recipe for best mac and cheese

Homemade Mac and Cheese

40 min
Vadim Rachok
01.02.2024
31.03.2024
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Nut Free Dish

Why settle for bland boxed mac and cheese when you can make a delicious homemade version that will become a dinner staple? Give it a try and you’ll never go back to the boxed stuff again! Below you will find a -step-by-step mac and cheese recipe with useful tips for making a delicious dish!

There's something undeniably comforting about a dish of creamy, homemade mac and cheese. This recipe offers a delightful twist with the addition of lemon, which brings a bright and zesty flavor to the classic favorite. The combination of tangy Cheddar, savory Parmesan, and the subtle citrusy notes of lemon creates a harmonious blend that elevates the dish to a whole new level. Whether you're a mac and cheese purist or an adventurous food lover, this Lemon Mac and Cheese is a must-try that will have you coming back for seconds!

Homemade Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese, short for macaroni and cheese, is a popular comfort food that is known for its creamy texture and cheesy flavor. It originated in Italy, where macaroni and cheese has been eaten for centuries, and became popularized in the United States in the 20th century.
It usually consists of boiled noodles mixed with a cheese sauce that includes milk, butter, and various types of cheese, often cheddar or American cheese. To achieve the desired consistency, the sauce is usually thickened with flour or a roux. It is often eaten as a main dish. However, it can also be served as a side dish or an accompaniment to other foods.

Homemade Mac and Cheese Ingredients

Here are the ingredients needed for the best homemade mac and cheese:

  • Penne Pasta: Penne pasta is the ideal pasta to use for macaroni and cheese.
  • Flour: Flour helps to thicken the cheese sauce.
  • Butter: Butter adds richness and flavor to the sauce.
  • Milk: Milk is the liquid component of the cheese sauce and helps create a creamy texture.
  • Nutmeg: Nutmeg provides warmth and depth to the taste.
  • Parmesan Cheese: Parmesan cheese adds a savory, umami flavor to the cheese sauce and enhances its richness.
  • Cheddar Cheese: Providing the characteristic cheesy flavor and creamy texture.
  • Salt and Pepper: They enhance the overall flavor of the dish complementing the other ingredients.

How to Make Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese Recipe Step By Step 1-4

Mac and cheese Recipe Step By Step 5-8

Mac and cheese Recipe Step By Step 9

  1. Prepare the sauce: Place the saucepan on the stove, add the flour, and toast over medium heat for 1-1.5 minutes, stirring constantly to eliminate the moisture in the flour.
  2. Add the butter and mix well, then gradually add the milk.
  3. Reduce the heat to a minimum and cook the sauce until it thickens (8-10 minutes), stirring constantly. 
  4. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Grate 2 ounces (60 g) of cheddar into the sauce, cover with plastic wrap (in contact), and set aside.
  6. Place a liter of water in a saucepan on the stove. Bring to a boil and add salt. 
  7. Add the pasta and cook for 7-8 minutes (or according to package instructions).
  8. Place the cooked pasta in a saucepan with the sauce, add 100 ml of the pasta water, 0,7 ounces (20 g) of Parmesan, put on the stove, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring until the sauce is homogeneous.
  9. Place on a plate, grate the rest of the cheddar, and sprinkle with the rest of the Parmesan.

Chef Recipe Tips:

  • The ideal water to salt ratio for cooking pasta is 34 fluid ounces (1 l) of water to 0.4 ounces (10 g) of salt. 
  • You can replace cheese with your favorite.

greatest mac and cheese recipe

Best Cheese for Mac and Cheese

This recipe for homemade mac and cheese combines the flavors of sharp Cheddar and Parmesan. Cheddar provides a delicious base, while Parmesan adds a more complex and salty taste. You can adjust the recipe to your liking by using different cheese options such as Gruyere, Monterey Jack, and Gouda. All of these cheeses work well in mac and cheese.

Tips for avoiding grainy cheese sauce:

  • The type of cheddar cheese you use makes a difference. High-quality, aged cheddar gives you a stronger flavor and smoother texture. Milder and cheaper Cheddar has less flavor and an almost grainy taste.
  • Use freshly grated cheese. Pre-shredded cheese from the store does not melt the same way as freshly grated cheese, and grating the cheese helps it melt smoothly and evenly into the sauce.
  • Allow the cheese to come to room temperature. It is better to grate the cheese before I start the recipe. That way, it can sit at room temperature while you prepare the white sauce.
  • Use low heat. For the cheese to melt properly and smoothly, we want it to have a gradual change in temperature (just as we did when we grated the cheese and let it come to room temperature at the beginning of the recipe). Remove the sauce from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes when it’s time to add the cheese. It should be just warm enough to melt.
  • Don’t stir the sauce too much once the cheese is melted. Add the pasta, toss quickly, and place in the oven.

recipe of mac and cheese

What Goes With Mac and Cheese?

Mac and cheese pairs well with a variety of sides and accompaniments that complement its creamy, cheesy flavor. Some popular options include

  • Green Salad: A refreshing contrast to the richness of macaroni and cheese is a simple green salad with vinaigrette dressing.
  • Steamed Vegetables: Steamed broccoli, cauliflower, or carrots add a healthy color to the meal.
  • Garlic Bread: Crispy garlic bread or dinner rolls are a great way to soak up all that creamy cheese sauce.
  • Fried Chicken: A classic comfort food combination of crispy fried chicken and creamy macaroni and cheese.
  • Tomato Soup: A comforting and complementary side dish to mac and cheese is a bowl of warm tomato soup.

recipe for good mac and cheese

How to Reheat Mac and Cheese

Make sure the leftovers are completely cooled before storing them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.

For reheating homemade mac and cheese, it’s best to use the oven or the microwave. If you’re worried about it drying out, add a tablespoon or two of milk before reheating.

Can You Freeze Mac and Cheese?

If you have made mac and cheese at home and you know you won’t be consuming it within four days, it’s okay to freeze it. To do so, transfer the leftovers to zip-top freezer bags in serving-size portions. Wrap each bag in foil, then place them flat in the freezer for up to six months. When you’re ready to eat, thaw the mac and cheese in the refrigerator overnight.

 

Homemade Mac and Cheese
Author:Vadim Rachok
Take the recipe for mac and cheese and make both a creamy and comforting dish.  
recipe for best mac and cheese
Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
40 mins
Servings:
2
Ingredients you will need:
5,3 ounces (150 g) penne pasta
1 ounce (30 g) flour
1 ounce (30 g) butter
1 ounce (30 g) milk
0,07 ounces (2 g) nutmeg
1,4 ounces (40 g) grated parmesan cheese
2,8 ounces (80 g) cheddar cheese
salt
pepper
Let’s start !
1

Prepare the sauce: Place the saucepan on the stove, add the flour, and toast over medium heat for 1-1.5 minutes, stirring constantly to eliminate the moisture in the flour.

2

Add the butter and mix well, then gradually add the milk.

3

Reduce the heat to a minimum and cook the sauce until it thickens (8-10 minutes), stirring constantly. 

4

Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.

5

Grate 2 ounces (60 g) of cheddar into the sauce, cover with plastic wrap (in contact), and set aside.

6

Place a liter of water in a saucepan on the stove. Bring to a boil and add salt.

7

Add the pasta and cook for 7-8 minutes (or according to package instructions).

8

Place the cooked pasta in a saucepan with the sauce, add 100 ml of the pasta water, 0,7 ounces (20 g) of Parmesan, put on the stove, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring until the sauce is homogeneous.

9

Place on a plate, grate the rest of the cheddar, and sprinkle with the rest of the Parmesan.

Nutrition Information
Servings Per Recipe: 2 Calories: 1340
% Daily Value *
 % Daily Value *
Total Fat 48g62%
Saturated Fat 30g149%
Cholesterol 142mg47%
Sodium 881mg38%
Total Carbohydrate 65g24%
Dietary Fiber 3g9%
Protein 37g 
Vitamin C 1mg3%
Calcium 865mg67%
Iron 3mg19%
Potassium 522mg11%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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Watch How To Make It

When making mac and cheese, it's essential to choose the right cheese combination to achieve the perfect balance of flavors. This recipe combines sharp Cheddar and Parmesan, which works wonderfully together. However, don't be afraid to get creative with your cheese choices. Gruyere, Monterey Jack, or Gouda can add unique dimensions to your mac and cheese. Experiment with different cheese combinations to find your personal favorite and take your mac and cheese game to the next level!

Vadim Rachok
Vadim Rachok
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