. Made this today for Christmas Eve dinner and my kids can’t get enough! I used sharp white cheddar, Colby jack, gruyere and medium cheddar cheese. So delicious!

  182. Yum, Yum, Yummy!!!
    I have tried a dozen different baked Mac and cheese recipes but NONE would touch this delicious dish. I made this exactly by the recipe for Thanksgiving last month and it was the best baked Mac and cheese we have ever tried. This will be our on our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner table for years to come.

  183. I found two types of gruyere at the store. Processed and authentic. Which type do you suggest using with this recipe?

  184. This was awesome mac and cheesy delish! Thank you for sharing

  185. I made this for the first time today for my husband’s Christmas pot luck and it got RAVE reviews!  I modified it to be gluten free (using cornstarch for the roux, so I had to add more milk when adding the cheese) and made sure I broiled the top for a crunchy cheese crust.  It was the only dish that didn’t have leftovers and no one could believe it was GF.  Another hit recipe from the Chunky Chef!  I never hesitate to make anything I find on your site and I’ll be adding this recipe to my regular roster.  Thanks!!

  186. I am going to try this recipe. I’m nervous because when I have tried before, my final product is grainy/gritty. Any suggestions on how to avoid this?

    • Make sure you use a block of cheese you’ve shredded or grated yourself, and whisk the sauce really well to make sure no lumps remain from the flour/butter mixture. I’ve made this recipe literally dozens of times and have never had it turn out gritty.

    • When cheese is heated the proteins separate creating a gritty texture. If you remove the warm milk and flour mixture from the heat or just turn off the burner and then add the cheese and stir you will not get grit.

  187. How much would you increase the sauce measurements if making two nights prior?

    • In the recipe card, if you hover over the servings number, a toggle bar will show up. Slide the bar to adjust for how many servings you’ll need, and it will automatically calculate the ingredient amounts you’ll need. I would toggle it to about 9 or 10 servings, and use those amounts for everything, except keep the pasta amount the same

  188. SO GOOD! We used blue cheese instead of Gruyere and it was outstanding. My husband loves it, going to be a new family favorite used for years to come 🙂 Thank you!!

  189. This is the best recipe I have ever used for mac and cheese! I followed the instructions and it always turns out perfect. Cheddar and Gruyere make a beautiful combo! I actually used 2 cups of white cheddar and 2 cups of yellow cheddar since I love both. I used this recipe last year for Christmas Eve and this year for Thanksgiving and it’s always a hit! I’m not a fan of whole milk or half and half so I resorted to using regular and extra creamy oat milk (Oatly for the regular consistency and Planet Oat for the extra creamy) this year and it was perfect! Made little to no difference in flavor. People were shocked when I told them! So don’t be afraid to make the switch, worth it if you wanna tone down the lactose a little bit.

  190. I made this without any changes for the first time this afternoon. It was delicious. Next time, I will add additional seasonings & use the five-cheese variation. The other addition will be to add pepperoni. This was the first comment my daughter made after tasting this recipe. We love pepperoni in our mac & cheese!

  191. Can I add lobster to this?

  192. I made this on Thanksgiving and a 16oz. block of sharp cheddar and a 8 oz. block of monterey jack was the perfect amount of cheese for shredding. Everyone loved the mac and cheese! I’ll be making it again on Christmas.

  193. I will try to make this today using Gouda, cheddar and Gruyere. Can I combined Gouda and Gruyere together? I’m excited and will update you the result. 

  194. Thanks for sharing! Those two cheeses together are a winning combination! Paprika is sooo good on Mac n cheese too! 

  195. This looks amazing! What a great side or main dish. It would be fun to have different mix in available when serving guests.

  196. Cannot wait to bake this later today! I tripled the recipe for my son’s birthday party. I used the cheddar and gruyere, but also added mozzarella because I was making such a large batch and Gruyere is more pricy. It looks glorious! I am refrigerating it for several hours in advance, so I hope I have enough cheese sauce to keep it somewhat creamy. I could not fit it all into the pan, so my hubs had a small bowl of just noodles and sauce….he was a fan!  Thanks for the recipe!

  197. Wow!  Super delicious.  Tired of eating dry Mac & cheese recipes.  My husband loved it.  Super cheesy.  I used evaporated milk and half and half.  Used our new favorite cheese — Colby — and Gruyere.

  198. Just made this with my mother in law today and it was the most amazing M&C I have ever had. I think some of the magic is the home grated Greyer. Did the recipe exactly as instructed here and came out exactly as described if not better. LOVE THIS! My mother in law gives it a 10!

  199. And absolute family favorite! Perfection! Made exactly as the recipe stated, would not change a thing! Thank you Chunky Chef  for another amazing recipe!

  200. First time ever making my own mac and cheese and it was amazing! I used a combination of King Island smoked cheddar and Mainland extra tasty cheddar. Was nice and creamy with a perfect tang!

  201. This was the first time I made this recipe and I followed everything as specified but used smoked paprika and added gouda cheese as well. Your suggestion for panko mixed with butter as a top layer, gave it a real yummy crunch! I did cover with aluminum foil while baking and uncovered for 2 min on broil so the panko bread crumbs were nice and toasty. My family loved it and wanted more. Also, this was the only mac n cheese that tasted even better the next day. To my surprise, it was still creamy and delicious even after warming in the microwave.

  202. I have made this recipe twice, yes, it is the best! Thank you for sharing “Chunky Chef :)”

  203. Thank you for this!! I have been searching for “the” m&c recipe and this is it! It is a small labor of love that is absolutely worth it! I have made it with a variety of cheeses including smoked gruyere, mozzarella, Colby and Monterey Jack, gouda – all variations delicious! I do add 2 tsps of ground mustard as others have suggested and a little Adobo (about 1/4 tsp) for some an extra seasoning. This is a recipe you can continue to experiment with to make it your own, and always delicious! Thank you!

  204. My ELA teacher gave me this recipe for Mac n Cheese (She made it for a party) . I made it for Thanksgiving and everyone loved it! Sadly, i had to use whole wheat flour instead of normal flour, but it still turned out wonderful! Both my ELA teacher and I thank you!

  205. Hi, I’m planning on making this for a graduation party coming up. I’ve made it several times in the past exactly as written and everybody loves it. To keep warm for the party could I just make it completely on the stovetop and transfer to a crockpot to keep warm and skip the baking step? Any advice on if I should spray the crockpot first? Thanks in advance 🙂

    • I’ve never tested the recipe this way, so I can’t say for certain if it will turn out as well as when baked fresh, but I think it should work well. I would probably give the crockpot insert a light spray with cooking spray just to keep any possible sticking at bay 🙂

  206. After searching and searching, trying and failing to find the perfect mac and cheese recipe, this is THE ONE. I made it for Thanksgiving this year, and it was gone less than halfway through the meal. I have finally found my cheesy pasta soul mate.

  207. I’ve made lots of mac and cheese over the years. I made this to take to Thanksgiving this year and everyone loved it! I prepared a double batch a day ahead, left it in the fridge overnight, and baked it on Thanksgiving morning. It was still nice and creamy! Would it be okay to prepare and freeze a week or two ahead?

    • I’m SO happy to hear it was a big hit on Thanksgiving! I haven’t tested freezing this recipe, but I believe other readers have successfully done so, so I think it would be just fine 🙂

  208. I was craving homemade mac and cheese the other day and came across your recipe. I used gruyere (never had this cheese before, but it is my new favourite!) and applewood smoked cheddar with smoked paprika. It was SO GOOD. My fiance brought the rest of it into work the next day and everyone is STILL asking when I am going to bring more. Delicious!!

  209. My family loves it!  Thank you so much for sharing this recipe my family loves it so much I’m going to make it for Christmas for a bigger crowd.  I followed your recipe to a T and it’s amazing

  210. Did you take the rind of the Gruyere before grating? 

  211. Hi, would love to try your recipe!
    I noticed on your recipe, calls for
    “2 1/2 half and half”
    Of what?

    Thanks

    • Here in the US, half and half is a dairy product that is half whole milk and half heavy cream. It’s found in the dairy section of grocery stores. If you don’t have half and half where you live, you can replace the 2.5 cups with 1.25 cups whole milk and 1.25 cups heavy cream.

  212. So I was in charge of mac n cheese this year at thanksgiving and I just want to thank you for posting this recipe. Yes there are a million Mac and cheese recipes on the Internet but this one was a life saver. I doubled the recipe and had NO leftovers. I used a block of Gruyere, a block of white sharp, a block of American cheddar sharp, and half a block of Colby cheese. And added Panko crumbs on top them broiled it for 10 minutes. This is the perfect baked Mac n cheese. So creamy. But also has the classic texture of a baked Mac n cheese without it being dry. I definitely recommend serving it fresh. I couldn’t imagine it any other way. Again, thank you. Saving this recipe for years to come. 

  213. I get some many compliments on this recipe that it is crazy good. I will never use another recipe. I love this!

  214. I’m a Mac n Cheese lover and this is the best recipe that I have tried so far! Creamy on the inside, crispy on the out and absolutely delicious!!!! I used evaporated milk instead of regular milk but kept to the recipe besides that. This will be my go to recipe now. 

  215. I was going to use a Brie cheese when making for creaminess. Any suggestions on other cheeses to use with Brie? Thanks!

  216. I made this for Friendsgiving and WOW! I will be making this for the rest of my life, everyone has demanded it. I followed the recipe exactly and this requires no tweaks at all. It’s perfect as is. I’ve been in search of a Mac and cheese recipe and this is IT!

  217. By far one of my favorite recipes I’ve made this Thanksgiving!

  218. This is a great recipe. I made mac-and-cheese for the very first time and shared it at my family’s Thanksgiving. These are folks who have a traditional recipe and are very particular. The mac was gone in about an hour and there were so many compliments! I love that the recipe is simple and doesn’t require a lot of ingredients but is also packed with the flavor of creamy-cheesy, salty, goodness. I am grateful you decided to put this on the internet as it is now a staple recipe for my family and me. Cheers!

  219. Hi!! Thank you for this recipe!! I’m making this for a friendsgiving and I asked my boyfriend to buy the ingredients for me but he bought shredded cheese LOL. Do you know how to combat the starch? Thanks in advanced!

    • You’re welcome! No worries, I’ve made this with pre-shredded cheese before… I like to set the cheese out a good 30 minutes so it can come up to room temperature, then when you’re adding the cheese to the sauce, add it slowly and make sure you stir often to get it to melt 🙂

  220. The best Mac&cheese recipe I have ever used, total hit at thanksgiving!!! Definitely using this again for every event. Also, thank you for proving the notes for ahead of time preparations, really helped me out.

  221. I did not change a thing and it was the best Mac and cheese recipe that I’ve ever made or eaten. Thank you so much this will be a staple recipe in my home. We LOVED it! 

  222. Our family Thanksgiving menu has been exactly the same for years and years. This time, I decided to spice things up a bit and make your Mac and Cheese. The family tried it and have decided it must be included on the menu from now on. It was wonderful. Thank you for sharing!

  223. This recipe is AMAZING. I used two cups whole milk and two cups heavy whipping cream. Combo of cheeses included extra sharp cheddar, Colby and Monterey. 
    I also didn’t grate the cheese for the layers, I just thin sliced it. And broiled at the very end. 
    The audacity of two of my guests to say it was too cheesy!!! What! Too cheesy Mac n Cheese…not possible!! 
    So so good. I just ate some leftovers for breakfast. 
    Delicious. Thank you for this recipe! 

  224. Delicious! I used a combo of cheddar, harvati and Gouda since it’s what I had on hand. Made it exactly as recipe described otherwise, with a butter and panko bread crumb topping. Everyone at thanksgiving loved it! I added the dish as a late addition since we had some extra people coming for dinner. Everyone loved it and was the only dish to get completely eaten. No leftovers! Guess I’ll have to make it again. Thanks for a great recipe!  

  225. I made this today and added lobster meat and it was awesome. It makes a lot so it’s great for a crowd. I added a Ritz cracker crumb topping to half and that was good also. Thanks for the recipe.

  226. This is the only mac n cheese recipe I use since trying it. I’ve made this at least half a dozen times now and it’s awesome. I never have half and half so use a substitute of butter and milk (easily found through google). I use colby jack only because it’s what I always have on hand. It does take a bit of time, but totally worth it. Making this again today for Thanksgiving. It pretty versatile, you can add any protein…and seasons well after plating also..I like to sprinkle Frank’s red hot buffalo powder on top. That, being said, it’s a winner just as it appears.
    Thanks for sharing this great recipe.

  227. We love this recipe!  It is tasty, creamy and crispy.  Everything you want in macaroni and cheese!  The only thing I added was about 2 teaspoons of dry mustard.  WONDERFULLY DELICIOUS!

  228. Of all of the mac and cheese recipes I have tried, this one is hands down the best. I use it for every holiday and all work potlucks and gave rave reviews everytime. We go with the gruyere and cheddar combo and my kids love it!

  229. I was very nervous about volunteering to make the Mac and cheese for thanksgiving this year… found this recipe on Pinterest!! Followed the super thorough instructions and I feel good about this dish! I taste tested and it’s delicious already… can’t wait to serve it to the family!! Thank you!

  230. Best mac and cheese ever! I add bacon crumbles and it is always a hit! I’ve made this recipe so many times in the past year or so, I could probably make it in my sleep!

  231. Incredible!!! The only change I made was adding some garlic powder (not paprika) and baked it with a Ritz cracker crust. Today is Thanksgiving and I cannot wait for everyone to taste it (I only sampled a bit… I promise :))

  232. This recipe is so yummy. This is the way my grandmother use to make it! I was so excited to find the recipe. I had been using a recipe that called for eggs but this will replace that recipe. Love it! Thank you for posting! Happy Thanksgiving! 

  233. I am making this for Thanksgiving and I’m very nervous! Taking it to the in-laws 😳 Wish me luck!

  234. I certainly agree that shredding your own cheese is by far the best way to go, but as long as the pre-shredded cheese is tossed in starch and NOT cellulose melting should not be an issue.

  235. I just made this last night and it’s SOO yummy! The only type of Gruyere I could find was apple smoked but it really worked out. I used the apple smoked Gruyere and mild cheddar cheese. I liked reading the comments to see what everyone else added so I thought I’d share my additions too. I added dijon, garlic powder and onion powder. I’m saving this recipe!

  236. Hi, I bought frozen lobster meat because I wanted to make lobster mac & cheese for Thanksgiving. This recipe looks really good, I was wondering if I could just put the thawed lobster in this recipe. Thanks in advance. And Happy Thankgiving.

  237. Can you use heavy cream instead of whole milk?

  238. How much cream cheese do you think I should add if I choose that as an option?

  239. Do I need to use the gruyer cheese and can I use sharp cheddar?

  240. I am making this mac and cheese recipe for the first time on Thanksgiving! Do you have to use unsalted butter??

  241. Dumb question, but could I possibly make this in a crockpot? Or make it on the stovetop as stated above and keep it in the crockpot on warm? I’m making it on Thanksgiving, and I didn’t account for other things in the oven 🤷‍♀️

    • I wouldn’t recommend fully making it in the crockpot, as crockpot mac and cheeses have to use different ingredients to keep things from separating, but I think it would be okay to make it on the stovetop and keep it warm in the crockpot like you mentioned. You might want to undercook the pasta a little bit, just so it doesn’t get mushy as it sits 🙂

  242. First time going to make this and my daughter loves all cheeses but her favorite is Smoked Gouda, now for the second cheese not sure what to use as she loves it all which cheese would compliment the smoked gouda?

  243. Hi! Can I bake this in a cast iron skillet? Not sure if the temp, time or consistency will vary if I do. Thank you 🙂

  244. Freeze before baking if you are trying to make it ahead of time….just like a lasagna… Great results

  245. Can I substitute the half and half for condensed milk?

  246. I love love LOVE this mac and cheese recipe! I’ve been using this recipe for the past year or so and it’s always been a hit. Such a hit that people beg me to make this and get legitimately upset when I don’t. The only variations that I’ve applied here are using smoked paprika instead of regular and I use a blend of monterey and colby jack instead of gruyere. Thanks for sharing this recipe and boosting my popularity with friends and family!

  247. Do you use a specific medium sharp cheddar? I’ve looked everywhere, but can’t seem to find it. I’ve found medium cheddar cheese and several variations of sharp, but no medium sharp cheddar.

  248. I’ll be making this on Thursday for Thanksgiving and was wondering if a 16oz. block of sharp cheddar and a 8 oz. block of monterey jack will be enough cheese? Thank you!!!

  249. How much do you suggest increasing the sauce by if preparing the day before?

    • In the recipe card, if you hover over the servings number, a toggle bar will show up. Slide the bar to adjust for how many servings you’ll need, and it will automatically calculate the ingredient amounts you’ll need. I would toggle it to about 9 or 10 servings, and use those amounts for everything, except keep the pasta amount the same

  250. How can I adapt the recipe if I am using 2 boxes of elbow pasta?

  251. Is the 1/2 Tablespoon of salt for the water to boil the pasta or do you actually included that much salt with the spices? Just surprising as cheese is already so salty.

    • It’s for seasoning, not the water. I know it seems like a lot, but I find it doesn’t make things abnormally salty. You can always start with a smaller amount and taste the cheese sauce and go from there.

  252. I have made this recipe for over a year now, probably 4 or 5 times. It is ALWAYS a hit. SOOO good. <3

  253. Best Mac and cheese recipe ever! It was my second time making it and now I’ve been asked to make it for thanksgiving for my husbands family who are super particular about their Mac n cheese. Thank you!! 

  254. Do you add the 1/2 T of salt in step 6 with the pepper and paprika? Thanks

  255. Hi! Do I add the milk and half and half together? Or one first, then the other next? Is it all mixing into the flour at the same time?

  256. This was the first time I’ve made homemade mac and cheese and I followed the recipe exactly. It tastes great, but it came out from the oven swimming in oil. I tried draining some out but it didn’t help much. Even after it sat out for half an hour or so, I put some on my plate and the oil was dripping. Did I do something wrong?

    • Unfortunately, some cheeses contain more oil than others, even from brand to brand. You could try using a different brand of cheese, or skip the cheese topping all together to reduce the amount of oil.

  257. Has anyone tried adding cream cheese in this as well? I’ve made this before and it was really good but I love Mac and cheese with cream cheese in it and was thinking about trying it 

  258. Can I use 4 cups of whole milk instead?

  259. How much would you increase the sauce by if making the day before baking it?

    • In the recipe card, if you hover over the servings number, a toggle bar will show up. Slide the bar to adjust for how many servings you’ll need, and it will automatically calculate the ingredient amounts you’ll need. I would toggle it to about 9 or 10 servings, and use those amounts for everything, except keep the pasta amount the same.

  260. I don’t think I’ve ever seen ‘medium’ sharp cheddar. Is sharp cheddar acceptable?  

  261. What Can be used In place of all purpose flour

  262. Hi! Can the cheese sauce be made the day before? 

    • I haven’t tested it, but I think that would be okay… when you reheat it, make sure you whisk it pretty well so it doesn’t separate, and you may want to add a splash of milk or half and half when reheating it.

  263. Can I just used 4 cups of half and half instead of adding the whole milk?

  264. I am definitely making this recipe this year! And wow no eggs 🥚!! This is a winner for me, I’ll report back the results.

     Thanks!

  265. I loved this recipe so much that I would like to make it for a larger crowd this weekend. I have already multiplied the recipe and I see you have the serving size toggle bar. However, I am curious how big one serving size is??

  266. how would you edit this recipe to feed 20-25 people? Making this as a side for thanksgiving and I have a lot of people coming. I just dont want my math to be off!

  267. Hi, have you tried making this in a Ninja Foodi or Instapot Duo Crisp? If so, I’d love to know of any modifications required.

    Thanks!

  268. Could i use evaporated milk instead of half and half / milk? If so, how much?

  269. This is my absolute favorite mac & cheese recipe-I’ve made it at least five times now. It’s very decadent and I have to say: I live in Maine where lobsters are in abundance, and this recipe makes the best lobster mac & cheese out there! Bravo to you for creating it😋

  270. t.wo Vidalias chopped and cooked 8 minutes in the microwave. They come out soft, yet add to the tang of sharp cheese when mixed in the sauce

  271. I have been testing out recipes for Thanksgiving and this is the third Mac and Cheese I have made in the past week, but I am done making any others because this is hands down the best!!  It’s so creamy and delicious.  I had to broil it for a couple minutes to get it to brown, but otherwise it’s perfect. 

  272. I made this the day before (and added extra sauce like suggested) for a work cook-off and won!! 

  273. Just WOW! I haven’t made Mac and cheese in 25 years. We’ve been craving it so I found your recipe in a sea of so many others. And I am so happy I picked yours. I upped the smoked paprika and added some freeze dried shallots and this dish was ambrosia. Thank you so much.