Homemade Mac and Cheese

Publish Date December 20, 2022 2 Minute Read

Return of the Mac

Is it time to bring homemade mac and cheese into your meal rotation? We promise the extra steps are worth going beyond your boil-and-stir favorites. We’re talking baked mac and cheese, adding over-the-top ingredients like truffles and lobster, and more.

Homemade Mac & Cheese

Creamy, velvety sauce coats tender pasta for a classic homemade macaroni and cheese the whole family will devour!

What’s the Origin of Mac and Cheese?

Many food historians believe the first macaroni and cheese recipe, “De Lasanis,” was included in a 14th century Italian cookbook called Liber de Coquina (The Book of Cookery). It was made of square pieces of cooked pasta tossed or layered with grated cheese and spices.

What Are the Best Cheeses for Homemade Mac and Cheese?

When it comes to homemade mac and cheese, not all cheeses are created equal. The two most important factors are:

  1. Meltability Young, processed cheeses like American melt well but lack flavor when mixed with pasta.
  2. Flavor Aged cheeses can be tough to melt but add lots of complex flavor.

Because of this, homemade mac and cheese recipes often call for multiple types of cheese. The number one wedge that most mac and cheese recipes feature is sharp cheddar. However, regular cheddar has a great balance of meltability and flavor, so if you’re looking to keep things simple, you can use it instead of sharp cheddar for an equally delicious homemade mac and cheese.

Other popular cheeses used in mac and cheese are Gruyere, Gouda, Muenster, Parmesan, fontina, havarti and Monterey Jack.

Should You Make a Béchamel Sauce for Homemade Mac and Cheese?

After choosing your cheeses, it’s time to decide if you want to make a béchamel sauce, which is made with butter, flour and milk. Many mac and cheese recipes call for mixing the cheese into a béchamel sauce. The starch in the flour stabilizes melting cheese so it doesn’t break or become stringy. If your recipe is simple (skipping the béchamel sauce and utilizing an Instant Pot or one-pot method), American cheese or cream cheese should be used. They’ll melt well on their own and they’ll produce a yummy, silky sauce.

Shop Homemade Mac and Cheese Ingredients

You’re now ready to make this classic comfort food lots of ways, and when you do, the lucky ones who get to enjoy will definitely be saying, “Baby got mac!”. For recipes and ideas to pair with homemade mac and cheese, be sure to check out our blog, The Fresh Lane.

More Homemade Mac and Cheese Recipes