Easy Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

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Once you try this quick and easy recipe for baked mac and cheese, you’ll never go back to the boxed stuff again!

This is the perfect side dish to some slow cooker pork tenderloin or grilled pork chops. If you have kids, serve them this mac and cheese for lunch along with some roasted veggies. It’s a delicious and easy lunch or dinner.

easy baked mac and cheese

I’ve always been a macaroni and cheese connoisseur, so when I’m able to make my own with a recipe like this, it makes the world a better place.

baked mac and cheese in a casserole dish right out of the oven

How To Make Baked Mac and Cheese

The best thing about this recipe is that it uses all real and whole ingredients. It isn’t much more work than boxed mac and cheese, either. In fact, these ingredients make all the difference.

What You Need:

Here’s what you’ll need from the store. The exact amounts are in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Kitchen Tools Needed:

Ingredients Needed:

baked macaroni scooped out into a bowl

Tips For Baked Macaroni and Cheese

All the exact steps are in the printable recipe card, just a little bit further below. First, I have some tips that I think will help you as you make it. If you have a question about this recipe, please leave it in the comments.

Use Real Cheese

The best way to get a rich and creamy cheese sauce for mac and cheese is to use real cheese.

Another thing that makes a good macaroni and cheese is how the pasta takes on the cheese sauce.

If it’s simply cooked noodles swimming in some cheesy sauce, that’s not really what I’m looking for.

I want the pasta to be completely ensconced in cheese and to absorb all the cheesy goodness, texture, and flavor. By baking it in the oven, that is exactly what you’ll do.

bowls of baked mac and cheese

Crunchy Topping

The third thing that I think makes a delicious macaroni and cheese is having a wonderful layer of golden brown melted cheese on top.

It’s heavenly and adds a dimension that simply cannot be found in a box.

Some people like to crumble Ritz crackers and place them on top. You can certainly do that. To keep this recipe basic (and healthier) I skipped the cracker topping.

a single bowl of baked macaroni and cheese

Storage

If you have leftover baked mac and cheese, store it in an airtight food storage container and keep it in the refrigerator for up to three days. Any longer than three days and the quality will begin to diminish.

Many recipes call for several steps and ingredients but this one uses just the basics and is really the easiest and best recipe for baked macaroni and cheese I’ve ever made.

Take a few minutes and give this one a try.

easy baked macaroni and cheese
easy baked macaroni and cheese
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Easy Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Print Recipe
This homemade baked macaroni and cheese recipe is a crowd pleaser – small family dinner, kids or picky eaters – a big thumbs up from all! You will never go back to the boxed stuff again.
Prep Time:20 mins
Cook Time:25 mins
Total Time:45 mins

SERVINGS

6

Equipment

  • Large Saucepan
  • Baking Dish
  • Oven

Ingredients

  • 1 package elbow macaroni cooked according to package directions., 8oz
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese 4oz, usually 1/2 package
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Instructions

  • Cook macaroni according to package directions and set aside.
  • In a large saucepan, melt butter over low-medium heat and add flour, salt, pepper, paprika and ground red pepper. Whisk until smooth. Slowly add milk and continue whisking for 5 minutes while still over heat.
  • Remove from heat and immediately add 1 cup of the shredded cheese and stir in well until it a nice rich thick cheese sauce.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Grease a baking dish and add macaroni and cheese sauce and mix well.
  • Cover with remaining cup of shredded cheese and bake for 20-25 minutes until top is golden brown and bubbly.
  • Let stand for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 354kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 470mg | Potassium: 244mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 601IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 379mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baked macaroni and cheese, creamy cheese, mac and cheese
Servings: 6
Calories: 354kcal

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