Mom's Baked Macaroni and Cheese

November 2, 2018
Mom's cooking is the best!  Especially when it's her family-favorite Baked Macaroni and Cheese, loaded with melty Vermont white cheddar.  Around our parts, it's just not a holiday meal without it.
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Mom's Baked Macaroni and Cheese Image

Around here, it's not a holiday without macaroni and cheese.  A big pan of Mom's baked macaroni and cheese loaded with white cheddar and creamy white sauce, to be exact.

Whether it be Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, or any other big family gathering, a pan of Mom's baked macaroni and cheese is a must at the meal.  

And as of a few years ago, the responsibility of making it shifted from Mom to me.  It's now one of the staples I'm expected to bring when our family gets together.  It's an honor I've been happy to take on, because hey, everyone loves mac and cheese.  Right?

Whether it be Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, or any other big family gathering, a pan of Mom's baked macaroni and cheese is a must at the meal.

Having grown up in Vermont, of course our family's macaroni and cheese recipe is loaded with Cabot Vermont white cheddar.  Barre, Vermont - the town I grew up in - is only about 20 minutes from Cabot creamery, so Cabot cheese is very near and dear to my heart ... and taste buds.  

Now that I live in North Carolina, Cabot white cheddar is still my go-to when it comes to making our beloved baked macaroni and cheese.

But if you're not able to easily get Cabot Vermont white cheddar in your area, that's no problem - any white cheddar will work just fine.  Or, use orange cheddar if you prefer.  It works just fine, too.

To whip up a pan of Mom's cheesy deliciousness, start by shredding some white cheddar.  Lots of white cheddar.  We use a full 3 cups of shredded cheese, which makes this mac and cheese nice and cheesy.

Shredded White Cheddar to Make Baked Macaroni and Cheese Image

Then place a layer of cooked macaroni noodles in the bottom of a baking dish ...

Macaroni Layer in Baking Dish to Make Baked Macaroni and Cheese Image

And top the macaroni with shredded cheese.  Repeat to make two layers total, and set this aside ...

Making Baked Macaroni and Cheese Image

One of the things I love best about Mom's baked macaroni and cheese is that the macaroni gets all surrounded in a rich, thick white sauce.  The white sauce brings fabulous creaminess to each and every bite of the finished macaroni and cheese.

 Preparing the white sauce is pretty simple.  It just takes a few basic ingredients and a little stirring while it thickens up.

White sauce brings fabulous creaminess to each and every bite of the finished macaroni and cheese.

To make the white sauce, melt some butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Then whisk in some flour.  The flour will serve as the thickening agent for the sauce.

Once the flour is incorporated into the butter, gradually whisk in milk ... and then bring this to a boil for about a minute.  As it cooks, it will thicken into a nice creamy sauce.

Making White Sauce for Baked Macaroni and Cheese Image

Pour the white sauce evenly over the top of the macaroni layers ...

Making Baked Macaroni and Cheese with White Sauce Image

And then top the white sauce with a little more shredded cheddar ...

How to Make Baked Macaroni and Cheese Image

Finally, bake the macaroni and cheese until it's bubbling around the edges and beginning to get some nice golden brown areas on the top.

I have forgotten to save some shredded cheddar for the top before, and baked it with just the white sauce on top.  

While the flavor will still turn out the same without the sprinkling of cheese, the macaroni and cheese won't develop the nicely browned areas on top without it.

Pan of Baked Macaroni and Cheese Image

Now, there's a little trick you can use in baking this macaroni and cheese that lets you determine your desired texture - whether you want the finished result creamy, or more firm.  And it all has to do with when  you bake the macaroni and cheese.

So how do you make creamy baked macaroni and cheese? - Bake the mac and cheese immediately after pouring on the white sauce.

The result will be a very creamy, "loose" macaroni and cheese with the noodles all tending to stay separate ... like in the photo below:

Creamy Baked Macaroni and Cheese Image

And how do you make "firmer" mac and cheese that sort of clumps together? - Let it set before baking.

That's right, to get that "firmer" macaroni and cheese texture, cover and refrigerate the assembled macaroni and cheese overnight or for at least 4-6 hours before baking.

The result will be a macaroni and cheese that's more firm in texture, with the noodles more adhering together in clumps, like in the photo a little bit below.

There's a little trick you can use that lets you determine your desired texture - whether you want the finished result creamy, or more firm.  And it all has to do with when  you bake the macaroni and cheese.

Personally, our family prefers our mac and cheese firm.

So I always assemble my pan of mac and cheese the day before serving, and let it stand in the refrigerator overnight before baking.  Not only does this give the texture result we love, it also adds make-ahead convenience for our mac and cheese, too.

When it comes to macaroni and cheese, Mom's cooking is the best!  So mac and cheese lovers, tuck Mom's family-favorite Baked Macaroni and Cheese recipe away for when you make your next batch. 

Loaded with melty Vermont white cheddar and creamy white sauce, it's full of fabulous cheesy flavor we hope you'll love as much as we do.  Because around our parts, it's just not a holiday meal without it! 

Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Serving Spoon Image
Thank you for stopping by The Kitchen is My Playground. We'd love to have you back soon!



Mom's Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Source:  My Mom
(Printable recipe)
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 c. (8 oz.) uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 3 c. grated Vermont white sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 c. unsalted butter
  • 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 c. whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
Directions
  1. PREPARE MACARONI & CHEESE LAYERS:  Cook macaroni in salted water; drain.
  2. In a 1 & 1/2-quart baking dish coated with non-stick cooking spray, layer macaroni and cheese in this order: 1. 1/2 of the macaroni, 2. one cup cheese, 3. remaining macaroni, and 4. one cup cheese. Set aside.
  3. PREPARE WHITE SAUCE: Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and whisk in flour. Return to heat and gradually whisk in milk. Add salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring; boil gently for about one minute until sauce is thickened.
  4. Pour white sauce evenly over the top of the macaroni. Top with remaining one cup cheese.
  5. For creamy macaroni and cheese, bake immediately.  For "firmer" macaroni and cheese, cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 4-6 hours before baking.
  6. BAKE:  Bake at 375 for 35-45 minutes until cheese is melted and top is lightly browned.
Note:  For a 9x13-inch pan, I make 1 & 1/2 times the recipe.

Enjoy!


Enjoy these other side dish favorites from The Kitchen is My Playground ...








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This post is linked with Weekend PotluckMeal Plan Monday.

7 comments

  1. This was truly the VERY BEST Mac & Cheese recipe which I ever made! It was very easy to put together, and I immediately knew that it would be super delicious, b/c you used White Vermont Cheddar Cheese. I'm originally from New England, so I always try to use "Cabot's" cheese (when I can find it here), since I know that it's pretty much the best). You don't have to use 2 or 3 different kinds of cheese when making a good Mac & Cheese, just use a 'good quality' cheese. BTW, I sprinkled some whole grain Panko breadcrumbs on top of the Mac & Cheese when I baked it. I sprayed the breadcrumbs with Butter Flavored "Pam" before putting it into the oven. We liked the crunchy topping. Thanks for this recipe! This will be the ONLY Mac & Cheese recipe that I'll make from now on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for stopping by to let me know the recipe worked so well for you ... I truly appreciate it. Will have to try it with the addition of the panko on top, sounds great!

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  2. Looks so yummy and healthy. Going to take the taste soon.

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  3. Wow this baked mac and cheese looks so creamy and good. Found you at Friday Favorites.

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  4. There is nothing like a great dish of baked macaroni and cheese, we will love this recipe! Thanks so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday and come back to see us real soon!
    Miz Helen

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