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Great recipe! My cheese sauce came out velvety smooth. The key is drizzling in the milk, which is steaming; and then being really slow with the cheese! I make a lot of cheese fondue, so it was similar in technique! Kids LOVED it!
This is the best Macaroni and cheese I’ve made. Great recipe.. Easy, creamy and very tasty. I have a similar recipe that adds peas and Canadian bacon. I think the trick is the lemon juice.
My suggestion is for the leftovers. For a second meal, cut the leftover mac and cheese into serving size squares and fry on both sides in melted butter. It gets real brown and crispy and truly tasty. Enjoy.
Great idea Lynn, thanks so much for sharing!
can you subsitute all purpose flour instead of cornstarch
The purpose of the corn starch is to help keep the cheese from getting too stringy when melted. I don’t know if using flour instead of cornstarch would accomplish the same thing. If you try it, please let us know how it turns out for you.
Easy and oh so good! It was also easy to cut the recipe in half for two. The sauce did turn gritty once it cooled a bit. Any recommendations on how to avoid that?
This was so easy to make! The only thing was my sauce turned out grainy, I’m not sure what the cause was. Maybe cooking too high?
I just made this and it was super tasty, the best macaroni cheese ever. I made some slight mods and it came out great.
I didn’t have any lemons or ham in the fridge so i left those out and inserted a decent grating (about the amount i would usually have on a pasta dish as a garnish) of parmesan when the chedder was melted. Rather than grating the cheddar and coating in corn starch i just cubed it and put it straight in the roux. No problems with stringiness at all.
Can’t wait to make this again. Next time i’ll add a little dash of tabasco/worcestershire sauce or mustard powder for a bit of kick.
I have made this recipe a few times and have noticed the following things regarding graininess:
1) Making a good roux is essential. If your roux is not “cooked” you will not have a smooth sauce. It shouldn’t be brown at all, just a smooth and thick consistency. I usually cook it for one minute or so, whisking the entire time. Also, using room temp or warm milk will greatly benefit your roux.
2) You must use enough cheese. If you don’t use enough cheese the sauce will taste of flour and it won’t have the same mouth-feel. Two cups PACKED is important.
3) Adding a quarter cup of fontina to the cheddar mix helps achieve a creamy texture.
Hope these help!
I made this last night, and my three year old was very impressed (as were the adults of the house)! Thank you for sharing this recipe. It was perfect.
I’ve tried a lot of Mac & Cheese recipes and this is the best. Great recipe!
Of course like most everyone I modified it to my own preferences. I eliminated the ham, and used penne rigate instead of elbow macaroni (I needed to double the pasta). I replaced about 1/4 of the cheddar with gruyere for extra flavor, and seasoned lightly with fresh nutmeg.
I put the mac and cheese in bowls, sprinkled each with a little parmesan and buttered breadcrumbs, then put them briefly under the broiler.
Best Mac & Cheese I’ve ever eaten!
Next time I will cut the butter in half.
This is just like the mac and cheese I learned to make from my mother, except that I saute an onion in the butter before adding the flour and I use just a touch of white wine (about a quarter-cup) in addition to the milk. I love the onion combined with the cheddar. And it bakes up just fine, really.
This is pretty similar to the recipe I’ve always used, with the exception of the cornstarch and lemon juice. I hoped it would make a difference, but as always, the cheese sauce came out somewhat grainy (creamy to look at – not separated, but grainy to the taste). I simply can never get a silky-smooth cheese sauce with “real” cheese, but it practically kills me to buy Velveeta.
I’m a reasonably good cook, and have no problem with any other roux-based sauces. Is it something I do wrong, or is that just the nature of a sauce made with good-quality cheese?
Good question. I don’t know. I haven’t experienced the graininess people are talking about, but then I don’t really eat the boxed stuff so don’t have anything to compare it to. ~Elise
This is in response to ChefRoy who says he doesn’t use cornstarch because it’s GMO, which he wants to avoid. You can buy Organic cornstarch at your local food coop(I buy it in small quantities from the bulk bins). No Certified Organic food is allowed to contain any GMO ingredients.
I made this for my EXTREMELY PICKY boyfriend last night, and he literally devoured it – three helpings (from a skinny guy!). Kudos for the great recipe, Elise. I added a bit more flour to my roux, was a bit more generous with my salt, and omitted the lemon. It was just a tad grainy, but I think it’s due to the quality of the (block, not pre-shredded) cheese. Next time I’d like to experiment with things like Muenster and Parmesan, now that I have a good base recipe.
This recipe is definitely a keeper!
I have been looking for a homemade mac-n-cheese recipe that doesn’t involve processed American-like cheese, so far the ones I have tried I haven’t liked because they come out grainy in texture. This one is close to what I am looking for, still a tad grainy but I think I can work with it. I agree with what another person said, I probably could cook more macaroni and stretch the sauce with extra milk- the sauce is pretty thick. Perhaps would not be so grainy if it weren’t so thick. Either way, I liked the flavor, and though I didn’t have any ham on hand, the basic recipe definitely lends itself to additions of all types (broccoli, ham, chicken, bacon, red peppers, green peppers, etc.). I love to hear everyone’s twists on it, too!
Hi everyone, just thought I would put my thoughts in as well. This is very similar to my Mac and Cheese and Chorizo. I don’t use ham, but brown some good low fat chorizo and mix half of it into the sauce and macaroni and then crumble the remainder onto the dishes when I serve it along with some sliced scallions. Of course I also make my own macaroni and mix in lots of chili type seasoning in with the whole wheat flour before I extrude the macaroni. And of course I don’t use corn starch as it is GMO and we here in Austin try to avoid GMO foods. But plain like here, I bet it is plenty good, try it with chorizo and be amazed.
The recipe was simple to make but didn’t have much flavor even though I used a sharp cheddar cheese. Any suggestions on how to bring out the cheesy flavor like in boxed macaroni and cheese? Thanks.
Add more salt. ~Elise
I am a big fan and this recipe is definity quick. However, it left me with ” mehhh”.
I would also add, “Wash Immediately” or at least put it to soak as soon as possible.
This is the easiest ever!
1 lb macaroni, cooked
1 block sharp cheddar, sliced or shredded
milk for drizzling
saltine crackers, crushed
Mix the macaroni and cheese together in greased casserole dish. Drizzle milk over the top…doesn’t take much, maybe a half cup or so.
Sprinkle cracker crumbs over top and season with pepper as desired.
Bake in 350 degree oven for about 20 mins until cheese is melted.
No mess, no fuss, no sloppy sauce!
How great is it when kids try something out of their comfort zones and absolutely love it? What a great, easy mac & cheese that comes together as quickly as the boxed version (and tastes so much better). I like to add some spicy or Dijon mustard to mine for an extra kick of flavor.