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Old-Fashioned Macaroni and Cheese

Total Time

Prep: 15 min. Bake: 45 min.


16 servings

Updated: Jan. 04, 2023
Bring back the taste of days gone by with this ooey-gooey classic. A little ground mustard and hot pepper sauce give this old-fashioned baked macaroni and cheese just the right spice. —James Backman, Centralia, Washington
Old-Fashioned Macaroni and Cheese Recipe photo by Taste of Home


  • 3-1/2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Few dashes hot pepper sauce
  • 3-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 5 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • Optional: Crumbled cooked bacon and coarsely ground pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Cook macaroni in boiling water until almost tender; drain. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour, salt, mustard, pepper and pepper sauce until smooth. Cook and stir until bubbly, about 1 minute. Stir in cooked macaroni, milk and 4 cups cheese.
  2. Transfer to an ungreased 13x9-in. baking dish. Cover and bake until bubbly, 45-50 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup cheese. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. If desired, top with bacon and pepper.
Old-Fashioned Baked Macaroni and Cheese Tips

What other kinds of cheeses can you use in old-fashioned baked macaroni and cheese?

Use any variety of cheddar you like in this recipe (we recommend sharp), then mix in other smooth or flavorful cheeses such as fontina, muenster, Swiss or Parmesan. Whatever cheese you use, it’s best to shred your own. Pre-shredded cheese often contains additives to keep it from sticking together, which can also keep it from melting smoothly. There are some other good reasons to grate your own cheese, too!

Can you add a crunchy topping to old-fashioned baked macaroni and cheese?

Absolutely! Add crushed corn flakes, croutons, potato chips or Ritz crackers. One of the best options for topping this old-fashioned baked macaroni and cheese is a buttered bread crumb topping—combine 1 Tbsp. of melted butter per 2 Tbsp. dry bread crumbs and sprinkle over the mac and cheese before baking.

Can you make old-fashioned baked macaroni and cheese ahead of time?

You can assemble mac and cheese and keep it in the fridge for up to 4 days before baking. Just make sure to wait to add any toppings until you’re ready to bake. To reheat, bring leftovers to room temperature, stir in a little milk or cream, then cover with foil and bake for 10-15 minutes. Then, add any toppings, or stir in more cheese, and bake uncovered for another 5 minutes. Homemade mac and cheese can be tricky to freeze, but there are lots of other options for freezer-friendly casseroles.

Hazel Wheaton, Taste of Home Book Editor

Nutrition Facts

1 cup: 267 calories, 17g fat (10g saturated fat), 48mg cholesterol, 425mg sodium, 17g carbohydrate (3g sugars, 1g fiber), 12g protein.

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