mac and cheese

mac and cheese recipe with step by step photos. this mac and cheese recipe is creamy and cheesy with a light crunchy topping of breadcrumbs and gooey melted cheese. the recipe includes both stovetop and baked mac and cheese. a comfort food.

mac and cheese, macaroni and cheese recipe, mac and cheese recipe

macaroni and cheese is a classic american dish that is popular with everyone including kids. there are some american recipes, we are fond of like hash brown potatoes, pancakes, veg burger, baked beans, apple pie, eggless waffle.

so on occasional days, i prepare these dishes. i have made mac and cheese many times before, but never took pics. so this time i decided to take pics and add the recipe too. as always, the mac and cheese was savored by everyone at home.

the method to make mac and cheese is very easy. you need to prepare cheese sauce. making white sauce or cheese sauce is easy but you do need to keep a few tips in mind to get a creamy, cheesy and smooth sauce.

tips to make mac and cheese

  1. cook the entire sauce right from the beginning on a low flame.
  2. use a thick bottomed pan, so that the flour or milk does not scorch or burn.
  3. use chilled milk or cold milk.
  4. keep on stirring the sauce mixture often with a wired whisk or balloon whisk.
  5. if the sauce becomes thick, then drizzle some hot milk to thin it down.
  6. when adding shredded cheese, keep the pan on your workplace and not on the stove top or burner.
  7. cooking pasta is easy and once the sauce is done, then just mix both of them together. now you can have the mac and cheese or bake it further.

i always bake macaroni & cheese further. but if you don’t have an oven, then just mix and serve. also you can add seasonings or herbs-spices of your choice. i keep it simple with crushed black pepper and a bit of ground nutmeg. a dash of mustard powder also perks up the flavor. to add some fibre in the dish, you can add steamed veggies.

how to make mac and cheese

cooking pasta

1. take 1 cup macaroni pasta or elbow macaroni (100 grams or 3.5 ounces).

elbow macaroni for mac and cheese

2. then cook the elbow pasta as per the instructions on the package till they are al dente. i first heated 4 cups water + ½ tsp salt to a vigorous boil and then added the pasta.

pasta getting cooked

3. cook them till they are al dente or just cooked. they should not get too soft or mushy or break.

paste for mac and cheese recipe

4. drain them in a colander or strainer.

pasta for mac and cheese recipe

5. whilst the pasta is cooking, grease a baking pan with some softened butter. skip this step if you do not plan to bake the mac and cheese.

butter for mac and cheese recipe

making bread crumbs topping

6. then in a microwave safe bowl, melt 1 teaspoon butter.

butter for mac and cheese recipe

7. now add ⅓ cup breadcrumbs to the melted butter. for the breadcrumbs, just take 3 to 4 bread slices ( 2 to 3 days old bread slices). tear them and grind in a dry grinder or mixer.

breadcrumbs for mac and cheese recipe

8. with a spoon mix the breadcrumbs with the melted butter very well. keep aside.

breadcrumbs for mac and cheese recipe

making sauce for mac and cheese

9. heat 3 tablespoons butter in a thick bottomed sauce pan on a low flame. also preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius/390 degrees fahrenheit.

butter for mac and cheese recipe

10. the butter should heat up well. you should see the frothing effect on the butter before you add the flour.

butter for macaroni and cheese recipe

11. then add 2 tablespoons all purpose flour.

flour for macaroni and cheese recipe

12. using a wired whisk stir the flour quickly as soon as you add it.

flour for macaroni and cheese recipe

13. keep on stirring so that no lumps are formed.

stirring flour for macaroni and cheese recipe

14. the frequent stirring helps the flour to cook evenly.

stirring flour for macaroni and cheese recipe

15. you will see the flour frothing and bubbling up while stirring.

stirring flour for macaroni and cheese recipe

16. sauté the flour till you get a nice aroma from the flour and a pale golden color. don’t brown the flour.

stirring flour for macaroni and cheese recipe

17. keep the flame to the lowest and then pour the milk in a gentle stream. pour the milk with one hand and stir the sauce mixture with the other. the milk has to be chilled, so that lumps are not formed. if you use hot or warm milk or milk at room temperature, then lumps can be formed.

milk for mac and cheese recipe

18. do stir frequently while the milk warms and heats up.

milk for mac and cheese recipe

19. the sauce would begin to thicken, so do stir often.

sauce for mac and cheese recipe

20. when the sauce has thickened well, switch off the flame. a test is that the sauce should coat the back of a spoon. below pic showing the consistency of the white sauce.

sauce for mac and cheese recipe

21. keep the saucepan down and wait for a minute. then add 150 grams (5.3 ounces) shredded cheese. i used a mix of cheddar, gouda and mozzarella. you can also use just cheddar cheese or processed cheese or your favorite cheese. the flavor and taste largely depend on the kind of cheese you use.

cheese for mac and cheese recipe

22. again mix and stir so that the cheese melts.

cheese for mac and cheese recipe

23. the cheese needs to melt well in the hot bechamel sauce or white sauce. after adding the cheese what you get is a cheese sauce.

cheese sauce for mac and cheese recipe

24. add ⅛ to ¼ tsp crushed black pepper and a pinch or two of grated nutmeg or nutmeg powder.

pepper for mac and cheese recipe

25. add a very little salt. about 2 to 3 pinches or about ⅛ tsp. cheese already has salt in it, so add accordingly. you can taste the sauce first and then add salt as per your taste preference.

salt for mac and cheese recipe

26. stir again.

sauce for mac and cheese recipe

making mac and cheese

27. now add the pasta in the cheese sauce.

pasta for mac and cheese recipe

28. with a spoon stir and mix very well so that the sauce coats the macaroni very well.

stir pasta for macaroni cheese recipe

29. here the mac and cheese are done. if you want you can serve mac n cheese hot, at this step or proceed further to bake it.

macaroni and cheese recipe, mac and cheese recipe

making baked mac and cheese

30. pour the mac and cheese in the prepared pan.

macaroni and cheese in pan

31. top evenly with the breadcrumbs+melted butter mixture.

making macaroni and cheese recipe

32. now sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons of the remaining shredded cheese on top.

cheese for mac and cheese recipe

33. sprinkle some crushed black pepper.

pepper for macaroni and cheese recipe

34. bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees celsius/390 degrees fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes till cheese melts or gets golden and the mac & cheese is bubbly and hot. do keep a check while baking as oven temperatures vary.

baking macaroni and cheese recipe

35. wait for 5 minutes. then serve mac and cheese hot.

macaroni and cheese recipe, mac and cheese recipe

if you are looking for more pasta recipes then do check:

Mac and Cheese

4.85 from 19 votes
Author:Dassana Amit
Prep Time:20 mins
Cook Time:30 mins
Total Time:50 mins
Course:main course
Cuisine:american,world
Servings (change the number to scale):3 to 4
mac and cheese recipe
this mac and cheese recipe is creamy and cheesy with a light crunchy topping of breadcrumbs and gooey melted cheese. the recipe includes both stove top mac n cheese and baked mac and cheese. 
(1 CUP = 250 ML)

INGREDIENTS

for cooking macaroni or pasta

  • 1 cup elbow macaroni or shell pasta - 100 grams or 3.5 ounces
  • 4 cups water or 1 litre + ½ teaspoon salt

for mac and cheese sauce

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 cups cold milk or 500 ml cold milk
  • ½ teaspoon crushed black pepper or as required
  • 1 to 2 pinch grated nutmeg or nutmeg powder
  • 150 grams or 5.3 ounces - mix of shredded cheddar, mozzarella and gouda cheese or any cheese, about 1.25 cups of shredded cheese
  • teaspoon salt or as required

for bread crumb mixture

  • 1 teaspoon butter, melted
  • cup breadcrumbs

toppings

  • ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon crushed black pepper or as required
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons shredded cheese

INSTRUCTIONS

cooking macaroni or pasta

  • cook the elbow pasta as per the instructions on the package till they are al dente. i first heated 4 cups of water water + ½ tsp salt to a vigorous boil and then added the pasta.
  • cook them till they are al dente or just cooked. they should not get too soft or mushy or break.
  • drain them in a colander or strainer.
  • now grease a baking pan with some softened butter. skip this step if you do not plan to bake the mac n cheese.

making bread crumbs topping

  • in a microwave safe bowl, melt 1 tsp butter. then add ⅓ cup breadcrumbs.
  • with a spoon mix the breadrcumbs with the melted butter very well. keep aside.

making sauce for mac and cheese

  • heat 3 tbsp butter in a thick bottomed sauce pan on a low flame. also preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius/390 degrees fahrenheit.
  • the butter should heat up well. then add 2 tbsp all purpose flour.
  • using a wired whisk stir the flour quickly as soon as you add it.
  • keep on stirring so that no lumps are formed.
  • the frequent stirring helps the flour to cook evenly.
  • you will see the flour frothing and bubbling up while stirring.
  • saute the flour till you get a nice cooked aroma from the flour and a pale golden color. don't brown the flour.
  • keep the flame to the lowest and then pour the milk in a gentle stream. pour the milk with one hand and stir the sauce mixture with the other. the milk has to be chilled, so that lumps are not formed. if you use hot or warm milk or milk at room temperature, lumps can be formed.
  • do stir frequently while the milk warms and heats up. the sauce would begin to thicken, so do stir often.
  • when the sauce has thickened well and coats the back of a spoon, switch off the flame.
  • keep the saucepan down and wait for a minute. then add 150 grams shredded cheese. i used an equal mix of cheddar, gouda and mozzarella cheese. you can also use just cheddar cheese or processed cheese or your favorite cheese.
  • again mix and stir so that the cheese melts.
  • the cheese has to melt well in the hot bechamel sauce or white sauce. so now what you have is a cheese sauce.
  • add ⅛ to ¼ tsp crushed black pepper and a pinch or two of grated nutmeg or nutmeg powder. you can also add a bit of mustard powder.
  • add very little salt. about 2 to 3 pinches. stir again.

making mac and cheese

  • now add the pasta in the cheese sauce.
  • with a spoon stir and mix very well.
  • here the mac and cheese is done. if you want you can serve it at this step or proceed further to bake it.

making baked mac and cheese

  • pour the mac and cheese in the prepared baking pan.
  • top evenly with the breadcrumbs+melted butter mixture.
  • now sprinkle 2 to 3 tbsp of the shredded cheese on top.
  • sprinkle some crushed black pepper.
  • bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees celsius/390 degrees fahrenheit for 15 to 20 till cheese melts or gets golden. do keep a check while baking as oven temperatures vary.
  • wait for 5 minutes and then serve mac and cheese hot.
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TRIED THIS RECIPE ?i would love to hear from you. if you have made this recipe then rate the recipe or leave a comment below. if you like this recipe then do share the recipe link on facebook, twitter & pinterest. for instagram mention @vegrecipesofindia or tag #vegrecipesofindia

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dassana amit

Founder, Chef, Recipe Developer, Food Photographer >> MORE ABOUT US

namaste and welcome to vegrecipesofindia.com which i started in feb 2009 and is a pure vegetarian blog. i have been passionate about cooking from childhood and began to cook from the age of 10. later having enrolled in a home science degree greatly enhanced my cooking & baking skills and took it to a different level which i now share as foolproof recipes. i was formally trained both in mainstream indian as well as international cuisines.

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61 comments/reviews

  1. Hi thank you so much for the recipe
    When I added shredded mozzarella cheese the milk curdled 🙁
    Can you please tell me what the mistake could have been ?
    I waited for one minute before adding
    The cheese was around 20 days old but after using it a little i had kept it in the freezer I defreezed it for sometime then grated it and added.5 stars

    • welcome. if the cheese has gone rancid, then the milk can curdle. otherwise, with fresh cheese, milk does not curdle. i have made bechamel sauce many times with both cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese and a mix of both. but never has the milk curdled. defrosting cheese is fine and it was added when the milk sauce temperature had reduced after a minute. so i think, it is the quality and rancidity of cheese that has caused this curdling issue. hope this helps.

  2. Hi thanks a lot for the recipe I had been searching for this for a very long time and am excited to try it out!

    One question can I replace all purpose flour with wheat flour?5 stars

  3. Awesome… as always. Tried Mac and Cheese for the first time. The only site I came to while searching for the recipe.
    Thank You so much.5 stars

  4. The best white/cheese sauce recipe ever!!!!!! The most perfect and precise tips to make it a disaster proof recipe. I have never been so elated with the outcome of a sauce I have always messed up in the past. I can’t thank you enough!5 stars

  5. Hello Dasana,

    In the simplified version of the recipe above the detailed steps, it says “cooking paste”. I think there has to be “cooking pasta”. Please take the note. And amazing recipe 🙂 Eager to make it soon!

  6. Hello Dassana..I was wondering if I could make this recipe without the roux since I don’t usually have too much time but yet I have to satisfy my week nights’ cravings. And would you please share some recipes that take much too less time to make?

    • you can make without roux also. for a quick version, cook the pasta. heat a bit of milk with some butter. add the pasta, herbs and seasoning. mix well. then add cheese. mix and switch off the flame. if you want you can bake too or just have the pasta directly. will try to add recipes which take less time.

  7. hi i tried this recipe and it turned out so good that i surprised my teenage boys as they always longed for this cheese sauce.I also added different vegetables which i cooked separatly.You are doing amazing work.Thank you so much.5 stars

  8. Thanku sooo much for this amazing recipe… my hubby is seriously impressed… u made my day… Also I added oregano seasoning instead of black pepper and nutmeg powder and it turned out delicious…5 stars

  9. Yummy recipe I added corn to the sauce nd it turned out cheeselicious can u share recipe for penne arrabitta or pasta in red sauce4 stars

    • thanks komal. i plan to add these recipes. right now i am adding the recipes which are drafts. relocating and not yet settled. so will take a couple of months till i begin to add recipe requests.

  10. Hi
    Im new on your blog and mac and cheese looks yummy.i have few doubts..
    Any substitute for nutmeg.also can this be made only with mozeralla or parmesan
    Thankyou..

  11. Hi Dassana di,

    Instead of just pepper, can I add all purpose seasoning, which is basically a ready made mix of herbs which go well with Italian cooking like pasta and pizza?

    I tried your restaurant style dal makhni recipe (dhungar). I followed it word to word and was really skeptical if only such a few ingredients could result in churning out restaurant quality dish. End result, it came out brilliant. I simply thank god for that moment when i found your website.

    • yes you can add all purpose seasoning. you can skip the pepper completely. thanks for the feedback on dal makhani. i completely agree it a superb recipe and that too with few ingredients 🙂

  12. Hi dassana. …
    I hv made so many of ur receipes nd all comes out very well…I hv made Besan ladoo recently nd it really comes out very tasty.I hv one query. …can we use any other ingredient instead of lemon juice in ur chocolate cake receipe? ??

  13. Hi Amit ! The recipe and method is so lucid !,I’m gonna try my hand at it and will let u know !!! Thanks 5 stars

  14. Stumbled upon your website while searching for Kid’s school tiffin recipes. Must appreciate the way you have explained through pictures. Loved it! I am going to try the Mac and Cheese recipe for my 7 year old today 🙂

  15. hi d,I tried your recipes and must say they turned out yummy. I tried your whole wheat bread, dahi vada sand they were simply superb.i just did a minute change by adding Ming dal yellow one and they came out really soft.Can you tell me what rack to keep the mac and cheese for baking and baked samosa for baking in otg .i have morphy richards otg. Pls reply.

    • thanks rashmi. mung dal can be added to the vadas. there is a moong dal dahi vada too :-). i kept in the center rack. you can also keep in the second last rack. for samosa also i keep in the center rack, so that there is even baking. but for any baking recipe, i always keep both top and bottom heating elements on. so is the case with mac and cheese and samosa.

    • welcome rajat. the cheese won’t get brown but it will melt in the microwave. the timing depends upon the oven and the microwave power you use. just microwave till the cheese melts.

  16. Hi Dassana,

    This looks really yummy n mouth watering,… i just love the way you make the presentation…

    Can you please share the receipe without baking4 stars

    • madhu, the cheese won’t get brown but it will melt. the timing depends upon the oven and the microwave power you use. just microwave till the cheese melts.