I was searching the best homemade macaroni and cheese recipe…. And I found the best one! I like to cook, but I know I’m not amazing at it. So, I was looking for something that was fairly easy, but ooey-gooey cheesy and yummy… Sometimes it’s hard to find something that ticks all the boxes. For those of you who love mac and cheese, this is the recipe to try. No dry noodles, no gritty texture from the sauce. It was the best homemade mac and cheese I had ever eaten. I am really looking forward to the leftovers for lunch!
The Best Macaroni and Cheese Recipe Ever
- 1¾ cups macaroni or other medium tubular pasta (like penne or conchiglie)*
- 3 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard *I used a squirt of mustard because I didn’t have any dry mustard
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon smoked paprika plus more for sprinkling on top
- 2½ cups 2% milk *I used 2 cups milk and 1/2 cream because I didn’t have enough milk
- 3 cups grated medium cheddar cheese
- *bread crumbs (optional)
- Boil the pasta until al dente, according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking, and return to the pan you boiled it in. Set aside. (Mix in a little butter to keep the noodles from sticking if it’s going to be awhile before you make the sauce)
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Over medium heat, melt the butter.
- Add the flour, salt, dry mustard, pepper, and ⅛ teaspoon smoked paprika. Stir constantly over medium heat for about three minutes.
- Stir in the milk.
- Keeping on medium heat, whisk constantly for about 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens.
- Remove from heat, and stir in 2 cups of the cheese, stirring until melted.
- Pour the cheese sauce over the noodles and toss gently until all noodles are covered.
- Add half the noodles to a two quart casserole dish. *I used a 2.5 quart dish so there was more top surface area for the boys’ topping.
- Sprinkle on half the cheese.*I didn’t do this, I put the full cup on top as Jon and Makaio love the crispy crunchy cheese.
- Add the rest of the noodles.
- Sprinkle on the rest of the cheese, and dust lightly with the smoked paprika.
*This is where I added the breadcrumbs to help make a toasty crispy layer of cheesy crunchy goodness on top for the boys.
- Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until it starts getting a slightly dry and a tiny bit brown on top.
- Adapted from the Bev’s Macaroni and Cheese recipe on Food.com
- Please resist the urge to add more noodles to stretch the recipe. You need a lot of sauce with that pasta because the pasta soaks so much and it otherwise cooks down. Over-dry mac and cheese is such a disappointment – don’t do it!
- Also resist the urge to add more cheese to the sauce. This can do weird things. Sprinkle more in between and on top if you must have more cheese.