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

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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. Do not overcook or boil, or it may curdle. 

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 pan (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:

Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Creamy Mac and Cheese Recipe

4.97 from 261 votes
Author: Natasha of NatashasKitchen.com
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.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 8 people
  • 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

  • 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.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine 12 oz evaporated milk, 2 eggs, both grated cheeses and 3/4 tsp salt. Place saucepan over medium/low heat and cook 6-8 minutes, whisking constantly*, until completely smooth and thickened. As soon as it has visibly thickened, remove from heat. Do not overcook or boil or it may curdle.
  • 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.**

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.
** 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 Per Serving

394kcal Calories36g Carbs18g Protein19g Fat11g Saturated Fat97mg Cholesterol598mg Sodium198mg Potassium4g Sugar600IU Vitamin A0.9mg Vitamin C402mg Calcium1mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Creamy Mac and Cheese Recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories
394
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
19
g
29
%
Saturated Fat
 
11
g
69
%
Cholesterol
 
97
mg
32
%
Sodium
 
598
mg
26
%
Potassium
 
198
mg
6
%
Carbohydrates
 
36
g
12
%
Sugar
 
4
g
4
%
Protein
 
18
g
36
%
Vitamin A
 
600
IU
12
%
Vitamin C
 
0.9
mg
1
%
Calcium
 
402
mg
40
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Dinner, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Mac and Cheese, Macaroni and Cheese
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $$
Calories: 394

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!) 😉

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

Natasha Kravchuk

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 and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

Read more posts by Natasha

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Recipe Rating




Comments

  • mary erickson
    April 11, 2024

    Tried to follow exactly. Used good quality ingredients. It’s more expensive than the $$ rating. Taste is not there. Had to add cumin. I usually love your recipes.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      April 15, 2024

      Hi Mary, I’m sorry to hear that – did you possibly add too much noodles for the sauce and also did you make sure to salt the pasta cooking water – that can make all the difference.

      Reply

  • Ella
    March 26, 2024

    I tried this recipe and followed it to the dot but my cheese clumped up into one huge ball… I added a bunch of milk to salvage it somehow and make it runny and able to be mixed into pasta… but I don’t understand what I did wrong. The step about mixing everything into saucepan is what went wrong looks like. Maybe I shouldn’t have mixed it all and then put it on heat? Like, maybe I should’ve mixed one ingredient at a time?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      March 28, 2024

      Hi Ella! I’m sorry that happened. I add/mix the ingredients together in the sauce pan and then put it on medium/low heat. This way it starts to heat and melt slowly. It should be stirred consistently to help avoid clumps and so that it is evenly melting. I also grate my own block cheese. Sometimes if you use pre-grated cheese, it has additives and fillers that prevent caking and it doesn’t allow the cheese to melt
      as well or as smooth. I hope that helps.

      Reply

  • Michael
    December 31, 2023

    Been long time since e I’ e made this dish. I use three cheese. Colby jack, havarti, pepper jack cheese, sometimes I’ll add feta cheese. Very good thank you Natasha.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      December 31, 2023

      Sounds wonderful! Thank you for sharing.

      Reply

  • Missy
    December 31, 2023

    Very disappointed. The sauce did not coat my noodles. I followed the directions and it looks like a cheese soup. So not what I had hoped. I don’t know what I did wrong.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      January 1, 2024

      Hi Missy, make sure you aren’t rinsing your macaroni after it is cooked. The noodles hang on to the sauce and it coats much better if you don’t rinse.

      Reply

  • Teresa Overstreet
    November 13, 2023

    Could this be prepped ahead of time and baked the next day? I’ve made many of your recipes and all have been delicious! Looking forward to making this one for the holiday.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 13, 2023

      Hi Teresa, I haven’t tried baking it later, but this recipe makes a big batch, but it does reheat well and stays creamy. Read our tips in the recipe post on reheating leftover mac and cheese so it stays creamy. I hope this helps!

      Reply

  • Karen
    September 26, 2023

    I just made this and it is literally the best mac and cheese I’ve ever made! Thank you Natasha

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 26, 2023

      That’s so great, Karen! Thank you for your awesome comment!

      Reply

  • Sarah L Hinson
    August 13, 2023

    Hi Natasha! Every recipe I’ve tried on your site have been winners! I can’t wait to try this for my grandchildren.
    However, is there a substitute for the havarti cheese? I can only find it packaged as sliced, such as Sargento brand which may have additives.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      August 13, 2023

      Hi Sarah! 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

  • Emily
    July 12, 2023

    How can 6 ounces of block cheese equal 2 cups of grated cheese? And every time I change the amount of servings on your “print” page it keeps showing 2 cups grated cheese no matter how many servings.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      July 12, 2023

      Hi Emily! It’s 6 ounces by weight which is how it’s labeled on the package when you purchase cheese. It ends up equaling about 2 cups total when it’s shredded (this is the measurement by volume, not weight).
      When you change the number of servings, it is computer generated. It will change the amount in ounces since this is how it was entered into the recipe card, but it won’t actually change the writing in parentheses since it’s just a side note.
      I’m sorry for the frustration. We are always looking to improve our website but are also limited to what the template allows us to do. I will see if this is a feature that can be modified in the future.

      Reply

      • Emily
        July 12, 2023

        Thank you for your help and clarification! I’m looking forward to trying the recipe!

        Reply

  • Heather Bonsell
    June 24, 2023

    This recipe is absolutely delicious. I served it to 5 your adults and they raved about it. It is very creamy. I did add mustard and some smoked paprika. I would make this again. It’s really easy to put together and it’s a filling meal. I served it with cut up hot dogs.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 24, 2023

      That’s just awesome! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review, Heather!

      Reply

  • June Smith
    May 24, 2023

    Can I use regular milk or cream in Mac and cheese instead of evaporated milk.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 24, 2023

      Hi June, this particular recipe we only tested 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.

      Reply

  • DW
    April 17, 2023

    I can’t find Colby cheese anywhere, any substitutions? Thank you

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 17, 2023

      Hello! One of our readers shared this comment “Wow, this hit the nail on the head!

      Colby Jack is not available in Canada, so I subbed for Havarti.

      I ended up with smoked gouda on accident because I didn’t closely read the label when purchasing, but it was awesome. I would highly recommend using smoked gouda if you’re into that kind of flavor. The texture was PERFECT.” I hope that helps

      Reply

  • Aliyah
    March 24, 2023

    I accidentally bought condensed milk instead of evaporated milk, and it did not turn out great!! Oh no! However, I retried using evaporated milk, and the recipe worked out amazingly! Finally!! Thank you so much for sharing!!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 24, 2023

      Sweetened condensed milk would definitely not work in this recipe. I’m glad it finally turned out for you!

      Reply

  • Marianne
    March 8, 2023

    Hi! Thanks for sharing. I’m going to try it out. One question- When I go to the market, I see evaporated milk and condensed milk. Are those similar? Different? Can I sub them in for each other? Thank you!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      March 8, 2023

      Hi Marianne! No, they are different and should bot be substituted for each other. The main difference between evaporated milk and condensed milk is that evaporated milk is unsweetened while condensed milk is sweetened.

      Reply

  • Diane Appolloni
    February 21, 2023

    Hi Natasha,

    I made this delicious Mac and cheese. I added a chicken cutlet cut up with some finely chopped celery. Poured some red hot buffalo sauce and threw it in at the end. Then I topped with crumbled blue cheese.
    Wow!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      February 21, 2023

      Thank you so much for sharing that with me, Diane! I’m so happy you enjoyed that!

      Reply

  • Kim
    February 20, 2023

    This made a lovely cheese sauce but sadly it was too much sauce for the amount of noodles for me. I weighed out 12oz…not sure if that was correct. Regardless,
    I thought I’d just stick it in the oven for 5 mins to thicken it up, and it ruined the consistency…became gritty. Anyway, I warn against trying to bake! Just make more noodles or add less sauce…such a kitchen tragedy. No fault of Natasha’s!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      February 20, 2023

      Hi Kim, I haven’t had that experience, I recommend retracing your steps to ensure there were no substitutions to your process or ingredients. I wish I could be more helpful!

      Reply

  • Tim
    February 10, 2023

    Hello! Would it hurt to add a bread crumb topping and lightly bake in the oven once combined?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      February 10, 2023

      Hi Tim! I have not tested that. One of my readers reported adding these towards the end and lightly broiling them.

      Reply

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