This easy homemade macaroni and cheese is just like the super creamy macaroni and cheese you get at restaurants! It uses a quick roux to enhance the texture and deepen the flavor. Get ready for the best macaroni and cheese you’ve ever had!
If you’ve ever had macaroni and cheese at a restaurant, you know that it’s totally different from the traditional boxed macaroni and cheese. The noodles are bigger, there’s a ton more sauce, and it’s SO CREAMY.
Today I’m going to teach you how to make this at home so you can get that great flavor and texture any time you want.
There is one catch: you still do need a box of macaroni and cheese. We’re going to use the cheese packet and add it to a lovely white sauce, along with some shredded cheese, to get that classic flavor.
Ingredients for Easy Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
8 ounces macaroni noodles (I used spiral noodles called “gemelli.” You can use any shape of pasta you want, like shells, bow ties, etc.)
1 packet cheese sauce from a box of macaroni and cheese (you can use two packets if you want to go crazy)
3 Tbsp. salted butter
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk (any type is fine, from skim to whole milk)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Instructions for Easy Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil over high heat.
Add your noodles. Stir and reduce heat to medium-high. Add a splash of oil so it doesn’t boil over.
While the noodles are boiling, prepare your cheese sauce.
In a separate medium-sized sauce pan or frying pan, add your butter, flour, and salt. Turn the heat on to medium and allow the butter to melt a little. Once mostly melted, mix together with the flour and salt using a wire whisk. This will create a “roux,” which looks like a thick, off-white paste.
Slowly add 2 cups of milk, a little at time. Whisk together with the roux after each addition, making sure everything is smooth. Keep stirring occasionally until it starts to thicken. Then add more milk. Continue this until the milk has all been added.
Add the contents of the cheese packet and stir.
Add the shredded cheddar cheese and stir. Remove from the heat.
Test a noodle to see if it is done. Remove it from the pot, let it cool a few seconds, and then bite into it. If it gives a little resistance, it is “al dente,” which is perfect.
Drain the noodles and then pour them back into the pot.
Immediately add the cheese sauce and stir. It will seem like there is too much cheese sauce, but it will thicken as it cools slightly, and you’ll find that it is the perfect amount.
If desired, garnish with more shredded cheese or some Italian seasoning.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To reheat, add a little milk and butter to loosen up the sauce. You can reheat in the microwave or in a pan on the stove.
- 8 ounces pasta, any kind (elbow macaroni, shells, bow-tie, etc.)
- 1 package powdered cheese sauce from a box of macaroni and cheese
- 3 Tablespoons salted butter
- 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups milk (skim, 1%, 2% or whole are all fine)
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Fill a medium-sized pot of water 2/3 full of water and place on the stove over high heat.
- When water is boiling, add the noodles and stir. Add a splash of vegetable oil to keep the water from boilng over.
- Turn the heat down to medium-high and continue to boil the noodles, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes, or until al-dente.
- While the noodles are boiling, prepare your cheese sauce.
- In a medium-sized pot or frying pan, add the butter, flour, and salt. Heat over medium heat until the butter starts to melt.
- Whisk the melted butter, flour, and salt together to form a roux.
- Add a little bit of the milk and whisk together with the roux until smooth. Whisk occasionally until the mixture starts to thicken. Then add more milk and repeat untl all the milk as been used. In the end, the white sauce may not seem very thick, but that's ok.
- Once all the milk has been added, pour in the contents of the cheese packet and whisk together until most of the lumps have disappeared.
- Add the cheddar cheese and whisk until melted. Remove from the heat.
- Drain the noodles and immediately put back into their pot.
- Add the cheese sauce and stir. Sauce may seem runny, but will thicken as it cools.
- Serve, adding extra grated cheese or other spices (like Italian seasoning or Sriracha sauce) as desired.