Published: 07/30/2020 | Updated: 01/22/2024
These simple mac and cheese recipes are homemade and easy! From baked mac and cheese to the instant pot to stove top, there’s a version of this favorite side dish that your family will just love!
Mac and cheese is all-purpose comfort food that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. This dish can be made with a variety of ingredients, including different types of cheese, meats, and vegetables. While there are many recipes for mac and cheese, the basic ingredients are always the same: pasta, cheese, milk, unsalted butter, and salt. In this article, we will share three easy recipes for making mac and cheese at home.
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Recipes
The benefit of making your homemade macaroni and cheese recipe in the Instant Pot or in a slow cooker is that you’ll have less dirty pans to wash! Everything just gets dumped right in, you can set the timer and go on about your business getting other stuff done. There’s no pan to watch, nothing to stir and it’s about as “set it and forget it” as you can get!
The slow cooker is an especially good method for serving to a crowd too because after it’s done cooking, you can just set it to warm and serve right from there.
Both the instant pot and slow cooker result in a really creamy cheese sauce that isn’t dry at all.
Here are some great instant pot and slow cooker macaroni and cheese recipes to try:
- Hamburger Mac and Cheese
- Italian Mac and Cheese
- Classic Mac and Cheese in the Instant Pot
- Classic Mac and Cheese in the Slow Cooker
Stovetop Mac and Cheese Recipes
If you’re looking for a super creamy, extra cheesy recipe, then these easy stovetop mad and cheese recipes are for you! If you’ve ever had Panera Mac and Cheese, that’s the consistency you’ll get with most of these recipes.
The biggest benefit of making your mac and cheese on the stovetop is how quickly it comes together! Not only will you not have to bake it in the oven for an extra 25 minutes to an hour, but you won’t have to heat up your house with the oven being on that long either.
The creaminess is almost like a homemade Kraft Mac and Cheese that comes in that upgraded box and costs a couple of bucks more. You know, the extra creamy version that tastes so decadent!
Some of the stovetop recipes are one-pot too, so you’ll save yourself on washing some dishes while you’re at it.
Check out these great variations on stovetop mac and cheese recipes:
- Chili Mac and Cheese
- Panera’s Mac and Cheese Copycat Recipe
- Classic Stovetop Mac and Cheese
- Taco Mac and Cheese
- Guacamole Mac and Cheese
- Lentil Mac and Cheese
- Roasted Red Pepper Mac and Cheese
- One Pot Mac and Cheese
- BBQ Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese
Baked Mac and Cheese Recipes
Hands down, baked macaroni and cheese recipes are my absolute favorite! I know some people say they are too dry, but if you make it with the perfect ratio of cheese sauce (bechamel) to pasta, it results in one of the world’s most perfect dishes or amazing meal!
Baking your mac and cheese definitely takes longer than making it on the stovetop, but it is worth that extra time. You can get a nice, caramelized coating on the top and it isn’t quite as soup-y as making it on the stovetop.
A baked mac and cheddar cheese recipe results in glorious cheese pulls, golden brown topping and a richness of flavor that just can’t be beat!
Plus, there are so many different variations you can try with baking recipes!
Check out these baked mac and cheese recipes and find your new favorite:
- Classic Baked Mac and Cheese
- Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
- Ranch Bacon Mac and Cheese Cups
- Shiratake Noodle Mac and Cheese
- Green Chili Chorizo Mac and Cheese
- Bacon Crusted Beer Mac and Cheese
- Bacon Mac and Cheese
- Butternut Squash Baked Mac and Cheese
- Spinach Artichoke Baked Mac and Cheese
- Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
- Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese
- Skinny Greek Mac and Cheese
- Caprese Mac and Cheese
- Chicken Broccoli Mac and Cheese
Gluten Free Macaroni and Cheese Recipes
Being gluten free poses it’s own special circumstances when it comes to pasta dishes, but there are definitely work-arounds that still result in cheesy, gooey goodness for everyone to enjoy!
Check out these gluten free mac and cheese recipes to satisfy that craving:
What Do You Serve with Mac and Cheese?
Looking for the perfect main course to serve with your macaroni and cheese recipe? These are some of my favorite!
- Chicken Salad– what sounds better for a summer picnic than chicken salad sandwiches with a side of mac and cheese?
- Grilled Chicken– Grill up some chicken with this amazing marinade recipe and pair it with some mac and cheese and your favorite veggie for a complete meal!
- BBQ Meatballs– Ready to become your kids’ favorite chef? Serve them these BBQ meatballs and a creamy, stovetop mac and cheese and they’ll be asking for seconds!
Mac and Cheese Cooking Tips
To ensure your mac and cheese turns out perfectly, there are some important tips to keep in mind. First, it’s best to make this dish right away as it tends to lose some of its creaminess when made ahead. If you do need to make it ahead of time, consider increasing the amount of sauce slightly. Additionally, any leftovers should be refrigerated and covered tightly for up to 3-4 days.
To reheat, stir in a little bit of milk or cream and microwave partially covered with plastic wrap. Stir often as it reheats. Finally, don’t forget that the best mac starts with freshly shredded cheese! With these tips in mind, you’ll be sure to have delicious baked mac and cheese every time!
How to Store Mac and Cheese?
Storing mac and cheese correctly is essential for preserving its flavor and texture. The best way to store leftover mac and cheese is in an airtight container in the refrigerator for three to four days. To reheat, add a splash of milk or cream and heat in the microwave or on the stove, stirring periodically.
If you want to keep your mac and cheese for longer, you can freeze it for up to six months. Allow it to cool completely before transferring it to a freezer-safe container, removing as much air as possible. Label with the date and freeze until ready to serve. When you’re ready, transfer the dish from the freezer to the refrigerator overnight so that it can thaw properly before reheating.
In conclusion, freezer-friendly mac and cheese recipe is versatile dish that can be made with different simple ingredients to create unique flavors. These simple recipes are perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy this classic dish without spending a lot of time in the kitchen. So why not give them a try?