Thursday, April 24, 2014

The BEST Macaroni and Cheese Recipe EVER!


I have to confess that I am not much of a cook, it has taken me many years to get to the point that I even have the courage to try to make new things.  But in the last few years I have started to experiment with new recipes, some successful, some failures!  Every once in a while I have come across a really successful, delicious new dish and this macaroni and cheese recipe is one of them.  It is creamy, cheesy, just the right amount of spice and heat, and a crunchy topping - what more could you ask for?  Best of all, it is not that difficult to make.  So let's begin!

For a more easily printable version of this recipe, try this link Best Macaroni and Cheese Ever Recipe which has no pictures to make it simpler to print.  And see this update to the recipe.

Start by reading the entire recipe, then butter a 9” x 9” glass pan, and preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
 
Gather the following ingredients:
Large pot of boiling water
8 ounces elbow macaroni (half of a 1 lb. box)

Cook the elbow macaroni in boiling water for approximately 7 – 8 minutes.  Drain, and set aside.

Cheese Sauce Ingredients:
Flour & spices
¼ cup butter (1/2 stick)
¼ cup of flour
A generous pinch of ground cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups half and half
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese


Mix together the flour, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, black pepper, and salt.

In a 3 ½ quart saucepan melt the ½ stick of butter over medium heat.  Add in the flour mixture and stir until it is smooth.  
Melt butter

Add flour mixture and stir
Stir until smooth

Add the half and half in small amounts, stirring well after each addition to keep the mixture smooth until all 2 cups is added.  
Slowly add half and half, stirring well.
Keep stirring while bringing the mixture to a boil over medium heat.  The mixture will thicken.  
Keep stirring until mixture boils.
Reduce the heat to low and continue to stir for about another 5 minutes.  Take the saucepan off the heat and add the 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese.  Stir until the cheese is melted.  
Stir shredded cheese into the mixture.
Add your cooked, drained elbow macaroni to the cheese sauce, stir well, and taste for seasoning. 
Add drained macaroni to the cheese sauce.
Pour into your prepared 9” x 9” glass pan.
Macaroni and cheese sauce in 9" x 9" glass pan.
Topping:
1 ½ tablespoons butter, melted
½ cup panko bread crumbs

Stir the panko bread crumbs into the melted butter.  Sprinkle the mixture on top of your macaroni in the glass pan.
Evenly sprinkle the buttered panko crumbs on top the macaroni

Bake in a 400 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes until it is bubbly and the top begins to brown.
The BEST Macaroni and Cheese EVER!


This dish tastes best when first served and should easily serve 6.  This dish is based on a recipe from www.macaroniandcheesecake.com.



24 comments:

  1. Do you have to bake it? Can you eat straight from pot?

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  2. Yes you certainly can just eat it straight from the pot. It is only if you want a crunchy top, do you need to put the panko crumbs on top and bake. I hope you and your family enjoy this version of Mac n Cheese, it really is delicious!

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  3. This is really the best mac and cheese I've ever tasted,,,my guests loved it,,,will make again...Would be a hit for pot luck dinner.

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  4. Thank you for sharing this easy step-by-step recipe. I love mac and cheese so much but have never made it from scratch before because all of the recipes I've found seem too complicated. I'm definitely going to make this for Thanksgiving next week! And maybe kick it up a notch with some different cheeses! ;-)

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  5. Thanks Megan! I appreciate your kind words. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and I think your idea of using different cheeses is great. Enjoy!

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  6. Can you make a printable version of this, please?

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    1. I have reposted the recipe with no pictures and added a link on the original post directing you to the streamlined recipe. I hope this helps!

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  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. Thank you. The original was 4 pages, so this helps.

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  9. I made this for lunch for my family today, it was so yummy and SUPER easy! I didn't do the crunch top because I had a hungry toddler but it didn't take much more time than a box of Kraft and it was 10 times more cheesy and delicious! Thanks for a great recipe! :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Summer for your kind words. I am so happy that you enjoyed the recipe. You should check out the Bacon, Chicken, & Cheese Casserole recipe at this link http://amishreader.blogspot.com/2014/11/here-is-your-post-thanksgiving-recipe.html

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  10. Does this work in a crock pot as well?

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    1. Great question, Kristine! For my family Christmas party on December 21, I plan on making the macaroni and cheese and after I combine the macaroni and cheese sauce, I will put it in my crock pot to keep warm until the family eats. I will report back on how it worked and tasted.

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    2. Kristine, if you go to this link I have posted my thoughts on using a crock pot with this recipe. Hope my experience helps you! http://amishreader.blogspot.com/2014/12/revisiting-best-macaroni-and-cheese.html

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  11. I found this through pinterest, my kids are pretty picky eaters and they only like Red Robin Mac and Cheese before tonight! I made your recipe, I didn't bake it because one of the criteria they like about Red Robin's Mac and Cheese was that the cheese was goey and not crunchy and not baking it made it perfect for them! Many Thanks!

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  12. I'm so excited for you and your family! Your comment really put a smile on my face! I hope you all enjoy this mac and cheese recipe for a long time to come.

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  13. Can I substitute the half and half with milk?

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    1. Yes Kristen you can substitue milk for half and half, however your cheese sauce will be thinner, but on the good side, it will have less calories. I would not recommend using skim milk but the recipe will still work. Hope you enjoy it, Kristen!

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  14. Great recipe! I added extra cayenne because the husband and I like it spicy! :)

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  15. This is by FAR the best mac and cheese I have ever made! We ate it straight out of the pot because I hate crunchy baked pasta, but the recipe is perfection. I'm now going to delete all of the other mac and cheese recipes I've saved. Thank you!

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    1. Thank you Joanna! This has proved to be a very popular recipe so it seems that many, many people agree with both you and I. Thank you for letting me know that your family enjoyed the Macaroni and Cheese!

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  16. Your instructions indicate 8 ounces of macaroni but the photo shows 16 ounces. Just need to clarify before I make it.
    Thanks!

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    1. Donna, you want to use half of a one pound box of macaaroni. I hope you enjoy this recipe!

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    2. Donna, 8 oz of dried macaroni is about 2 Cups.

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