Mac and cheese

Picture of mac and cheese
I present to you: my pretty-famous-among-friends-and-family mac & cheese recipe. :D

I've made it for tons of get togethers and holidays - it's normally the one thing that doesn't have any leftovers! This recipe is based on Fannie Farmer's classic baked mac and cheese, but I've edited it quite a bit over the years and found out all sorts of things that you should and shouldn't do.

This instructable will cover making a super easy mac and cheese, how to turn that into a baked mac and cheese, and also how to get the best mac and cheese that you can.

It really is pretty simple to make mac and cheese from scratch - and it tastes so much better than mac and cheese out of a box!
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Step 1: Ingredients:

Picture of ingredients:
  • 2 cups whole milk (room temp is best! - set it out a little before you begin)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 pound elbow pasta (dried)
  • 1 pound cheese of choice - go for sharp and/or stinky. I'm using an aged medium cheddar!
  • bread crumbs
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Additional tip/tricks/comments:
  1. I prefer to use whole milk - I've used lower fat milks in the past and it just tastes a little flat. You can even do one cup of milk and one of cream if you're feeling crazy!
  2. This recipe is easily doubled, but I've found that when I double it I don't increase the flour/butter. 4 tablespoons of each still make enough roux to thicken additional milk/cream. :) The additional butter also made it greasy.
  3. Use a high quality cheese - cheese that comes shredded and covered in cornstarch is bad. Velveeta is bad. Blocks of Kraft cheese is acceptable. The more processed the cheese is, the greasier it will get.
  4. Sharp cheese is better! The flavor will be slightly diluted in the roux/milk mix.
  5. You probably won't use the whole pound of pasta, but it's good to cook the whole thing so you get the right sauce/pasta ratio.
  6. You can change up the seasonings as you like! I've just included what I use in mine.
chrisdm1 year ago
I made this for dinner for the girls tonight, they loved it! Great recipe!
I make a pasta bake based on mac and cheese. When cooking the pasta add cauliflower pieces, chunks of potato, carrot etc and in the last five mins, broccoli. In a frypan with a little oil, fry up some chopped onion, capsicum (bell pepper), chorizo, and/or bacon. Combine everything and throw it in the casserole dish. Rather than breadcrumbs I like to add EVEN MORE grated cheese, and generous sprinkle of sesame seeds. NOM NOM.
I appreciate the simplicity of this dish... also, the cheeeesiness. Great job, hey, if you like cheeses my enchiladas pack a mean punch.
I'm 14 and made this for my family today. No leftovers and 4 people eating... Easy to make and delicious! Best version of macaroni cand cheese!
jessyratfink (author)  Liam.great982 years ago
Yayayayay! That's awesome. I'm so happy ya'll liked it. :D
loikkonen2 years ago
This might very well be the best food I have ever tasted. Thanks! :)
For an interesting taste difference, try boiling the macaroni in beer and replace some of your other liquid with beer.
This, my friends, is the right way of thinking!
I'm liking this idea... What style of beer would you recommend?
Personally I'd go with something with a little flavor, definitely not a light beer or a standard lager or pilsner. Maybe something like a wheat yeast beer (hefeweizen), standard wheat (Bell's Oberon) or an amber beer (like Killians).
Alezius2 years ago
quick question : do you rince pasta?

and by the way, nice and clear instructable!!!
jessyratfink (author)  Alezius2 years ago
Nope, I just leave it as is. :D

And thank you!
rsmaudsley2 years ago
Love Mac and Cheese. My wife and I always get the Costco mac and cheese. It's pretty good, and we bake it too. But this looks sooo much better. I think I know what's for dinner tomorrow. :-)
Sounds wonderful! Hope to try it soon. Good instructable! Great photos, entertaining text, clear directions. Keep 'em coming!
on my Thanksgiving menu! Cant wait! Thanks
simayanan2 years ago
I strongly suggest a quick spritz of cooking spray. It makes clean up a breeze.
jessyratfink (author)  simayanan2 years ago
I've never had it stick, but I don't use metal pans for it. I bet you'd need cooking spray then!

There's enough butter and fact from the cheese to keep it sticking to glass or stoneware. :D
Bugsley2 years ago
Thank You. <( :- D)=[
I figured it looked like a darn fine gravy till I seen this cheese go in.!
mediabeing2 years ago
I don't see any white wine in your collection of ingredients. I hope you'll do one where you make the BEST mac and cheese....with wine innit. It really does make a BIG difference.
Yummo this looks delicious
billbillt2 years ago
Wonderful as always!!...
troupddt2 years ago
Ok the video was the deal maker. The sound it made was awesome. I'm going to try this for my wife and kids tonight. I bet they are going to love it just like I know I will. Thanks and keep them comeing please mam.
zhaga troupddt2 years ago
Same for me xD
zhaga2 years ago
hey Jesse, that "I present to you" line with the smiley was so funny xD
i am defiantly making this as soon as i can buy a nice cheese, what one would you recommend the most?
At first I thought that Mac was short for Macintosh and this was a parody of some sort with Windows being the cheese. I'm sad sometimes......
doodlecraft2 years ago
It looks awesome...I just wish I had adorable dishes to prepare it in! :)
taransa2 years ago
I tried making velveeta mac and cheese a few weeks ago and thought it was super icky! I can't wait to try this! Have you used any cheeses other than cheddar?
jessyratfink (author)  taransa2 years ago
Ohhhhhh yeah. All kinds! Emmental, parmesan, gruyere, pepper jack, gouda, manchego - as long as it's strong and/or slightly crumbly it'll work awesome. :D

I've mixed all sorts in one batch, too, it's a great use for all the little bits of cheese you might have left in your fridge.
Sweet! Oh man I feel a strong need for some pepper jack now :D

mikeasaurus2 years ago
Faith in humanity restored after watching the video
Looks amazing, I've been thinking about mac and cheese since I went to a new bar in town for lunch...

Y'know the way mac and cheese is always good and sort of comforting? This was shockingly good, bigger, lighter pasta and less goopy with some unidentifiable flavour that added so much to it.

Any guesses?

mmmmm creamy cheesy pasta is a favorite amongst members of my family, my brother would love this! (so would i by the looks of things )
I can always go for a nice creamy bowl of mac and cheese!
PitStoP2 years ago
Yummmmmmmmmm You're going to have to invite me to one of those get together someday. =)
poofrabbit2 years ago
This looks awesome, the only problem, I need you to come cook it for me. :) Well it was worth a shot!