How to make the best macaroni cheese

If you're in need of comfort food - and who isn't at some point - there's simply nothing better than combining pasta with cheese and then baking it. But what's definitively THE best way to make macaroni cheese? Mumsnetters have some suggestions...

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The standard recipe goes something like this

macaroni cheese

"I use butter and flour, add in some mustard powder and pepper and make a roux, then add milk and cook until thick. Then add cheese to make a cheese sauce - extra mature cheddar. If I have time I mix the sauce and cooked macaroni together, pour into a dish and put sliced tomatoes on top, cover with grated cheese and then grill. Put some tabasco over the top when serving."

See our classic macaroni cheese recipe.

Tomatoes, you say?

macaroni cheese with tomatoes

"Anybody who thinks broccoli or tomatoes belong anywhere near macaroni cheese, is clearly bonkers."

There's always the non-roux method

macaroni close up

"Boil pasta. Drain. Add mascarpone, tagellio, mozzarella and Parmesan. Put in baking tray, bake till golden. It is not good for you."

You can pep the sauce up a little

"My tips are grainy mustard in the cheese sauce. Top with breadcrumbs and cheese."

"Fry some garlic in a bit of butter before making the white sauce."

Is adding cream and bacon gilding the lily? Do we care?

macaroni with bacon

"Only boil macaroni until very al dente, drain and into a dish. Grate more cheese than you think you will need ever, EVER. Put at least one third of the cheese in with the drained pasta and shake it all about. If you have mozzarella then put blobs of that in. Make a really thick sauce, with butter, flour, mustard and double cream, stir in a bit of remaining cheese then pour it all over the pasta, do not stir. Put as much bacon as it takes to cover the dish and the last of the grated cheese on top, maybe a few breadcrumbs if you like a bit of crispy gratin effect and then let it sizzle in a very hot oven for about 20 minutes."

And the choice of cheese is crucial

"The stronger the cheese, the less you will need. Mild cheddar is a waste of time in dishes like this. Go for extra mature or mature cheddar. I like to use some Double Gloucester or Red Leicester as well for the colour."

"I've said this before but I like to add feta as well."

It HAS to be baked

"If it doesn't go into the oven it is NOT mac 'n' cheese, it is stupid cheesy pasta."

If you must, you can add vegetables to make you feel virtuous

"I add a handful of frozen peas to the pasta towards the end of it cooking to make it vaguely healthy and make me feel less guilty for giving it to my son more often than I probably should! (Such a quick easy tea though.)"

"I used to do a lovely one with carrots, courgette and broccoli cooked in stock and then that stock used with milk to make up cheese sauce.... delish."

You could even <whisper it> use a different pasta

"Not macaroni, rigatoni is much better, al dente and very well drained."

Just remember one thing

"It's not mac 'n' cheese's macaroni cheese <grumble>."

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Last updated: 8 months ago