This is the only mac & cheese recipe you’ll ever need! Inspired by Darius Cooks’ famous 6-cheese mac recipe, I went all-in on the gouda and sharp cheddar to up the smoky and sharp cheesy flavor.
- 1 lb dry macaroni, cooked per package instructions (makes 8–10 cups when cooked)
- 4 cups shredded cheese, plus extra for topping if desired (gouda, white cheddar, parmesan, and Velveeta is my go-to combination; 1 cup of each)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 4 tbsp flour
- 2 cups whole milk (can sub with half & half but not 2% or skim)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp freshly cracked pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- Cook macaroni pasta and strain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.
- In the same or large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, and cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Pour in milk and heavy cream, and stir periodically on high heat until the mixture thickens.
- Fold in cheeses, salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and sour cream. Melt the cheeses into a smooth sauce, whisking to break up lumps for approximately 3 minutes. If the sauce is too thick, pour in some pasta water to loosen the cheese sauce. Turn off the heat. Stir in the cooked macaroni.
- Optional: if you like your macaroni with a cheesy baked crust, pour the mac into a baking dish. Top with extra shredded cheese. Bake at 375º F for 10-15 minutes until golden brown and bubbly on top. In the last 2 minutes, broil the top for a great crust, but watch it carefully to avoid burning! Enjoy warm!
Make-Ahead. After pouring the macaroni into a baking dish and topping with extra shredded cheese, cover it up and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven at 425ºF until warm and bubbly.
Keywords: mac & cheese, mac and cheese, pasta, vegetarian