Whether you’re a fan of topping your mac and cheese with bacon bits, mushrooms or even some truffle oil, we all know that the best kind is the one you make from scratch. There are endless different recipes and methods for making a perfectly creamy and cheesy bowl of the hearty meal, but we’ve nailed the perfect one.
For the delicious homemade mac and cheese you’ll ever have, complete with a crunchy panko-parmesan top, follow the recipe below.
How to make mac and cheese at home
Takes one hour, serves 12
16 oz elbow macaroni (or any other tubular pasta)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 cup plain flour
3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 cups mature cheddar cheese, grated
2 cups red Leicester cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
4 tbsp butter
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 tsp paprika
Preheat the oven to 350F/180C/gas mark 4.
Lightly grease a large baking dish and set it aside.
Combine grated cheeses in a large bowl and set them aside.
Cook the pasta one minute shy of al dente according to the package instructions.
Remove from heat, drain, and place in a large bowl.
Drizzle pasta with olive oil and stir to coat pasta.
Set aside to cool while preparing cheese sauce.
Melt butter in a pan over medium heat
Whisk in flour over medium heat and continue whisking for about one minute until bubbly and golden.
Gradually whisk in the milk and cream until nice and smooth.
Continue whisking until you see bubbles on the surface and then continue cooking and whisking for another two minutes.
Whisk in salt and pepper.
Add two cups of the grated cheese mixture and whisk until smooth.
Add another two cups of shredded cheese and continue whisking until creamy and smooth.
Stir in your cooked, cooled pasta until combined and it is fully coated with the cheese sauce.
Pour half of the mac and cheese into the prepared baking dish.
Top with the remaining two cups of cheese and then the remaining mac and cheese.
In a small bowl, combine panko crumbs, parmesan cheese, melted butter and paprika.
Sprinkle over the top and bake until bubbly and golden brown, about 30 minutes.
Tips for making amazing mac and cheese
Use a block of cheese and grate it, do not buy the pre-grated cheese.
Pre-grated cheese is great for so many things but not macaroni and cheese as it’s coated and won’t melt properly.
You need to grate it yourself for the best result.
Cook your pasta to slightly less than al dente, about one minute shy is perfect.
The reason is that this is baked mac and cheese so the pasta will continue to cook in the homemade cheese sauce in the oven and you don’t want soggy macaroni.