Creamy Mac And Cheese Recipe

This baked mac and cheese is a family favorite recipe, loved by both children and adults. It uses a combination of cheeses, layered in the dish as well as melted into a rich and creamy cheese sauce, for the ultimate in cheesy deliciousness! Perfect for a comforting dinner or as a holiday side dish!

Baked mac and cheese. It’s nearly the universal comfort food, and there are SO many variations! In fact, I almost didn’t post this recipe, as there are SOOOO many mac and cheese recipes available, and most people already have their favorite way of making it.

Of course, there’s no “right” way or “wrong” way, so I’m here sharing the way I like to make my mac and cheese (the way my family loves it too).

creamy mac and cheese recipe

Creamy Homemade Baked Mac and Cheese

creamy mac and cheese recipe

This baked mac and cheese is a family favorite recipe, loved by children and adults.

Prep: 20min

Total: 35min

Yield: 8

Serving Size: 1 serving

Nutrition Facts: calories 665 kcal, Carbohydrate 43 g, Protein 28 g, Fat 41 g, Saturated Fat 25 g, Cholesterol 126 mg, Sodium 700 mg, Fiber 1 g, Sugar 3 g, servingSize 1 serving


  • 1 lb. dried elbow pasta
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 1/2 cups half and half
  • 4 cups shredded medium sharp cheddar cheese (divided (measured after shredding))
  • 2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese (divided (measured after shredding))
  • 1/2 Tbsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and grease a 3 qt baking dish (9×13″). Set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When boiling, add dried pasta and cook 1 minute less than the package directs for al dente. Drain and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil to keep from sticking.
  3. While water is coming up to a boil, shred cheeses and toss together to mix, then divide into three piles. Approximately 3 cups for the sauce, 1 1/2 cups for the inner layer, and 1 1/2 cups for the topping.
  4. Melt butter in a large saucepan over MED heat. Sprinkle in flour and whisk to combine. Mixture will look like very wet sand. Cook for approximately 1 minute, whisking often. Slowly pour in about 2 cups or so of the half and half, while whisking constantly, until smooth. Slowly pour in the remaining half and half and the whole milk, while whisking constantly, until combined and smooth.
  5. Continue to heat over MED heat, whisking very often, until thickened to a very thick consistency. It should almost be the consistency of a semi thinned out condensed soup.
  6. Remove from the heat and stir in spices and 1 1/2 cups of the cheeses, stirring to melt and combine. Stir in another 1 1/2 cups of cheese, and stir until completely melted and smooth.
  7. In a large mixing bowl, combine drained pasta with cheese sauce, stirring to combine fully. Pour half of the pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheeses, then top that with the remaining pasta mixture.
  8. Sprinkle the top with the last 1 1/2 cups of cheese and bake for 15 minutes, until cheesy is bubbly and lightly golden brown.

Easy Ultra Creamy Mac and Cheese

creamy mac and cheese recipe

This is our quick and easy homemade macaroni and cheese recipe. It’s made on the stovetop and does not require any baking. That’s not to say that you could not bake it. We’ve shared how in the recipe below. Thanks to butter, flour, and milk the sauce is like velvet and super creamy. To the sauce, we add a whole pound of cheddar cheese (the sharper, the better) as well as a bit of cream cheese. The cream cheese is optional, but it does add tanginess and even more creaminess.

Prep: 10min

Total: 30min

Yield: Makes 8 servings

Serving Size: 1/8 of the recipe

Nutrition Facts: servingSize 1/8 of the recipe, calories 571, Fat 31.9g, Saturated Fat 18.2g, Cholesterol 89.6mg, Sodium 564.7mg, Carbohydrate 48.7g, Fiber 2g, Sugar 2.3g, Protein 21.8g


  • 1 pound dried pasta like elbow macaroni, shells or penne
  • 5 tablespoons (70 grams) unsalted butter
  • 5 tablespoons (45 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups (1180 ml) milk, warmed, whole or 2% reduced fat preferred
  • 1 pound white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, add the pasta then follow package directions, but cook 1 minute less than the package calls for. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, make the creamy cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a large high-sided pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter and whisk the butter and flour together and around the pan until they smell toasted and look light brown; 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. While whisking, pour in the warm milk. Continue to cook, constantly whisking until the sauce begins to simmer and thickens. (The sauce only thickens after it has reached a simmer.)
  4. Turn the heat to low then stir in the cheddar and cream cheeses, salt, and black pepper. When the sauce is smooth and velvety, stir in the cooked pasta. If the sauce looks wet/thin, don’t worry, the pasta absorbs some the extra moisture as it cools. Turn the heat off, and then cover with a lid. Leave for 5 minutes, stir once more, and then serve.
  5. After adding the pasta to the cheese sauce, spoon into a large baking dish, scatter breadcrumbs (optional), and more shredded cheese on top. Bake, uncovered, in a 375-degree Fahrenheit oven until bubbling and browned on top; 25 to 30 minutes.

Creamy Mac and Cheese Recipe

creamy mac and cheese recipe

This classic stove top homemade mac and cheese recipe is extra creamy and rich with a great cheddar flavor.

Prep: 5min

Total: 25min

Nutrition Facts: calories 704 calories, Carbohydrate 56 grams carbohydrates, Cholesterol 161 milligrams cholesterol, Fat 41 grams fat, Fiber 2 grams fiber, Protein 29 grams protein, Saturated Fat 24 grams saturated fat, Sodium 624 milligrams sodium, Sugar 8 grams sugar


  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups packed sharp aged cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 8-12 ounces (2-3 cups) sturdy macaroni noodles *see note


  1. Cook the macaroni noodles in a large pot of salted water according to package directions, draining them a minute before the “al dente” cooking time.
  2. Heat the milk and half and half in the microwave or on the stove top until very hot but not boiling.
  3. In a heavy bottomed sauce pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and continue to cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture turns a light brown color, about 3-4 minutes. Reduce the heat to low.
  4. Slowly start pouring in the milk and half and half, whisking constantly. The mixture will look very thick at first and will thin out as you whisk in the remainder of the milk.
  5. Increase the heat back to medium and cook the mixture, whisking continuously, another 3-5 minutes or until thickened. The sauce should coat the back of the spoon. If you put a little bit on a spoon and run your finger through it, the line from your finger should remain.
  6. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the salt, garlic powder, ground mustard and cayenne (if desired). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Add the cheeses, stirring to melt. If you’re unable to melt in all the cheese, add a bit more milk, a Tablespoon at a time, until the cheese is melted completely. Stir the sauce into the pasta, reserving some cooked pasta. If the mac and cheese seems too saucy, add the remaining pasta. Otherwise, serve immediately!

Homemade Mac and Cheese Casserole

creamy mac and cheese recipe

This homemade Mac and Cheese Casserole is the best you’ve ever had. Tender noodles in a velvety sauce make the perfectly irresistible dish!!

Prep: 20min

Total: 45min

Serving Size: 1 serving

Nutrition Facts: calories 539 kcal, Carbohydrate 39 g, Protein 24 g, Fat 32 g, Saturated Fat 20 g, Cholesterol 98 mg, Sodium 529 mg, Fiber 2 g, Sugar 4 g, Trans Fat 1 g, unSaturated Fat 10 g, servingSize 1 serving


  • 12 ounces dry elbow macaroni
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 1 cup light cream (about 10-12% MF)
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 can condensed cheddar cheese soup (optional 10.75 ounces)
  • 4 cups sharp cheddar (divided)
  • ½ cup fresh parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Cook macaroni al dente (firm) according to package directions. Drain and run under cold water.
  3. Melt butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Whisk in flour and let cook 2 minutes while stirring. Slowly whisk in milk, cream, mustard powder, onion powder, salt & pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat while stirring until thickened.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in parmesan cheese & 3 cups cheddar cheese until melted. Add soup if using.
  5. Toss cheese sauce & macaroni noodles together. Pour into a greased 9×13 pan. Top with remaining cheese.
  6. Bake 18-24 minutes or until bubbly. Do not over cook. Cool 10-15 minutes before serving.

Creamy Mac n Cheese Recipe | Baked Mac n Cheese


How do you keep mac and cheese creamy?

Add more cheese

That final layer of cheese on top isn’t just for looks; it also helps keep the saucy noodles underneath from drying out during baking. Breadcrumbs also help insulate the noodles, acting as a protective layer while baking that also happens to add a nice little crunch.

What are the 3 best cheeses for mac and cheese?

7 Best Cheeses for Mac and Cheese
  • Cheddar. Cheddar is a staple for countless recipes. …
  • Parmesan. Parmesan is a salty cheese with complex flavors. …
  • Gruyere. Update your mac and cheese recipes to something more mature with Gruyere. …
  • Brie. …
  • Smoked Gouda. …
  • Monterey Jack. …
  • Fontina. …
  • Sausage Mac and Cheese.

How do you make mac and cheese creamy and not grainy?

How to AVOID grainy cheese sauce:
  1. The type of cheddar makes a difference. High quality aged cheddar cheese will give you a stronger taste and smoother texture. …
  2. Use fresh grated cheese. …
  3. Bring the cheese to room temperature. …
  4. Use low heat. …
  5. Don’t over-stir the sauce once the cheese has melted.

Does mac and cheese use milk or cream?

Super easy to make too! Macaroni noodles are baked with butter, cheddar cheese, muenster cheese, and heavy whipping cream to create the ultimate comforting dish.

About the author

Helen is an author and editor at, who has a passion for writing about recipes. She loves to experiment with different ingredients and cooking techniques to create delicious and unique dishes.

Among all the foods, pizza holds a special place in her heart, and she loves exploring different variations and toppings to create the perfect slice. Through her writing, Helen hopes to inspire others to get creative in the kitchen and share their love for food with the world.

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