Classic Macaroni and Cheese

1This is our family favorite of traditional mac and cheese. Very easy to prepare with cheesey goodness!


  • 8 oz pkg ziti macaroni or elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • 10 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (divided)
  • 4 oz American cheese (from the deli), shredded
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook macaroni according to package directions until al dente. (Just a minute or two less than normal cooking time.) Drain well and set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan, cook butter, onion, salt and pepper on medium heat until onion is tender.
  4. Turn heat down to low and whisk in flour. Cook for 1 minute stirring constantly until mixture is smooth.
  5. Turn heat to medium high. Very slowly add milk, whisking constantly.  Cook and continue to whisk until the liquid is thickened. It should be a medium gravy consistently when done. Be careful not to burn the bottom of the pan, always stir from the bottom. Remove from heat.
  6. Add in the American cheese and about 8 oz of the sharp cheddar cheese. Stir until well combined. (Reserve the remaining 2 oz of cheddar cheese for sprinkling on top.)
  7. Add the macaroni to the sauce pan and combine gently until the macaroni is well coated.
  8. Pour contents into a lightly buttered 1 1/2 quart casserole.
  9. Sprinkle remaining 2 oz cheddar cheese on top.
  10. Bake in preheated 350 oven for 30 minutes. Allow 5 minutes to rest before serving.


- If I am making this for a large family gathering, I will double the recipe and bake it in a 9" x 13" casserole dish.

- I use whatever milk I have on hand which is usually 1% milk fat.

- I used to make this with 3 different kinds of cheddar cheese such as New York cheddar, sharp cheddar and extra sharp cheddar cheese. It was always delicious! However, more recently have been replacing some of the sharp cheddar cheese with  American cheese as in the above recipe. I have found the American cheese to make a more creamier dish and kid friendlier.

- Vidalia onion is my favorite in this recipe.

- This dish does not have to be baked. You can follow directions up through step 7 and add some buttered bread crumbs on top before serving.


- Have the deli department slice a thick piece of the American cheese for you. The cheese from the deli department is typically better quality and tasting than the prepackaged cheese.


- Add a cup of chopped cooked ham prior to baking if desired.


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