Mac and cheese

Mac and cheese

45 min
Macaroni and cheese, usually shortened to mac and cheese, is a staple meal in the US which has gained popularity across the globe. The pasta dish is made by combining macaroni pasta with a cheesy sauce. If you love everything cheesy, dig into our recipe for mac and cheese with beans; we have paired the cheesy delight with a light, marinated bean salad for a bit of freshness and crunch.


  • Bring salted water to a boil in a saucepan. Boil the pasta for about 9 minutes until it is tender without being soft.
  • Add the onions and boil for 1 minute more. Let the pasta and onions drip off in a colander.
Mornay sauce:
  • Preheat oven to 200°C (regular oven).
  • Let the butter melt in a heavy-bottomed saucepan at high heat. Make sure it does not begin to brown.
  • Turn it down to medium heat and add the flour. Let the melted butter and flour boil together for approx. 1 minute.
  • Turn it back up to high heat and incorporate the milk little by little.
  • Let the sauce boil at low heat for about 5 minutes as you stir occasionally (the sauce should be thin).
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the cheese, salt, and pepper. Season to taste and fold the pasta and onion into the mornay sauce.
  • Transfer the pasta, onion, and sauce mixture to an oven-proof dish (approx. 5 x 20 x 25 cm). Garnish with cheese and brown the dish in the middle of the oven for about 20 minutes.
Marinated beans:
  • Pour the frozen bean mix into salted, boiling water. Boil at high heat for approx. 1 minute without the lid on. Strain the beans, pour cold water over them, and let them drip off in a colander.
  • Mix vinegar, mustard, water, garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl and pour it over the beans.
  • Fold in the fresh herbs, season to taste, and serve the marinated beans with mac and cheese while it is still warm.

To ensure a creamy mornay sauce for your macaroni and cheese, make sure to add cold milk to the butter and flour roux and keep whisking it until it is completely smooth. You should also make sure to incorporate the grated cheese only after removing the saucepan from the heat. With these easy tips, you should be able to avoid the sauce curdling and becoming gritty.


If you are wondering how to fix grainy mac and cheese sauce, we suggest removing the sauce from the heat and letting it cool for a couple of minutes. Add either a spoonful of lemon juice, white wine, or cream (never add all of them; you must choose one) and whisk the sauce vigorously to combine it into a smooth mixture. The acidity of the lemon juice and white wine or the fat in the cream will help stabilise the sauce.

Questions about mac and cheese

With a simple mac and cheese recipe, making a deliciously cheesy dinner is easy as pie! Continue reading below to learn more about the dish.

How to make mac and cheese?
Baked mac and cheese is a wonderfully rich and creamy pasta dish. Luckily, this comfort food is quite easy to prepare! Simply mix boiled macaroni and onions with a homemade, cheesy mornay sauce, gratinate with some more cheese, and pop the pasta bake in the oven. Use the time to prepare a light side dish like our suggested green bean salad with a tangy marinade that will brighten the cheesy, golden-brown dish.
What cheese is best for mac and cheese?
There is no clear consensus on what the best cheese for mac and cheese is, but you should go for one that melts easily without being stringy. It should also have a good flavour that is neither too mild nor too strong and pungent. We use a type that is made specifically for melting well with a good, balanced flavour from cheddar, Maasdam, and matured cheeses.
What to eat with mac and cheese?
A quick baked mac and cheese is wonderful with a light side dish like our marinated green beans. Serving the cheesy dish with a crunchy side salad helps brighten it and turn it into a well-rounded meal. Many also choose to serve mac and cheese with bacon on top or cut-up herbs like chives as a salty or fresh addition.
How long to bake mac and cheese?
Mac and cheese should be baked for around 20 minutes. Precise baking times may, as you might have experienced, depend on your oven. Ideally, the cheese you have garnished the pasta bake with should be melted to golden perfection and bubble lightly when you take it out of the oven. If it has not melted entirely after 20 minutes, try baking it for a little while longer as you keep an eye on it.
How to make cheese sauce for mac and cheese?
Making mac and cheese with white sauce, also known as mornay sauce, is quite easy. Start by making a roux by combining melted butter and flour, stir in the milk little by little, and boil it for a few minutes. After removing the sauce from the heat, incorporate the grated cheese and season it to taste. The sauce is now ready to be combined with the cooked pasta before baking it in the oven.
Why is my mac and cheese grainy?
The mornay sauce used to make creamy baked macaroni and cheese may become grainy if the milk added to the roux is warm rather than cold or if the grated cheese is added to the sauce while it is still very warm. To prevent graininess due to these issues, use cold milk and make sure to remove the saucepan from the heat before incorporating the cheese into the sauce.
Can you freeze mac and cheese?
Freezing leftover mac and cheese is a good option as it does not have a long shelf-life. In the freezer, it will last for around 3 months. Let the dish cool before transferring it to portion-sized, airtight containers or freezer-safe bags so you can get out enough for just one meal without having to reheat the entire thing. Let it thaw overnight before reheating it. If it seems a bit dry after you have defrosted it, you can stir in a bit of milk before you reheat it.
How long does mac and cheese last?
In the refrigerator, this baked casserole will keep for 3-4 days. Refrigerated macaroni and cheese may be reheated either in the microwave, on your stovetop, or in the oven. In the microwave, the dish will require 1-2 minutes, while it will take about 5 minutes to reheat it in a saucepan. In the oven, it will take 20-30 minutes at 175°C. The leftovers should be placed in an oven-proof dish and covered with aluminium foil. If the cold macaroni and cheese looks dry you can add a couple of tablespoons of milk to make it creamy again.


3 litres
Coarse salt
1 tbsp
Dried white pasta, for instance, elbow macaroni or ditalini pasta
350 g
Chopped yellow onions (approx. 150 g)
Mornay sauce:
25 g
Wheat flour
2 tbsp
600 ml
Grated cheddar and maasdam cheese
100 g
Coarse salt
1 tsp
Freshly churned pepper
Grated cheddar and maasdam cheese
75 g
Marinated beans:
Frozen beans mix (green beans and mixed beans)
450 g
1½ litre
Coarse salt
1½ tsp
White wine vinegar
½ tbsp
Dijon mustard
½ tbsp
½ tbsp
Small, crushed garlic clove
Coarse salt
½ tsp
Freshly churned pepper
Herbs, for instance, flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
1 dl

Creamy homemade mac and cheese

American mac and cheese is a wonderful meal and many consider it to be the ultimate comfort food. The combination of tender pasta and a rich cheesy sauce is a classic that is impossible to resist.

In our recipe for old-fashioned mac and cheese, the dish is baked to create a slightly crispy yet chewy layer of gooey, melted cheese on top. This deliciously gooey layer also prevents the macaroni from drying out as the casserole dish bakes, ensuring a creamy eating experience.

Served with marinated green beans

If you have been wondering what to make with mac and cheese, we strongly suggest you give our marinated mixed beans a try! The combination of mixed beans with green beans and mac and cheese is a classic since the different beans add some freshness to the cheesy dish. Use a mix of green beans and bean types like white beans and kidney beans to get different textures. As they are only blanched for a minute, they still have a lot of bite, and their crunchy texture beautifully complements the soft and cheesy pasta bake.

Served with fresh herbs and a tangy marinade with a bit of sharpness, this simple salad brightens the dish to create a well-rounded meal.

Making the perfect cheese sauce for mac and cheese

To get this dish right, it needs a decadent, rich sauce. That is why we believe that mornay sauce is the perfect sauce for this dish. A cheesy version of the classic bechamel sauce, this French sauce may be prepared with a range of different cheeses.

We chose grated cheese with a mix of cheddar, maasdam, and hard, mature cheeses to give a lavish sauce with plenty of salty and nutty flavours. These flavours are perfect for using with macaroni pasta to ensure an extra creamy baked mac and cheese.

Easy cheesy family favourite for dinner

The best homemade mac and cheese is a hit with people of all ages. Fortunately, this family favourite does not take long to prepare. When served with a marinated green bean salad with more mature flavours like sharp garlic, flavourful Dijon mustard, and mildly sour white wine vinegar, the classic American dish truly becomes a favourite for the entire family.

In case you are looking for more easy lunch and dinner recipes for the whole family to enjoy, we suggest checking out our chicken burger recipe, spaghetti bolognese recipe, and tortilla recipe too.

Add a touch of heat

Turning up the heat with your ingredients for mac and cheese is quite easy. You can, for instance, use fresh chilli, pickled chilis like jalapeños, or chilli powder in the dish or as spicy mac and cheese toppings.

If you do not want to use fresh or pickled chilli, a homemade spice mix with cayenne powder, paprika, and mustard powder will add a wonderful combination of heat, sweetness, and a slight smokiness without it being overpowering.