Homemade macaroni and cheese is cozy, warm, and comforting. Your entire family – both kids and grownups alike – will adore this creamy, cheesy mac ‘n cheese recipe.
HOMEMADE MACARONI AND CHEESE that’s way better than the box
I still remember coming home from school feeling famished after skipping breakfast and choosing to nourish my teen brain with candy bars for lunch. Does it sound at all more reasonable if I said they were Snickers bars packed with peanuts?
There were plenty of days when I’d rush home right after the bell rang, head straight into the kitchen, and cook myself a store bought box shells and cheese. Tthe kind with a foiled squeeze pouch filled with perplexing ingredients that added up to not-real-cheese.
Fast forward a couple decades and I’ve tested a mountain of homemade macaroni and cheese recipes, hoping to capture a rich and creamy texture using real cheese and fresh ingredients. Nothing artificial nor unpronounceable.
It’s a happy day, because you’re about to own the recipe for the perfect homemade macaroni and cheese, natural ingredients and all.
Specific Cheese Makes All the Difference
This macaroni and cheese is perfectly creamy, rich, superbly cheesy, and big on flavor. It’s fabulous right out of the oven, and it manages to reheat surprisingly well. If you’ve ever tried reheating leftover mac ‘n cheese, you know it’s no easy task and you’ll appreciate this recipe all the more.
Sharp white cheddar makes all the difference, with its super creamy and smooth texture upon melting. Buy a good quality block of sharp white cheddar cheese, rather than the pre-shredded bags, as bagged shredded cheese often contains additional ingredients that hinder its ability to achieve a melty-smooth texture.
We prefer sharp cheddar for its bolder, more pronounced flavor, thanks to being aged for more years than mild cheddar. If you prefer a more orange hue, you can use sharp yellow cheddar instead of the white; the main difference is the annatto coloring typically added to yellow cheeses.
The second good block of cheese you’ll need is Pecorino Romano — it brings this dish over the top. It’s deliciously savory, adding another irresistibly cheesy dimension to your homemade macaroni and cheese. Again, grate your own fresh block of cheese to ensure a velvety texture.
Whisk, Whisk Away
The most creamy and smooth cheese sauce starts with a simple roux (pronounced roo.) Roux is a fancy term for a mixture of flour and butter that are combined over heat to help thicken sauces and gravies. When in luck, it’s used for cheesy corn au gratin.
Roux for mac ‘n cheese is simple; just be sure to whisk constantly until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick. Its the constant whisking that will prevent a slightly gritty texture and helps your cheese sauce stay velvety. Just the way mac ‘n cheese lovers like it.
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