Mac and cheese recipe is a simple comfort food that is quite easy to make at home. It can be enjoyed as a holiday side-dish or eaten as a main dish at dinner. Mac and cheese or Macaroni and cheese mean the same thing and they are often used interchangeably.
There are so many variations of the mac and cheese recipe as so many people have their own different methods, style, and ingredients for making it. You can have different toppings such as cheese, bacon, and cauliflower, spices, and seasonings and you are not out of the way. However, I love to go simple and I’m going to show you the basic steps to make this creamy baked mac and cheese.
There are two ways to make mac and cheese, you can bake it or cook it on the stovetop depending on which one you decide on. In this article, I will be leading you step by step on how to make baked mac and cheese at home
This easy homemade mac and cheese recipe is a combination of macaroni, creamy cheese sauce, or bechamel sauce layered with cheeses and then baked into perfection. It is the best macaroni recipe you can ever have and I love the rich flavors that come from a few amazing spices like nutmeg and black pepper.
If you have never made baked homemade mac and cheese before don’t freak out yet, you will certainly know how to after following the step by step guide in this article.
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Tips for making the best homemade mac and cheese
Use good quality cheeses: It is best to use a good quality cheese that melts nicely and never pre-shredded cheese in the bags. Pre-shredded cheese is good for other recipes but not for mac and cheese recipes. A lot of them contain a starchy substance that prevents the cheese from clumping and they won’t melt as expected. You combine more than one cheese for this recipe. I love cheddar, mozzarella, and Monterey jack cheeses in my macaroni and cheese recipe as much as I can lay hands on all of them. However, they are few other quality kinds of cheeses such as gouda, smoked gouda, Colby jack; it all depends on which one you want,
Shred your cheese when it is frozen: It is easier to work with frozen cheese; this way, you will be able to grate them easily without having to crush all the pieces in the process. This can be done ahead of time.
Do not overcook the pasta: You don’t have to cook the pasta like you normally would. about 5 to 6 minutes will be fine as the macaroni will continue to cook while in the oven. This ensures you don’t end up with a mushy macaroni and cheese.
Use room temp liquids: When making your mac and cheese sauce, ensure to use cold milk and not warm milk. Cold milk takes longer to thicken up compared to room temperature milk. This will prevent the flour from clumping as well. Personally, I will leave the sauce to cool down let’s say for 5 minutes before stirring in the shredded cheese. If you add the cheese immediately while is still very hot, it will curdle and break up. You may have to repeat the whole procedure from scratch, I know you wouldn’t want that.
Homemade baked mac and cheese
Ingredients for mac and cheese
- 400gs elbow macaroni
- 1 cup of mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup cheddar cheese
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 cups of whole milk
- 1/4 teaspoons nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
How to make homemade mac and cheese
- Preheat oven to 1800 C and lightly grease a medium-sized baking dish and set aside.
- Place a medium-sized pot on heat, add 4cups of water,1/2 teaspoon of salt to it, and bring the water to a boil.
- Add your macaroni once the water has boiled and stir to prevent it from clumping together. Cook for about 5 to 6 minutes and drain out excess water.
- Grate your cheeses, mix them together, and set aside. Here I used a combination of mozzarella and cheddar cheeses.
- Add about 3 tablespoons of butter to a saucepan, once it has melted, gradually add 4 tablespoons of flour and whisk. Let it cooks for 2 minutes until the raw flavor disappears.
- Gradually stir in 3 cups of whole and cook on low heat for 5 minutes until it thickens up. You can use a hand whisk to stir this.
- Turn off the heat and grate in 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in the sauce.
- Whisk to make sure all the ingredients combine nicely. If the sauce appears too thick, adjust it by adding more milk until you are happy with the consistency.
- Gradually add in the grated cheese and stir every after each addition until they all dissolve in the sauce.
- When you have a smooth sauce, add the drained macaroni and stir carefully. Make sure it is totally immersed in the sauce.
- Transfer to your casserole dish and level the surface with a spoon. Top it up with the remaining cheese making sure the surface is evenly covered.
- Bake in a preheated oven for about 20 t0 25 or until it is golden brown and bubbly on the surface.
- It is ready, enjoy your baked mac and cheese!