Hands-on Time
22 Mins
Total Time
47 Mins
Makes 6 to 8 servings

For a pan of classic, special occasion-worthy mac, our easy baked macaroni and cheese recipe is the best around. You’ll want to whisk warm milk into the flour mixture to ensure a lump-free sauce. We also recommend shredding your own cheese, rather than buying pre-shredded cheddar, for a creamier texture. (We tested this baked mac and cheese with Cracker Barrel Extra-Sharp Cheddar.) Follow these simple tips, and you’ll have yourself the perfect pan of golden, creamy macaroni and cheese, ready for any occasion, in no time flat. 

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 400°. Microwave milk at HIGH for 1 1/2 minutes. Melt butter in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-low heat; whisk in flour until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute.

Step 2

Gradually whisk in warm milk, and cook, whisking constantly, 5 minutes or until thickened.

Step 3

Whisk in salt, black pepper, 1 cup shredded cheese, and, if desired, red pepper until smooth; stir in pasta. Spoon pasta mixture into a lightly greased 2-qt. baking dish; top with remaining cheese. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

Ratings & Reviews

June 05, 2017
Hello Kristy,             Thank you for telling the truth in a group of LIARS!! Everyone else is rating it five stars, and you were the only one who spoke the truth. We stand with you, and support your reviews. #NOMOREDRYMAC . Stay strong, Kristy, and continue the quest for creamy mac.    Until the next creamy macaroni,                                                   macaroniluvr

Good basic recipe for classic baked mac n cheese

October 06, 2016
Not described here is instructions on how to make a good roux sauce. Essentially, this is what the butter and flour is, and the reason people are getting grainy results. You really don't need to perfect a roux or be a sous chef. For easy and truly smooth and creamy mac n cheese, zero grainy, try starting with 3 tbl spns butter melted. Then in 1/2 cup milk, add 3 tbl spns corn starch. Stir the corn starch into the 1/2 cup milk until thoroughly dissolved. Then slowly add this milk corn starch mixture to the heated melted butter on medium heat stirring continuously. Then, slowly add the remaining 1-1/2 cups milk.  Forget the flour. Stir continuously until it thickens, then add your desired spices and 1/2 the cheese.  Also to give a gourmet flare, I use cellentani pasta instead of elbow noodles. ( corkscrew noodles ) And, I agree with others here, this recipe needs a lot more cheese. However I like to mix it up. Like one part swiss to 3 parts sharp cheddar. Or one part gruyere or smoked gouda, to 3 parts sharp cheddar. I even throw in a 3rd like some garlic spiced goat cheese, in moderation. Browning the top on broil is a good idea too, however don't walk away, this only takes a minute and should be watched closely. My family loves mac n cheese.  My kids used to only eat Kraft. But now they beg for Dad's classic baked. I'll admit, never comes out the same way twice. 

March 19, 2019
Finally someone chimes in with a way to make cheese sauce that isn’t grainy! I thought it was probably the flour. I also thought Casein in the cheese might be the grainy culprit. Thank you! Thank you!

July 13, 2016

July 13, 2016
it caught me off-guard a bit as well, think of it as half a regular 16 oz. box/package. which leaves you with half a box. that makes it 8 oz.

June 05, 2017
Hello Ian,          I regret to inform you that this was the driest macaroni and cheese I have EVER eaten!!! We followed the recipe exactly as is, and it came out dry and oily, not creamy at all. However, if you have any tips on how to make it actually creamy, I would love to know them.          Until the next creamy macaroni,                                                        macaroniluvr

Kristy1125's Review

May 23, 2010
I made this because it looked so good. But it is dry. I like my mac n cheese creamy and I'm always looking for a new way to make it. I thought this baked way looked good but it dried out really quick.

TSTaylor's Review

November 22, 2012
Made this for Thanksgiving 2012 and it was a hit...everyone loved it. I used a little extra cheese so I increased milk a little as well. Wasn't dry at all.


March 19, 2019
Ok, but grainy. Must be the flour. Think I’ll replace flour with corn starch for the roux and see how it turns out.

Jameil's Review

December 28, 2011
This is an good base recipe. Instead of using extra sharp cheese, I mixed mild, sharp and Vermont white cheddar cheeses. It was a huge hit at Thanksgiving.