Classic Macaroni and Cheese

Is there a more beloved kid's dinner than macaroni and cheese? Combining two of the most kid-welcomed food stuffs -- pasta and cheese -- mac and cheese rarely requires moms to cajole, persuade or bribe their kids to eat at mealtime. Is it the healthiest dinner choice? Of course not. Would I recommend serving it more than once a week? Probably not. But when made well, perhaps with some veggies thrown in, mac & cheese is certainly a far better meal option than say, a Happy Meal.

Whenever my mom made mac and cheese, which wasn't often, it was cause for celebration in our house. The first smell of it cooking away in the oven would make my entire day. She lovingly made her's with tons of hand-grated cheddar and baked it until bubbly, golden and mouthwateringly delicious.

There are several different macaroni and cheese recipes on weelicious like Rice Cooker Mac and Cheese and Mac Chicken and Cheese Bites, but if you're feeding a crowd and want a more classic take on this dish, this recipe is spot on!

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Classic Macaroni and Cheese (8)

Prep Time: 15 mins Cook Time: 40 mins

nut free


  • topping:
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • mac and cheese:
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 4 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni (you can also use campanelle, cavatappi, or shells)


1. Place the topping ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.

2. Preheat oven to 400° F.

3. Cook pasta in salted water* for about 3 minutes less than package directions call for, until al dente, reserving half a cup of the pasta water.

4. In a large pot melt the butter and then add the flour, whisking continuously over low-medium heat for 2-3 minutes to make a roux.

5. Slowly whisk in the milk and bring to a boil.

6. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes, or until sauce is gently bubbling and starting to thicken.

7. Add reserved pasta water and cheddar cheese and whisk until melted.

8. Stir in the pasta.

9. Transfer to a greased 13″ x 9″ baking dish.**

10. Sprinkle topping on macaroni and cheese.

11. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until top is golden and bubbling.

12. Serve.

* Use about 2 Tbsp of kosher salt for 4 quarts of water.

** If making ahead, mixture can be cooled after this step to room temperature, covered and then refrigerated for up to a day.

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Hi, I’m Catherine. Mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. I create simple, healthy recipes the whole family will love.