Easy Mac and Cheese Recipe

5 from 4 votes
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Mac and cheese is a dish that makes people so happy. No matter how old you are, mac and cheese is always a good idea! This is the Best Mac and Cheese recipe! It is creamy, flavorful, and so easy to make!

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Bowl of mac and cheese

Everyone Loves Mac and Cheese

If I’m being honest, I’ve never met someone who didn’t like mac and cheese. If you are one of those people, it’s ok, but this post is for all of the creamy, cheesy noodle lovers of the world!

This mac and cheese recipe is made with real ingredients. There is no powdered cheese, no velveeta, and no microwave necessary. Is this mac and cheese the healthiest recipe on FFF, no. Do we belive in balance? Yes. We are also big believers in MAC AND CHEESE.

How do you make mac and cheese healthy?

This is the million dollar question for all mac and cheese lovers. Our answer is eat your favorite mac and cheese (whether it is healthier or not) in moderation (classic Fit Foodie Finds answer).

Honestly, if you love noodles in homemade cheese sauce go for it! Just listen to your body. Don’t restrict yourself from things you crave! If you do want to make a mac and cheese recipe a bit healthier here are a couple of options—>

Add less cheese! If you are worried about the amount of cheese in a mac and cheese recipe, decrease the cheese and add a couple tablespoons of nutritional yeast.

Change up the milk. We use 2% milk in this recipe. If you are looking for a lower fat content use skim milk!

Use your favorite noodle. The noodle options in the grocery store are endless! If you are gluten free, use a gluten free noodle! If you want to add a bit more protein and fiber to your mac and cheese try a garbanzo bean or black bean noodle!

Add veggies. Serve this mac and cheese with a healthy serving of vegetables! Roast or steam broccoli and have a larger serving of vegetables then mac and cheese.

We recommend serving mac and cheese with our roasted brussel sprouts or our superfood detox salad.

Mac and Cheese Ingredients

Once you’ve decided what you are going to serve your mac and cheese with, it’s time to whip up a big batch of creamy noodle deliciousness. Once you have all of your ingredients this mac and cheese recipe takes less than 40 minutes to prepare! 

Here is what you will need:

  • Your favorite noodles
  • Gouda Cheese
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Your milk of choice
  • White whole wheat flour
  • Butter
  • Hot sauce
  • Dried mustard
Mac and cheese ingredients

How to Make Mac and Cheese

This mac and cheese recipe is pretty straight forward! Some mac and cheese recipes are prepared and then baked with a crunchy top.

Those recipes are delicious, but the goal of this mac and cheese recipe is to be the creamiest mac and cheese recipe that you can make in under an hour.

There are two separate things you have to make for this recipe; the noodles and the sauce. Let’s break down each section.

Mac and Cheese Noodles 

The noodles are the easiest part of this recipe! Choose your favorite noodle and prepare the noodles by following the directions on the package. We like to cook our noodles so they are al dente.

If you aren’t into noodles, feel free to use quinoa, farro, or any other grain!

Here are our favorite noodle options:

Here’s a tip–> Remember the noodles are going to cook a little bit more when you add them to the cheese sauce, so cook them more al dente than usual.

Mac and CheeseSauce

Ahhh, the mac and cheese cheese sauce. It doesn’t get much better than delicious cheese sauce (in my opinion). This mac and cheese recipe is based on a classic cheese sauce made from a roux.

Don’t be afraid of making this cheese sauce, it’s a heck of a lot easier than you think!

One of the most helpful tips for making this cheese sauce it to be sure that you have all of the ingredients you’ll need ready to go. Have your shredded cheese ready and measured out, your butter sliced, flour measured, and milk ready to be poured.

From there, heat a large pot or dutch oven over medium/high heat. Add butter. When the butter is melted add the flour and use a whisk to whisk the flour and butter together until it forms a crumble (this is your roux).

Slowly add the milk to the pot, stirring constantly until the milk thickens. Remove the pot from the heat and slowly whisk in the cheese, mustard, and hot sauce.

Do not keep the pot on over the heat- you do not want the milk to burn! 

When you are ready to serve the mac and cheese, add noodles to the cheese sauce, mix, and serve! Feel free to place the pot back on very low heat to keep it warm once everything has been mixed together.

If you are dairy-free give our vegan cheese sauce a try! It is also absolutely delicious!

Making a mac and cheese cream sauce

Mac and Cheese 101

How do I keep my mac and cheese sauce from getting lumpy?

Usually a cheese sauce turns lumpy when the milk or cheese in the sauce is burning. Be sure to remove your cheese sauce from heat when you are adding in cheese.

If you are reheating your mac and cheese be sure to warm the mac and cheese up over low heat and slowly add a tablespoon of milk at a time until the cheese sauce is creamy again.

What is the best cheese for mac n cheese?

We love using gouda and cheddar cheese in our mac and cheese! We love the sharp flavor of cheddar and the smokey flavor of gouda. However, any shredded cheese will work in mac and cheese. Just be sure that the cheese is shredded!

What can I make with mac and cheese?

You can serve this mac and cheese with so many things! Use it as the main dish and serve it with some vegetables or serve it as a side with any of your favorite main dishes! Our personal fav? Chili Mac, made with our Beef Chili Recipe! Here are some great options!

Serve mac and cheese with one of these main dishes!

Serve mac and cheese with one of these veggie sides! 

Can I make mac and cheese gluten free?

Yes, you can make this mac and cheese recipe gluten free. Substitute the noodles for gluten free noodles and the white whole wheat flour with a gluten free flour blend.

Mac and cheese in a dutch oven
Creamy mac and cheese in a pot
Mac and cheese in a bowl

Healthier Mac and Cheese Recipes

5 from 4 votes

Best Mac and Cheese Recipe

Mac and cheese is a dish that makes people so happy! No matter how old you are, mac and cheese is always a good idea! This is the Best Mac and Cheese recipe. It is creamy, flavorful, and so easy to make!
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 6
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  • 12 oz. macaroni noodles
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups 2% milk
  • 1 cup shredded gouda cheese
  • 1.5 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Frank’s Red Hot, or another vinegar-based hot sauce
  • ground pepper, to taste


  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the uncooked macaroni noodles to the water and stir.
  • Let pasta cook until al dente. Strain noodles and set aside.
  • Next, prepare a roux by heating a large pot or dutch oven over medium/high heat. Add butter.
  • When the butter is melted add flour and whisk until the butter and flour form a crumble.
  • Slowly add milk to the pot, whisking constantly. Continue to whisk the roux over medium/high heat for about 4-6 minutes or until the roux thickens.
  • When the roux is thick, remove from heat and add the cheddar and gouda cheese. Whisk until the cheese has melted.
  • Add mustard powder, hot sauce, and salt and pepper to the cheese sauce. Mix well.
  • Finally, add the cooked macaroni noodles to the cheese sauce and mix until the noodles are covered in cheese sauce.
  • Enjoy immediately.

Tips & Notes

*Nutrition information is based on 6 servings.

Watch It

[adthrive-in-post-video-player video-id=”LlmOPEZ5″ upload-date=”2019-11-11T10:00:00.000Z” name=”Best Mac and Cheese” description=”Mac and cheese is a dish that makes people so happy! No matter how old you are, mac and cheese is always a good idea! This is the Best Mac and Cheese recipe. It is creamy, flavorful, and so easy to make!”]


Calories: 423 kcal, Protein: 22 g, Fat: 18 g, Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 9 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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About Linley Hanson

Linley has played an important role in the success of Fit Foodie Finds over the last 10 years. She is an incredible home cook and has an amazing palate. She is the brain behind our recipes and has spent thousands of hours developing, testing, and perfecting the delicious meals you see here at Fit Foodie Finds.

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March 8, 2023 5:07 pm

5 stars
I make this once a week with BBQ pulled pork for the family! I love making it in the instapot as well 🙂

December 6, 2022 9:54 pm

Have you frozen this before? Was hoping to find a recipe to make in large batches to freeze…for Mac and cheese emergencies 🙂

January 7, 2022 5:20 pm
Recipe Rating :

5 stars
Wonderful! I wound up serving the chili on top of the Mac and it was delicious. The Mac by itself was a hit with the 4yo, which is a huge win. She proclaimed “this is delicious!” And that it is.

January 16, 2022 1:54 pm
Reply to  Sarah

Update to original post: I used smoked gouda the first time I made this recipe, and unsmoked the second time. I liked the smoked gouda a bit more. I think next time I’m going to try 1/2 a cup smoked gouda and 1/2 unsmoked gouda.

Brittany W
November 25, 2021 2:09 pm

Hey! I’m making this recipe now and I realized there is a typo on step 4. It says milk when it should say butter and flour form a crumble. Not a big deal, but wanted to let you know! Looking forward to trying this for Thanksgiving today! Happy Thanksgiving FFF ladies!<3

November 25, 2021 6:01 pm
Reply to  Brittany W

Thank you so much!!!

December 11, 2019 6:19 pm

Do you use ground mustard or mustard powder? Both are listed. Ground mustard in ingredients but mustard powder in directions.

December 12, 2019 10:57 am
Reply to  Emily

It’s the same thing!

December 1, 2019 7:00 pm
Recipe Rating :

5 stars
This is going to be my new go-to mac and cheese recipe! It was ready in 20 minutes (I cooked the pasta as I made the sauce in a separate pan) and so flavorful thanks to the mustard powder and hot sauce!

My sauce took a while to thicken, so I was a little nervous but the final product came out great. Thank you!!!

November 12, 2019 5:48 am
Recipe Rating :

5 stars
I love this recipe! It is so easy yet so delicious! Thnx