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Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese

  • Serves: 10
  • Prep Time:  15 min
  • Cook Time:  40 min
  • Calories: 711
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: 711

Ingredients

  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups whole milk
  • 2 pounds cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Minced fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F with a rack in the center position.

  2. Fill a large pot with 4 quarts of water and add 2 teaspoons of the salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until 1 minute shy of al dente according to the package instructions. Drain.

  3. Meanwhile, in a large braiser or Dutch oven (see note 2) over medium heat, melt 1/2 cup of the butter. Once it is beginning to bubble, add the flour, stirring until a thick paste forms, 1 to 2 minutes. Very slowly whisk in the milk. (See note 1).

  4. Set aside 1 ½ cups of the cheese. Add the remaining cheese to the sauce along with the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt, garlic powder, mustard powder, and pepper. Stir until the cheese is completely melted and the sauce is smooth and thick, about 4 minutes.

  5. Stir the cooked macaroni into the cheese sauce.

  6. In a small saucepan over low heat or a microwave safe bowl, melt the remaining 1/2 cup butter. Add the panko and toss to coat. Sprinkle the reserved cheese and panko on top of the noodles.

  7. Bake until the macaroni and cheese is golden and bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley before serving, if desired.

Note 1: If your milk is very cold straight out of the fridge take this step very slowly. The slower you add the milk the quicker the sauce will thicken.

Note 2: . If you are not working in an ovenproof braiser or Dutch oven, use a large pot and transfer the sauce and noodles to a 9 x 13 baking dish that has been greased with cooking spray.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories711
  • Protein30 g
  • Carbohydrates26 g
  • Total Fat54 g
  • Dietary Fiber1 g
  • Cholesterol156 mg
  • sodium1067 mg
  • Total Sugars7 g

Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

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  • melanie labate

    Hi! Why unsalted instead of salted?

    Because we already use salt in the recipe. Hope you enjoy Melanie!

  • Nathan

    This recipe uses way too much milk and overflows in the recommended pan.

    We're so sorry you had that experience! That has never happened to us, but we will retest!

  • Hay

    I was making really complicated macaroni with 4-5 different expensive cheeses, making a homemade cheese sauce and everything and I hate to say this satisfies and is my go to now for holidays!

    Thanks Hay, we are so happy you love it!

  • Jenn

    This Mac and cheese is so delicious. The crispy top was my favorite!

    Thanks Jenn, glad you loved it!

  • Liz

    This is amazing. The butter at 3/4 is 1/4 short for the directions. I add the 3/4 to the pan and don't add any to the panko. Then sprinkle panko and cheese on top to bake. I also do a mixture of milk, heavy cream and half in half. Grated block cheese also and not slices.

    So glad you liked it Liz!