Creamy mac and cheese may just be the best of comfort food, and that is only one reason why I love it so much!
I have teens, and boy do they EAT!
This creamy mac and cheese is a staple around here.
Some times they don’t like what I’m making for dinner… they are crazy like that, they’re bound to grow out of that fussy phase at some point, right!?!
My best guess is that I make them mac and cheese every other week at the least.
I’m going to guess that you like mac and cheese.
It’s not a wild guess, I just haven’t met many people who don’t like it.
Well, that is except my kids when they were young. No, they didn’t like it much at all, not even from a box. They didn’t like chicken tenders with breading or fast food type chicken either. Apparently, they really liked the way I cooked chicken, you know… in a skillet 🙂
There is no wrong time for mac and cheese, it’s great as an afternoon snack, as a side dish at a BBQ, you can add a pound of ground beef and a can of tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning to it for a quick chili mac, and well… you can chill it, scoop it out into balls (2 tablespoons size) roll it in breadcrumbs and bake for fry it for a fun appetizer.
and … you can chill it, scoop it out into balls (2 tablespoons sized balls) roll it in bread crumbs and bake or fry them for a fun appetizer.
Don’t miss seeing my FAVORITES here!
Now there is one question I have for all mac and cheese lovers…
Do you prefer it on a plate or in a bowl?
Can I make this Mac and Cheese Crispy on top?
Yes, you can make it crispy by putting it under a broiler, or adding bread crumbs mixed with butter and top the mac and cheese with it and place it under the broiler to crisp the top.
Another way is to add grated cheese on top a mix of cheddar and parmesan is nice, crisp it under the broiler for a cheesy top!
My mom always eats it in a thin layer crisped under the broiler..really until it’s almost burnt. Sometimes I enjoy it, but most often I like in a bow, creamy style 🙂
How do I really make a sauce?
If you want to see step by step how to make a sauce I have a whole post on it in case you haven’t made a sauce from scratch before.
Now once you make this cheese sauce, you can use it for many things beyond mac and cheese,
you can pour it over broccoli,
dunk bread in it for an easy snack,
you can use it on fries,
add some pickled jalapenos and make nachos,
or hot pretzels.
The options are endless!
What makes mac and cheese creamy?
the roux (see my post on how to make a sauce if you’re new to making sauces), the flour, and butter make a creamy sauce. Trust the sauce process.
What is the best cheese to use for Mac and Cheese?
Sharp Cheddar Cheese, it’s not overly dry but it has a great flavor. Pick the sharpness of cheese you prefer, keep in mind the sharper the cheese, the dryer it will be. Add more milk so there is plenty of sauce! Keeping it a mild flavor, use milk cheddar.
How do you best reheat mac and cheese?
Add a small amount of milk to the mac and cheese and microwave it at 30-second intervals and stir in between intervals. If you want to heat it in the oven place the mac and cheese in a buttered casserole dish and cover it with foil and heat at 350° until it’s hot (about 15 minutes) to reheat it on the stove, heat some milk, then add the mac and cheese and stir it and heat it on a medium temperature, don’t heat it too fast, it’s more likely to separate and not give you a creamy result.
I messed it up, how do I FIX my mac and cheese?
If your mac and cheese is too thin, if you added way too much milk, thicken it by adding 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 1/2 cup of milk, stir that into the mixture, and heat over medium until it thickens, alternatively add another 1/2-1 cup of grated cheese. When mac and cheese if finished cooking, it will thicken up as the noodles will absorb the sauce.
If it’s not creamy, add more milk, whole milk is best, it has enough milk fat to make a creamy sauce. If you use skim milk, it can curdle, if that happens, in a separate pan start another roux, butter, and flour, then add the “ruined” sauce on low heat and whisk it until it is creamy. If the texture of your mac and cheese is not creamy, add a little more butter, a tablespoon or two will make it silky.
Silky smooth creamy mac and cheese is the goal, that GOLDEN creamy deliciousness you’ve come to love is only minutes away.
Since we’re talking CHEESE…
You may want to check out these yummy cheesy recipes
- Caprese Crostini
- Guinness and Mustard Cheese Dip
- Jalapeno Popper Soup
- Cheesy Olive Crostini
- 30-minute ravioli pizza
- Cheesy Baked Potatoes
If you’re looking for more CHEESY recipes take a look at my:
Can I skip making a roux?
You may think you don’t need the butter and flour to make the sauce and you may think that just adding cheese and milk will do it, it won’t trust me.
I made MANY test batches, and everyone commented on how the texture of the mac and cheese without the butter and flour (roux) to start the sauce tasted grainier. Not what you want in mac and cheese. So trust the “sauce” process… it works!
Can I add more flavor to this?
Add items you prefer:
- example: 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 tablespoons ranch dressing
- 2 tablespoons blue cheese dressing
- 2 tablespoons Franks hot sauce
- 2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
All these items will change the flavor enough for the non-traditional cheesy flavor for kids I’d make it plain, many adults have come to love a little spice in their life, add some to a portion of the mac and cheese to “test” it before adding additional flavors to the whole batch!
I often add some diced jalapenos and cooked chopped bacon, it tastes like a jalapeno popper.
If you have leftover mac and cheese store it in the fridge in an airtight container, when you reheat the mac and cheese on the stove in a frying pan, or in the microwave, add a little bit of milk or butter to keep it creamy.
If you’re looking to make creamy mac and cheese in an electric pressure cooker (Instant Pot) click here.
KEEP SCROLLING after the recipe if you would like a LOW-CARB option!
Should I use grated cheese or grate block cheese?
Either works well, the biggest difference in cheese is the sharper the cheese the dryer the mac and cheese, so if you use a sharp cheddar, add a little more butter and cream.
Creamy Mac and Cheese
- 1 lb elbow pasta
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups milk I use whole milk
- 2 cups cheddar cheese grated (1 lb cheese)
- 2 teaspoons Knorr Chicken Bouillon
- Add salt and pepper to taste
- Boil pasta according to package directions.
- Drain pasta
- In the pot that you cooked pasta in heat the butter until melted
- Then add the flour and whisk.
- Whisk in the milk slowly. This will create a thick sauce. (do not pour all the milk in at once) Add about 1/4 cup at a time.
- Add in cheese and whisk smooth.
- Pour pasta into the sauce and stir with a spatula until the sauce covers the pasta completely.
- Add a small amount of milk to a pan when reheating cold mac and cheese so it's creamy.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
If you typically eat frozen, prepared, Kraft or similar mac and cheese this will not be as salty, add salt according to your taste.
I do like a teaspoon of chicken bouillon added with 1/2 teaspoon of dry mustard and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
What other types of cheese can I use?
Gruyere is a great cheese for mac and cheese, swiss is another great flavor to combine with a second creamy smooth milk cheese, fontina is creamy and smooth and a typical flavor in a cheese fondue, you can also add some white wine like fondue recipes use for a great flavor combination, start with 1/4 cup then increase to a 1/2 cup if needed.
What is a LOW CARB OPTION for this mac and cheese?
Cauliflower Mac and Cheese: Saute 1 1/2 lbs cauliflower florets in a skillet over high heat with a small amount of olive oil. Then add a tablespoon of water, place a lid on the pan and test the cauliflower with a knife, and then cover it with the cheese sauce when it’s tender, but don’t overcook it so it’s soft.
If you like to use an INSTANT POT be sure to check out my post on cooking mac and cheese in the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker.