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:
- 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
- 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!!