This macaroni cheese recipe is the ultimate comfort food and you really can’t beat a classic recipe that’s perfectly creamy, cheesy and with a really crunchy breadcrumb top. This macaroni cheese recipe is super simple and makes a foolproof mac and cheese every time in under 45 minutes!
Serve this classic macaroni cheese recipe with our homemade garlic bread – its easy once you know how.
- 350g (12oz) macaroni
- 1-2 tbsp white breadcrumbs
- 1-2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- For the white sauce:
- 600ml (1 pint) milk
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 6-8 peppercorns
- Handful of parsley stalks
- 50g (1¾oz) butter
- 50g (1¾oz) plain flour
- Salt and white pepper
- 250g (8oz) mature Cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 tsp made English mustard, optional
Set the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.
To make the white sauce: Pour the milk into a pan and add the onion, bay leaf, peppercorns and parsley stalks. Place the pan on the hob and bring to the boil. Remove the pan from the heat and leave the milk to infuse for 30 minutes. Strain the milk into a jug, discarding the flavourings.
Melt the butter in a clean pan. Tip in the flour and mix well until it binds together to form a thick paste. Cook the paste for 1-2 minutes over a low heat to cook the flour, but not to colour it.
Gradually add the infused milk, beating well all the time it’s cooking and allowing the mixture to come to the boil between each addition of milk.
Once all the milk has been added, simmer the sauce for a few minutes and season to taste with salt and white pepper. The sauce can be used immediately.
Cook the macaroni in boiling water for about 12 mins, or according to the packet instructions, until it’s just tender. Drain it well.
Stir the Cheddar into the white sauce and then the mustard, if using. Add the pasta and mix well, then turn the mixture out into an ovenproof dish.
Scatter the breadcrumbs and Parmesan over the top of the macaroni. Bake it in the centre of the oven for 20-30 mins, or until it’s light golden and the sauce is bubbling at the edges. Serve immediately with a freshly made salad.
Top tip for making Macaroni cheese
For a variation, add crispy smoked bacon lardons to the sauce when mixing it into the macaroni.
Even better, this mac and cheese recipe can be frozen and enjoyed at a later date. So, if you've made too much or simply want to make up a batch of macaroni cheese in advance so it's ready to go whenever you fancy it and don't want the hassle of cooking, you can freeze it.
We think the best cheese for mac and cheese is parmesan and good old cheddar, which is what we've used in this macaroni cheese recipe. However, you can also experiment with using cheeses like Gruyère, Gouda or Gorgonzola for a different flavour!