Easiest Ever Baked Macaroni and Cheese (with VIDEO)
Easiest ever baked macaroni and cheese – this is a go-to recipe of many of my readers and it will become the same for your family!
This is the easiest ever macaroni and cheese! And so delicious!
About this baked macaroni and cheese:
This baked macaroni and cheese is made like Grandma used to make it, the old fashioned baked in a casserole dish style. If you’re looking for a creamy, non-baked recipe, you’ll probably love this copycat Panera mac and cheese or Instant Pot macaroni and cheese.
I just love this baked macaroni and cheese, though. It’s a little bit chewier, with lots of great cheddar cheese flavor, and I especially love the way the top crisps up in the oven.
Plus it’s so easy! You just boil pasta, mix with grated cheese, a couple tablespoons of flour, and seasonings, put it in a casserole dish, and pour the milk over it. That’s it! No messing with white sauces or tricky steps. No getting four pots and pans dirty!
You can prep this macaroni and cheese ahead of time and keep it in the fridge overnight. It’s ready to bake when you want it!
Baked mac and cheese is a total crowd pleaser. This is a great recipe for busy weeknight meals but also for entertaining. Perfect for potlucks!
Enjoy one of our family’s favorite meals! I grew up eating this macaroni and cheese and it was always a special day when my mom prepared it. Now I love serving it to my family and I especially love how easy it is to prepare. I’m sure you will too!
Notes to answer some common questions :
What kind of cheese is best for macaroni and cheese?
For this recipe, sharp cheddar is best (I use extra sharp) – it provides this macaroni and cheese with the maximum amount of flavor.
Can you make this macaroni and cheese with pre-grated cheese or do you have to grate your own?
Grate your own cheese for best results. Pre-grated cheese contains additives to prevent clumping in the bag but that also means the cheese shreds don’t melt as well. However, if all you have is pre-grated cheese, don’t worry, your mac and cheese will still be tasty.
Can I put breadcrumbs on top of this mac and cheese?
Breadcrumbs on the top would be good if that’s how you like mac & cheese!
Should I cover this with foil when baking?
I like my top extra crispy. If you do not, I’d recommend covering with foil for at least the first 30 minutes, or up until the entire time.
Can this baked macaroni and cheese be made ahead?
This can be prepped in full a day ahead (aside from baking) and baked prior to serving. If you have leftover mac and cheese, heat it in the microwave at medium heat. Watch out, it heats up quickly!
Can I use whole wheat pasta in this mac and cheese?
Whole wheat pasta is awesome in this, and is the way I usually make it.
- 1 package (16 oz) elbow macaroni
- 1 pound (16 oz) sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (4 cups)
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
- 2 cups low-fat milk
- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray or grease a casserole dish or a 9x13 pan.
- Cook macaroni as directed on the package in salted water until tender, drain.
- While macaroni is cooking, combine 2 and 1/2 cups of cheese with flour, pepper, and ground mustard.
- In a large bowl, combine cheese and flour mixture with hot macaroni and stir to combine. Pour into the greased pan. Pour milk over macaroni. Top with remaining cheese. Dot with butter. Cover with aluminum foil.
- Bake for 45 minutes (taking the foil off after 30 minutes if desired) or until firm and golden brown. You want to make sure there isn’t a lot of runny milk in it still, poke a knife in the middle if necessary. Some will soak in as it cools but it should be mostly absorbed.
- (Optional) Let sit for 10 minutes before serving to further firm up.
- Whole wheat elbow macaroni can be substituted.
- Use sharp or extra-sharp cheddar for best results.
- If desired, add 3 tablespoons minced onion.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 of 6
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 220Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 173mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 5gSugar: 4gProtein: 10g
Husband’s take: He loves this recipe for mac & cheese.
Changes I would make: None – this is the best baked mac and cheese.
Difficulty: So easy. SO SO SO SO easy.
Looking for more macaroni and cheese? I have you MORE than covered!