My Best Mac & Cheese

Shannon Vavich
The GOAT (greatest of all time) side dish!!  My kids cheer when I make this!  Try my recipe for creamy, saucy, perfectly balanced Mac N Cheese! 
Video from 2022
Video from 2024
One Minute Video on how to make this Macncheese.

This is my very best mac n cheese recipe. It’s layered with all kinds of flavors like bitter, creamy, sweet and savory.

This recipe serves as many as a dozen people, with leftovers. I also have an option down below describing how you can separate this recipe into two large quantities, top with a crispy panko top and then freeze for later.

This recipe works so well because of the layering of several important flavors:

  1. Evaporated Milk

The Evaporated milk adds a sweetness to this recipe, and a creaminess too. If you grew up on boxed mac n cheese, you’ll remember that it was actually kind of sweet. The evaporated milk adds this sweetness and a depth of flavor like nothing else can.

2. Coleman’s Mustard Powder

This strong and intense mustard powder adds just a “bite” to the cheese sauce. Slightly bitter, this really adds to the layering of flavors in this recipe.

3. The Cheeses

The main body of cheese in this sauce is a colby/jack blend. This makes the cheese sauce extra creamy and also gives the sauce a bit of a “stretch” factor. Extra sharp cheddar is also added, and this adds that very important “bite” of bitterness to the sauce.

4. The Butter and Olive Oil

I use a 2:1 ratio of butter to olive oil as the fat component in this recipe. The butter, of course is important for all the reasons butter is important in a creamy recipe like this. The extra virgin olive oil adds just a touch of earthy/fruit flavor, which I believe adds to the depth of flavor to the finished sauce.

5) The White Pepper

While only a pinch, the white pepper adds to that zingy “bite” of flavor that makes this dish so well-rounded and layered with flavors.

The Best Mac & Cheese

The GOAT (greatest of all time) side dish!!  My kids cheer when I make this!  Try my recipe for creamy, saucy, perfectly balanced Mac N Cheese! 


  • 2 pounds elbow macaroni Boil in salted water
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups evaporated milk
  • 1 pinch white pepper
  • 2 teaspoons mustard powder I like Coleman's Mustard Powder best
  • 8 cups Colby/Jack blend grated
  • 2 cups extra sharp cheddar grated
  • 2 teaspoons salt or more, to taste


  • In a large electric skillet melt the butter and add the olive oil.
  • Add the flour and begin stirring. Be sure to use a spatula with a flat bottom so you can continually scrape the bottom of the skillet.
  • When the flour is totally mixed into the fats and has just started to toast (this is a light roux) add the milk a little at a time, stirring constantly.
  • Continue stirring as the sauce thickens – about ten – 15 minutes.
  • Turn the heat down to the lowest setting and add the cheese, a little at a time.
  • After all the cheese has been added (keep stirring) and is melted, turn off the heat entirely.
  • Add the pasta with a large slotted spoon and stir well. Serve immediately and enjoy!!



Freeze ahead option:
topping per casserole:
1 cup panko bread crumbs1 cup grated extra sharp cheddar
This recipe will make two casserole dishes of mac & cheese to freeze. Or you can serve 1/2 of the recipe fresh, then freeze one pan. To freeze, spray a casserole dish with nonstick spray. Top with 1 cup panko and 1 cup extra sharp cheddar. Cover with foil. Freeze for up to three months. To bake, defrost casserole on counter for about four hours. Bake covered at 350° for 30 minutes. Take foil off and bake for ten additional minutes, or until your topping is toasted.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!