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.
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni (2 cups uncooked)
- 6 tablespoons butter (divided)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (8 ounces)
- 1 cup shredded American cheese (4 ounces)
- 1 cup soft breadcrumbs*
- Heat oven to 350 F (180 C/Gas 4).
- Grease a 2-quart baking dish or spray with cooking oil spray.
- Cook the macaroni following package directions; drain in a colander and rinse with hot water.
- In a bowl, combine the cheddar and American cheeses. Set aside.
- 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 ground mustard. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Add 2 cups of the cheese blend and continue cooking until melted, stirring constantly.
- 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
- Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and toss with the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over the cheese layer.
- Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until bubbly and nicely browned.
*Make breadcrumbs 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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