Basic Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Make this mac and cheese with a cheese or bread crumb topping. Diana Rattray
    45 mins
Ratings (9)

This popular recipe for baked macaroni and cheese is made with about 6 ounces of elbow macaroni, but it is full of cheese. The cheese sauce is made with 8 ounces of cheese, and more cheese is sprinkled over the top before it's baked.

If you prefer a bread crumb topping, see the tips and variations below the recipe.toss 1 cup of fine soft bread crumbs with 2 tablespoons of butter. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the casserole before it goes into the oven.

What You'll Need

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons butter, plus about 1 tablespoon for the topping
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
  • salt

How to Make It

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 1 1/2-quart baking dish.

 Cook macaroni in boiling salted water according to package directions; drain well and set aside.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Blend in flour, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly. Gradually stir in milk and half-and-half. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add paprika, pepper, and 2 cups of the cheese; stir until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth.

Combine sauce with the macaroni and add salt to taste. Place in the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and dot with additional butter.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes.

Serves 4 to 6.

Tips and Variations

Bread Crumb Topping. Omit the extra 1/2 cup of cheese for the topping. Toss 1 cup of fine soft bread crumbs with 2 tablespoons of butter. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the casserole before it goes into the oven.

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