Easy Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

Easy Homemade Macaroni and Cheese!

Confession time: I love boxed macaroni and cheese. Like the blue box and the powder packet. Crazy, right? It’s just a childhood favorite that I can’t give up! I don’t often have it in my house, though, and of course I also love homemade macaroni and cheese as well. So because of all that – I have been on the hunt for the perfect easy homemade macaroni and cheese recipe for quite sometime. 

I’ve been trying to develop the perfect macaroni and cheese recipe for literally a year. I wanted the texture to be reminiscent of the box stuff with the flavor more similar to my mothers version of homemade macaroni and cheese. While it’s not like I made it everyday trying to find the perfect recipe, it has definitely been something I’ve tried over and over! I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to my mac, I don’t like a lot of add-ins or complex flavor. I’ve made at least 15 different versions {for real} and I finally settled on a method and ingredient list that gave me the texture and flavor profile I was after!

Easy Homemade Macaroni and Cheese!

The method for this easy macaroni and cheese uses a classic roux, which is just equal parts fat and flour cooked until the raw flour flavor is gone, and then turned in to a classic bechamel sauce by adding milk. Don’t be scared – it sounds fancy but it is totally easy. To that sauce I added my cheese, of course. I like pure cheddar but you could definitely mix it up here and add whatever kind you want. I should also note that I’m not a fan of really gloppy and overly cheesy mac, so if you want to add more – be my guest!

Easy Homemade Macaroni and Cheese!

I also add cayenne pepper to give it a little zing. I felt this kept the simple flavor profile I was looking for better than adding hot sauce. I also add an unusual ingredient – tomato paste! This is where my recipe gives a nod to my mothers recipe. I think she used canned tomato soup in hers, but in mine I wanted a really subtle tomato flavor and a little bit of paste hit the spot.

Easy Homemade Macaroni and Cheese!

When adding your milk, adjust the thickness to your preference. That is the beauty of making this easy homemade macaroni and cheese! I like my sauce a little thinner than most, so keep that in mind when making your mac. It’s also very important to use warm milk, especially when adjusting after you’ve added the cheese. Adding cold milk to melted fat {butter or cheese} can cause it to “break” which just means the fat starts to separate. This is why reheating cheesy dishes in the microwave is always a disaster as well 🙂 Tip: add some milk before microwaving, it makes it so much better {or just use the oven}!


Not sure what to pair this with? I love it with this easy sloppy joe recipe 🙂

Let me know if you try this easy homemade macaroni and cheese and what you thought!

Serves 4 servings

Classic Macaroni & Cheese

10 minPrep Time

10 minCook Time

20 minTotal Time

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  • 1/2 lb cooked pasta of your choice
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2-2 cups warm milk
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon season salt
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Optional Topping:
  • 1/2 cup plain or seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces


  1. In a deep skillet, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook until golden, about 3 minutes (DON'T skip this step).
  2. Gradually whisk in 1 1/2 cups of warm milk (microwave 1-2 minutes) and simmer until thickened.
  3. On low heat, add peppers, salts, tomato paste, and cheese. Stir until totally combined.
  4. Taste and adjust seasonings and thickness. Stir in cooked pasta.
  5. Optional Topping
  6. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top and dot with butter.
  7. Broil on high for 2-3 minutes until the top is golden brown and bubbly.
369 cal
30 g
9 g
17 g

Click Here For Full Nutrition, Exchanges, and My Plate Info

Easy homemade macaroni and cheese recipe! Cheesy, creamy, and quick this recipe is a family favorite and the perfect match for any meal!

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    June 12, 2017 at 12:43 PM […] another easy lunch idea? Make some easy homemade macaroni and cheese […]
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