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How to Make Mac and Cheese

After tasting this recipe for our best-ever macaroni and cheese, you’ll never settle for the boxed version again.

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Once you’ve tried your hand at homemade macaroni and cheese, nothing else will do. The best part? It only takes three short steps, a few ingredients and less than an hour to whip up a pot of this cheesy goodness. Follow along to learn how to make this comforting dish, then check out our twists on macaroni and cheese for new takes on the classic.

What you’ll need:

How to: 

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Cook and drain macaroni as directed on package. Meanwhile, in 3-quart saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat.

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2. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute; remove from heat. Stir in cheese until melted. how-to-make-mac-and-cheese_02
3. Gently stir macaroni into cheese sauce. Pour into ungreased 2-quart casserole or baking dish. Bake uncovered 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly. how-to-make-mac-and-cheese_hero
For Bacon Macaroni and Cheese: Stir in 2/3 cup cooked, crumbled bacon with macaroni in Step 4. 

For Caramelized Onion Macaroni and Cheese: Stir in 1 cup Caramelized Onions with macaroni in Step 4. 

For Fire-Roasted Tomato Macaroni and Cheese: Stir in ½ teaspoon smoked paprika with flour in Step 2. Add 1 can (14.5 oz) fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained, with macaroni in Step 4.

For Lobster Macaroni and Cheese: Add 1/8 teaspoon each ground red pepper (cayenne) and ground nutmeg with flour in Step 2. Substitute ¾ cup each shredded fontina and Gruyère cheese for 1 ½ cups of the Cheddar. Stir in 2 cups cooked lobster pieces or lump crabmeat with macaroni in Step 4.

For Southwest Macaroni and Cheese: Omit ground mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Add 2 teaspoons ground ancho chile pepper or chili powder, ½ teaspoon ground cumin and ¼ teaspoon garlic powder with flour in Step 2. Stir in 1 can (4 oz) diced green chiles, ¼ cup thinly sliced green onions, ¼ cup diced bell pepper and ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro with macaroni in Step 4. Top with coarsely crushed corn chips before serving.

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