Homemade Mac and Cheese Casserole

Homemade Mac and Cheese Casserole is the epitome of comfort food, featuring a creamy, cheesy sauce enveloping tender elbow macaroni, all baked to golden perfection. Whether for a cozy family dinner or a potluck gathering, this dish promises rich flavors and satisfaction that will please every palate.

Ingredients :

  • 12 ounces dry elbow macaroni
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 1 cup half and half (or light cream)
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 can condensed cheddar cheese soup (optional, 10.75 ounces)
  • 4 cups sharp cheddar cheese (divided)
  • ½ cup fresh parmesan cheese

Directions :

  1. Preheat Oven: Begin by preheating your oven to 425°F (220°C).
  2. Cook Elbow Macaroni: Cook the elbow macaroni until al dente according to package instructions. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop cooking.
  3. Prepare Cheese Sauce: In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Slowly whisk in milk, half and half, mustard powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring continuously, until the sauce thickens.
  4. Incorporate Cheeses: Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in parmesan cheese and 3 cups of sharp cheddar cheese until melted. Add condensed cheddar cheese soup if desired for extra creaminess.
  5. Combine Sauce and Macaroni: Toss the cooked macaroni with the cheese sauce until well coated. Transfer the mixture into a greased 9×13-inch baking dish.
  6. Bake to Perfection: Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese evenly over the top. Bake in the preheated oven for 18-24 minutes, or until the casserole is bubbly and the cheese is melted and lightly golden. Avoid overcooking.
  7. Serve and Enjoy: Allow the casserole to cool for 10-15 minutes before serving to allow flavors to meld.

Nutritional Information:

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Calories: Approximately 450 per serving
  • Servings: 8

Serving and Storage Tips :

Serving Tips:

  1. Garnish Creatively: Sprinkle freshly chopped parsley or chives over the casserole just before serving for a pop of color and freshness.
  2. Pair with Sides: Serve alongside a crisp green salad, steamed vegetables, or garlic bread for a well-rounded meal.
  3. Individual Portions: Scoop servings into individual ramekins for a more elegant presentation at dinner parties or special occasions.

Storage Tips:

  1. Refrigeration: Store any leftover Mac and Cheese Casserole in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  2. Freezing: To freeze, portion the cooled casserole into freezer-safe containers or Ziploc bags. It can be frozen for up to 2-3 months.
  3. Reheating: Reheat individual portions in the microwave for quick meals. For larger portions, reheat in the oven at 350°F (175°C) until heated through, covering with foil to prevent drying out.

Presentation Tips:

  1. Make Ahead: Prepare the casserole ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to bake. This is perfect for busy weeknights or when hosting guests.
  2. Variations: Experiment with different cheeses such as Gruyère or fontina, or add crispy bacon or diced ham for additional flavor variations.

Additional Tips:

  1. Creaminess Maintenance: If reheating leftovers, add a splash of milk or cream before heating to help restore the creamy texture.
  2. Customization: Customize the seasoning to your taste preferences by adding herbs like thyme or paprika to the cheese sauce.

By following these Serving and Storage Tips, you can ensure that your Homemade Mac and Cheese Casserole remains delicious and enjoyable, whether freshly baked or reheated.

Variations :

  1. Bacon Lover’s Dream:
    • Add crispy cooked bacon pieces to the cheese sauce before mixing with the macaroni. Top with more bacon crumbles before baking for extra flavor.
  2. Broccoli and Cheese:
    • Steam fresh broccoli florets until tender-crisp and mix them into the cheese sauce along with the macaroni. Sprinkle extra cheddar cheese on top before baking.
  3. Buffalo Chicken Twist:
    • Toss shredded cooked chicken in buffalo sauce before adding it to the macaroni and cheese sauce mixture. Top with blue cheese crumbles before baking for a spicy kick.
  4. Truffle Mac and Cheese:
    • Stir in a small amount of truffle oil or truffle butter into the cheese sauce for a luxurious, earthy flavor. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh herbs like chives or parsley.
  5. Mexican Fiesta:
    • Add diced green chilies, black beans, and corn to the cheese sauce. Season with cumin and chili powder. Top with crushed tortilla chips or a layer of salsa before baking.
  6. Spinach and Artichoke Delight:
    • Mix in chopped cooked spinach and artichoke hearts (drained and chopped) to the cheese sauce. Sprinkle with a blend of mozzarella and Parmesan cheese before baking.
  7. Cajun Style:
    • Season the cheese sauce with Cajun seasoning and add diced andouille sausage or shrimp. Top with breadcrumbs mixed with Cajun seasoning before baking for a crunchy texture.
  8. Italian-Inspired:
    • Replace half of the cheddar cheese with shredded mozzarella cheese. Add diced sun-dried tomatoes, chopped fresh basil, and a sprinkle of Italian seasoning to the cheese sauce.
  9. Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese:
    • Mix in shredded BBQ pulled pork with the macaroni and cheese sauce. Top with extra BBQ sauce drizzle and chopped green onions before serving.
  10. Vegan Option:
    • Substitute dairy butter, milk, and cheese with vegan alternatives. Use plant-based milk, vegan butter, and dairy-free cheese shreds. Add nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor boost.

These variations offer exciting ways to elevate your Homemade Mac and Cheese Casserole, making it versatile for different tastes and occasions. Enjoy experimenting with these ideas to discover your favorite combinations!


  1. What makes Homemade Mac and Cheese Casserole different from boxed versions?
    • Homemade Mac and Cheese Casserole uses fresh ingredients and allows for customization of cheeses, seasonings, and add-ins, resulting in a richer and more flavorful dish compared to boxed versions.
  2. Can I use different types of pasta for this recipe?
    • Yes, while elbow macaroni is traditional, you can use other pasta shapes like penne, shells, or fusilli. Adjust cooking times according to the pasta’s package instructions.
  3. Is it necessary to use both milk and half and half in the cheese sauce?
    • Using a combination of milk and half and half (or light cream) helps achieve a creamy and velvety texture in the sauce. You can adjust the ratio based on your preference for richness.
  4. Can I prepare Homemade Mac and Cheese Casserole ahead of time?
    • Yes, you can assemble the casserole ahead of time and refrigerate it before baking. Simply cover it tightly with foil and bake when ready to serve.
  5. What can I substitute for dry mustard powder and onion powder?
    • You can use prepared mustard or omit the dry mustard powder. For onion powder, finely minced fresh onion or onion flakes can be used as alternatives.
  6. How do I prevent the cheese sauce from becoming grainy?
    • Ensure to gradually add and melt the cheese into the sauce over low to medium heat. Avoid boiling the sauce once the cheese is added to prevent it from becoming grainy.
  7. Can I make Homemade Mac and Cheese Casserole gluten-free?
    • Yes, use gluten-free pasta and ensure all other ingredients are gluten-free, including the flour used for the roux. Cornstarch can be used as a gluten-free thickening agent instead of flour.
  8. How do I achieve a crispy top on the casserole?
    • Sprinkle extra cheese evenly over the top before baking and ensure the oven temperature is hot enough to melt and lightly brown the cheese without overcooking the casserole.
  9. What should I serve with Homemade Mac and Cheese Casserole?
    • It pairs well with a side salad, steamed vegetables, garlic bread, or even grilled meats like chicken or sausage for a more substantial meal.
  10. Can I freeze leftovers of Homemade Mac and Cheese Casserole?
    • Yes, portion cooled leftovers into airtight containers or freezer bags. It can be frozen for up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

These FAQs address common queries about preparing, storing, and customizing Homemade Mac and Cheese Casserole, providing practical tips for a successful cooking experience.

Homemade Mac and Cheese Casserole offers a satisfying blend of creamy cheese sauce and perfectly cooked pasta, baked to a golden finish that’s irresistible. Whether you’re planning a family meal or looking to impress at a gathering, this recipe is sure to become a beloved favorite. Try it today and experience the comfort of homemade goodness!