Family Favorite Macaroni and Cheese

macaroni and cheese with bread crumb topping
Macaroni and cheese with crunchy buttered bread crumb topping. Diana Rattray
  • 45 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: Serves 6
Ratings (15)

This macaroni and cheese recipe is a combination of elbow macaroni and a flavorful homemade cheese sauce. Some American (Velveeta) cheese in the sauce makes it creamier than all cheddar, or use all cheddar cheese, smoked cheddar, or a cheddar and Gruyere blend. The sauce is made richer with some light cream or half-and-half, and a small amount of mustard adds flavor.

The buttery bread crumb topping browns perfectly for a delicious, crunchy topping. I sometimes add grated Parmesan cheese to the bread crumb mixture.

What You'll Need

  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni, about 2 cups uncooked
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk, whole or 2 percent
  • 1/2 cup light cream or half-and-half
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard, or use a prepared Dijon mustard
  • 3 cups shredded cheese, about two-thirds Cheddar and one-third American, divided (or a similar blend)
  • 1 cup soft breadcrumbs* tossed with 2 tablespoons melted butter

How to Make It

  1. Grease a 2-quart baking dish. Heat oven to 350 F (180 C/Gas 4).
  2. Cook the macaroni following package directions; drain in a colander and rinse with hot water.
  3. In a medium saucepan melt the 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat until hot and foamy; stir in the flour until bubbly. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Gradually add the milk and cream along with the salt, pepper, and mustard. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Stir in 2 cups of the cheese blend until melted.
  1. Add the drained macaroni to the sauce and stir to blend. Pour the macaroni and cheese into the prepared baking dish. Top with the remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese and the buttery bread crumbs.
  2. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until bubbly and nicely browned.

*Make bread crumbs in the food processor using day-old bread or rolls.

Tips and Variations

  • Use a combination of cheddar and Gruyere cheese or all cheddar cheese.
  • Use shredded smoked cheddar cheese in the sauce.
  • Add about 1/2 cup of cooked crumbled bacon to the sauce.
  • Add 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese to the bread crumb and butter mixture.

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