This Baked Macaroni and Cheese is my favorite homemade mac and cheese recipe. It is full of sharp cheddar cheese and elbow pasta with a seasoned bread crumb topping. This is a comfort food casserole that will satisfy the adult palate!
Growing up with homemade mac and cheese
My mom made her baked mac and cheese much differently than I do. I like to make a cheese sauce, stir the macaroni into it, top it with breadcrumbs or crackers, and then bake it.
Mom arranged the macaroni, shredded cheese, and seasoned flour in layers. Then she would pour milk over top to just cover the macaroni. She always crushed saltine crackers over top, then she would bake it.
I never loved mac n cheese as a kid, and that is probably why. To me, the sauce was not cheesy or creamy enough. When I started making baked macaroni and cheese for my own home, I decided to make a cheesy roux, then add the pasta. It was a meal my kids loved and still love today.
What you need to Baked Macaroni and Cheese
This is a pretty basic recipe. You won't need a ton of different ingredients, and the ingredients are common to most people's kitchen.
Pasta: I normally use elbow macaroni. It's my basic go-to. However, any shape pasta that will catch the cheese sauce in little pockets will work. Shell and spiral pasta work well also.
Cheese: I like to use cheddar cheese. Sharp or extra sharp cheese is best.
All-Purpose Flour: This ingredient helps to thicken the cheese sauce.
Milk: Any milk of your choice works for this recipe.
- Cook the pasta until it is just under the al dente stage. As the macaroni and cheese bakes in the oven, the pasta will continue to cook. This way, you don't end up with mushy pasta.
- When making the roux, allow the butter and flour to bubble and cook for 2-3 minutes. This allows the rawness to cook out of the flour and gives it a nutty flavor.
- Whisk the cold milk into the flour slowly and whisk it continually as the milk is poured. This will help prevent any lumping of flour in your sauce.
Make this recipe your way
- Spice it up by sprinkling red pepper in with the flour mixture.
- Use pretty much any cheese you wish. Some of our favorites are Gruyere, Swiss, Cheddar, Monterey Jack, and Mozzarella.
- I like to shred my own cheese, but you can use pre-shredded cheese for convenience.
- Stir a cup of ham into the macaroni and cheese before baking.
- Stir in ¼ cup red hot sauce and 1 cup cooked chicken for a buffalo chicken mac and cheese
- Use half cheddar cheese and half Velveeta cheese (this is Grumpy's favorite way!)
Other casserole recipes you may enjoy
Bubble Up Pizza Casserole is like a pizza in a dish without all the work!
Chicken Enchilada Casserole is a low carb delicious casserole for the whole family.
Big Mac Casserole will satisfy that mac attack without the carbs!
Ham and Noodle Casserole is an old fashioned comfort food casserole made with leftover ham.
Green Chicken Enchiladas is a delicious casserole made with low carb tortillas.
*If you made this Oven Baked Macaroni and Cheese, please give it a star rating*
Oven Baked Macaroni and Cheese
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- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Cook macaroni according to instructions. Drain, and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes, or until onion is translucent.
- Whisk in flour, salt, and pepper to the onion mixture and whisk, cooking for 2-3 minutes.
- Pour the milk into the flour mixture, whisking constantly. Cook and stir over medium heat until slightly thick and bubbly.
- Stir in the cheese until melted.
- Add the cooked macaroni to the cheese sauce and stir to coat.
- Transfer the macaroni and cheese mixture to a 2-quart casserole and sprinkle with bread crumbs.
- Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until cheese sauce is bubbly and heated through. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.