Classic Macaroni and Cheese

This rich and creamy macaroni and cheese is the perfect comfort food! I can’t tell you how many times when I was a child when I had eaten macaroni and cheese out of the blue box. I thought it was perfect! I would be snuggled under a big blanket with my bowl of macaroni and cheese watching cartoons for hours it seemed! Those were good times and there is just something about this dish that always brings me back to my childhood. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I decided to try to make my own-and I am sure glad I did! Baked with two types of cheese and topped with toasted bread crumbs making it so delicious you won’t ever go back to the blue box brand again! If you are looking for a fast, easy and delicious side dish to serve on your Thanksgiving dinner table, look no further, this is it! 🙂

Classic Macaroni and Cheese

Rich and creamy homemade macaroni and cheese.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8, or 10 to 12 as a side


For the Bread Crumb Topping:
6 slices white sandwich bread (or plain bread crumbs about 6 ounces), torn into rough pieces
3 tablespoons unsalted butter (cold), cut into 6 pieces

For the Pasta and Cheese:
1 pound elbow macaroni
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons powdered mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
5 cups whole milk
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
1 teaspoon table salt


For the bread crumbs: Pulse bread and butter in food processor until crumbs are no larger than 1/8 inch, ten to fifteen 1-second pulses. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until pasta is tender. Drain pasta and set aside.
In a Dutch oven, heat butter over medium-high heat until foaming. Add flour, mustard, and cayenne and whisk well to combine. Continue whisking until mixture becomes fragrant and deepens in color, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk; bring mixture to boil, whisking constantly (mixture must reach full boil to fully thicken). Reduce heat to medium and simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened to consistency of heavy cream, about 5 minutes. Take off of heat and whisk in cheeses and 1 teaspoon salt until melted. Add pasta and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is steaming and heated through, about 6 minutes.
Transfer mixture to broiler-safe 9 X 13-inch baking dish and sprinkle evenly with bread crumbs. Broil until crumbs are deep golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes, rotating pan if necessary for even browning. Cool about 5 minutes, then serve.

Recipe Note: The recipe can be halved and baked in an 8-inch-square, broiler safe baking dish.

Source: adapted from The Best New Recipe

26 Responses to “Classic Macaroni and Cheese”

  1. #
    HappyWhenNotHungry — November 16, 2010 @ 9:00 am

    This is the ultimate comfort food and I agree, it definitely reminds me of my childhood as well. This looks delicious and perfect for this cold weather we’re starting to have. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. #
    Lauren — November 16, 2010 @ 9:59 am

    This recipe should be included under the definition of “comfort” in the dictionary. It just doesn’t get any better than mac & cheese!

  3. #
    oneshotbeyond — November 16, 2010 @ 2:14 pm

    I’m making my version (which is very similar, but includes different cheeses) tonight for the kids. I can’t wait to indulge a little…who am I kidding?! A lot!!!

    Great looking photograph!

  4. #
    Julia — November 16, 2010 @ 3:45 pm

    This looks delicious!!! The recipe is right up my alley! 🙂

  5. #
    Alina — November 16, 2010 @ 4:38 pm

    Oh I’ve been looking for a simple, classic mac and cheese recipe – thank you! The picture is great as well!

  6. #
    Kaitlin — November 16, 2010 @ 9:45 pm

    Mmm! I just want to dive right in! This looks so tasty!

  7. #
    Lisa — November 18, 2010 @ 2:29 am

    This looks like cheesy, creamy goodness in every bite. I definitely want to make this for my Thanksgiving table. Great idea for a vegetarian.

  8. #
    Medifast Coupons — November 19, 2010 @ 2:31 pm

    Oh yeah bring on the mac and cheese. I can’t over eat for the next week, hosting the turkey day celebration and looking for good filling but not over powering meals for this coming week. Your classic mac and cheese looks so good, love the crumble by the way.

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  10. #
    Tia — December 1, 2010 @ 10:20 pm

    I just tried this recipe, and the ratio of sauce to noodle is TONS of sauce:1 box of macaroni (for me anyway). No complaints though- I love a good cheese sauce and this one is goooooood. 😀 NOM.

    • Christina replied: — December 2nd, 2010 @ 8:55 am

      You are so right! Lots of creamy sauce…Mmmm…so good! I am so glad that you enjoyed it! Thanks for letting me know, I love to hear from people who have tried my recipes! 🙂

  11. #
    Mariam E — December 7, 2010 @ 4:52 am

    Hey! Just wondering what heat the oven needs to be when we put the macaroni in there? 400? 350?

    Thanks! I’m making this tonight 🙂

    • Christina replied: — December 7th, 2010 @ 9:02 am

      It does not cook in the oven. All of the cooking is done on the stovetop. You only put it in the oven under the broiler to brown the bread crumbs sprinkled on top. Hope you enjoy it! My family loves this recipe. Let me know how it turns out! 🙂

  12. #
    Kathryn — December 22, 2010 @ 2:50 pm

    I will be making this for a side at Christmas dinner! i am so excited! i am ready for some real eating 😉

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  14. #
    Carmen — March 29, 2011 @ 12:50 pm

    Wow! I have been looking for the perfect homemade mac and cheese recipe for months and this is it! I used whole wheat pasta and some extra parmesan on top. Thanks Christina!

    • Christina replied: — March 30th, 2011 @ 12:12 pm

      I am so happy that you enjoyed it! It is definitely on of my favorite comfort foods! 🙂

  15. #
    Kaitlyn — April 13, 2011 @ 7:52 pm

    Hi, I just stumbled on this recipe…looks SO good! I’m about to run to the store for ingredients, but wondered what type of milk you used? Skim, 2%, whole? I know they each make a difference, so I wondered which one you used when you made it. Thanks for your help!

    • Christina replied: — April 13th, 2011 @ 8:09 pm

      I used whole milk for this recipe. I hope you enjoy it! Let me know how it turns out! 😀

      • Kaitlyn replied: — April 13th, 2011 @ 10:54 pm

        Oh my GOODNESS! That was AMAZING! First time making homemade mac and cheese..and that’s exactly what I wanted it to turn out like! Thanks so much for the recipe… I’ll definitely be using this again and again and again! 🙂

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  17. #
    Katie @ Dip It In Chocolate — August 31, 2011 @ 1:33 pm

    I am typically a desserts-only kind of girl. Real food just doesn’t interest me that much. But Oh. My. Gosh. This looks fantastic. I’ve pinned this to my recipe board and it’s on my menu for next week!

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  20. #
    MariahR — November 30, 2011 @ 8:49 pm

    This made a TON of mac and cheese. I didnt use sharp cheddar i used mild and a not very good monterey jack so the sauce tasted like flour at first but i just added more cheese. Next time i’ll have to use a good sharp cheddar and good monterey jack i think that really effects the outcome.

  21. #
    penny lane — April 22, 2013 @ 9:07 pm

    this is AMAZING!!! i am eating it right now and im so glad i picked this recipe out of the millions i looked at! I chose to do sharp cheddar and monterey jack with jalapeno for an extra kick. also, i was lazy and didn’t make the bread crumbs, i just crumbled ritz crackers and it turned out well! thanks for sharing an awesome recipe.

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