Macaroni and Cheddar Cheese

Total Time:
30 min
10 min
20 min

4 entree servings, 8 side serv

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil, 1 turn of the pan in a slow stream
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole or 2 percent milk
  • 3 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, ground or freshly grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, a couple pinches
  • Salt
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked 8 minutes or to al dente, with a little bite to it

Heat a medium, deep skillet over medium heat. Add oil and butter. When butter melts into the oil, add flour and combine. Gently cook, whisking flour and butter together, until smooth and flour has had a chance to cook, about 3 minutes. Slowly add milk while continuing to whisk. Gently bring milk to a bubble while stirring frequently. Allow the milk to thicken a bit, then stir in 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese a handful at a time. Season sauce with nutmeg and cayenne. Taste and add a little salt, if you like. Add cooked pasta to sauce and coat completely by turning over and over in the cheese sauce. Transfer to a baking dish and top with remaining cheese. Place baking dish under a hot broiler and brown the cheddar cheese on top.

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    140 Reviews
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    I make this all the time, and have made it for years, but I've made adjustments over time. I don't add the nutmeg or salt, and I add the cayenne at the same time as the flour, in a larger amount to make it hot. Whenever I make this, it goes quickly, and there are never any leftovers. I've never had a problem with the sauce tasting "floury", but that might be to the large amount of cayenne I use.
    I thought the texture was a bit off - like too much flour....I love RR, and she rarely disappoints, but this recipe needs some refinement I think.
    My son loved it and he is only 13 month old. I will definitely do it again
    I have been using this recipe now for a few years now...LOVE IT!!!
    Not a very good recipe. The Nutmeg was too strong and the sauce was too floury. I will definitely be using a different one next time.
    NOT FOR KIDS! The nutmeg is way too strong and the sauce tastes floury as other reviewers have observed. Definitely go with Alton Brown's recipe (evaporated milk. Had to throw out the whole batch. I have heard that some recipes here get published without an actual taste test - this might be a good candidate for that category.
    First time ever making Mac and cheese! It was fabulouso!
    Good flavor, but could taste and feel the flour.
    this is our go to mac and cheese my youngest son won't eat any other.
    I made this for dinner tonight and I really liked it. I love nutmeg and cayenne, so for me...perfect. My kiddos (2 boys--10 and 7 liked it, but I am looking for a macaroni and cheese recipe that they just LOVE. I liked this recipe for the simplicity and the short amount of time/no mess and had all standard ingredients.
    Unless you LOVE nutmeg, cut in half or leave it out!!!!
    My first attempt at homemade mac and cheese. So glad I found this recipe! I make this a few times a month now. I use corkscrews pasta and skip the oven step. It is great for left-overs too, heats up nicely in the microwave, perfect for my teenage son.
    Definitely a better alternative to the box mac and cheese. I was surprised at how tasty and moist it was. I was nervous about the nutmeg, but it was a light flavor that brought out the taste of the cheese. Thanks Rach!
    This was the recipe that got me making mac n' cheese a few years ago. It's a great basic recipe and you can make it your own easily. I really like the nutmeg - it really takes it up a notch. I use whatever cheese I have on hand & sometimes need a little extra because of that, but it's always a tasty treat. Tonight I'm combining the basic recipe here with Aarti Party's Thai Curry Mac n' Cheese for something different.
    Excellent! I used 1/2 cup colby jack with 2 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese (it was what I had on hand and it was perfect, with a little zest. I did not add the nutmeg - didn't really think it was necessary and I was a little nervous since I would be serving a large group. Perfect comfort food!!
    It was nothing like a mac and cheese. The sauce tasted of flour even though i followed the recipe to the T. Will try next time without the flour. Liked the nutmeg though.
    Loved the recipe. However, I did have to make a couple of adjustments. I took out the nutmeg and added 1/2 a 16oz box of Velveeta. I felt the sauce needed a little something and the Velveeta worked out perfectly.
    it roux, not rue. but its good!
    I liked it a lot, but my husband and kids were a little leery of the nutmeg and cayenne pepper. Next time I will try it with with only salt and pepper. Maybe add a few onions in with the rue for an extra kick.
    I found this recipe excellent. I don't understand the review about tasting flour and olive oil - that really only happens if you don't cook the rue at all. For this recipe there isn't sufficient rue to cause this uncooked taste.
    All I could taste was the flour and olive oil. I even used extra sharp cheese but it wasn't cheesy tasting at all. The texture was a bit pasty too. I followed the directions perfectly. Will not make again.
    Yummy, my family loved it even my daughter who is very picky. I will take this dish to potlucks.
    I had to throw out some stuff and add some stuff for my family... No nutmeg yuk. I added garlic powder, chili powder, and more cheese then said. and I used low fat milk and yellow sharp cheese. Then sprinkled it with Italion bread crumbs. It came out pretty good. :
    very easy and tasty..thank you Rachael
    I got tired of Velveeta. This was wonderful - the only reason I am not gibing 5 stars is that next time I will add more cheddar. Even so, this is great as is.
    This was gross. I followed it to the letter and the nutmeg just doesn't fit. I like the heat of the cayenne pepper, but the nutmeg makes the sauce taste disgusting. It is also a little dry. I ended up making more sauce without the seasoning to make it more moist and have a stronger flavor of cheese. I think if you left out the nutmeg and added a little more milk and butter this would be a winner.
    A favorite family recipe now! so easy and so quick! Easy way to "health" it up.... use whole wheat macaroni and one bag of low fat (2%) cheddar and one bag of non fat cheddar and skim milk. Added in broccoli and it tasted amazing! The family likes to add a light sprinkle of panko on top and broil until brown. Thinking about adding sliced tomatoes on top before broiling next time too!
    I've used this RR mac & cheese for years-instead of straight cayenne, I add a bit of cajun seasoning though. Yum!
    I love mac & cheese and this was by far the worst I have ever eaten, including out of the box. The recipe was very easy, but tasted like flour when I was done, not cheese. What a waste of pasta and cheese.
    Ive made this because i had white cheddar cheese leftover from something or my parents accidentaly picked it up so i looked on food network and found this. So i followed it and we loved it except for the time i accidentally putn too muchj cayenne pepper in. So im makin it for xmas and im puttin in velveeta, cheddar, and mexican blend in it too.
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