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Baked Macaroni & Cheese

 

This homemade Baked Macaroni & Cheese is delicious and you probably have all the ingredients already in your pantry! Forget the powdered stuff, enjoy the real thing!

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Baked Macaroni & Cheese

Baked Macaroni & Cheese

Baked Macaroni & Cheese

Baked Macaroni & Cheese

 

I am sure it will be no surprise to any of you that Macaroni & Cheese, as far as we can tell, originated in Italy.

Italy, known as the pasta capital of the world was key to making one of the main ingredients for this recipe – macaroni noodles.

The first known recipe for Macaroni & Cheese was found in a 14th Century cookbook called Liber de Coquina.

That version consisted of Parmesan and pasta.

 

 

Baked Macaroni & Cheese - macaroni & cheese in a pot mixed up and ready for cracker topping

 

 

Today, Macaroni & Cheese, as we call it in the United States, also goes by several other names around the world.

Some of those names are Macaroni Pie & Macaroni Cheese.

The modern version of this dish comes from English Origin and and usually consists of Macaroni Noodles and a Cheddar Cheese Sauce.

Traditionally, this dish is baked in the oven with a crumb topping of some sort.

 

 

Baked Macaroni & Cheese - Ritz cracker topping on Macaroni & Cheese

 

 

However modern day has shown us how to make it on the stove as well as the microwave.

This Homemade Baked Macaroni & Cheese is fairly traditional with macaroni noodles, a cheesy Bechamel sauce and a crushed cracker topping.

Now before you go thinking I’m all about fancy gourmet macaroni & cheese, let me be clear.

We are VERY familiar with the blue box and yellow box kind in our home.

 

 

Baked Macaroni & Cheese - fresh out of the oven, baked macaroni

 

 

In fact, the line has been drawn in the sand and half of the occupants of our home prefer the blue box, while the other half prefer the yellow box.

Despite the color of box we prefer on store bought, stove top macaroni & cheese, we all love this Homemade Baked Macaroni & Cheese.

Generally though, we only make it when we have company coming over for dinner.

 

 

Baked Macaroni & Cheese - a serving spoon full of macaroni & cheese with full pot behind it.

 

 

We cannot eat an entire pan of this by ourselves and need help from dinner guests in tackling this tasty dish.

Leftovers usually end up with steamed veggies or meat like leftover Holiday ham or leftover barbecue pulled pork.

Mmmmm… My tummy is growling just thinking of it!

This Homemade Baked Macaroni & Cheese has also made an appearance on our Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter dinner tables.

 

 

Baked Macaroni & Cheese - Large scoop of macaroni & cheese on a plate

 

 

It is comfort food at its finest.

Every American is familiar with Macaroni & Cheese.

We have all grown up on it and just one bite of it can transport us back to our home as a child.

I grew up eating it a lot for lunch.

 

 

Baked Macaroni & Cheese - fork full of bite ready to eat!

 

 

My mother always put peas in ours.

It is the only way any of us would eat peas.

She would just toss them right into the macaroni & cheese and we’d go to town.

It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized that peas in  your macaroni & cheese wasn’t the norm.

 

 

Baked Macaroni & Cheese - pot full of macaroni & cheese with one portion removed.

 

 

When my oldest was really little, I used to add corn to hers.

In fact, my husband and I still prefer corn mixed into our Macaroni & Cheese.

I will say though, that I no longer put vegetables into our macaroni & cheese.

I just offer them as a side dish.

 

 

Baked Macaroni & Cheese - fork full of macaroni & cheese close to camera to show details.

 

 

However, if you watch my husband and I, we always mix ours together after dished up.

Veggies, no veggies, cracker crumb topping or not, this homemade version of Baked Macaroni & Cheese is still so good!

Creamy, cheesy and a little crunchy, make this easy meal taste gourmet.

Plus as you are making this, you’ll learn just how easy it is to make a Bechamel sauce.

 

 

Baked Macaroni & Cheese - on plate with a fork ready to dig in.

 

 

It may sound fancy and possibly scary, but it’s really quite easy if you follow my directions.

These days there are so many versions of Macaroni & Cheese that you can’t help but want to try them all.

However, start with a base recipe that you can perfect, and adapt away from that!

I hope you love this easy to make Baked Macaroni & Cheese as much as we love eating it!

 

Yield: 10 Servings

Baked Macaroni & Cheese

This is a simple powder-free, Velveeta-free, macaroni & cheese recipe that the entire family will love with ingredients you know and trust. Easy & delicious!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Fill a large pot with water and add 1 Tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil.
  3. Stir in the macaroni and cook uncovered until pasta is cooked through but firm to the bite. (about 8 minutes depending on your stove). Turn burner off, remove from heat and drain.
  4. In a separate large skillet {or dutch oven}, combine 1/4 cup of butter, and flour over medium to low heat until a thick paste is created.
  5. Slowly add all the milk to the flour paste mixture, 1/4 cup at a time stirring well to incorporate each time before adding the next 1/4 cup so that the roux stays creamy and smooth. DON'T PANIC at this stage. Your mixture will become thick and goopy first then will thin out. Just keep adding the milk 1/4 cup at a time and mixing well after each addition and you'll get a perfect roux.
  6. Add salt and cheddar cheese and stir until cheese has melted and sauce has thickened.
  7. Pour noodles into the cheese mixture, stir to combine and then pour the entire mixture into a 9x13 casserole dish. {If using dutch oven, just bake in dutch oven, no need to dirty another pan!}
  8. Mix the melted butter & crushed Ritz crackers together. Sprinkle on top of Macaroni.
  9. Bake in oven for 45 minutes until top is golden.
  10. Serve Immediately

Notes

Per reader comments, the cheese in the recipe IS DOUBLED from the original recipe. So do NOT double again. 🙂 The original recipe called for 2 cups.

Nutritional Information is estimated, not exact.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 570 Total Fat: 34.3g Saturated Fat: 18.5g Cholesterol: 80mg Sodium: 1388mg Carbohydrates: 44.5g Fiber: 1.6g Sugar: 8g Protein: 20.1g
Recipe adapted from All Recipes

 

 

Originally Posted: February 24, 2014

Photos & Text Updated: October 23, 2018

 

25 thoughts on “Baked Macaroni & Cheese

  1. I was just wondering if you could make this ahead of time and store in the fridge overnight then bake the next day? Obviously the crackers wouldn’t get added until before baking to prevent them from getting soggy. Thanks!

    • Hi Cecily!
      If you are making this for 12 people, I would recommend doing a double batch and baking it in two large 9×13 pans. You wont fit it into a single pan. Having said that, you should be able to put both pans in the oven at the same time and can still bake the recommended amount of time. Hope this helps!

    • Meghan,
      Thank you so much for your review. The buttery cracker crust is one of my favorite parts of this recipe! I love the flavor and texture! I’m so glad you did too!

  2. Making this tonight to go with our surf and turf valentine’s dinner! Found ‘mac and cheese’ shredded cheese and using garlic and herb ritz crackers becuase that’s what’s in the pantry… super excited to have a handmade macaroni and cheese recipe! No more blue box!

  3. Hey!

    I made this for supper tonight and my sauce turned out grainy. Could it be from the flour? What did I do wrong! Lol

    Thanks!

    • Hi Jessica! Grainy is definitely not good! I’m guessing that when you say grainy you mean granular not grainy as in wheat flavor. If I’m right, then I suspect it’s not the flour, it’s the salt. Flour is too powdery to give a granular texture. The salt on the other hand can give it a granular texture. My guess would be that after adding in the salt you didn’t cook it long enough to allow the salt to dissolve. However, if I’m wrong and it was to grainy as in flavor grainy, then it would more likely be your pasta and the brand you went with. You shouldn’t be able to really taste the flour in the sauce as it’s a standard thickening agent in a roux type dish like this. Unless you added the liquid too quickly and your flour clumped and you were eating clumps of flour, though I suspect you would have said something about that. The only other thing I can guess as far as a grainy granular texture would be your cheese but that would be a stretch. I hope this helps bring some enlightenment to the recipe! So sorry to hear it didn’t turn out perfect but hopefully these tips help for next time!

  4. Made this for like the 10th time tonight! My boyfriend (finally) admitted that I’m the better cook after having this! Lol! Just a few tips from my experiences – I added salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder and it was very flavorful. I also used the Kraft cheddar blend with Philadelphia cream cheese in it. We drink 1%, and after 20 min of stirring the sauce just wasn’t thickening. I added about 2 tsps of corn starch, half a tsp at a time. It thickened right up and didn’t effect the taste. We’re going to add broccoli and chicken in the future, and he mentioned bacon too! Thank you for sharing, I’m going to bed full and happy! 🙂

    • Renee, You are officially a kitchen Goddess! If you can master from scratch Macaroni & Cheese, then you can master ANYTHING! Give our Coconut Chicken a try for your next meal and let’s keep your boyfriend worshiping your cooking skills!

  5. I have made this several times now and love it! The recipe is fairly quick with stuff you probably already have. Thank you for the wonderful recipe I’ll be keeping this one for sure!

    • Thank you so much Kelley for the review! We just made this last week and it turns out perfect every time! My husband always comments on how it reheats well too! You’ve just made my day with your kind comment! Thank you! I hope you’ll try a few of our other recipes too!

  6. I just came from your broccoli cheddar casserole so a lot of this seems similar but if this comes out cheesey and not dry it will become my new mac&cheese recipe. Mine always comes out a bit on the dry side.

  7. Making this for my family tonight for the 3rd time! Will be making it again in a few weeks for a party. Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe!

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