This easy homemade baked macaroni and cheese requires only 3 simple ingredients to make. This recipe is sure to be a hit that both adults and kids love!
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Macaroni and cheese is a staple for family lunches and dinners, whether it is the main course or a side dish. I want to feed my kids healthier alternatives to the packaged fake cheese, but I also do not have a lot of time to make complex recipes.
This easy homemade macaroni and cheese is the same recipe my family has been using for 3 generations. It’s simple, but tastes rich and delicious.
I have been asked to bring this mac and cheese to potlucks and family functions because of its reputation. It has been popular when I lived in Virginia, New York, and South Carolina. Kids will often eat this as their main dish for holiday meals.
Great recipes do not have to be overly complicated or require lengthy ingredient lists. This easy homemade macaroni and cheese truly has only 3 ingredients and will put most other mac and cheese recipes to shame.
Tips for Making Easy Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
The most important ingredient is your sharp cheddar cheese. You do not want to buy shredded cheese for this recipe. You will want a block of sharp cheddar cheese. Extra sharp cheddar may be a little off-putting to kids, and mild cheddar does not give enough flavor. So stick with the sharp cheddar cheese block.
This recipe can be easily double to make enough for a larger crowd.
For this recipe, just remember the rule of 8. You will use 8 oz of noodles, 8 oz of cheese, and 8 oz of evaporated milk.
Can I prepare the macaroni and cheese ahead of time?
If you are wanting to prep ahead of time, there are a couple things you can do to help save time at dinnertime. One option is that you can cut up the sharp cheddar cheese block into cubes and place it in a Ziploc bag up to a day or two before.
If you want to make the dinnertime hour even easier, you can prep everything and put it in a baking dish that you can put directly into the oven 30 minutes before you want to sit down at the table.
This is a great option for me, because the time before dinner is chaotic in my house with a 4 year old and 1 year old. I can prep this while they are having naptime and quiet time, and then stick it in the oven for dinner and I am done.
This also reheats well, so you can even cook it the day before an event and heat it back up in the microwave.
- An oven-safe baking dish
- Cooking spray – I love this avocado oil one. Note: This does not affect the flavor, this just helps with cleanup, so it is not required
- Can punch opener – A punch opener makes it easier to pour the evaporated milk than a traditional can opener
- Sharp kitchen knife to cut up the cheese
- Cutting board
- Large saucepan for boiling macaroni noodles
- Colander for straining macaroni noodles
- Serving spoons
- Elbow macaroni
- Sharp cheddar cheese
- Canned evaporated milk
That’s it. Those 3 ingredients are all you need to make a delicious macaroni and cheese.
How to Make Easy Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Next, you will need to boil 8 cups of water in your large saucepan with a pinch of salt.
Once the water is boiling, pour 8 oz. of elbow macaroni noodles into the saucepan. Helpful hint: 8 oz is half of a typical 1 lb. box of elbow macaroni noodles.
Boil the elbow macaroni noodles according to the package directions, which is typically around 7-8 minutes.
While the noodles are boiling, you can prep the cheese. Cut an 8 oz block of sharp cheddar cheese into small cubes and set aside.
Once the noodles have finished cooking, place the colander in the sink and pour the noodles in to drain.
Spray the baking dish with cooking spray if desired to help make cleanup easier.
Next comes the layering of noodles and cheese. Place a layer of noodles on the bottom of the baking dish, using approximately 1/3 of your noodles. Then spread about 1/3 of the cheese cubes evenly on top of the noodles. Repeat this 2 more times until you have used all the noodles and cheese.
Finally, pour the evaporated milk over the top of the macaroni and cheese. Evaporated milk typically comes in 12 oz cans, but you will only use about 2/3 of the can or 8 oz. Pour the milk evenly around the dish so that all the noodles get some of the liquid.
The last step is to put it in the oven and bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
As a side dish, this serves great with many meats such as pot roast, baked turkey, roasted chicken, or baked ham. Pair it with other vegetables such as carrots and green beans, and you have a full meal!
Our family last ate this with pork loin and green beans. Delicious!
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- 8 oz uncooked elbow macaroni noodle
- 8 oz block sharp cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
- 12 oz can evaporated milk
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Boil 8 cups of water in your large saucepan with a pinch of salt.
- Once the water is boiling, pour 8 oz. of elbow macaroni noodles into the saucepan.
- Boil the elbow macaroni noodles according to the package directions, typically 7-8 minutes.
- Drain noodles.
- Place a layer of noodles on the bottom of the baking dish, using approximately 1/3 of your noodles. Then spread about 1/3 of the cheese cubes evenly on top of the noodles. Repeat this 2 more times until you have used all the noodles and cheese.
- Pour the evaporated milk over the top of the macaroni and cheese. Pour the milk evenly around the dish so that all the noodles get some of the liquid.
- Bake in the oven uncovered for 30 minutes.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 332Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 311mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 1gSugar: 7gProtein: 17g