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Creamy Macaroni and Cheese


  • 1⁄2cup butter or 1⁄2 cup margarine
  • 1⁄2cup all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄2teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄2teaspoon pepper, to taste
  • 1⁄4teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1⁄4teaspoon garlic granules
  • 2cups half-and-half
  • 2cups milk
  • 2(10 ounce) packages sharp cheddar cheese, shredded and divided (I use Cracker Barrel)
  • 1(10 ounce) package extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (I use Cracker Barrel)
  • 1(16 ounce) package elbow macaroni, cooked


  • In a big skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat.
  • Whisk the flour in gradually until the mixture is smooth.
  • Cook and whisk continually for 2 minutes.
  • Add in salt, pepper, cayenne, and garlic; stir to combine.
  • Gradually whisk in half-and-half and milk.
  • Cook and whisk continually for 8-10 minutes or until mixture is thickened.
  • Add in half of the sharp cheddar cheese; stir.
  • Add in all of the extra-sharp cheddar cheese; stir until smooth.
  • Take skillet off stove burner.
  • Mix together the cooked macaroni and cheese mixture; transfer to a greased 13×9 inch casserole dish.
  • Sprinkle with the remaining sharp cheddar cheese.
  • Bake in a 350° oven for 20 minutes (may need to bake longer for a crispy top).


  • Journey 88

    Made this for a bunch of hungry firefighters to go with roast beef sandwiches and they loved it. My only change was to use processed cheese loaf (Velveeta) for some of the cheddar to cut costs. This was creamy and held well while waiting for the dinner to begin. Will definitely make again!

  • SarasotaCook

    Made this a few weeks ago … sorry, just got around to the review. Made it for a potluck luncheon.

    Turned out perfect. Two changes, I added a extra sharp WHITE cheddar, but that really didn’t change the flavor, just the color. And, a few fresh bread crumbs as a topping. But again, it didn’t change the flavor of the dish. Just a little crunchy topping.

    It was creamy, easy and delicious. I honestly prefer mine NOT as creamy, but that is my personal recipe; however, I have found a creamier mac and cheese is preferred and this is very very good. I would make this any time. The first time I added some bacon, because my friend asked me too. That was equally as good.

    There is only one thing I might try. Mom always added just a bit of mustard for a little tang. Next time I might try just a bit of mustard in the sauce.

    But, a fantastic recipe and very easy to make.
    NOTE: to new cooks … make sure to use a quality cheese and shred it yourself. Pre-shredded have chemicals in it to prevent molding and for preserving. Fresh grating cheese is the key.

    Also, when adding cheese to your sauce … remove from the heat, and add a little at a time until creamy. Add to HOT HOT sauce and too much at once can cause it to separate and get grainy. And then don’t bring back to a boil. It is already melted, keep on medium low heat.

    GREAT recipe!

  • OutRAGme_985

    This recipe is absolutely fantastic, and it has made its way into my regular rotation. I'm a huge fan of baked macaroni and cheese, but I'm also hugely critical of it. Most of the time the recipes I try are dried out, crispy on the top, never creamy enough. This recipe has absolutely none of those problems. Thick, creamy, cheesy, moist….it's almost perfect.<br/><br/>I made a few personal changes to this by using rotini instead of macaroni, and adding in tons of steamed broccoli and cauliflower to add some vegetables into our meal. I also put three scoops of nutritional yeast for added vitamins without distracting from the hearty, cheesy flavour of this dish.<br/><br/>I HIGHLY recommend this to any cheese lover. It's a dream come true and we will be cooking it for many years to come.

  • KellyBryan83

    My husband and I absolutely loved this recipe! It was so creamy and the perfect rainy day, cold weather, comfort food! I happen to love mac & cheese when I'm sick…it's my chicken noodle, make me feel better food, but it's difficult for me to find the perfect make me feel better recipe. This one definitely meets the mark! The only change I made was I shredded cheese myself instead of buying pre-shredded cheese. Packaged shredded cheese takes much longer to melt and doesn't taste as fresh as just shredded cheese. I will definitely make this again, but I think I might add some bread crumbs on top for a little bit of crunch.

  • vkline326

    I loved this recipe and have made it a few times. I have always received lots of compliments. The most recent time that I made the recipe I decided to change it up a bit. I used three cups of whole milk and 1 cup of heavy cream (leaving out the half and half) and I also used 1/4 tsp dry mustard and all mild cheddar cheese and just a few ounces of american cheese (real cheese not processed cheese product). With these changes, it was truly amazing!!! I believe the half and half gives it a little different flavor that I was not crazy about and the addition of the american cheese makes it even more creamy and easier to reheat. Either way, the original recipe is very good and always a crowd pleaser!!!

  • luvbeagles65

    I followed this recipe for the most part but improvised a little. I didn’t have any half and half so I used a can of evaporated milk instead. I also added a little more cayenne pepper and used about twice as much garlic as the recipe called for. It turned out great. I like the creaminess of the sauce. Love this website and don’t think I have ever found a bad recipe on here!!

  • ColCadsMom

    Perfect mac and cheese. My standard recipe for all holiday gatherings with my in-laws. I could eat this out of the pan without ever putting it in the oven. My only additions are a dash of freshly grated nutmeg and about 4 ounces of velveeta added to the Cracker Barrel cheeses. The only mac and cheese that every family member will eat. Thanks for another wonderful recipe!

  • Chris #5

    Wow! I love a creamy baked mac and cheese, and so many you eat at pot luck dinners are dry and tasteless Not this one. I made it exactly as directed, except I did put in about 1 tsp of spicy brown mustard when I added the cheeses. .I also put some buttered panko bread crumbs on top before baking. This is "my" signature mac and cheese from now on. Full of flavor. Can't say enough good things about it.

  • New England Chef

    This is the creamiest macaroni and cheese I have found. Many people said this was the best macaroni and cheese they had ever had. I followed the ingredients exactly except I excluded cayenne pepper because I had none on hand. I will definitely add it in the future. The first time I cooked it I did not thicken the sauce very long which I think added to the creaminess.

  • sheepdoc

    Excellent mac and cheese. I used Cabot Vermont extra extra sharp and Kirkland extra sharp. Guessed at the amount – filled up the box grater. Made for Thanksgiving and it was a big hit.