In the mood for comfort food? Velveeta mac and cheese it is!
It has everything you can ever ask for in a bowl of mac and cheese: hearty, rich, creamy, and cheesy. It’s the ultimate delight!
This recipe goes out to all my mac and cheese purists. To the ones who don’t like a lot of frills with their pasta and cheese.
In fact, this recipe only uses 6 ingredients, and I’m sure you already have them in your pantry.
If you have a pulse I promise you’ll fall in love with this Velveeta mac and cheese recipe!
Velveeta Mac and Cheese Recipe
Despite not being a real cheese, Velveeta has been creating ridiculously rich and creamy dishes since the early 1900s.
You can always trust this processed cheese product to transform humble dishes into restaurant-quality treats.
In this recipe, you’ll use Velveeta to make the smoothest, creamiest, most luscious cheese sauce for mac and cheese.
Thanks to Velveeta, mac and cheese has never been so good and easy to make!
There’s no need to head to the fancy cheese counter at the grocery store with this recipe. A block of Velveeta and some pantry staples are all you need for this classic.
Here’s everything you’ll need.
- Butter and flour. Together, they create a roux, which is a mixture that thickens liquids, creating a base for broths, gravies, and pasta sauces.
- Milk. It’s added to the roux to make a creamy sauce.
- . For the ultimate smooth, creamy, and cheesy mac and cheese sauce. Seriously, it melts like a dream.
- Elbow macaroni. The “mac” in mac and cheese. You can opt for other pasta, but more on that a little later.
- Shredded cheddar cheese. Velveeta isn’t enough! Shredded cheddar cheese is sprinkled on top of the mac and cheese to make it even more sensational.
- Crushed Ritz crackers. A crunchy topping that provides a nice textural contrast to the creamy dish.
How to Make Homemade Mac and Cheese with Velveeta
1. Cook the pasta. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Then, cook the pasta to al dente according to the directions on the package.
2. Make the roux and the sauce. Whisk together the flour and butter until pasty. Gradually whisk in the milk and stir until a thick sauce forms. Add the Velveeta cubes and stir until melted.
3. Assemble the casserole. Toss the cooked noodles in the sauce and transfer the mixture into a casserole. Top with shredded cheese and crushed Ritz.
4. Bake. Just 20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, or just until the topping turns golden brown. Serve and enjoy!
Best Cheese for Mac and Cheese
The only requirement, really, is for the cheese to be melted. Other than that, anything goes!
It’s a matter of personal taste, but in case you’re looking for inspiration, here are my favorite cheeses to use for mac and cheese, aside from Velveeta.
- Any kind of cheddar. Mild, medium, sharp, extra sharp, white, Vermont, New York-style, take your pick.
- Mozzarella. It’s more stretchy and gooey than melty, but it makes mac and cheese extra special, nonetheless.
- Blue cheese. If you’re a fan of bold flavors, this cheese is perfect for you. Just don’t add too much, though, as blue cheese really does have a strong taste.
- Gruyere. This cheese will make the sauce extra smooth and velvety with nutty and earthy flavors.
- Smoked Gouda. It’s ideal if you want a hint of smokiness to your mac and cheese.
Tips for the Best Baked Mac and Cheese
Follow these easy tips and tricks below to ensure your mac and cheese is the picture of perfection.
- Cook to al dente. Keep the pasta firm and al dente by undercooking it for 1-2 minutes. The noodles will continue to cook in the oven, so make sure they enter the oven firm.
- Overcooked your noodles? No problem! Just run them under cold water to halt the cooking process. You can also toss them in butter to keep them from absorbing more liquid during baking.
- Use freshly grated cheese. Pre-shredded cheese may be quick, but it won’t melt. It contains an anti-caking agent, so it won’t get as melty and delicious. Just get a block of cheddar and shred it yourself! It’s easy, and also a lot cheaper.
- Thin the sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add milk, 1/4 cup at a time, and stir. Repeat until your desired thickness is achieved.
- Taste as you go. Keep tasting the sauce as you go along. Season it with salt and pepper, if needed.
- Grease your dish. Baked pasta loves sticking to casserole dishes. So, don’t forget to grease the casserole to keep the noodles from sticking.
Mac and Cheese Variations
Add your own personal twist to mac and cheese to make the dish your own!
- Try other noodles. You don’t need to limit the pasta to elbow macaroni. Feel free to use other small-shelled pasta such as fusilli, ziti, penne, rigatoni, etc. I love shells because it’s like little cheese-filled cups of heaven!
- Make a cheesier sauce. If you want a cheesier sauce, just add more cheese to it. It can be any kind of melted cheese. It doesn’t have to be just Velveeta. I’m talking cheddar, Swiss, gouda, cream cheese, you name it.
- Try different crunchy toppings. Whether you’re not a fan of Ritz or just don’t have the crackers on hand, you can replace it with crushed French onions or croutons. Basically, anything crunchy works!
- Make it meaty. Make your mac and cheese more substantial and flavorful with ham, bacon, mushrooms, and onions. It adds flavor and more nutrition for a hearty and filling meal.
- Bring on the spice. Spice it up with red chili flakes, sriracha, jalapenos, or hot sauce.
- Pressed for time? That’s totally fine! Just skip the oven and enjoy the mac and cheese right after tossing the noodles and cheddar cheese in the sauce.
- Fall-themed mac and cheese. Stir in 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree to give the sauce an autumnal flavor. It’s perfect for Thanksgiving!
- Cheeseburger mac and cheese. Add ground beef, minced onions, and tomato paste to make cheeseburger mac and cheese. That’s 2 comfort foods in one!
How to Store Mac and Cheese
Leftovers are never a bad thing. Check out these tips for a fantastic next-day lunch. Or, use them for these fantastic leftover mac and cheese recipes!
- To store. Allow the mac and cheese to cool completely and cover it with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for up to 5 days.
- To freeze. Let the mac and cheese cool completely. Then, place it in an airtight container and freeze for up to 2 months.
- To reheat. Allow frozen mac and cheese to thaw in the fridge overnight. Place it in a prepared casserole dish and reheat at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes. Or just pop individual portions in the microwave.
Check out my post on how to reheat mac and cheese so it doesn’t dry out!
Make-Ahead Velveeta Mac and Cheese
Assemble the mac and cheese and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate it for up to 2 days.
Take the dish out of the fridge while you preheat the oven. Bake as instructed.
Note: you might want to increase the amount of sauce in the casserole as refrigeration may dry out the dish.
What to Serve with Mac and Cheese
While it’s perfectly fine to be served on its own, it’s always more fun to pair mac and cheese with sides!
- Try a meaty protein. As this is a carb-rich dish, it’s great to eat with a meaty entree, such as buffalo wings and meatloaf.
- Pair with veggies. If you want to contrast its richness with something light, you can’t go wrong with roasted Brussels sprouts or glazed carrots.
- Keep it light. If you like to have something sweet with a savory meal, serve mac and cheese with a fresh fruit salad.
More Pasta Recipes You’ll Love
- Sweetie Pie’s Mac and Cheese
- Trisha Yearwood Mac and Cheese
- San Giorgio Baked Ziti
- Barilla Lasagna
- Sour Cream Lasagna
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