Want to make your family’s eyes light up around the dining table? Serve this baked mac and cheese tonight! Homemade from scratch, ultra creamy and oh so yum!
What’s in this post:
★ About This Recipe
★ Important Cooking Tips
★ Recipe Video (NEW!)
★ Printable Recipe
I believe I have talked a lot about the fact that we just love mac and cheese around here.
The truth is – we REALLY love it. But then I realized that I don’t actually have a recipe for that classic baked mac and cheese here on the blog.
You know, the one with the ultra creamy sauce and that crispy top – yum!
I first learned about this classic baked mac and cheese about ten years ago? It was a recipe with about 2 cups of brown sugar (not kidding!) and plenty of processed cheese spread.
I have since experimented a lot and tweaked my recipe until it was just perfect – now I’m sharing the result! There’s absolutely no processed cheese spread, no brown sugar – but all the yummy and cheesy creaminess!
Sometimes I forget to share these classic evergreens here on the blog, because I think they are so basic nobody is going to care. But then I remember that I myself cook a lot of those classics every single day and don’t really experiment with crazy flavors or techniques in my everyday cooking.
And cooking the classics makes me feel pretty accomplished and put together as a homemaker anyways, so I’m sure at least one other person will feel the same 🙂
Here are my best cooking tips for that classic creamy baked mac and cheese:
Do not overcook the pasta
This is very important! Cook it a bit less than you would if you served it right away.
And it’s important to drain it and then immediately rinse it under cold water, because otherwise the cooking process will continue as it cools.
It’s important to do this because you will then bake the macaroni in the cheese sauce. Not only will they cook a bit more in the oven (and turn to mush if they’re already very soft), but when they’re hot when you mix in the sauce they will soak up too much of the cheese sauce and your mac will be less creamy.
Make a good roux
A roux is what you call it when you first cook flour in fat and then add liquid. This is how you make bechamel, for example. The flour thickens the sauce.
It is very important that you do not let your pan get too hot when making the roux for this recipe. You don’t want to add any color to the flour (or worse – burn it!), just very gently cook it.
Once you have melted the butter, whisk in the flour (use a silicone covered whisk like this one* from Amazon for easy clean up). It works best using a whisk, so try not to use another tool. It will become foamy, keep whisking until it is smooth and no longer foamy (about one minute).
Then you’ll want to carefully but swiftly add about one cup of the recipe’s liquid (the pan is hot, so watch out!). It’s important to pour quite fast, as the flour will seize up and thicken the liquid immediately. Pull the pan off the heat if it happens too quickly.
Now you need to whisk very well and very fast to make a smooth and thick sauce. Then pour in the remaining milk and broth and whisk very well. No lumps allowed! Now you’ll need to simmer for about 5-6 minutes, whisking from time to time, until thickened. You just mastered making a roux! Well done.
Careful when adding the Greek yogurt
If the sauce is too hot when you add the Greek yogurt, it might split.
Be sure to measure out the yogurt when you first start cooking and leave it out on the counter to bring it to room temperature.
When you’ve cooked your roux, first take the sauce off the heat and stir in all other ingredients. This will cool the sauce down a bit.
Once you add the Greek yogurt, stir it in very quickly.
If you overbake the mac and cheese, it will become less creamy.
Don’t wait for the top to get browned and crispy, rather switch on the broiler and broil it for a minute or two, until golden brown and crispy.
Then, serve hot. The longer it stands for, the more of the sauce the macaroni will soak up!
This goes perfectly with Crispy Oven Fried Chicken (we just recently had it with my new Garlic Parmesan Crispy Oven Fried Chicken!) or even with a metloaf for an ultra comfort food dinner. Don’t forget some greens on the side – we love simple roasted broccoli!
Watch the how to video here:
Get the printable recipe here:
Creamy Homemade Baked Mac and Cheese
- 9x13 inch casserole dish
- measuring cups and spoons
- wide skillet
- silicone coated whisk
- measuring jug
- 3 cups macaroni
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 tsp mustard powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp ground paprika
- Black pepper to taste
- Pinch nutmeg
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 5 tbsp bread crumbs
- Prep macaroni, pan and oven: Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process (they will get mushy otherwise). Pour into a lightly greased 9x13" pan and set aside. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Make the roux: Melt the butter in a wide skillet. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until the flour is no longer foamy (about one minute).
- Make the sauce: Carefully whisk in the milk and chicken broth (the pan is hot so watch out for splatters) and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened (about 5-6 minutes). Take off the heat.
- Finish the sauce and combine with macaroni: Stir in the mustard, salt and spices. Add the mozzarella and cheddar cheese. Stir well. Fold in the Greek yogurt. Combine with the macaroni in the pan.
- Add breadcrumbs: Evenly sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the macaroni.
- Bake and broil: Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until the sauce bubbles up on the sides. Brown the top under the broiler for 1 minute if you like.
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