Homemade Mac and Cheese

Homemade Mac and Cheese

This homemade mac and cheese recipe is a perfect addition to the family dinner table. It is creamy, decadent, and hearty. Cracker Barrel Restaurant inspired me to create my own version for my household and my family asks for it often. To me, it is like a totally different dish than the stovetop method. I love it both ways!

A Few Tips

I used Monterey Jack cheese with Mozzarella. You can use just about any cheese in this recipe and, trust me, I have. The magic with this is that you can blend cheeses or just use a single type. I don’t recommend prepackaged shredded, however. I used my favorite Mexican Blend shredded cheese from H.E.B. and although it tasted amazing, the texture wasn’t up to par. The next time I made it, I had a block of Cheddar and grated that into it instead, and WOW! The difference in the creaminess won me over. I had to check this out.

Why was it that fresh grated was working differently? I am a research junky, I admit it, but this time it paid off. As it turns out, to keep the cheese from sticking together they use corn starch to coat it. A light bulb went off in my head. Corn starch is a thickening agent. It was no wonder it made my homemade mac and cheese into a clumpy mess. Luckily since I discovered the issue, we have had smooth and creamy baked macaroni and cheese every time.

Make It Your Way

Our favorite way to make this is with caramelized onions and chopped ham. There are a lot of ways to add to all this yumminess. Adding broccoli to it gives it the amazing flavors of broccoli and cheese soup. I am sure you will come up with a few ideas of your own.

Bowl of homemade creamy mac and cheese

Homemade Mac and Cheese

Lottie M. Hancock
This homemade mac and cheese recipe will surely make you the celebrity of the household! It is a step back in time to mama's kitchen with its creamy and wholesome flavors.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 440 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded Colby cheese or your favorite cheese of choice
  • 2 1/2 cups uncooked pasta
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs for topping

Instructions
 

  • Boil 4 cups water and add pasta and salt. Cook until al dente (slightly firm to the bite) then drain.
  • Melt butter over medium heat in a small saucepan. Add the flour a little at a time as you whisk it into a roux. Cook for 2 minutes just long enough to cook out the flour taste.
  • Heat the broth and add to the roux, stirring constantly with the whisk.
  • Add cream until it reaches the desired consistency. * Remember that it will thicken more as it cooks.
  • Add shredded cheese to the cream sauce and stir until it melts. This is called a béchamel sauce.
    white sauce
  • Add the pasta and stir to combine.
  • Pour the cheesy mix into an oven-safe dish and dust the top with seasoned breadcrumbs.
  • Bake uncovered in a preheated 450°F oven for 10 minutes or until brown around the edges.
    homemade baked creamy mac and cheese

Notes

I would like to suggest using freshly grated cheese instead of the shredded cheese from a package. I use the prepackaged shredded cheese for many things but the reason I don’t in this recipe is that to keep the shredded cheese from sticking together they coat the pieces with corn starch. This effects the thickening of the final product. You do not want it clumping or becoming “heavy”. 
There are many optional add-ins I have tried with this recipe: bacon bits, caramelized onion, steamed broccoli and/or cauliflower, chopped ham, pimentos, and bell peppers.
Keyword baked, cheese, country cooking, creamy, home cooking, homemade, mac and cheese, pasta, sidedish

Let me know how you like this recipe. What kind of ways have you found to “tweak” this classic to your family’s liking? Take a photo of your homemade mac and cheese dish with your smiling family and post it below!

I look forward to hearing and learning from you. I visit other blogs as well so if you have a blog of your own, leave the link and what you’re about in the comments. If you would like to check out one I enjoy, ProHomeCooks (previously known as Brothers Green Eats) always has interesting ways to get down to basics with flavor and imagination.

Check out my other recipes and let’s see if we can bring back home cooking to your household. There will be more to come as I plan to add more every Tuesday and Friday.



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