This mac and cheese is creamy and super easy to make! It features 3 different types of cheeses that combine to give it the best flavor and texture. This 30 minute meal can satisfy almost any picky eater!
Growing up, I used to always make boxed mac and cheese on days I couldn't cook. I mean, how many of us didn't?! But homemade mac and cheese is honestly much easier to make than I ever imagined. And it tastes just as good (dare I say better??) than boxed mac and cheese!
This recipe was actually born by accident! My family always has a platter of mixed cheeses on New Year's Eve, which we snack on into the New Year! And yes, we can and do make the joke "I've been eating this cheese since last year." It's a must.
On New Year's day last year, we had leftover gouda cheese, cheddar cheese, and mozzarella cheese. AND we happened to have some elbow macaroni lying around as well. And, well, the rest is history! I've been making this creamy, cheesy beauty ever since.
Three cheese mac and cheese vs cheddar cheese mac and cheese:
This mac and cheese uses three different cheeses: cheddar, gouda, and mozzarella. I really love this combination because I feel like it gives the most perfect mac and cheese I could ask for.
I personally love making mac and cheese with three cheeses just because it's more flavorful than mac and cheese with cheddar cheese alone.
Each cheese plays its own role in this recipe:
Cheddar gives the mac and cheese its signature pale orange color as well as its main flavor. That's why I like to add a full cup of the cheddar. While I used medium aged cheddar, you can use any aged cheddar you like. I personally find the medium gives me just enough flavor without being overpowering for my taste.
Gouda gives this recipe a hint of smoky flavor, and it melts really well so it makes the mac and cheese super creamy and silky!
Mozzarella is the secret to having a stretchy mac and cheese sauce.
Speaking of cheese .... please don't use pre-grated cheese. I know it's much more convenient, but some pre-grated cheese often has an edible coating added to it to help it last longer. This means it doesn't melt well at all. Pre-grated cheese will always leave your sauce more clumpy and curdled than fresh cheese.
How to reheat mac and cheese:
Whenever you reheat a sauce with grated cheese in it, it's important to do it low and slow. When cheese is heated too much, it starts to separate and clump, which leaves you with a grainy cheese sauce.
My favorite way to reheat mac and cheese is by first warming a splash of milk in a saucepan until just about simmering. Then, I like to add in the mac and cheese and heat everything on low heat until just warmed (about 3 to 5 minutes).
If you liked this recipe, you may also like some of these other pasta lovers' dreams:
Mac and Cheese Recipe:
- 1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked according to package instructions
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 & ½ cups milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup medium-aged cheddar cheese, grated
- ½ cup gouda cheese, grated
- ½ cup mozzarella cheese, grated
- Cook your pasta according to your package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, heat butter over medium heat until melted. Add the flour to your melted butter and stir together to get a dry paste. Cook the butter / flour mixture on medium heat, stirring constantly for about one minute, just to toast the flour.
- Slowly incorporate the milk into the butter and flour paste, mixing well after each addition to avoid clumping. Still on medium heat, cook your milk, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil (about 5 to 8 minutes). Let the mixture boil for about a minute or two, or until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Take your pot off the heat. While the milk mixture is still hot, add in your grated cheddar, gouda, and mozzarella. Mix until the cheese is fully melted. * see notes
- Pour your cheese mixture onto your cooked elbow macaroni. Stir to coat all the pasta with the sauce.
I would love to hear any tips you’d like to add to this post and how your macaroni and cheese turned out in the comments below!
Have any questions? Any ideas to improve this recipe? Feel free to comment for that as well.
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