Creamy Oven Baked Mac & Cheese Casserole (Classic American Recipe)

Creamy and hearty.. This Macaroni and Cheese recipe is an all american traditional dish that goes far back to 1770 when housekeeper Elizabeth Raffald contained the first homemade written mac & cheese 

recipe for modern-day macaroni and cheese.
 A later recipe from 1784 mentioned that the small macaroni tubes have to be boiled first, sifted and then transferred to a frying pan then oven baked.

 Macaroni and Cheese is an all around versatile dish served on Holidays or any occasion as side dishes, appetizers, main course meals or even as a snack. Tends to be a favorite dish on Birthdays too.

Mac & Cheese Recipe Ingredients

Cookware Needed For This Recipe

Ingredients For This Mac and Cheese Recipe
  • Salt
  • Dried Elbow Pasta (1 lb)
  • Unsalted Butter (1/2 Cup)
  • All Purpose Flour (1/2 Cup)
  • Whole Milk (1 1/2 Cups)
  • Half & Half (2 1/2 Cups)
  • Black Pepper (1/2 Tsp)
  • Paprika (1/4 Tsp)
  • 1/2 Cup Of Shredded Gruyere Or Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 Cup Of Shredded Cheddar Or American Cheese
  • Note: Add Cheese as needed until sauce has a creamy texture. Many recipes also include parmesan, I will leave the cheeses up to you.

How To Make This Mac & Cheese Dish

1. Pour water in a medium pot or saucepan 3/4 full and wait for it to boil.. Add 1 Tbsp of salt then toss in 1 lb of elbow pasta.. Make sure there's enough water for the elbow pasta to move freely. 

2. Boil the elbow pasta for 5 minutes (max) and then toss them in a colander to drain the water. Add 1 teaspoon of oil and stir so they don't stick together, set the elbow pasta aside for later.

Note
: The elbow pasta should be a little firm they will cook more when placed in the oven later with the sauce.

3. To make the creamy sauce put 1/2 cup of unsalted butter in a medium size saucepan on medium heat, add 1/2 a cup of all purpose flour and stir until it's blended with the butter.

flour and butter

4. Add 1 1/2 cups of milk, then slowly add 2 1/2 cups of half and half a little at a time while stirring.. The sauce will start forming a creamy texture.

5. At this point reduce heat to low, add two pinches of salt, a pinch of paprika, black pepper and continue stirring.. 

6. Add 1/2 a cup of shredded Gruyere or mozzarella cheese and 1 cup of shredded cheddar or American cheese. You can also mix them if you prefer. Once you added the cheese in the sauce continue stirring until the sauce becomes thick but not too thick. Add more cheese if not thick enough.

mac & cheese creamy sauce

Note: You don't want the sauce too thick because the pasta will absorb some of the sauce when baking.. View the picture below to see the texture of the mac sauce before baking. 

macaroni cheese sauce

7. Toss the macaroni (elbow pasta) in a large mixing bowl and pour the cheese sauce in.. Then stir mix until macaroni and cheese sauce is well blended..

adding macaroni to cheese sauce

8. Making a layer of cheese. Pour the mac & cheese half way in a baking pan. Add more cheese then add the rest of the macaroni and cheese.

9. Flatten the top with a spoon and add the desired amount of cheese.. 

ready to bake the mac & cheese

10.  Bake at (325 degrees F) for 15-20 minutes or until top has golden brown spots.. Enjoy!

baked mac and cheese

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