Homemade Mac and Cheese

This recipe is incredibly easy, and your kids would probably love to help you make it! I let my littles help grate the cheese and measure the noodles.

For me, mac and cheese has to have a smooth and creamy cheese sauce, and I’ve had enough trial and error in this department to understand that there are a few simple things you can do to achieve that smooth sauce we all want in our macaroni!

The BEST Homemade Mac and Cheese of your LIFE. Outrageously cheesy, ultra creamy, and topped with a crunchy Panko-Parmesan topping, this mac and cheese recipe is most definitely a keeper. I used three different cheese and a homemade cheese sauce to take this macaroni and cheese recipe over the top. Love cheesy recipes? Make sure to try this Lazy Day Lasagna and Cheesy Kielbasa Rice and Broccoli Skillet next week for dinner!


16 oz. elbow macaroni, cooked (or other tubular pasta)

1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

6 tablespoons of unsalted butter

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

3 cups of whole milk

1 cup heavy whipping cream

4 cups of grated strong cheddar cheese

2 cups of grated Gruyere cheese

salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs

4 tablespoons melted butter

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (or regular paprika)


Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease a large 3- or 4-quart baking dish and set aside. Mix the grated cheeses in a large bowl and set aside.

Mix the grated cheeses in a large bowl and set aside. Remove from heat, drain and put them in a large bowl.

Drizzle the pasta with olive oil and toss to coat the pasta. Set aside to cool while preparing the cheese sauce.

Melt the butter in a deep saucepan, Dutch oven or stock pot.

Whisk in flour over medium heat and continue to whisk for about 1 minute until mixture bubbles and turns golden brown.

Gradually whisk in milk and heavy cream until smooth. Continue whisking until bubbles appear on the surface, then continue whisking for another 2 minutes. Whisk in salt and pepper.

Add two cups of grated cheese and whisk until smooth. Add two more cups of grated cheese and continue whisking until the mixture is creamy and smooth. The sauce should be good and thick.

Add the cooled pasta, stirring until well blended and the pasta is completely covered with the cheese sauce.

Pour half of the macaroni and cheese into the prepared baking dish. Cover with the remaining 2 cups of grated cheese, then cover with the remaining macaroni and cheese.

In a small bowl, mix the panko crumbs, parmesan, melted butter and paprika. Sprinkle on top and bake until mixture is bubbling and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.