Macaroni cheese: our go-to when we're after a comforting dinner idea

If you love a bit of mac 'n' cheese or need a quick and easy dinner idea, this macaroni cheese recipe is for you...

Macaroni cheese
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

A brilliantly easy dinner idea, this macaroni cheese can be cooked in a pan – or (for the ultimate in ease and laziness) in a slow cooker. If you're cooking it in a slow cooker, no stirring is required to create the sauce with this recipe. You just need to pour boiling water over the pasta at the beginning and let it do its thing.

Find out how to make it – and don't miss the rest of our food advice and recipes on our hub page.

How to make macaroni cheese

You will need:

  • 350g macaroni 
  • 600ml milk 
  • 60g butter
  • 60g cream cheese, cubed
  • 100g cheddar, grated
  • 50g plain flour (optional in the slow cooker; must have for cooking on the hob)
  • 30g parmesan, grated, plus extra to serve
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method for a slow cooker:

1. Boil water and pour over the macaroni then drain.

2. Add macaroni, milk, butter and cheeses to the pot. Season and stir to combine thoroughly.

3. Cover and cook on low for one hour, then stir. Re-cover and cook for around 30 mins more, or until the macaroni is cooked and the sauce creamy.

4. Serve sprinkled with parmesan.

Method for hob/oven cooking:

1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/180ºC (fan oven)/gas mark 6.

2. Boil your macaroni/pasta twirls for around six to eight minutes (or two minutes less than instructed to on the packaging. Drain well. 

3. On the hob, melt the butter in a thick based pan (ideally one that can go into the oven, too), then turn the heat right down stir in the flour to create a paste.

4. Slowly add the milk, stirring continuously to get rid of any lumps. This should result in a creamy, gloopy sauce. 

5. Turn off the heat and add most of the cheese, stirring well. Next stir in the pasta. Season well. 

6. If your pan can't go in the oven, pour the pasta and sauce into an oven-proof dish now and top with the leftover cheese. Bake for around 15 to 20 minutes, ensuring the top doesn't burn.

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