Homestyle Mac and Cheese is the creamiest, cheesiest, and tastiest macaroni you'll ever eat. It's made with three cheeses and topped with crunchy bread crumbs to create the perfect homemade side dish!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
As far as I'm concerned, homemade macaroni and cheese is the number one comfort food out there. It's got everything you need to slip into pasta nirvana within seconds. Ooey, gooey sharp cheddar mixed with gouda and pasta is like hanging out with peas and carrots. They're simply made for each other!
Homestyle Mac and Cheese has everything you love...and you'll know it when you taste that first bite. Creamy cheeses, savory spices, and a buttery, crunchy topping is something you need in your life!
Here's a handy shopping list for you to take to the store. (Quantities are listed in the recipe card below.)
- elbow macaroni
- cream cheese
- sharp cheddar cheese
- shredded gouda cheese
- evaporated milk (ad)
- half and half
- garlic salt
- ground mustard
- salt and pepper
- Panko bread crumbs
Do I Have to Make a Roux?
Some people are intimidated by making a roux, and if that's you, you're in luck with this recipe. This is a boil and mix in one skillet dish! In fact, if you can't wait another minute for your mac and cheese fix, you could serve it straight from the skillet and skip the baking step. I'm not saying how I know this, but take my word for it. 🙂
How to Make Mac and Cheese
Boil macaroni in salted water for about 5 minutes if you're planning on baking it, or 8 minutes if you'll be serving it from a skillet. Drain in a colander. While macaroni is cooking, shred the cheese by hand.
In a large skillet or pot, melt butter, then add macaroni and cream cheese. Melt cheese over medium heat while stirring constantly. Add cheddar and gouda cheese, then continue to stir while cheese melts.
Add evaporated milk and cream, then stir well until cheese thickens. Macaroni and cheese can be served straight from the skillet at this point, or add it to a 13 x 9 inch baking dish and top with extra shredded cheese and bread crumbs.
Pop it in a 350 degree oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until cheese melts. Wowza! It's so amazing...I can hardly look at the pictures without wanting to make another batch!
Can This Dish Be Made In Advance?
Yes! One of the best things about Homestyle Mac and Cheese is it can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to 3 days before baking. If you're making this dish for Thanksgiving or another holiday, that's a plus since you'll have one less thing to do on the big day.
When refrigerating, wait to put the bread crumbs on top until ready to bake. Add a little milk and stir. Then, add the bread crumb mixture. Bake just before time to serve to ensure best results. The longer it sits, the more the macaroni absorbs the cheese which can cause it to lose its creaminess.
Can Mac and Cheese Be Frozen?
You can definitely freeze this dish before it's baked. If you freeze it after baking, it will dry out. To heat, save the bread crumbs and put them on top just before baking. Cook macaroni and cheese in a 350 degree oven for at least one hour, or until bubbly in the middle.
Over the years, macaroni and cheese has become a gourmet treat, especially at restaurants in Asheville, NC. There's everything from lobster mac and cheese to fried macaroni appetizers. Feeling adventurous? Try these stir-in ideas...
- crispy bacon
- grilled chicken
- lobster or crabmeat
- veggies like cauliflower, spinach, peas, or kale
- little hot dog weenies
- chopped ham
- fresh herbs such as rosemary and thyme
- substitute other cheeses for the gouda and cheddar if desired
More Pasta Dishes to Love
If you're as crazy about pasta as I am, try a few of my other favorite dishes...
- Easy Pesto Pasta
- Sun Dried Tomato Pasta
- Baked Ziti to Go
- Lemon Chicken Spaghetti
- Portobello Chicken Lasagna
- Garden Spaghetti Salad