Appalachia Appalachian Food

The Best Ever Macaroni And Cheese

The best ever macaroin and cheese

Are you a macaroni and cheese fan? I am. Granny never made it much when I was growing up, but I always looked for it as I walked along the side of a potluck table.

After I graduated high school I had two friends who basically lived on the boxed variety of macaroni and cheese. It was the first time any of us had ever been out on our own (we all hung out there) and it didn’t take us long to realize groceries = money.

Even though it came in a box we all loved it. One girl said she liked the macaroni and cheese we made so much because when her mother made it she never drained the water out of the macaroni before adding the rest of the ingredients to the pot. We hysterically laughed about that as only all knowing teenage girls can. Now when I think about the mother and her watery macaroni I think well maybe that’s how she liked it! Age makes such a difference in how you view the world, even the world of macaroni.

After The Deer Hunter and I were married I made a macaroni and cheese recipe I found in my Betty Crocker Cookbook and it was pretty good-miles above the box for sure.

Somewhere along the way two picky little girls who shall remain nameless decided they would only eat macaroni and cheese if it came in box. That’s all Granny needed to hear. She practically bought stock in Kraft so that her malnourished (remember the gold fish) grandkids would have something to eat. So I gave up and made the box variety for years until…

A few months ago I started rethinking the box and found a recipe for creamy macaroni and cheese on It’s hands down the best macaroni and cheese I have ever eaten-period. However, it is neither the cheapest nor the one with the least amount of calories.

Creamy macaroni and cheese recipe

You need:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup plain flour (all purpose)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon dried mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups half-n-half
  • 2 cups milk
  • 20oz. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 10oz. shredded extra sharp cheese (or whatever cheese you like-I usually use whatever left over pieces I have in the fridge)
  • 16oz. cooked elbow macaroni

The best creamy macaroni and cheese

I usually have a block of cheddar cheese so I grate 20oz of that. Then for the other 10ozs the recipe calls for-I use whatever I have on hand swiss, mozzarella, asigo, etc.

In a large pot melt butter and gradually add flour while whisking over medium-high heat. Cook mixture for 2 minutes. Add in salt, pepper, mustard, and garlic powder.

Gradually pour in half-n-half and milk while whisking. Cook/whisk mixture for 8 to 10 minutes-until it thickens.

Best macaroni and cheese

Add half of the sharp cheddar cheese to the mixture-stirring until melted. Save the other half of sharp cheddar cheese to sprinkle on top of the macaroni.

Stir in the other variety of cheese then stir in the cooked elbows.

Macaroni and cheese

Pour macaroni into a greased 13×9 pan-sprinkle with reserved cheese and bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes or until the top is browned nicely.

Macaroni and cheese thats creamy

Not only is this the best macaroni and cheese ever-it reheats really well. Sometimes I’ll make a pan over the weekend and we eat it during the week for those rushed weeknight suppers.

The best part is this macaroni and cheese has even made a believer out of the picky girls so I can say goodbye to the boxed variety…at least I think I can.


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  • Reply
    May 3, 2022 at 11:29 pm

    Mama was fairly well known for her cooking. She passed away when I was in my twenties. I’ll be sixty in June. I wish I had learned her recipes but she didn’t want anyone in her kitchen bothering her. I do remember she used dry mustard and canned milk in her macaroni and cheese. Sure would love to have some of it. I’ll be trying this one for my special day. Thank You for sharing.

  • Reply
    Sue McIntyre
    January 11, 2020 at 8:45 pm

    Found this recipe for mac and cheese while going thru some old posts. When I married, at the age of eighteen, I had zero cooking skills. My husband on the other hand, had been blessed with the ability to cook. He used to make “GOOLOSH” out of mac and cheese, ground beef, whole kernel corn, and canned tomatoes. He would pair it with fried cornbread, add a glass of cold milk. Needless to say, we survived.

    • Reply
      May 3, 2022 at 11:23 pm

      I’d love to have that goolash recipe. I’ve been looking for my Mama’s recipe for years!

  • Reply
    Charles Howell
    July 27, 2019 at 6:14 pm

    God made Mac & Cheese so that we could enjoy it on Saturday and repent on Sunday with Broccoli.

  • Reply
    January 29, 2013 at 7:23 am

    Tipper, that is exactly the recipe I use for Mac and Cheese only I got my recipe from a church cookbook! I think that little bit of dry mustard gives it a little something special.
    If I’m making it for just my husband and me, I like to add a bit of chopped red pepper for color and sweetness. Lovely photos of the goodness – got my tummy rumbling for sure!

  • Reply
    January 24, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    Our Great Grandmother Fry made the yummiest mac & cheese I’ve ever had. Hers was what I call “snotty” in that it was creamy and stringy with cheese, but thick runny too so it didn’t set up stiff like a cake.
    On Cook’s Country on PBS, they said to use canned Evaporated Milk instead of whole milk because whole milk has so much water in it, you have to use more flour to thicken it up, and that’s how you end up with the “cake” kind. Whereas Evaporated Milk has had some of the water cooked out of it. I’m going to try that one day.
    I’ll surely try this recipe too because the pictures make it look like it’s runny creamy like I like it. I’ve also heard adding a half cup of cottage cheese and half cup of cream cheese makes it creamy too. I’ll try that one day also.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Susie Swanson
    January 23, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    Oh gotta try this.. I am a pig when it comes to Mac and Cheese.. We used to make it in the lunchroom at school but it sure wasn’t made like

  • Reply
    Glenda Beall
    January 22, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    Not only is the home made mac and cheese better tasting, it is better for you as it doesn’t have all the added chemicals that processed foods have to preserve it on the shelve.
    Some years ago I posted about mac and cheese because it was my husband’s favorite “vegetable” he said. I like to add pimento to my mac and cheese but that’s just my taste. I don’t make it very often because it is full of fat if it is any good and I just can’t resist it when it is in the house.
    Your recipe looks like a real keeper, Tipper. I have one that is a five cheese recipe and it is to die for.

  • Reply
    January 22, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    To many appointments with the doctors today has me running late.
    You reminded me of two little girls we babysat years ago. The younger one wouldn’t eat the macaroni. She sucked the cheese off and tossed the macaroni to the floor. We tried to get her to leave it on her plate to no avail. I gave her another plate to put it on – didn’t work either.
    After they finished we were picking up the macaroni from the floor when her older sister said, “Mom doesn’t do that. She waits till it dries and uses the vacumn.”

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    January 22, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    PS…I meant to say that my eating mac and cheese was a two or three times a day thing and my comfort food for sure!…The only other thing I could tolerate was an occasional apple…go figure…
    Yep, there went what figure I had left….
    B. ruth….Thanks Tipper

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    January 22, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    I love the all time favorite comfort food Mac and Cheese.
    When I was taking Chemo a few years ago, the only thing I could eat was mac and cheese with fresh tomatoes cut up on top. I knew that just eating the mac and cheese was probably not good for me and tomatoes were coming in so I guess the fresh tomatoes just added the flavor and vegetables..LOL…I told the doctor and he said, Go for it, soon you will be able to eat other things, just don’t quit eating…. He said actually having extra weight at this time was good for me…I kept my promise and it has been 10 years since Chemo…I think I might need to slow down some now…LOL
    Thanks Tipper, Sounds like a wonderful recipe…

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    January 22, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    Looks really good and I am a big fan of Mac & Cheese. What I really like is to put it under the broiler for a few minutes to brown the top of it. Wonderful!

  • Reply
    January 22, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    A few years back I went on a search for the perfect cheesy potato soup recipe. After looking over and trying countless recipes I cobbled together my own from the parts I liked best. For some time now I have been doing the same process with macaroni and cheese.
    I am probably pickier than those two whose names will not be mentioned. I don’t like the box stuff at all, nor the texture of the ones with eggs in the recipe, and some of the white sauce based ones are a bit gluey. Yours looks lovely and creamy, you can bet I’ll give it a try while I’m on my quest!

  • Reply
    January 22, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    That looks wonderful! And there is really nothing better than homemade mac n cheese. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Reply
    January 22, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    It’s been years since I’ve had
    baked Macaroni and cheese. Both my
    girls love the macaroni in a box
    with the pouch of creamed cheese.
    (me too) But I like it with tomatoes just as well, if I have
    some cornbread muffins to go along. I’ll have to try your receipe soon…Ken

  • Reply
    January 22, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    Love Mac and cheese!! Thanks for another great BP recipe that we will add to our collection. Sounds like it’s time for another BP supper!

  • Reply
    January 22, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    Ooooh. That looks like a good one. I might try this one on my “boxers”, too.

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    January 22, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    My, Oh My! The pictures alone make me hungry for one of the greatest dishes ever concocted. It’s hard to find any version or variation of macaroni and cheese that is not delicious. Like Jim Casada I prefer sharper cheeses but I wouldn’t reject even the simplicity of shells and Cheese Whiz. But … Yours may become the new standard in our kitchen. I guess I’ll just keep this ever-burgeoning belly.

  • Reply
    Kerry in GA
    January 22, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    I have a picky little girl that lives off macaroni and cheese. I’ve made it so much that I don’t even want to eat it anymore, unless it is homemade.

  • Reply
    January 22, 2013 at 11:19 am

    Tipper, I don’t think I have ever again known as much as I did when I was a teenaged girl, and I don’t suppose I ever will.
    We didn’t have mac&cheese growing up, so when I discovered those blue boxes it was something exotic! Then I started buying those tiny cans of tomato sauce (no spices, not pasta sauce, just watery tomato sauce) and mixing that in at the end…wow, I was really cooking! 🙂 Now I love mac&cheese made with mixed cheeses (like you make it) and the sharper or stronger, the better. Sure would be good on a bitter cold day like this!

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    January 22, 2013 at 11:11 am

    I use the Betty Crocker recipe!! I worked at a dialysis unit and our dietitian said my mac-n-cheese was delicious but it was a heart attack on a plate!!! I, too, use any and all cheese in addition to the sharp cheddar. I have to go now and get my ingredients together — guess I’m baking mac-n-cheese tonight 🙂

  • Reply
    Mrs. K
    January 22, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Love mac and cheese, but the boxed variety is so full of who knows what, unhealthy – homemade is best.

  • Reply
    January 22, 2013 at 10:47 am

    The mac & cheese looks and sounds amazing. As old as I am I still only put Velveeta and butter in it. I dont know why I get so nervous when I think about making it from scratch. But I dont think I would add anything extra to this one if I got my nerve up and made it. Thanks for giving me something to do while it is way too cold to go outside.

  • Reply
    rick kratzke
    January 22, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Yes, I am a fan and that looks to be very tasty. Thanks for sharing, I will have to try that.

  • Reply
    January 22, 2013 at 9:57 am

    Yummy, yummy in my tummy, tummy! Gosh! This is such a wonderful looking and tasting recipe. I must try it. Thanks for another great tempting goodie!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 22, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Somebody said ham! How about bacon? Crumbled up and mixed in and/or sprinkled over the top. I can smell it and taste it now. That would be enough to bring me out of hibernation early.

  • Reply
    Lisa Snuggs
    January 22, 2013 at 9:41 am

    Your stories always remind me of other stories. My neighbor was working in his garden one spring when another neighbor strolled by with his latest girlfriend. The young lady asked, “Whatcha planting?” Without missing a beat, my neighbor answered, “Macaroni.” The young lady said, “Oh” as if planting macaroni was perfectly normal. Needless to say, she’d never given any thought to how her mac & cheese got into the blue and orange box.

  • Reply
    January 22, 2013 at 9:36 am

    i love mac and cheese and not the boxed kind, i love mothers kind, hers was some what like this but not quite.

  • Reply
    Donna W
    January 22, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Here I sit, 10 pounds into my weight loss, and you post this? There ought to be a law!
    I love cheese in any form, but especially mac and cheese.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    January 22, 2013 at 9:09 am

    Tipper–Contrarian that I am (it is, after all, a mountain trait and in particular a Casada one), I’d suggest to for my tastes there are three other things worthy of consideration with it comes to the ultimate in mac and cheese. First, double the cheese, and the sharper the better. Secondly, I like enough milk in mine for there to be some liquid remaining. Finally, a dash or two of paprika is the lace on the bride’s pajamas when it comes to this dish.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    January 22, 2013 at 8:53 am

    I love homemade mac and cheese, but I have a house of kids who like the blue and yellow as well and a hubby who doesn’t like it…period. Maybe I will have to visit you! 🙂 Thanks for sharing the recipe…it looks yummy and I will try it and try to make converts.

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    January 22, 2013 at 8:52 am

    My wife makes a macaroni pie in the oven that is wonderful. If you want to try something different but good in the stove top variety, add a few stewed tomatoes, it is really good!

  • Reply
    January 22, 2013 at 8:31 am

    Baked mac & cheese is pure heaven! Sometimes I even add diced up baked ham to mine to make it a one pan supper.

  • Reply
    January 22, 2013 at 8:19 am

    I’m going to try the recipe you shared. My Mama made the best mac and cheese ever. She baked hers in the oven and used macaroni, Cheddar, egg, canned milk, salt, pepper, and dots of butter. I remember that she never used grated cheese for she preferred very small cubes as they would melt to add their delicious goodness. I can still see her standing in the kitchen cubing the cheese with her big ole knife. Its blade was about eight inches long. She called it her butcher knife and used it for about everything up to and including paring fruit. Don’t recall her ever cutting herself. I was not so lucky with it. Great memories to warm my heart on this cold morning.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 22, 2013 at 7:43 am

    Tipper, I am so glad to hear that the girls are no longer eating the mac in a box!
    Mac and cheese really is one of the fine foods of life. I found a recipe when the Deer Hunter was little that we all liked. Mine is all baked. I’ve taken it to many pot luck suppers.
    One of the secrets of good mac and cheese is to buy good cheese and I know you do that. I also use different varieties of cheese when I make it.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Ormond Paul
    January 22, 2013 at 7:13 am

    Oh my, YUM!

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