Mac ‘n’ Cheese was a staple for me, and certainly every kid I knew growing up in the mid-west.
Generally—OK, always—this was the stuff from a box that used that sort of orange-ish powdered cheese. While this stuff was delicious back in the day, I’ve sort of outgrown it. As a grownup that still loves cheesy goodness, the homemade mac ‘n’ cheese that I’m making now is a favorite.
Truth be told, this is a recipe I can’t take full credit for. My daughter actually started down this path—trying different cheeses, etc. until we dialed in this incredible and mildly spicy mac ‘n’ cheese that is to die for. It’s not overpoweringly spicy by any stretch, there’s just a little hint of heat on the end—but if that’s not your jam feel free to forgo the cayenne pepper.
The creaminess of the homemade cheese sauce is really the star of the show here, it’s definitely going to have you and your guests asking for seconds. It makes an excellent addition my smoked meatloaf, or the perfect topper for my meatloaf comfort burger, or my BBQ-style sandwich as well.
Mac ‘N’ Cheese Recipe
Serves: 6-8 | Prep time: 20 mins. | Cook time: 5 mins.
4 tbsp of butter
8 oz block of extra sharp cheddar cheese shredded
6 oz of Gruyere cheese shredded
2 tbsp of all purpose flour
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
1 cup milk
16 oz elbow macaroni
1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper or to taste
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of pepper
1/2 tsp of garlic powder
Step 1: Light grill or oven and set up for indirect heat, establish temperature at 450°F.
Step 2: In a medium saucepan, bring 4-6 cups water to a boil along with 1 tablespoon of salt. Add macaroni and boil for about 6-7 minutes, until noodles are al dente. Using a colander, stain macaroni and set aside.
Step 3: Shred both cheddar and Gruyere cheeses. If you’ve seen some of my other recipes that use shredded cheese, I always recommend shredding your own cheese as opposed to buying the pre-shredded stuff. The stuff in the bags is more convenient of course, but it’s coated with a wax to prevent it from sticking together. This also prevents it from melting as well as shredded blocks of cheese. Don’t be afraid to buy yourself a grater, I promise, it’s worth it
Step 4: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add butter and let it melt. Once melted, whisk in flour to make a roux. Cook roux over medium heat for 3 minutes. If you don’t have a whisk, use a fork—but a whisk makes this much easier.
Step 5: Add milk and cream to the roux and continue whisking. Add in cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cook for additional 5 minutes, until steam is rising off mixture.
Step 6: Remove roux from heat and mix in shredded cheeses, reserving 1/2 cup of each cheese for later.
Step 7: Pour strained macaroni into a baking dish and fold in cheese sauce.
TIP: Add some lump lobster or crab meat here for amazing seafood mac ‘n’ cheese
Step 8: Top the mixture with remaining cheese.
Step 9: Place the baking dish in preheated grill or in an oven using indirect heat for 3-5 minutes, or until cheese has slightly browned and is bubbling. At 450°F, this doesn’t take long.
Step 10: Serve hot, enjoy all the compliments.
Make the Mac ‘N’ Cheese Recipe:
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- 4 tbsps butter
- 8 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- 6 oz Gruyere cheese shredded
- 2 tbsps all purpose flour
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup milk
- 16 oz elbow macaroni
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
Light grill or oven and set up for indirect heat, establishing temperature at 450°F.
In medium saucepan, bring 4-6 cups water to a boil along with 1 tbsp of salt. Add macaroni and boil for about 6-7 minutes. Stain macaroni and set aside.
Shred both cheddar and Gruyere cheeses.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add butter and let it melt. Once melted, whisk in flour to make a roux, cooking over medium heat for 3 minutes.
Add milk and cream to the roux, and continue whisking.
Add in cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cook for additional 5 minutes.
Remove from heat, and mix in shredded cheeses—reserving 1/2 cup of each cheese for later.
Pour strained macaroni into baking dish, folding in cheese sauce.
Top with remaining cheese.
Place in preheated grill or oven, using indirect heat for 3-5 minutes.