Prep Time
15 Mins
Cook Time
7 Mins
Bake Time
20 Mins
Stand Time
10 Mins
Makes 2 to 3 main-dish or 4 to 6 side-dish servings

Give up the box mix because making Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese from scratch is easier than you think. Shredding a block of cheese adds a little more prep time but the smooth and creamy results are worth it. This dish makes for a great side dish that the family will love, or a fun casserole to bring to your next potluck dinner. For more tasty mac and cheese recipes, see our complete Macaroni and Cheese recipe collection.

How to Make It

Step 1

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Keep warm.

Step 2

Melt butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-low heat; whisk in flour until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly, 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk, and cook, whisking constantly, 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in salt, black and red pepper, 1 cup shredded cheese, and cooked pasta.

Step 3

Spoon pasta mixture into a lightly greased 2-qt. baking dish; top with remaining 1 cup cheese.

Step 4

Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Step 5

Note: For testing purposes only, we used Kraft Sharp Cheddar Cheese. To lighten, 2% reduced-fat milk and reduced-fat cheese may be substituted.

Step 6

One-Pot Macaroni and Cheese: Prepare recipe as directed, stirring all grated Cheddar cheese into thickened milk mixture until melted. Add cooked pasta, and serve immediately. Prep: 10 min., Cook: 7 min.

Ratings & Reviews

December 24, 2015
This is the BEST mac n cheese recipe EVER!!!!!! It is better than my Mom's and this year we will be adding Wright's Bacon to the top w some extra cheese!! I CAN'T WAIT!!!!

Annav1's Review

December 31, 2013
Although it has potential, ALTERATIONS WILL BE NEEDED if you decide to use the recipe. Definitely more cheese needed in the sauce, we added parsley, a hint of garlic powder & bread crumbs to have a crunchy top. Read some reviews stating that the sauce came out grainy, MINE TOO! Still don't know if I did something wrong.

CGroos's Review

January 25, 2014
Yes, this is delicious! Double it for a crowd. Use half milk, and half 1/2&1/2. Also, a teaspoon of dry mustard and touch of garlic powder for zip.

Selfduo's Review

November 12, 2013
So so good. I doubled the cheese as suggested by the comments and used Panko on the top. I used Cabot Extra Sharp cheese and Penne pasta. I was out of milk but had heavy cream, so I used half cream and half water. Some of the best Mac and cheese I have ever had.

Delicious Basic Mac & Cheese

March 11, 2018
I changed this a bit due to introducing "real" mac & cheese to my 8YO who due to an allergy has never had it before (he's used to vegan cheese). This turned out great! I used bacon everywhere since my son loves it. So 4 pieces bacon crumbled in the cheese sauce and 4 pieces bacon crumbled with breadcrumbs on top (i used all the cheese in the sauce). In place of the milk I used 2 cups chicken broth and used white pepper and no red pepper. I haven't baked it yet but prior to baking it tasted amazing! I had to force myself to stop so there'd be plenty for dinner. Thanks for the quick and easy basic recipe! 

TGam89's Review

February 20, 2013

Caribbeangel's Review

August 20, 2013

shoshana's Review

October 16, 2012
I followed the recipe exactly, except I left out the red pepper. It turned our really, really good. I will definitely make this again.

pamelacrutcher's Review

December 30, 2011

ERolfe's Review

October 21, 2012
Felt that the ground red pepper overpowered the dish. I used extra sharp cheddar and added a panko breadcrumb topping which was perfect. Would make again omitting the red pepper.