This dreamy, Creamy Macaroni and Cheese recipe is just what you’d expect, a rich velvety smooth cheese sauce that’s ready in 15 minutes or less.
Wisconsin’s Best Creamy Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
Coming up with this recipe for the creamiest, cheesiest macaroni and cheese has been for me an exercise of love.
I love pasta. But I love pasta smothered in an ooey gooey cheese sauce even more.
You could say that I have an advantage since I live in the Dairy State, but with so many different cheese types, not all cheeses can be mac & cheese worthy.
Did you know that each cheese has it’s own melting-point? What this means for those of us who love, love mac and cheese is that if you use the wrong cheese, you could end up with a lumpy or clumpy sauce.
Now that doesn’t sound appetizing does it?
The truth is, not all cheeses are created equal especially when you want a great melting cheese for macaroni and cheese, so this recipe takes the mystery from having you choose the best cheese to use and gives you a smooth sauce that also offers a layer of spiciness to the macaroni.
That being said, if you are adventurous and want to mix and match cheese to get different layers of flavors, I’m all for it!
RELATED: What are good melting cheeses?
Now, the next thing you’ll need to know is how to make a Béchamel Sauce.
Yes, I know that sounds very technical, but it really isn’t.
Here’s a great video tutorial how to make a béchamel sauce at home.
As you can see, it’s really easy to make a béchamel sauce. And, I believe it is an essential step toward making great mac and cheese.
Finally, here are couple more handy tips to help you with making the most dreamiest, creamiest Macaroni and Cheese–ever:
- Allow the cheese to come to room temperature before grating.
- And, speaking of grating, a food processor makes this job super quick and doesn’t warm the cheese as much as hand grating does.
- Don’t add the cheese until the sauce has been made. You’ll find that the cheese melts beautifully and is easily incorporated when you make the sauce first, add cheese second.
- Warm the milk/cream before adding to the sauce. This will keep the cooking of the roux on track and won’t “shock” the sauce if you use cold liquids.
- Don’t overcook. Once the cheese has melted, immediately add the macaroni. If you overcook/overheat the cheese it might become lumpy. Not so great if you love creamy mac & cheese.
Now that you know the secrets to making the macaroni and cheese, its time to make your own. Enjoy!
For more great weeknight recipes, be sure to check out my Pinterest Board: Dinner Recipes from Wisconsin Homemaker.
Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
- 1 lb elbow macaroni cooked according to package instructions
- ½ cup butter
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup cream
- 2 cups aged sharp cheddar cheese, shredded from block cheese
- 1 cup Monterey Jack Cheese shredded from block cheese
- 1 cup Pepper Jack Cheese shredded from block cheese
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg fresh grated
- 1/4 tsp dry mustard
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper optional
- Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- In a large pot, melt the butter over medium high heat, then add the flour and stir well.
- Next drizzle the milk/cream into the roux. Stir until smooth and combined.
- Now add the shredded cheese by handfuls and keep stirring until the sauce is smooth. Keep doing this until all of the cheese has been incorporated into the sauce.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well.
- Finally, carefully stir in the macaroni.
- Serve immediately. Enjoy!
If you prefer a light crust on the mac and cheese, you can sprinkle on about 1 cup of breadcrumbs that have been tossed with 2-3 tbsp of melted butter, place in a preheated 400 degree F oven for about 15 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Enjoy!