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!

Easy Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe - A reader favorite on RachelCooks.com

No really.

This is the easiest evvvvvver macaroni and cheese.

You boil pasta, mix with the cheese and other ingredients, put it in the pan and pour the milk over it. No messing with white sauces or tricky steps. No getting four pots and pans dirty! You can prep it ahead and keep it in the fridge overnight and then it will be ready to bake when you want it! It’s a total crowd pleaser. This is a great recipe for busy weeknight meals but also for entertaining.

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, obviously.

A few notes to answer some common questions –

  • Sharp cheddar is best (I use extra sharp) – it provides this macaroni and cheese with the maximum amount of flavor.
  • Grate your own cheese for best results, but it works with pre-grated as well.
  • Breadcrumbs on the top would be good if that’s how you like mac & cheese!
  • I like my top extra crispy. If you do not, I’d recommend covering with foil for at least the first 30 minutes, up until the entire time.
  • This can be prepped in full a day ahead (aside from baking) and baked prior to serving.
  • Whole wheat pasta is awesome in this, and is the way I usually make it.


Watch this 1-minute video to see how to make this baked macaroni and cheese!


Easiest Ever Baked Macaroni and Cheese

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!

4.5 / 5 (23 Reviews)
Did you make this recipe?   Leave a review »


  • 1 pound (16oz)  elbow macaroni (I often use whole wheat)
  • 1 pound (4 cups) shredded extra sharp or sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon ground mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups low-fat milk (whole works great too)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray or grease a casserole dish or a 9×13 pan.
  2. Cook macaroni as directed on the package in salted water until tender. Drain when finished cooking.
  3. While macaroni is cooking, combine 2 and 1/2 cups of cheese with dry ingredients (flour, ground mustard, salt and pepper).
  4. Combine cheese mixture with hot macaroni and pour into the greased pan. Pour milk over macaroni. Top with remaining cheese and dot with butter (optional, but recommended).
  5. Bake for 45 minutes or until firm and golden brown. I stick a knife in it to see if the milk is still runny or if it has firmed up.
  6. (Optional) Let sit for 10 minutes before serving to further firm up.
  7. Note: I like my noodles a little extra crispy—as you can probably tell from the photos. If you like a softer noodle, I’d recommend covering this with foil for at least the first 30 minutes of baking.
All images and text ©Rachel Cooks.


Verdict: Best ever baked macaroni and cheese.

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!


One Pan Copycat Panera Macaroni and Cheese

Copycat Panera Mac and Cheese on RachelCooks.com

Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese

Perfect for parties, this slow cooker macaroni and cheese recipe is creamy, flavorful, and so easy to make! Get the recipe on RachelCooks.com!

Pizza Mac & Cheese Muffins

Pizza Macaroni and Cheese Muffins on RachelCooks.com

DIY “Easy Mac” (Microwave Macaroni and Cheese)

DIY Easy Mac! This Microwave Macaroni and Cheese Recipe is so easy! On RachelCooks.com

When you make a recipe from my site tag it with #RachelCooks!
I love to see what you're creating!


  1. Thank you for posting this! For years, I have wanted to re-create my mother’s mac & cheese (best I’ve ever had) and I have always come up empty. I saw the picture of your recipe and it was the most similar-looking to what she used to make, so I gave this a try. The taste/texture/the milk peeking through/everything was nearly exact! I can’t begin to tell you what a huge find this is.

    Rating: 5
  2. Would Silk brand unsweetened coconut milk work in place of the milk?

  3. One of our families favorite dish!!! So easy and it tastes delicious! Thanks for a great recipe!!!

    Rating: 5
  4. Love this recipe.  I did add 1 cup of sour cream, no butter, skim milk, think the cheese gives it enough oil, loved the results.

    Rating: 5
  5. Made this tonight & it was perfect !! Real easy & quick recipe! Thanks for sharing!

    Rating: 5
  6. It was good as long as everyone realizes it’s not a cheese “saucy” kind of Mac N Cheese. It was just like my mom used to make though my guys prefer a saucier version. If you want good old fashioned Mac N Cheese, this is definitely a recipe worth tryin

    Rating: 4.5
  7. I made this recipe for a get together and it was such a hit! Soooooooooooo easy and absolutely delicious! ( I love cheese so I added extra!)

    Rating: 5
  8. I LOVE this recipe. My friend who is now in her 70s always told me how she loved her mother’s Mac & Cheese. She thought this one was similar so I tried it. We both love it. It is so easy and quick. The first time I made the recipe as is and it was delicious. Ever since per personal preference I use half and half and extra of the extra sharp cheddar. Try this recipe. You won’t be sorry. It is scrumptious. I gave some in the oven right now ☺

    Rating: 5
  9. I love this mac and cheese and it’s SOOOO easy! I’m not a ground mustard fan so I sprinkle some garlic powder, onion powder, and red pepper flakes in the dry mixture. I cover for 20 and then add breadcrumbs to half and continue baking. I always make this for get-togethers and there’s never any left! Thank you for such an easy, delicious recipe :)  PS- for those asking about making beforehand… I cook the noodles the day before and then when I’m ready to make it, I put the noodles in a strainer and run under hot water, then continue as directed. 

    Rating: 5
  10. Can I add half regular milk and half of evaporated milk.. I just like the taste and richness of evaporated milk,and taste 

  11. Very good.

    Rating: 4
  12. Do you have to use the mustard spice

  13. I am no cook and could most likely burn water. Making this dish was SO EASY and absolutely wonderful!! Only problem is now there are people who think I can cook. Lol!

  14. mine is baking right now 

  15. I usually make a roux for my baked mac and cheese but wanted a simpler way…very easy to make and my kids love it

    Rating: 5
  16. This came out just like my grandma’s. I love it! I covered the top and cooked it 38 minutes because I halved it. The bottom was that perfect crispy / buttery perfection. 

    Rating: 4.5
  17. It’s in the oven. I halved it but followed the recipe exactly❣️ So excited  

  18. Could the milk be mixed with the other ingredients instead of pouring it over top?

  19. About how much salt and pepper do you add? Making it tomorrow for company…looks so good.

    • It really depends on how much you like. I wouldn’t add much salt (I typically don’t add any, personally), because the cheese adds a lot of salt. Pepper depends on how peppery you like it! I’d recommend 1/4 teaspoon and providing a salt and pepper shaker for your guests to add additional to their own tastes.

  20. I’ve made this dish twice already and it was excellent both times. I making it tonight for a Super Bowl party and I’m sure will be a big hit!

    Rating: 5
  21. Thank you for having this up! My grandma used to make it very similar to this. Only difference is we do layers (and no ground mustard) – macaroni, chunks of cheese, pats of butter and a sprinkle of flour, usually three layers, then milk. 
    I’ve been trying to find one similar so I can make sure I’m doing it right since she’s passed. 

    • Oh I love that! My grandma made a similar recipe too, except with eggs. I hope this brings back some wonderful memories for you – thanks for sharing your story with me! <3

  22. Ok, it went over ok, but I am going to the huge family Christmas reunion, this time bacon will be all in it and I won’t cook it so long, since everything’s cooked already lol, gotta be a hit, right? Lol. Well, my boyfriend and his granddaughter love it along with me, so it’s a hit as far as I’m concerned, thanks!!

  23. Hello! I am stumped about what to bring to my boyfriend’s family thanksgiving dinner, I am almost 61 yrs old and a damn fine cook, but can’t seem to tempt them with my family favs. I found this recipe just in time! I’m gonna double it and sprinkle bacon pieces on top lol. Wish me luck!

  24. Can’t believe I trusted this to be a good recipe. I so wanted a good recipe for mac and cheese. This was certainly not it. I followed directions exactly–even shredded my own cheese. Milk curdled and the whole dish is nothing but “gritty.” Can’t believe I spent all the money to buy the best cheese and ended up with a completely inedible dish. Next time I will just use Velveeta!

    Rating: 1
  25. I tried this recipe last Wednesday and it’s Tuesday and I’m making it again! My granddaughter is a finicky eater and she absolutely loved this Mac and Cheese. As a matter of fact everyone did, and it’s so darn easy, even for me! Thanks for the recipe

    Rating: 5
  26. Are you mixing the dry cheese with the hot pasta? Or should the cheese be already melted first? Thanks! 

  27. I made this the other day and my husband LOVES it! He asked me to make it the very next day lol. Also, I halfed the recipe for an 8×8 pan and it was delicious. Thanks for sharing such a great recipe.

    Rating: 5
  28. Does this double well? I, serving 10.

  29. I’d love any of those mac and cheese recipes! Baked sounds like a terrific idea!

    • I think the difference was the “best” cheese. If you used an extra-aged cheese it would indeed break. Melty recipes need younger, moister cheeses. Ive heard of mixing aged cheeses with processed ones like cream cheese or velveeta to keep the mixture from breaking but I haven’t tried it. Anyway, be warned if you keep trying to use the “best” cheese in recipes, it’s not “best” for all of them.

      • This reply may have showed up in the wrong place, it’s meant to go on the one-star review.

      • Great tip…did you try the recipe? I’ve made it with all types of cheese and it’s pretty delicious! It’s not a creamy-style mac and cheese, it’s a different style but it’s such a great one!

  30. Woohoo, thank you Rachel for keeping this blog up and for your generosity in responding to queries. I hope you have a LOVELY Thanksgiving this year.I went looking for a simple recipe about 3 years ago and found yours. My mother was from the South (Charleston) and she always made it like this. While I like other versions too, this is by far the best and most traditional one. Just like she made: Somewhat firm and crusty at the top but cut into it and it has moist, yummy layers beneath. Amazing! I also make sweet potato casserole with butter, brown sugar, a hint of nutmeg and crusty marshmallows on top – very simple and super YUM for those who like sweet potatoes on the table at TG. Best wishes all. :)

    Rating: 5
  31. Combine cheese and dry ingredient mixture with hot macaroni and pour into the greased pan.

    – For this step, you’re mixing the noodles and dry ingredients all together correct?

    • Yes, that’s right! Seriously the easiest macaroni and cheese ever.

      • Thanks! One more question, I was going to prepare this the night before, so how should I go about this? Should I mix the cooked pasta and dry ingredients, let it sit over night and then add the milk before I cook it? Or add the cooked pasta, dry ingredients, milk and let it sit overnight? I just thought there was a possibility if I let the milk sit overnight it could make everything a little soggy.

        I’m making this for Thanksgiving, so I don’t want to mess it up haha.

  32. Help. Your recipe for quick mac and cheese has disappeared from pintrest and you web page. I was planning to make tonight. Can you repost or email? Ive tried it once and it’s great. Thanks.

  33. Hi! I’m planning on making this and freezing it for my sister who just had a baby and needs some meals to stock her fridge with. Do you know how I should tell her to reheat it when frozen?

    • How nice of you! I’ve never made this from frozen but I would cook it covered at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for probably at least an hour and then uncover and continue cooking until it is heated through.

  34. Wow. Thanks Rachel. Best mac & cheese recipe ever. Made it yesterday & making it again today. MMMMMM

    Rating: 5
  35. Hello i made this dish for Christmas Dinner and i only took out the Mustard. It tasted great doubled it and used all sharp cheddar but it seemed really greasy even before i put the butter one top. Is that from all the cheese i assume? It was just running off the plate the mac stayed together but grease dripping off of it i dont mind as it was still delicious and all the white parts from just putting the milk in there were a tad off putting to a few but still amazing.

    • Mine does typically have some white parts in it from the milk. It doesn’t bother me personally but I get that! I never have grease running off though, that’s strange. Glad you liked it overall!

  36. I have four boys too (not including my husband)! I doubled this recipe to feed me, my boys and the pastor and his wife and daughter, as thanks for putting us up while we are homeless. I added chili powder, dried onion to the dry cheese mix. Then after dotting with the butter, I added french fried onions to the top. Amazing! Thanks for the great easy and relatively inexpensive dinner idea. I am feeding 8 for approx $40.

    Rating: 5
  37. Making this tonight for a fire house Xmas party. I’ll let you know what everyone thinks.

  38. Can I use breadcrumb instead of flour, and do I also mix in the butter or is it for the topping. Want to try it for thanksgiving. Thanks

  39. I made the mistake of making mine with Colby jack cheese. Don’t do it.

  40. Hi, this looks like a very good macncheese version. Can you tell me if the texture is firm enough to slice onto squares? Not that i need or want solid blocks…I’m just
    looking for a semi firm version where it holds up on the surface but is softer beneath. Also, I like the top a little crunchy. Does added breadcrumbs provide that? Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!

    • It will hold up somewhat in squares, but it isn’t super dense so it might fall apart a little. The top is crunchy if you bake uncovered, but breadcrumbs never hurt anyone. :) Enjoy!

  41. This is the best and easiest mac and cheese I have ever made. Every time I make it it’s a hit!

    Rating: 5
  42. Hi, I would like to double the recipe for a graduation party and make it the night before. How long do you think it would need to bake from being chilled? Thank you!

    • It really depends on how deep your pan is or if you’re planning on doing two separate pans. I would recommend two separate pans — toss them in the oven when you turn it on to preheat. They’ll probably take about an hour.

  43. Woops. I meant to say that I sprinkled the TOP with bread crumbs!

  44. So comforting and delicious . My dear mom passed away recently, so yesterday was my 1st Mother’s Day without her. I made this Wonderful recipe and wow! Fun & easy to makeand the ultimate comfort meal. I left out the mustard &sprinkled the too with breadcrumbs just beforebaking. It was scrumptious !!!!

    Rating: 5
    • I’m so sorry for your loss! But I’m glad you liked the macaroni and cheese. It is a recipe that always reminds me of my mom so your story warms my heart. Thanks for sharing.

  45. Thanks!!!! ;)

  46. Hi ;) I am looking to make this for a party on Saturday. The party is an hour and a half away. Bshould I make it home and bake it there? Or bake it home and reheat it there?

  47. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for. In the UK Macaroni cheese is baked in cheese sauce but I like it firm . This is less time consuming for busy weekday mealtimes. Thank You !

  48. I made this recipe last night – minus the mustard and added cubed ham. I also baked it at 350 for 45 min and it turned out perfect. This was so easy and tasty. Thanks!

    • So you don’t have to use the ground mustard???

    • If I’m making it the day before I should just leave it in the pan I’m going to cook it in and cover with tinfoil? 

      • I haven’t tried that, but I think it would work. My only concern is that the pasta would soak up too much of the milk…I think maybe I’d mix the pasta and cheese and everything in the pan, but then pour the milk over it immediately prior to baking. There are some other tips in the comment section about making it ahead too that might help.

  49. This is our new favorite Mac n cheese recipe!!! So easy and the crispy top is the best part. I used gluten free pasta and a gluten free flour mix. My husband and son have celiac disease. It was fabulous! Thank you so much:)

    Rating: 5
  50. Im just wondering how many servings this recipe is for:) thanks

  51. hi, you drain the water from the pasta right? and then mix it with the dry ingredients and then just add milk ?

  52. hi rachel! your mac and cheese looks yummy!!! i want to give it a try but i don’t know if there’s ground mustard here in our area. what can i use as a substitute? thanks!

  53. How will this taste without the ground mustard? I’m allergic to mustard and it’s hard to find a good mac and cheese recipe that doesn’t include it. Thanks!

  54. Made this recipe for Thanksgiving and now for my Christmas party! It’s so easy and so delish! I added some fried onions to it! I love that you can make this the day before and then take it out and bake! thanks Rachel for a great easy recipe for busy people!

    Rating: 5
  55. I’ve been looking for a recipe that doesn’t use evaporated milk because with it being so close to Thanksgiving, it’s nearly impossible to find any. So glad I found this! Looks amazing and will be cooking this up for the family on Turkey Day!

    • Awesome. I’m coming to your place for Thanksgiving. ;) Feel free to make this up the night before and just bake it the day of if you want to save yourself a little trouble!

  56. Can I make this the night before? ? Any tips? ?

  57. What a scrumptious looking Mac and Cheese! Thanks for sharing this Rachel! I will definitely make this for my kids.

  58. i want to make this right now! yum!

  59. Yup, complete with crispy top. Love it.

  60. OMG this mac and cheese looks absolutely delish! The color is so perfect, too.

  61. Look so cheesy and yummy! I’ll go over there right now…

  62. Wow 4 boys! I can’t imagine how much time she must spend in the kitchen. Off to check out your recipe.

  63. Whoa! That looks amazing!

    I have one boy, and I want to eat Mac and Cheese in every downtime moment. I can’t imagine having four…. Go go Krista!

  64. Oh yum, I love mac and cheese when the weather gets cold. Such great comfort food!

  65. The top is calling to me. It looks crusty in an amazingly good way.

  66. Thanks so much for sharing this on BGM today! And who do I talk to about the million spa days!? May need to bring that up to the hubs tonight. ;)

  67. SO many mac and cheese recipes today. I think it’s a sign that I need to have mac and cheese for dinner!

  68. That macaroni makes me need to take a nap. LAWDY. gorg.

    • you look like this and cook … please don’t tell me you own a boat
      hope you get a smile out of this
      no reply required have a great day

  69. It sure does look easy but it also looks delicious! mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food for me

  70. Looks delicious!! Gonna check it out!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *