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Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese

  • Serves: 10
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 40 min
  • Calories: 768
Baked Macaroni And Cheese with panko crust and serving spoon

This baked macaroni and cheese recipe is a throwback to a childhood classic with an extra cheesy, velvety sauce and all the crispy crusty parts everyone will fight over.

Homemade Mac And Cheese, FTW!

Want to learn an incredible baked macaroni and cheese recipe that will be the envy of all your friends? Here’s how to create the creamiest, easiest version of this family classic ever.

ingredients for Classic Baked Macaroni And Cheese pasta, butter, panko, flour, cream, milk

Mac And Cheese Tip #1: It’s All About the Cheese.

But you already knew that, right? Not all macaroni and cheese recipes are created equal. Our recipe is all about that cheesy triple threat combo! Our mac and cheese recipe gets a major flavor boost from Tillamook Farmstyle Thick Cut Triple Cheddar Shredded Cheese! A mouthwatering mixture of medium white cheddar cheese, sharp cheddar cheese and medium cheddar cheese, Tillamook Triple Cheddar Cheese makes ours the very best mac and cheese recipe out there!

butter melted in a pan
flour being added to melted butter in a white sauce pan
butter and flour being cooked to make a roux in a white sauce pan.
milk being added to butter and flour mixture.

How To Make Mac And Cheese:

Homemade macaroni and cheese is seriously simple to make! With the help of pre-shredded cheese, it truly is a straightforward process that ends with a gloriously creamy pan of mac and cheese that you (and everyone you serve it to) will love! Here’s how it’s done:

  • Preheat your oven and place the rack in the center—this rack placement ensures an even, golden brown crust on top of your creamy mac and cheese!
  • Cook your pasta just one minute shy of al dente. The pasta will continue to cook in the oven, so this keeps it from becoming mushy.
  • Make a two-ingredient roux! Butter and flour is all you’ll need for this step to make a simple roux—aka, the base of your homemade cheesy cream sauce.
  • Slowly, slowly add some whole milk to your roux, whisking as you go. The more slowly you add the milk the thicker the sauce will be.
  • Add Tillamook Triple Cheddar Shredded Cheese, salt, pepper, garlic powder, mustard powder and stir to complete that luscious, silky sauce!
  • Add the macaroni to the cheese sauce and stir to combine.
  • Top with buttery panko and extra cheese and pop that baby in the oven!

And there you have it, easy mac and cheese! I personally enjoy my serving slathered in sriracha, but it also pairs well with green peas, a big salad or with a few green apple slices on the side! Sometimes I go crazy and sprinkle the finished mac and cheese with a little parmesan (or a drizzle of Sriracha) as well.

Tillamook cheddar cheese being added to milk and butter mixture.
seasoning being added to cheese sauce for Classic Baked Macaroni And Cheese
cooked pasta being added to Classic Baked Macaroni And Cheese
staring together the sauce and noodles for Classic Baked Macaroni And Cheese

What Goes Into This Homemade Macaroni and Cheese?

Here’s what you need to make the best mac and cheese:

  1. Pasta! Macaroni is the classic, but you can just pick your favorite shape—they all will work.
  2. Tillamook Triple Cheddar Shredded Cheese! So sharp and savory—it’s our forever favorite.
  3. Roux ingredients—butter, flour and whole milk.
  4. Garlic powder, salt, pepper and mustard powder = mega flavor!
  5. Panko for extra crispy crust!
a bowl of melted butter and a bowl of panko bread crumbs
buttery panko bread crumbs
Classic Baked Macaroni And Cheese with panko topping ready to go into the oven.
Classic Baked Macaroni And Cheese fresh from the oven in a white dish

Tools You’ll Need To Make This Baked Macaroni And Cheese Recipe:

Classic Baked Macaroni And Cheese fresh from the oven with serving spoon and shredded Tillamook cheese in a bag

More Mac And Cheese, Please!

If creamy macaroni and cheese is your love language—isn’t it everyone’s?—and you are looking for more ways to consume it, we encourage you to try our other favorite varieties!

cheddar cheese baked macaroni with a scoop taken out.

Easy Baked Macaroni And Cheese For Dinner.

Did this creamy mac and cheese make its way into your heart and onto your dinner table? We want to hear about it! Snap a photo of and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you feed it to. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

This sponsored post is written by TMP on behalf of Tillamook. The opinions and text are all ours. Thank you for supporting the brands we love.

Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese

  • Serves: 10
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 40 min
  • Calories: 768

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Tillamook farmstyle thick cut triple cheddar shredded cheese (reserve 1 ½ cup for topping)
  • 3/4 cup Butter, divided
  • 6 tbsp Flour
  • 5 cups Whole milk
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 1 tsp Mustard powder
  • 1 lb Elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup Panko
  • Parsley, chopped (optional)

Method

  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Place the rack in the middle of oven.
  2. Cook pasta 1 minute shy of al dente according to package, drain and set aside.
  3. Melt 1/2 cup of butter in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Add flour to melted butter and stir until thickened, about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Slowly whisk in milk a little at a time. If you milk is cold straight out of the fridge take this step very slowly. The slower you add the milk the quicker the sauce will thicken.
  5. Stir in all but 1 ½ cups of the cheese (reserve that for the topping). Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, mustard powder to the sauce, stir until combined, the cheese is melted and the sauce is thickened.
  6. Stir together the cooked macaroni noodles (rinse under cold water if stuck together) and the sauce and transfer to a 9 x 13 baking dish, that has been prepped with cooking spray.
  7. Melt the remaining 1/2 cup butter and toss with the panko. Sprinkle the remaining cheese and panko on top of the noodles. Bake in the oven until golden and bubbling, 20-25 minutes.
  8. Sprinkle with parsley if desired.

** If you have a 12” cast iron skillet or oven proof braiser, you can follow steps 3-7 and make this a one pot dish.