Macaroni and cheese is the all-American food that I have fully and completely embraced. Creamy, cheesy, velvety. This Adult Mac and Cheese is rocking our world lately. In a very good way.
Mac and cheese is always my side dish of choice. I order it at steak restaurants, barbecue joints, burger places…anywhere really. And then I started making it at home, and it’s the best kind of mac and cheese yet. I am obsessed.
Prepare to carb your heart out and never look at mac and cheese the same way again.
The Best Mac and Cheese
My macaroni and cheese progression is typical. I started with the box ones, then I moved to the “good-quality” box ones, then I made my own with Velveeta, and now I am all-about making it with gourmet cheeses.
Somehow life was a bit simpler when I was excited about boxed mac and cheese. Simpler, but let’s face it, way less yummier.
We are calling this the Adult Macaroni and Cheese because it is elegant, not bright orange in color, uses good quality cheese…and is simply the grown-up version of mac and cheese.
This recipe calls for two types of cheese – white cheddar and slices of American cheese.
When I started cooking more frequently as an adult, I hear people say this a lot – using good quality ingredients makes a big difference in the quality of the dish as a whole.
This is so true when it comes to making a good, solid macaroni and cheese dish. The quality of the cheese is in direct proportion to the quality of the mac and cheese.
So when making this recipe, buy a good quality block of white cheddar and get the deluxe American cheese.
If possible, don’t settle for the cheaper kind.
For the white cheddar, avoid the shredded kind. They are less fresh, and some have additives in them and can be harder to melt. Get the high quality block ones and shred it yourself. It really does make a difference
Let’s make Macaroni and Cheese!
My husband and I are pretty obsessed with this mac and cheese recipe. I don’t know if we will be able to eat other mac and cheese and be quite as satisfied again. The best part is, you can totally make this too.
The process is straight forward and you’ll be surprised how easy to make this happen in your own kitchen.
Start by boiling water in a pot and adding medium shells to it once it is boiled. Feel free to use elbow macaroni instead of shells if you prefer.
While waiting for pasta to cook, heat a separate pot, add butter and flour, creating a roux. Whisk and stir until butter and flour are combined. Next add heavy cream, garlic powder, salt into the pot. Continue to whisk.
Cook it under medium heat, continue to stir, and let it come to a boil. Once it boils, liquid should thicken slightly. Keep stirring for another minute or two, then bring to medium low heat.
Add shredded white cheddar and American cheese into the sauce, and stir until the sauce is smooth.
And viola! The sauce is done. Creamy, thick, velvety cheese sauce.
Next, add cooked pasta into the sauce, and toss well.
I also like to garnish mac and cheese with fresh parsley because a hint of green makes the dish come alive, but it is not necessary and will not add much to the taste of the dish.
Behold the creamy goodness that is this mac and cheese for grown ups.
I love how the cheese sauce very subtly cling on to the shells, giving you a nice combo of pasta and sauce in every single bite.
Tips and Tricks
After many recipe testing attempts, I learned these tips and tricks that has helped me take my Adult Macaroni and Cheese from good to incredible. So I’m here to share with you…so you can make the most of your mac and cheese.
Because sharing is caring, and also because amazing mac and cheese is a life-changer. 😉
- Use a whisk to whisk cheese mixture to help dissolve flour and avoid a grainy texture in the cheese sauce. I struggled with a grainy texture in my cheese sauce until I started using a whisk!
- Do not add olive oil when boiling pasta. When oil is added to pasta/pasta water, it prevents cheese sauce from clinging to and coating the pasta.
- Add some milk at the end to thin out cheese sauce if needed. If you want to thicken cheese sauce, cook it on low heat longer.
So please please do me and yourself a favor…
Skip the box kind and try this at home! It is not that much more difficult, and you can say goodbye to artificial coloring and high salt content. But most importantly, you get to experience mac and cheese to the fullest. 🙂
Love this recipe? Comment below and give us a 5-star rating! Also, take a picture of your creation and tag me on Instagram, because I WANNA SEE!!
Other yummy cheesy sides
- Cheesy Garlic Scalloped Potatoes
- Easy 6-ingredient Cheesy Potato Wedges
- Quick 15-minute Queso (Cheese Dip)
- Roasted Garlic Parmesan Potatoes
- Bacon Ranch Cheeseball
- Cheesy Homemade Garlic Bread (by The Cozy Cook!)
Adult Macaroni and Cheese
- 8 oz medium shells
- 4 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 lbs sharp white cheddar cheese
- 6 slices deluxe America Cheese
- fresh parsley optional
- milk optional
- Shred white cheddar cheese or cut it into small pieces.
- In a pot, bring water to boil and add shells. Cook according to package instructions. Once pasta is cooked, drain water and set aside.
- Heat a separate pot. Add butter, and once butter is melted (do not brown butter) add flour. Use a whisk to combine butter and flour.
- Add heavy cream, garlic powder, and salt to the pot. Bring to boil while whisking and stirring constantly (See Note 1). Once mixture reaches boiling point, continue stirring using whisk and let it boil for another 1-2 minutes or until mixture is smooth.
- Lower heat to medium low and add shredded white cheddar and slices of American cheese. Stir until cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Remove from heat.
- Add pasta to the cheese mixture and toss to coat evenly.
- Optional: If sauce is too thick, add a tbsp of milk, heat it on low heat and stir. Repeat until you get it to the consistency you desire. If sauce is too thin, heat on low heat and continue to stir and cook until sauce thickens to your desired consistency.
- Sprinkle with fresh parsley if desire. Serve and enjoy!