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Creamy Mac and Cheese

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This creamy mac and cheese from scratch stars mild cheddar cheese and whole milk for the creamiest, smoothest texture.

Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food and this creamy mac and cheese recipe is the answer to my little mac and cheese prayers!

Confession time.  I have never in my life made mac and cheese from scratch before.  Crazy, right??  I’m pretty set in my ways when it comes to cooking and generally stick to a few favorite casseroles, stuff I can toss in a crock pot, and anything Mexican.  I’d much rather be elbow deep in flour baking something, but this blog has really given me an outlet and an opportunity to branch out to something outside of the norm.

Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food and this creamy mac and cheese recipe is the answer to my little mac and cheese prayers!

This Tastes Just Like Stouffer’s Mac and Cheese

I absolutely love Stouffer’s mac and cheese.  It’s creamy and cheesy and perfectly loaded with lots of ingredients I can’t pronounce.  Whomp whomp whooooomp.  Insert devastated face here.  So I went on the hunt for a creamy mac and cheese recipe.  

I tried a few that I didn’t like and did not get the family stamp of approval.  Either there wasn’t enough sauce or the recipe was weird and the cheese sauce ended up grainy and don’t even get me started on any recipe involving a roux!   

Then I found one on Pinterest that promised to be a Stouffer’s copycat and the first time I tried it it was SO close.  After a few tweaks, I think I’ve finally got it!  Not to brag or anything but this stuff is pretty rocking.  Like my family requested it twice in one-week rocking!

Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food and this creamy mac and cheese recipe is the answer to my little mac and cheese prayers!

What type of cheese is best in homemade mac and cheese?

Now this recipe DOES call for cheddar cheese soup from a can.  So while we’re not being total health nuts over here I’m still going to deem this less preservative-packed than something you get frozen or from a box.  

The first time I ever tried this recipe I used sharp cheddar.  And don’t.  Just don’t.  

Mild cheddar was a much better choice.  2% or whole milk really makes a difference in richness, too.  

And for heaven’s sake take a couple extra minutes and shred your own cheese!  There are additives in pre-shredded cheese that keep it from melting completely and you might end up with a grainy sauce.

Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food and this creamy mac and cheese recipe is the answer to my little mac and cheese prayers!

What type of noodles are best in mac and cheese? 

The large shells are the perfect vessel for that creamy goodness and I’m definitely glad I went with them over traditional elbow macaroni.  I mean why would you want to leave any of that sauce behind.  Not that I would have any problems licking out the bowl delicately spooning up the leftover sauce.

If you’re one of those mac and cheese enthusiasts that loooooove cheese {who doesn’t love cheese??} you can certainly transfer this to a baking dish, cover it with more cheese, and bake it at 350 degrees until the cheese is brown and bubbly.  But I like mine smooth and creamy.  Yum.

What’s your go to mac and cheese recipe??

Meaghan

Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food and this creamy mac and cheese recipe is the answer to my little mac and cheese prayers!

Creamy Mac and Cheese

Yield: 4 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 oz large shell pasta, cooked and drained
  • 4 tbs butter
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 can cheddar cheese soup
  • 8 oz of shredded cheese
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup milk

Instructions

  1. Melt butter in a medium sauce pan, once melted add pepper, salt, and cheddar cheese soup and stir to combine.
  2. Add shredded cheese a half a cup at a time, whisking until completely melted and smooth each time.
  3. Add sour cream and mix until combined.
  4. Whisk constantly while adding in milk and mix until completely incorporated.
  5. Stir in pasta until completely coated and let sit covered for five minutes for the sauce to thicken.

More Cheesy Dinner Recipes

If you really enjoyed this recipe, you should try one of these next. You will love them! 

Katie

Tuesday 20th of July 2021

This was amazing!! Thank you!! I strayed from the original recipe, I cooked a 12oz box of "veggie" pasta (ha, yes I realize, what's the point?) And had accidently bought a ton of healthy request cheddar soup so I have been searching for what to do with it. I ended up doubling the recipe (which made it saucy with only 12oz of veggie rotini, totally fine by me) and added bacon and microwave chicken patties cut up. So good. With the healthy request soup, it reduces the salt way down so I'm sure with regular condensed cheddar soup this is absolutely perfect. Ended up using a Monterey jack blend. Mild but very flavorful. Again, thank you!

Sarahhh

Sunday 13th of December 2020

Meaghan, I’m trying to make a Mac that sits well (aka won’t separate and isn’t gritty) and has that “comfort” taste/texture and can sit out for a Buffett and still be awesome. Yours looks absolutely creamy like it would reheat really well and handle sitting out for an hour. Have you happened to try this with half mild cheddar and half American (not velveeta)? Or is the cheddar soup enough to keep it creamy?

Meaghan

Tuesday 15th of December 2020

The soup keeps it beautifully creamy (and to reheat it well in the microwave, add a bit of water to it to keep it creamy) but it handles different cheeses really well. I've subbed in shredded American as well as shredded colby jack and both have been fine!

LA Osborne

Friday 10th of January 2020

Followed the recipe as written and unlike others I tried that were highly rated, this one came out very creamy and tasty! It's definitely a keeper. Thank you for posting it.

Greg Alexanian

Tuesday 17th of December 2019

Meaghan! First I want to say thank you. This recipe is amazingly simple. I frequently bring it to get together' s, pot lucks, office parties, and work lunch. All who have tried it have given me rave kudos, even the most snobbiest / pickiest of mac n cheese eaters loved it. This is a nice base recipe too to tinker with, I have changed up cheddar blends for a variant of sharpness, added broccoli and chicken, Ro*tel (diced tomatoes and green chilis) and spices for a tex-mex version. etc... The best part of this recipe is no crumb topping.

Happiest of holidays to you and your family.

Laura

Monday 5th of August 2019

Meaghan, I made your creamy macaroni and cheese for my nieces and nephews and THEY LOVED IT! It's so easy to make and they keep asking me to make it. Thank you for this fabulous recipe.

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