Ooey, gooey, super cheesy and super easy! My family's favorite recipe for macaroni and cheese could not be any better! Three cheeses melt easily into a perfect cheese sauce coat every single piece of pasta with crisp, buttery panko breadcrumbs on top turning golden brown...who could resist?
Okay, so if you saw my BEST CREAMY STOVETOP MAC AND CHEESE RECIPE you would know that I had the hardest time with the bechamel sauce. Aka, the white sauce you create before putting in your cheeses here in this recipe! Oh, man, I can't tell you why, but for years bechamel was the epitome of #lestruggle for me. I over thought it, over worked it, over-processed it and I was over it.
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That's where the STOVETOP MAC AND CHEESE recipe came in. But this recipe? It has a bechamel! And it's easy to do! I swear, I would not give you this recipe if it wasn't easy. It's so easy I made this recipe without a game plan, and it came together so simply.
Okay, so get this:
You melt the butter.
Then you mix in the flour.
Then you mix in cold milk, a little at a time. As Chef John from Food Wishes would say "Hot Roux, Cold Milk, no Lumps."
A real life lesson, y'all. I'm serious. You'll never have lumpy gravy or sauce with that advice, I promise.
Toss in your spices.
Turn the heat off, toss in those cheeses.
Give 'em a good ole stir. It's okay if the cheeses don't melt all the way.
Get the pasta in a dish and pour the cheese sauce over it. Smooth it on over, making sure all the noodles are coated.
Generously sprinkle the panko breadcrumbs, which you can find in the Asian aisle of the supermarket.
Bask in your domestic glory. Macaroni and Cheese is nothing to scoff at. It's a work of art!
Alright, I know I basically gave you the complete run down with this, but there is a full recipe that you can print out at the end as well. I just wanted to point out he utter simplicity of this recipe.
There is nothing more I love from a recipe than one that is so dang delicious and amazing, yet so easy to create.
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- 1 lb pasta, I suggest elbow or rotini pasta
- 1 stick, ½ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 5 cups milk, cold
- ½ tsp mustard powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 2 cup mild cheddar cheese, shredded
- ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 3 tbsp butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bring large pot of water to a boil on stovetop.
- In a separate large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk to create a roux. Cook the roux for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add milk, about ½ cup at a time, whisking well with each addition. After two cups has been added, pour in 1 cup at a time and whisk. Add salt, pepper, mustard powder, garlic and onion powder and mix in well.
- At this point, your pot of water may be boiling so add the pasta and cook for 5 minutes. The pasta will be undercooked, because it will be baked as well.
- Turn your pot with the white sauce down to low temp and add the cheeses a handful at a time, stirring in each handful before adding the next.
- Once pasta is ready, drain them and add to a 9x13 baking dish.
- Toss breadcrumbs and melted butter together in a bowl, set aside.
- Pour cheese sauce over the pasta and make sure each noodle is covered in cheese. Sprinkle breadcrumbs evenly and generously over the entire dish.
- Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes, until the breadcrumbs are golden brown and the cheese is bubbling.
- Cool for five minutes, then serve.
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Eden Westbrook is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Sweet Tea and Thyme. A classically trained chef, Eden has inspired home cooks into the kitchen with cultural comfort foods, easy family-friendly eats and sweets, and glorious spreads for date night and entertaining since 2015.