How to make the BOMB Mac and Cheese recipe

How to make the BOMB Mac and Cheese

This is Thanksgiving mac and cheese! This is Christmas mac and cheese! This is potluck mac and cheese! Mac and cheese is mandatory on my table for holiday meals and summer cookouts and this baked macaroni and cheese recipe is the real deal!


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PLEASE USE REAL CHEESE for this Mac and Cheese recipe

The first rule for making the ULTIMATE macaroni and cheese is to use REAL CHEESE! Please leave that fake stuff alone, it tastes really bad. Grab a brick of sharp cheddar cheese and mix in a few other kinds of cheese to suit your tastes. I like to add in mozzarella cheese to get that stretchy cheese pull effect. Sometimes if I want my mac and cheese super sharp I’ll grate in a little Parmesan cheese.

I served this with some succulent BBQ BEEF BRISKET

smoked beef brisket

How to make the BOMB Mac and Cheese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings
  • 16 ounce package of elbow macaroni
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups of whole or 2% milk
  • 32 ounces of cheddar cheese (divided)
  • 16 ounces of mozzarella cheese (divided)
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Shred ⅔ of the cheddar and cut the rest of the cheddar into cubes. Set aside 1 cup of shredded cheddar for the top of the mac and cheese
  3. Shred the mozzarella cheese and reserve 1 cup for the top
  4. Add salt to a pot of water and bring it to boil.
  5. Boil the elbow macaroni for 5 minutes then drain it
  6. Warm milk in the microwave or stovetop for a minute or two but do not let it boil
  7. Melt the butter in a cast iron enamel Dutch oven then mix in the flour. Cook for 2 minutes stirring with a whisk constantly. Don't let it brown
  8. Whisk in the milk
  9. Stir in shredded cheddar simmer and stir until you have a smooth sauce.
  11. Stir in the cooked macaroni, the cubes of cheddar cheese, the shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan if you are using it
  12. Stir in the dry mustard, white pepper, granulated garlic and onion powder
  13. Smooth the top and sprinkle the reserved shredded cheddar and mozzarella on top of the mac and cheese
  14. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes to melt the cheeses then broil for 1 to 2 minutes to brown the cheese
  15. Pour the milk into the butter/flour mixture and stir. Add shredded cheddar and mozzarella

Make a roux

I make my mac and cheese in an enamel coated cast iron pan that can go from stovetop to oven to table.

Like most good things in life, this recipe starts with a roux. A blond roux to be specific. Cook equal parts of butter and flour together for a minute or two, don’t let it brown. For more info on how to make a blond roux check read this post.

Next, make a bechamel

Add warm milk (Cold milk will make it lumpy. Just warm for a minute in the microwave to knock the chill off, don’t boil it) whisk and simmer until the sauce thickens. Now you have a bechamel sauce.

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Then make a mornay sauce

Add grated cheese to the bechamel and you have a silky mornay sauce. This is the point where I turn off the heat and add some cooked elbow macaroni. Don’t cook the macaroni fully to package instructions because it will cook more in the sauce when we bake it. Cook the macaroni in salted water for 5 minutes, then drain it.

Season the mac and cheese recipe with dry mustard, white pepper, granulated garlic, and onion powder. I go easy on the seasoning because I want the flavors of the cheeses to shine through. I don’t add any additional salt at this point because I salted the water for boiling the macaroni and the cheese have quite a bit of salt. Give the dish a taste and decide if you feel it needs any salt.

Add more cheese

Stir in the chunks of cheddar cheese. I like to bite into a piece of cheese in my mac and cheese. Stir in shredded mozzarella. Smooth the top and add the reserved shredded cheese to the top.

Bake the mac and cheese until it’s hot and melty then run it under the broiler to brown the top. Watch it closely so you don’t burn it.

How to make the BOMB Mac and Cheese

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