Creamy Mac and Cheese Recipe

FINALLY!! A homemade Mac and Cheese Recipe that my children eat (and love)! The ultra creamy sauce is so easy to whip up and you can use a variety of pasta; macaroni, shells, spiral – you name it!

Homemade Creamy Mac and Cheese up-close in pan

This makes a big batch but it does reheat well and stays creamy. Read our tips below on how to reheat leftover mac and cheese so it stays creamy.

Getting the cheese sauce right is no easy feat. I’ve tried so many different combinations of cheeses; sharp, fancy cheeses, mustards, nutmeg, etc. but this is the recipe that my children eat happily. The flavors of this homemade macaroni and cheese are very mellow and the texture is spot on. This recipe was adapted from the Sept 2016 issue of the Food Network Magazine (I collect their issues and it is my favorite food magazine).

Ingredients for Mac and Cheese:

Most homemade macaroni and cheese sauces call for sharp cheddars and mustard which produce a harsher flavor than my children liked. I think I’ve beat the boxed mac and cheese with this combination and it feels so good!

Ingredients for homemade mac and cheese with havarti cheese, colby jack cheese, sour cream and evaporated milk

How to Make Mac and Cheese:

Making homemade mac and cheese couldn’t be easier! The process is so simple, you’ll be able to memorize it quickly.

  1. Cook the pasta (save some of the water)
  2. Stir together pasta sauce and whisk on the stove until thickened
  3. Add sour cream, cooked pasta and serve

best mac and cheese sauce

Cook’s Tip: This mac and cheese recipe is quick and easy but DO NOT walk away from the cheese sauce. Whisk constantly while it is on the stove to keep it smooth and creamy.

pouring cheese sauce over pasta

How to Re-Heat Mac and Cheese:

  • Before heating, add a splash of water or milk, which will loosen up the warmed cheese sauce and create the same creamy consistency as freshly made cheese sauce.
  • Re-heat mac and cheese over low heat on the stovetop or in the microwave stirring every 30 seconds.

How to make mac and cheese with homemade cheese sauce

P.S. We love that blue Staub braiser panย (Amazon affiliate link) for cooking the pasta because you can mix the cheese sauce right into it and it serves beautifully on the table. Pots and pans that go from the stove to the table save me some cleanup; I call it the “dish factor.”

Kid Friendly Recipes to Explore:

Creamy Mac and Cheese Recipe

4.88 from 16 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

A homemade Mac and Cheese Recipe that children eat (and love)! The ultra creamy cheese sauce is so easy to whip up and you can use a variety of pasta. You'll make this macaroni and cheese over and over.

Author: Natasha of NatashasKitchen.com
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $10-$15
Keyword: Mac and Cheese, Macaroni and Cheese
Calories: 394 kcal
Servings: 8 people

Ingredients

  • 12 oz elbow macaroni pasta
  • Salt for pasta cooking water
  • 12 oz evaporated milk we used the Vit D one
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 oz havarti cheese (2 cups grated)
  • 6 oz colby jack cheese (2 cups grated)
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt or to taste
  • 1/3 cup sour cream

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add pasta and cook according to package instructions. Reserve 3/4 cup pasta cooking water, then drain remaining water and set pasta aside in the pot.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine 12 oz evaporated milk, 2 eggs, both grated cheeses and 3/4 tsp salt. Place saucepan over medium heat and cook 6-8 minutes, whisking constantly*, until completely smooth and thickened. As soon as it has visibly thickened, remove from heat.

  3. Off the heat, whisk in 1/3 cup sour cream then stir in drained pasta. Season with salt to taste. If the sauce gets too thick, you can thin it out with some of your reserved pasta water.**

Recipe Notes

*This recipe is quick and easy but DO NOT walk away from the cheese sauce. Whisk constantly while it is on the stove to keep it smooth and creamy.
**ย Keep in mind the sauce will thicken more as it cools so you don't want it to be overly thick right off the stove.

Nutrition Facts
Creamy Mac and Cheese Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 394 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 29%
Saturated Fat 11g 55%
Cholesterol 97mg 32%
Sodium 598mg 25%
Potassium 198mg 6%
Total Carbohydrates 36g 12%
Sugars 4g
Protein 18g 36%
Vitamin A 12%
Vitamin C 1.1%
Calcium 40.2%
Iron 5.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen

Homemade macaroni and cheese with creamy cheese sauce

Q: Do your children have a favorite food that you make – something they request again and again? I’d love to hear from you in a comment below. We are always looking for inspiration (and my children thank you in advance!) ๐Ÿ˜‰

A homemade Mac and Cheese Recipe that children eat (and love)! The ultra creamy cheese sauce is so easy to whip up and you can use a variety of pasta. You'll make this macaroni and cheese over and over. | natashaskitchen.com

natashaskitchen

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

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Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review

  • Eleni
    November 17, 2018

    I’ve made this recipe twice already. My family love it so much we’re making it for Thanksgiving! Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 17, 2018

      That’s just awesome!! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review ๐Ÿ™‚ Reply

  • Clair
    November 16, 2018

    OMG thank you for this. I love the kraft delux mac and cheese and this is heaps better. Love it Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 16, 2018

      Iโ€™m so so happy to hear that Clair!! Thank you for the great review! Reply

  • michelle murphy
    November 10, 2018

    hi natasha im from Scotland whats the alternative cheeses Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 10, 2018

      I think there is room to experiment but this is our favorite combination so far and other cheeses will give you different flavors and the havarti cheese will add a creamier consistency. A mild cheddar cheese could work well. Reply

  • Amanda
    November 4, 2018

    I made this last week and my kids have asked for this nearly every day since. Fabulous and so easy! Thank you! Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 5, 2018

      Iโ€™m so glad you all enjoyed it! Thank you for the wonderful review! Reply

  • Renee
    October 28, 2018

    Delicious! We loved it. I hate baking Mac and cheese because I think it dries it out, so this was perfect.
    Do yourself a favor and add a tsp of dried mustard and a tsp of sriracha sauce, youโ€™ll thank me! Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      October 28, 2018

      Thanks for that tip, Renee!! Reply

  • Michel
    October 21, 2018

    Hi Natasha, thanx for the recipe. I searched “creamy mac & cheese” and that’s what I got. Having never made a cheese sauce before, but having eaten many, guess I should have searched “cheesy mac & cheese” instead. It was a great mild sauce, but I’m going to doctor it with lots more cheese! Thanx anyhow. Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      October 22, 2018

      We love the creaminess in this recipe. Yes, to have it more cheesy you can definitely add more cheese. Reply

  • Eleni
    October 19, 2018

    So, so, SO good! I went back for seconds! I used havarti and cheddar but did everything else the same way. Definitely my go to for mac & cheese now! Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      October 19, 2018

      Iโ€™m so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for the wonderful review! Reply

  • Galina
    October 11, 2018

    Natasha,
    This is our new favorite mac & cheese recipe! My kids ask me to make it every week. I’ve experimented with different cheese combos and really like colby jack/mild cheddar. I used to make boxed mac&cheese before because my kids preferred the taste over other recipes I tried and it was faster, but this this recipe changed that. It’s so good AND fast! Thanks again ๐Ÿ™‚ Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      October 11, 2018

      You’re so welcome! I love when the kids enjoy what we mamas make. That’s the best! Reply

  • Soph
    October 6, 2018

    I think my sauce we over too high of heat…and the eggs scrambled. I was thinking this may happen with gas flame heat. I also have a baby and so I did have to step away a few times. It still tastes delicious though so I’m hoping once the pasta is mixed in the kids will still eat it! Don’t want to waste all the delicious cheese!! Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      October 6, 2018

      Yes the eggs need to be monitored pretty closely! I’m so happy you enjoyed this recipe, Soph! Reply

  • Robin Cobb
    September 26, 2018

    Kidโ€™s loved it and asked for it to be on the weekly menu. Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 26, 2018

      I’m so happy to hear that Robin! That is the best when kids love what we moms make. Thatโ€™s so great! Reply

  • vivian
    September 23, 2018

    This is a fabulous recipe! I altered it because I was serving all adults by using Havarti for the creaminess and extra old cheddar for the flavour. It was very well liked by everyone and so easy to make, too. Thank you for a great recipe! Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 23, 2018

      You’re so welcome! Iโ€™m so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for the wonderful review! Reply

    • Jazmine
      October 28, 2018

      Hi Natasha, can this recipe be baked or will it dry out in the oven? Thanks Reply

      • Natashas Kitchen
        October 28, 2018

        I haven’t tried baking this one specifically so I can’t say. I imagine a few minor alterations will have to be made. If you experiment I would love to know how you like it! Reply

  • Irina
    September 20, 2018

    This is very yummy! Kids approve! The sauce got thick and cheesy but then turned to thin and liquidy… I think I overlooked it just a bit, it looked like mac soup ๐Ÿ™‚ but then it thickened and turned out delicious! It lost the cheesiness though ๐Ÿค” Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 20, 2018

      I’m so happy you enjoyed it Irina. Did it possibly catch a boil causing it to turn too liquid(y)? Reply

  • chris
    September 18, 2018

    Makes me very hungry Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 19, 2018

      Thank you for the great review, Chris! Reply

  • Tanya
    September 12, 2018

    Love the mac and cheeze my little ones asked for seconds but the only change i did i didnt have the milk in the can so i put some half and half and whip cream turn out good thats my new recipie for the party. Fast and easy Reply

    • Natasha
      September 12, 2018

      Hi Tanya! I’m so happy to hear that!! That is the best compliment when little ones love something we make. Thank you so much for sharing that with me! ๐Ÿ™‚ Reply

  • Sabrina
    September 11, 2018

    Made this for supper tonight – It was a big hit and by far the best Mac and Cheese I ever had ๐Ÿ˜ƒ Even my 11 year old who usually doesnโ€™t like Mac and Cheese loved it ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks for sharing your awesome recipes with us! God bless. Reply

    • Natasha
      September 11, 2018

      YES!!! I am so happy to hear that! I’m smiling big ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for sharing your amazing review! Reply

  • jennie
    September 11, 2018

    Hi Have you ever baked this after you made it? Reply

    • Natasha
      September 11, 2018

      Hi Jennie, I haven’t tried baking it, but I think it’s worth experimenting. I would probably top it with shredded cheese to create a crust so it does not dry out and broil until the cheese is melted ๐Ÿ™‚ If you try baking, let me know how you like it ๐Ÿ™‚ Reply

  • Lina
    September 10, 2018

    Hello! I tried this tonight as it looked easy and yummy! For some reason mine didnโ€™t turn out creamy as I expected. It was curdled. Not sure if I did something wrong… I didnโ€™t step away from the sauce, could it be high or low heat? I had mine on medium. It was melty, stringy cheese at first and then started curdling. ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ Reply

    • Natasha
      September 11, 2018

      Hi Lina, if you were whisking and didn’t step away from the stove, it could be cooking it over too high of heat. Also, did you make any substitutions in the recipe (different kinds of cheeses, low fat substitutions, etc)? A substitution might be the culprit but most likely it is too high of heat. Reply

      • Lina
        September 14, 2018

        Probably the heat, I used the same cheese ๐Ÿ™‚ Reply

  • Victoria
    September 9, 2018

    It makes sense to use evaporated milk to get the creamy texture and a more stable sauce. Thanks for a delicious and family-pleasing recipe! Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 9, 2018

      You’re so welcome, Victoria! Reply

  • LT
    September 8, 2018

    Love your recipes Natasha but Mac & cheese made in an electric pressure cooker is 12 minutes total (5 to get to pressure, 5 under pressure, 20 seconds to release pressure and a minute or two to stir in cheese, milk etc. at the end).

    And you CAN walk away for all but those last few minutes! And itโ€™s made in just ONE POT.

    Call me uh efficient (thatโ€™s it, never โ€œlazyโ€ ๐Ÿ˜Š) but Iโ€™m all in for walk-away, one-pot cooking with excellent results.

    Do try some pressure cooking Natasha. Youโ€™ll see why itโ€™s such a โ€œthingโ€ lately. Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 8, 2018

      Thanks for the tip LT! I might just have to try it! Sounds easy enough! Reply

  • Irene
    September 7, 2018

    Hi Do you have to us the evaporated milk or can you use another type of milk? Reply

    • Natasha
      September 7, 2018

      Hi Irene, this particular recipe we only tested with evaporated milk, but from my research, the flavor and consistency isn’t quite right so we stuck with evaporated milk. If you wanted to experiment, the next best thing would be equal parts of whole milk mixed with half and half. If you test it that way, let me know how it goes ๐Ÿ™‚ Reply

  • Mom's Dish
    September 6, 2018

    Natasha, this recipe looks really good. My boys would of loved it! Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 6, 2018

      Hi Natalya! I bet they would! Thank you for watching ๐Ÿ™‚ Reply

  • Debi
    September 6, 2018

    Can this be slid under the broiler or in the oven to crisp the top or will it dry out? Reply

    • Natasha
      September 6, 2018

      HI Debi, I would probably add shredded cheese over the top first so it doesn’t dry out if you want to put it under the broiler. Reply

  • Ava Williams
    September 6, 2018

    Hi, what other cheeses can I use as I’ve never seen the supermarket two cheeses you use in this recipe. Thanks Reply

    • Natasha
      September 6, 2018

      Hi Ava, I think there is room to experiment but this is our favorite combination so far and other cheeses will give you different flavors and the havarti cheese will add a creamier consistency. A mild cheddar cheese could work well. Reply

  • Lynda Leonard
    September 5, 2018

    Natasha
    I love your recipes you put so much into them. Mac and Cheese is a favorite of mine but the thought of putting an egg in turns me off. Do you think this would work without eggs? Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 5, 2018

      Hi Lynda, the eggs help the sauce to thicken up and also add flavor. I have only tested this particular recipe with eggs so Iโ€™m not sure if it would thicken up properly without them. Reply

  • Shirley Lawson
    September 5, 2018

    This looks absolutely delicious! Can it be frozen? If so, would it be better to warm it up on the stove or in the microwave? Add a little milk first? I know there are frozen mac n cheeses in the store, but this sauce is so different and I wouldn’t want it to separate. Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 5, 2018

      Hi Shirley, I haven’t tried freezing this yet but it may work. Mac and Cheese typically stays safe up to two months in the fridge if it is stored properly. I think the best way would be to store it in an oven safe, buttered container. Then simply pop it into the oven to reheat. I hope this helps. Reply

  • TJ
    September 5, 2018

    Interesting using eggs. Never used eggs as a thickener in cheese sauce, always a bechamel (with flour). Will try this tho’. funny, but I was thinking of mac’n cheese for dinner…. it’s that time of the year! ๐Ÿ™‚ Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 5, 2018

      That’s so perfect, TJ! I’m happy this came at the right time for you! Enjoy! Reply

  • Bobby Singh
    September 5, 2018

    I love cheese recipes and it is good one for me to try. Thanks for sharing these easy to cook recipe. Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 5, 2018

      It is so good! I can’t wait to hear your feedback! Reply

  • Venetia
    September 4, 2018

    That looks creamy! I love it! Never thought about adding eggs! Thanks! Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 5, 2018

      You’re so welcome! Reply

  • Nellie
    September 4, 2018

    Can I use whole milk instead of evaporated milk? Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 6, 2018

      Hi Nellie. Milk may work. It won’t thicken as much however. Please let me know how you like it if you try it with milk. ๐Ÿ™‚ Reply

  • Z
    September 4, 2018

    Can you post a video for this recipe, please? I’d love to actually watch you make it ๐Ÿ™‚ Reply

    • Natasha
      September 4, 2018

      Hi Z! I wish we could film every one of our recipes ๐Ÿ™‚ But I will definitely consider this one. Would be a fun and easy one ๐Ÿ™‚ Reply

  • Catie Durocher
    September 4, 2018

    Hi Natasha! I just recently heard about your blog/website and my family and I are very impressed. We have enjoyed every one of the recipes you have posted that we tried to make at home. You are an excellent cook! My little boys love to eat chicken wings, but we don’t like to get messy with a deep fryer. Any good recipes for baked chicken wings? Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 4, 2018

      I’m so happy you discovered our blog, Catie! Thank you for sharing this with us! You can try this chicken recipe here. You can also try these or these, these recipes are for chicken legs but may work on wings? Let me know if you experiment. I hope this helps Reply

  • Pamela
    September 4, 2018

    This looks so yummy, my little one loves m&c but he is allergic to eggs. Do you have a substitute for the eggs? Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 4, 2018

      Hi Pamela, the eggs help the sauce to thicken up and also add flavor. I have only tested this particular recipe with eggs so Iโ€™m not sure if it would thicken up properly without them. Reply

  • Liza
    September 4, 2018

    This looks great! I’ve never seen eggs being added to mac and cheese before, is it necessary? I defiantly want to try this out but not sure about the egg part… Reply

    • Natasha
      September 4, 2018

      Hi Liza, the eggs help the sauce to thicken up and also add flavor. I have only tested this particular recipe with eggs so I’m not sure if it would thicken up properly without them. Reply

  • Olviya
    September 4, 2018

    Are the eggs used to make the sauce creamier? I’ve never heard of that before. Mac & cheese is a favorite for all generations. ๐Ÿ™‚ Reply

    • Natasha
      September 4, 2018

      Hi Olviya, yes it does help the cheese sauce to thicken up and also adds flavor. Reply

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