This classic Homemade Mac and Cheese recipe is to die for. It’s super cheesy and simply perfect every single time.

I am *in love* with this simple, no-frills mac and cheese. :) My granny used to make this all the time- she knew it was my favorite and always had it ready whenever I came to visit. :)  It’s a delicious quick-and-easy side dish- no fancy or unnecessary ingredients, just pure, unadulterated mac and cheese. :D It’s definitely one of my go-to meals- I almost always have all the ingredients on hand- and the baking time / temp isn’t too picky so I can usually just pop it in the oven with whatever my main dish is. :)

old fashioned mac and cheese recipe blog

The ingredients: noodles, butter, salt, shredded cheese and milk

old fashioned mac and cheese recipe blog

How to Make The Best Mac & Cheese

Boil and drain noodles in salted water. Since it’s just the two of us, I boiled 2 cups of penne pasta. That’s enough for 2-3 servings as a side dish. Spray a baking dish with Pam and make layers of noodles, a healthy pinch of salt, and pats of butter.

old fashioned mac and cheese recipe blog

Top with plenty of the good stuff- shredded cheese. My absolute favorite to use is colby jack.

old fashioned mac and cheese recipe blog

Repeat layers of noodles, salt, butter and cheese until you run out of noodles. In my case I usually only make 2 layers. :)

old fashioned mac and cheese recipe blog

Now the milk. The milk is very important, you don’t want to skip this step. :D Pour in the milk, about 1/2 cup at a time until your dish is about 1/3 full with milk. The reason why you want to do it a 1/2 cup at a time is because you want to give the milk a sec to settle before you pour more in so you don’t flood the mac and cheese with milk. Not that I’ve ever done that before. Tonight I poured in about 3/4 cup, and as you can see in the pic, the dish is about 1/4 full. I could’ve just gone ahead and poured in a full cup, but that’s ok. It was still good. :D

old fashioned mac and cheese recipe blog

Bake, uncovered, in a preheated oven for about 30 minutes. If I were making this just by itself, I would do 400 for 30 mins. But usually I have something else occupying my oven so I just pop it in with whatever else I have cooking at the time. :) Anywhere from 350 – 400 degrees is just fine. :)

old fashioned mac and cheese recipe blog

Oh, man, it’s so good. :) The perfect complement to any main dish. :D And in case you’re wondering, that’s Pioneer Woman’s Spicy Roasted Chicken Legs in the background. We both absolutely love them, they are so juicy and flavorful!! I make mine a bit different- I leave out the lemon and use a different seasoning than she does (I experiment every time!). I also cook mine for 20 mins on each side.

Speaking of seasonings, I love them. Tonight on the chicken, I tried 5, yes 5 different seasonings. I was going to do a taste test and see which one I liked best.

old fashioned mac and cheese recipe blog

Montreal chicken, seasoned chicken, Greek chicken, chicken creole, spicy chicken… Guess what. I liked them all. I couldn’t decide. :P

Image of Homemade Mac and Cheese

Homemade Mac and Cheese

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x
  • Category: Lunch
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


This classic Homemade Mac and Cheese recipe is to die for. It’s super cheesy and simply perfect every single time.



  • 2 cups penne pasta, boiled and drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 34 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups shredded colby jack cheese
  • 3/41 cup milk


  1. Spray a small baking dish with pam and preheat oven to 400. In the baking dish, make a layer of half the noodles, sprinkle on half the salt and top with pats of butter and 1 cup cheese.
  2. Repeat to make another layer of noodles, butter, salt and cheese.
  3. Pour in milk until the dish is about 1/3 full of milk.
  4. Bake at 400 for 30 mins, uncovered.

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65 Responses
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  2. Glenda

    Oh my! I needed a quick but homemade mac and cheese recipe for my family and this…..this was delicious! We used Rotini noodles, skim 2% milk (organic) and finely shredded triple cheese and it was just fantastic. I would maybe use a slightly smaller pyrex dish though than what I had. This is easy enough with the noodles left over to make quick enough in the morning for the guys to take to school for lunch. Looking forward to changing it up and adding some things to it now. Thanks so much! Going into my favorite Pin :)

  3. Angel

    This is the second time I tried today and both times it turn out very dry on the top.. The flavor is not very rich compare to other Mac and cheese version.. I am bot sure if I miss any step but this is by far not so good recipe compare to other recipes on your site.

  4. LeeLee

    Great recipe and easy too. I made this for Thanksgiving and everyone loved it. I grated fontina cheese, along with Colby and extra sharp cheddar.

  5. CC

    This is how my Mom and Grandmother made Mac and Cheese. They always tossed the bottom layer of pasta with flour to help thicken the sauce. Once when I was rushed I forgot, didn’t seem to make much difference so I’ve never bothered again. I have skipped the butter too, of course, butter makes it better but it’s still very good without.

  6. Donna

    I love making mac n cheese this way. Don’t like the kind where you make a cheese sauce. I like to top mine with crumbled up french fried onions or corn flake crumbs.

  7. Cherie

    This didn’t work at all for me! It was really oily and the cheese was separated and clumpy. I think the only thing I did differently was double the recipe so that it would be a dinner portion. Not sure what happened…too much butter??

  8. Cathy

    This is how my mom always made it, using sharp cheddar cheese … and, the best part for me as a child, soda cracker crumbs on top. Yum! I’ll have to change up the cheese for a change, sounds delicious.

  9. Janet

    My mother always made her mac and cheese like this and it is still the way I make it and my daughter makes it. We always use elbows and sharp cheddar cheese….and I now skip the butter. I also heat my milk in the microwave and add it…but I just eyeball the amount…we usually fill it most of the way. The absolutely best recipe.

  10. Heather

    When my husband and I got married 16 year ago I had to learn his family’s mac & Cheese recipe. It’s very similar. We use an egg scrambled in with the milk and no butter and always add a little pepper too. The whole family loves it!

  11. Jordann

    Finallyyyy!! A recipe without all the extras! I’m all about the less and main ingredients! Thanks for this recipe I will be making for dinner tonight!!

  12. Emily

    This recipe looks great. There is just two of us at our house, how much milk did you exactly use for the recipe you posted?

  13. Karen

    I just discovered your site a few days ago while looking for a mac and cheese receipe I have had no luck in the past making it. Last night I made your receipe and it was sooooo good I used mini bowties I did add some smokey paprika, and cut up some left over hamsteak and put it in. So delicious.

    I love your site. Can’t wait to try the mini lasanga.

  14. Gail Hebert

    I just discovered your site, it is so wonderful. I have to say one of the better ones. Your recipes look wonderful and are simple to make. Do you have a cookbook, if not you sure should think about it. Thanks I will have to try some of the recipes.

  15. PseudoShea

    This mac-n-cheese was delicious! I love the taste of real cheese. However, we had too much milk left in the bottom so I just remember to put less in next time.

  16. Mek

    I LOVE your site and your recipes are amazing! I was wondering…I drink soy and/or almond milk. Do you know if this will affect the consistency? Thanks!

  17. Valerie Schiro

    I made this recipe last night. And it turned out like all macaroni I make. It’s delicious, but I can’t seem to get a creamy middle. In the picture you show with the macaroni on the plate with the chicken, it looks so creamy and delicious. I don’t know what I am doing wrong, but I can’t ever seem to get that! Any ideas? Besides that, this will be the recipe I use for my macaroni from now on. Thanks a bunch!

    1. DFW

      me too! it tasted delicious and the family ate it up, so that was a win, but the inside was not creamy like the picture. the cheese was kind of congealed looking.

  18. Nicole

    I’ve signed up to do a blog challenge, we were to find a mac & cheese recipe on a blog, blog about it ourselves, give credit back to where we found it and let them know that we blogged about it. I just wanted you to know I chose yours. It will post on 9/7/11 :)

  19. Kim

    I made this and needless to say it was delicious but I have one question…it came out a little milky. Does this mean I didn’t have enough cheese? or enough noodles?

    1. Amanda

      I would probably bake it just a little longer… 400 for 30 mins works for my oven, but it did take some experimenting! :)

  20. Christie

    I looooved this recipe! I added some fresh broccoli to it before I stuck it in the oven to pretend I was being healthy, and it was beyond delicious. Thanks for sharing this one!

  21. Erin

    Oh my goodness!!! I “stumbled upon” your site, and my life has officially been changed! All your recipes are so wonderful, I now have a folder dedicated to you in my bookmarks.

    You are out of control, and I LOVE it! Keep it up ;)

  22. Rhiannon

    I made this with paramsan, romano, asiago, mozzarella and a little cheddar cheese. It was amazing :D Also made it with baked chicken.

  23. Gen Gen

    Thank you!!! I have cheese, milk and noodles (and a box of the popular mac ‘n cheese.) I am craving a more substantial mac ‘n cheese than the boxed stuff and I am so happy that I came across your grandma’s recipe. Grandma knows best!

  24. Nikki

    This was delicious. This was the first Non-Box Mac and Cheese that turned out for me. OThers turn out oily and runny. I am going to make this ALL the time!!!

  25. Jen

    LOVELY! I wonder how it will turn out with gluten free noodles…I will have to try and see! Simple and delicious looking love it thanks!

  26. Carrie Beth

    Man, I am excited about this Mac and Cheese! Looks yummy! : ) And there’s something about using other kinds of pasta (like penne) instead of plain ‘ole elbows that makes it seem more “grown up!” Haha!

    Also, Montral Steak seasoning is my absolute favorite thing ever… on ASPARAGUS! : ) I satuee asparagus in EVOO with some Montreal Steak seasoning… it is the best flavor combo! You should give it a try sometime! (If you like asparagus, that is!)

  27. Bayleigh

    YUM! I’m starting out my journey learning to cook. (Well, this isn’t the very beginning.. but it is the beginning of my blog! Plus I’ve had no success yet anyway.) :) I can’t wait to give this a try! Looks easy enough.. fingers crossed!

  28. Tahnaykay

    Macaroni & Cheese is one of my favorite foods and I’m glad I saw your recipe because being a SAHM of 2 it can be difficult to find something quick that we all can eat and your version does that THANKS ; o)

  29. Perilous

    For the past few weeks I’ve been working myself ragged nearly every day of the week. Tonight I was determined to take a break and actually prepare a decent meal, but I was too brain-dead to come up with any good ideas.

    I was surfing around for ideas something really delicious but quick and easy to make for dinner, and happened upon your blog and this recipe for mac n cheese via a Google search. The photograph of the finished dish looked so incredibly delicious I had to try it, and it came out unbelievably good. It went fabulously well with a nice romaine salad, some steamed veggies, and my pollo asado.

    Thank you SO much! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’ll be a regular visitor!

  30. jozena

    My mom and I tried this today.
    We put Ground Beef in it though.
    It was Homemade Hamburger Helper.
    But It wasn’t as cheesy as yours Because, I only bought one Cheese. D:
    I still like it, My little sister can’t stop eating it.

  31. Chris

    Thanks so much! I knew mac and cheese could be easy but have never tried it myself. I’ll have to work this in soon…it looks amazing, thanks again!

  32. Beth

    Thanks for posting this recipe Amanda! My 10 year old could eat mac and cheese every night and never tire of it. I bought the ingredients today and I’m about to go into my kitchen and make it for him!

  33. e-rock

    Yum! Great recipe. try with some Gruyere cheese and bacon or perhaps some Jalapenos and Monterrey Jack for some more “grown up” tastes. Cheers!

  34. Jennifer

    I’m making this as a surprise for my hubby tonight. I had my wisdom teeth pulled Friday (day before Valentine’s Day) and he’s taken care of me all weekend! I’m not sure if I can eat solid foods yet but even if I can’t he loves mac and cheese and will totally be surprised when he gets home. (he told me not to cook or anything until I’m all better!)
    thanks for posting this!

  35. Jennifer

    I made the mac and cheese tonight and the whole family loved it! It was really nice that I had all the ingredients on hand and it was so easy to make. Thank you so much for all of the hard work and effort you put into your website! I am always looking for new recipes and your website is the one I check first. :)

  36. George Erdosh

    I made the mac and cheese recipe and it turned out just like it looks on your blog. I made a few small changes: instead of bits of butter, I think it’s easier to drizzle melted butter over the noodles. Also generous sprinkling of fresh-ground pepper is a good flavor addition.

    Check out my latest (Nov/08). It’s already getting great reviews:

    Tried and True Recipes from a Caterer’s Kitchen—Secrets of Making Great Foods

    Now available on many internet booksellers’ websites.

  37. Angelena

    all i can say is, “wow”. im a college student and its always noodles and grilled cheese because thats all im willing to make by the time im home…but i actually “stumbled upon” your site too, and i love it! ive always loved cooking, but i haven’t really had the time lately…but your site is awesome! haha, my boyfriend is definitely thankful too :) very creative, very easy, thanks alot for helping out a couple flavor starved students, ;) haha

  38. George Erdosh

    I have a huge collection of well-proven recipes but so far none of a good mac-cheese. Yours look yummy, yet simple and good enough to try. Thanks.

    Check out my latest (Nov/08). It’s already getting great reviews:

    Tried and True Recipes from a Caterer’s Kitchen—Secrets of Making Great Foods

    Now available on many internet booksellers’ websites.

  39. Laura

    This looks delicious and ridiculously easy. Have you made the Pioneer Woman’s spicy mac n cheese? That one is great too, especially because it sneaks veggies in. I love all your recipies– my fav. is the Bacon Cheeseburger Chicken– I ate that almost every night last week!

  40. Karen

    I have made an commitment to try NEW recipes this year. With your website, this should be fun and easy to make happen. Thanks for the time put in to making such a great website. I can’t wait to try this Mac & Cheese recipe. Thanks again!

  41. Jen

    I made this tonight and I added crushed Ritz crackers on the top. It turned out great and was a big hit. Thanks for an easy recipe on a busy night!

  42. Esme

    Wow! I just discovered your website, and I must say, I love everything about it!

    I just tried this recipe a few hours ago, and WOW. I’m a huuuge pasta fan, and sometimes hard to please. I like quality- delicious!

    Thank you so much, and keep it up! I’m going to try the Nacho dip next!

  43. Nikki

    All the recipes look FABULOUS!! I’m not a big cook but I’ve given them to my hubby to try out…. YUMMY!! Do you have any low-fat recipes that you could share? My office is doing a Biggest Loser Competition right now and I need all the help I can get!!!
    Thanks :)

  44. Christine

    Just found your website couple days ago… Thank you for sharing your life and recipes! I just made your Mac & Cheese and it tated really nice~ Simplicity is the reason why I fell in love with it! Please keep posting~

  45. Teri

    Yum! This will be a great surprise for my kids tonight!
    Your food photos are so beautiful! So suggestive! Thanks for the fun recipes!

  46. Cindy

    I “stumbled upon” your website and I love it! I have a file in my email for recipes, and I have added so many of yours! Thanks for the time you spend sharing them with us! God Bless You!

  47. linda

    Thank you for this recipe, I am planning on making it this weekend to have with baked chicken.. Your recipes are fantastic, thanks for sharing them..

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Meet Kevin & Amanda

Kevin and Amanda

We love to travel and to eat! Here we share our favorite quick and easy recipes, plus travel tips and guides for our favorite places around the world. If you have any questions about what camera I use or how I edit my photos, check out my photography tutorials.


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