I love macaroni and cheese and I love it even more when it is homemade with a thick and cheesy, rich and creamy sauce. This easy homemade macaroni and cheese will quickly become a family favorite! It is fast and easy and so much better than the boxed macaroni and cheese (Kraft I still love you!).
I have searched for years for the best homemade mac n cheese and never could find one that I liked.
Every time we go to Disneyland we make sure to eat at Café Orleans (patio seating of course and obviously for the Monte Cristo sandwiches and Pommes Frites/fries … if you haven’t tried those you are missing out….hurry and book a flight because they are TO.DIE.FOR.GOOD!). And every time we eat there, the boys will order the Cheesy Macaroni (it’s different than the macaroni you get in the other places in the park) and they eat the entire dish and always want more! The macaroni and cheese at Café Orleans is delicious. It is smooth and creamy and just the perfect amount of cheese (not too much, not too little, and not too sharp-I do not like super sharp tasting macaroni and cheese).
Ever since we first tried it, I have been on the hunt for something as good to make at home. Now this recipe is certainly not Café Orleans level mac n’ cheese, but it is really darn good and easy to make! And what I love the most about it is that it has regular cheese…no fancy cheese counter cheeses here!
So I finally stumbled upon a recipe from The Baker Mama and I was hooked! I loved that it was regular cheese, nothing super fancy and weird, it was fast and easy….and so good! So thank you, The Baker Mama, for finally giving me a delicious Macaroni and Cheese! My boys loved it! I tweaked a few things, but didn’t have to change much!
I use 1 pound (one box) of pasta. My favorite paste to use Barilla’s Cellentani pasta. (not getting paid) They area bit thicker, with a long and twisty shape that the sauce clings too, but any type of pasta works great! I cook it, then drain it and set it aside.
The Cheese for Easy Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
For the cheese you will use shredded cheddar cheese and American cheese. I prefer mild or medium cheddar cheese, but you can use sharp cheddar as well.
Lets talk about the American cheese. You are going to be shocked to hear what I use. It makes it so cheesy and creamy and is so easy! No shredding/grating and no fancy cheese from the cheese and deli counter! (Thank you The Baker Mama!) I use the Kraft Deli American Cheese Slices!
Now don’t get confused here. These deli slices are not the plastic wrapped slices. They are creamier and a step up from the Kraft cheese slices you are thinking of. But I am here to tell you that these Kraft Deli slices are delicious and make the macaroni and cheese creamy and perfect. I have tried the American cheese from the deli/cheese counter and have tried these Kraft Deli slices and I prefer the Kraft Deli slices! They are both good and will make a great macaroni and cheese, so if the slices freak you out, get your cheese from the Cheese People at the counter! (I am not getting paid from Kraft)
As for the shredded cheddar cheese, you can use mild, medium, sharp, whatever you like best! You can use orange or white cheddar cheese and orange or white American cheese. It will all taste the same, the color will just be whichever you choose.
Seasoning the Easiest and Most Delicious Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
In a large skillet or sauce pan (you will add the cooked pasta to this pan, so make sure it is big enough) you will make a roux, which is butter, flour, and milk. Once the roux thickens, I add my cheese.
Now for the seasoning! I season it with salt and pepper and some garlic salt. Simple and easy flavor but the perfect compliment to the cheese! You can adjust the seasonings to taste. I always season it after adding the cheese, because the cheese itself will add flavor to the sauce. So season a little as you go, mixing and tasting, then adding more as needed.
If you find your macaroni is too thick (I prefer mine thick so I apologize if it is too thick for your liking) just add a little milk until it reaches the consistency you like! It will thicken upon standing as it cools.
After it is seasoned and cheesed (is that a word? I like it, even if it isn’t), add your pasta and then stir it up. Serve it up and ENJOY! You will love it and want to make it weekly!
This macaroni can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. When reheated, you may need to add more milk to thin it out… and maybe even a bit more cheese!;)
The Easiest and Most Delicious Homemade Macaroni and Cheese is easy to make and your kids (and all adults) will LOVE it! It is cheesy, creamy and so dang good!
If you love this homemade macaroni and cheese try my Grilled Mac N’ Cheese Sandwich! Click HERE for the recipe!
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The Easiest and Most Delicious Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
- 1 pound pasta, I like to use Barilla Cellentani, cooked and drained
- 5 tbsp butter
- 5 tbsp flour
- 3 cups 2% or whole milk this works best for creamy mac n cheese
- 1 to 2 tsp salt, seasoned to taste
- 1/2 tsp garlic salt, to taste
- 1 pinch onion powder
- pinch of pepper, or more to taste
- 2 to 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese *to taste I prefer mild or medium
- 6 to 7 oz. American Cheese, sliced or shredded, to taste which is 6 or 7 slices of the deli cheese, or weigh shredded cheese…*see notes
- Cook your pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain and set aside after cooking.
- In a large skillet or sauce pan (big enough to add the pasta too), over meduim heat, melt your butter, add the flour and whisk together, letting it bubble and cook for a few minutes.
- Slowly add your milk, whisking it so it is smooth and mixed well. Let this simmer on medium heat until it has thickened, whisking occasionally. It usually takes mine a good 15 minutes to thicken, sometimes longer.
- Add your cheeses, let them melt and stir them in, making sure they are melted and mixed fully. Add more cheese if needed to taste.
- Season your sauce with the salt, garlic salt and pepper. I always start out with a little of each, adding them a little at a time. Taste as you go so you don't over-season.
- After the sauce is seasoned to your liking, add your pasta (make sure there isn't alot of excess water on it). Mix well – you will probably need a large spoon at this point to stir it all together. You can adjust cheese and seasonings again if needed.
- If your macaroni is too thick, thin it out with a little more milk.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
- This macaroni and cheese can be stored in your fridge for up to a week. You may need to add some more milk if it is too thick when reheating…and you can always add more cheese too!
- You can use any type of pasta that you like. I like to use Barilla’s Cellentani pasta. They area bit thicker, with a long and twisty shape that the sauce clings too!
- You need to use a milk with a higher fat content, so 2% or whole works best to get the thick and creamy sauce.
- For the shredded cheddar cheese you can choose if you like mild, or medium, or even sharp cheddar cheese. I prefer a mild or medium cheddar for this macaroni.
- For the American Cheese, I have tried the American cheese from the deli/cheese counter and have tried Kraft Deli slices and I prefer the Kraft Deli slices! They are both good and will make a great macaroni and cheese. Don’t freak out if you are adding slices to the sauce, it all melts the same! Add as little or as much cheese as you prefer. Add a little at a time until it reaches your perfect level of cheesiness. You can always add more after seasoning too!
- I add the cheese to my sauce first, then season it after the cheese melts. You need the cheese in the sauce so you season it right. The cheese tends to add some flavor and salt to the sauce, so I add the cheese first, then season according to taste.