White Cheddar Mac and Cheese is perfectly creamy, kid-friendly comfort food flavored with a hint of paprika and ground mustard, and ready in 15 minutes!
Classic Macaroni and Cheese is the perfect creamy dish that most of us grew up loving, and amazing homemade mac and cheese is sure to still hit the spot. This version uses white cheddar and jack for a slightly sharper cheese flavor. It’s the perfect dish to enjoy for lunch or serve as a Side Dish at dinner time.
WHITE CHEDDAR MAC AND CHEESE
It’s hard to think of a better cheesy comfort food than mac and cheese recipes. If you’re thinking of artificial tasting mac and cheese from the box, then this dish will be a total game-changer. It only takes a few extra minutes to make and it’s about a hundred times more delicious. The rich cheese sauce is made with actual cheddar and jack cheese so that there’s creamy, melty cheese in every single bite. You won’t be able to get enough!
Shells and White Cheddar Mac & Cheese is sure to become a new favorite weeknight side dish. The cheesy recipe is perfect to go along with simple Chicken Dinners, or you can bring it out as a fun side at your next BBQ along with other classics like Coleslaw and Potato Salad.
Plus, if you have any leftovers, you can always store the dish in the fridge. I love heating up servings later in the week for an amazing lunch with no hassle!
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- Cook pasta: Start by boiling water in a large pot. Add the shell pasta, and cook for 1 minute shy of the box instructions. After the pasta cook time, drain pasta without rinsing and set it to the side while you prep the creamy cheese sauce base.
- Cheese sauce: Add the butter and flour to a large saucepan, pot, or dutch oven and raise the stovetop heat to medium. Stir until the flour and butter are well combined. Cook the flour for an additional 30 seconds, then stir in the black pepper, salt, paprika, and dry mustard powder. Next, pour in the milk in a slow, careful stream, and mix with the flour until well combined. Keep the mixture over the heat and bring it to a simmer for 5-7 minutes, or until it’s thickened. Add the white cheddar cheese and Jack cheese. Continue stirring while melting cheese until it’s all one creamy sauce.
- Combine: Add the cooked pasta to the pot and stir until it’s coated in the cheese sauce. Serve immediately.
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- Noodles: You can make this same recipe with different pasta shapes and varieties. Try using elbow macaroni, fusilli, or rotini. You could also use whole-grain or gluten-free pasta to make the recipe work better with any dietary needs.
- Chicken: If you want to make this into a more filling main dish, you can mix in some cooked chicken along with the noodles. Serving the cheesy pasta with chicken is especially great if you have any leftover Grilled or Rotisserie Chicken stored in your fridge. You can just slice it up and mix it in the sharp cheddar sauce.
- Flavor additions: You can also experiment with the flavor of your stovetop macaroni and cheese by adding different seasonings and sauces. A teaspoon garlic powder, teaspoon onion powder, a little cajun seasoning, or ground chipotle pepper would all taste great with this dish. You could also try mixing some dijon mustard into the smooth sauce, or adding some hot sauce to give the dish extra heat.
- Types of cheese: Feel free to experiment with different kinds of shredded cheese in this recipe. Mozzarella cheese, provolone, Pepper Jack, gouda, or Swiss would all taste great.
- Extra creamy: To make an even more rich cheese sauce base, you can use heavy cream. Depending on how creamy you want the sauce either replace the milk with heavy cream or use half milk and half cream.
- Toppings: There are plenty of classic toppings to try with your mac and cheese. For a classic bread crumb topping, sprinkle panko breadcrumbs over the top, or toast your own bread and crumble it into breadcrumbs. For more toppings, you could try green onions, red pepper flakes, bacon bits, or blue cheese crumbles.
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HOW TO STORE
- Serve: Mac and cheese always tastes best fresh. Though, it can sit at room temperature for up to 2 hours before it goes bad.
- Store: Cover the dish or transfer the cheesy pasta to an airtight container to store in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can reheat the dish in the microwave, on the stovetop, or even in the oven. Add a little bit of milk over the top when you reheat it and mix some of the moisture back in.
- Freeze: Unfortunately the cheese sauce and noodles won’t reheat well after being frozen. It’s better just to keep them in the fridge.
- 1 pound small pasta shells
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
- 4 cups whole milk
- 2 cups sharp white cheddar cheese , shredded
- 2 cups Jack cheese , shredded
- Cook the pasta 1 minute shy of the instructions on the box, drain and set aside (do not rinse).
- In a large pot on medium heat add the butter and flour.
- Stir well until flour and butter are well incorporated.
- Cook flour for 30 seconds, stir in black pepper, salt, paprika and ground mustard.
- In a very slow stream whisk in the milk until creamy and well combined.
- Bring to a simmer and cook for 5-7 minutes or until thickened.
- Add in the cheddar cheese and jack cheese, stirring until creamy.
- Stir in the pasta until well coated.
- Serve immediately.