★★★★★

Best Homemade Mac and Cheese

This Homemade Mac and Cheese recipe is made with two kinds of cheese and topped with buttery Ritz crackers for a creamy, rich side or main dish that the whole family will love.

If you’re as obsessed with cheese as my family, be sure to try this delicious Queso recipe! Or for a more hearty dish, try this Crack Chicken recipe!

Large scoop dripping with cheese being lifted out of a pan of homemade mac and cheese.

Why this Recipe Works

Mac and Cheese is truly the perfect side dish you are looking for for any holiday dinner, potluck or party.

Don’t think for a second though that only adults will love this Ritz Cracker Mac and Cheese. It got four thumbs up from my kiddos- and that’s something huge! Because they only like the blue box stuff, too.

Until now, that is.

I’m sure that everyone thinks that their recipe is the “best ever mac and cheese” recipe. So I might be biased, but I think this really is the best ever mac and cheese.

My Ritz Cracker Mac and Cheese recipe makes a ton, so it’s perfect for serving as a Thanksgiving side dish, or taking to a potluck. It’ll be the first thing to disappear!

I use a few simple tricks to make mine be the best mac and cheese ever.

  • I like to use heavy cream and a roux-thickened bechamel made with milk.
  • A healthy splash of Worcestershire sauce adds a rich, savory flavor to the cheese sauce.
  • I use two types of cheese – nutty gruyere and creamy cheddar – add more cheesy flavor and make this dish doubly cheesy.
  • And finally, don’t forget the Ritz cracker topping!

You could also use the Ritz topping on this Hashbrown casserole (it is topped with cornflakes) and this Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta (has a toasted breadcrumb topping)!

Step by Step Instructions

Step by step photos showing how to make homemade mac and cheese.
  1. Cook the pasta. Using a box of your favorite pasta, I use elbow macaroni, cook until al dente. Don’t make the pasta mushy!
  2. Make the sauce.
  3. Combine.
  4. Add topping.
  5. Bake.

PRO TIP: For best results, shred your own cheese! I use Gruyere and Cheddar for maximum flavor.

A 13x9 baking dish with baked mac and cheese topped with crackers.

Tips and Tricks

  • Do not overcook your pasta. You want it to have a little “bite” to it, so cooking al dente is very important. You’ll still be baking mac and cheese, and don’t want it mushy!
  • Use good quality cheese! Don’t buy the pre-shredded bags of cheese. They just don’t melt well, and the taste is not as good!
  • Whisk whisk whisk. Have everything measured out ahead of time, because you’ll be whisking the entire cooking process so the sauce doesn’t burn or stick!
Scoop of homemade mac and cheese topped with a ritz cracker in a white bowl.

Storing Mac and Cheese

What I love about this recipe is that when I make it for the holidays, it can be prepped a day ahead of time.

To do this, make the mac and cheese without adding the topping, and without baking. Cover with foil and refrigerate.

When ready to bake, allow dish to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Add topping and bake until hot (may take an additional 10-15 minutes to cook if still “chilled”).

To reheat leftovers, add a splash of cream before microwaving. ENJOY.

Two white bowls with scoops of creamy macaroni and cheese topped with crackers.

More Mac and Cheese Recipes

If you loved this Ritz Cracker Mac and Cheese recipe, you’re in luck because there’s lots more where that came from.

Creamy homemade mac and cheese in a white serving dish with a fork.

More Easy Dinner Recipes

Yield: serves 12

Homemade Mac and Cheese

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ritz Cracker Mac and Cheese is made with two kinds of cheese and is topped with buttery Ritz crackers for a creamy, rich side or main dish that the whole family will love.

Ingredients

  • 16 ounce elbow macaroni
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • ½ pound Gruyere cheese
  • 1 pound Cheddar Cheese
  • 24 Ritz crackers

Instructions

  1. Prepare macaroni according to package directions. Set aside.
  2. In large pot, melt butter. Add skim milk and bring to near boiling over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium and sprinkle in flour. Whisk vigorously over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Mixture should be thick and boiling. Slowly add cream, while whisking. Add in salt, pepper, mustard and worcestershire sauce. Reduce heat to low and continue to stir for about 5 minutes.
  3. In food processor, shred Gruyere and Cheddar cheese. Add to pot, stir until thoroughly combined.
  4. Add cooked macaroni to cheese mixture. Pour into a 13x9 dish.
  5. In large ziploc, crush 14 Ritz crackers. Sprinkle over top of macaroni. Lay 10 crackers on top, spaced evenly.
  6. Bake in a 375 degree oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Enjoy hot!

Notes

  • Do not overcook your pasta. You want it to have a little "bite" to it, so cooking al dente is very important. You'll still be baking mac and cheese, and don't want it mushy!
  • Use good quality cheese! Don't buy the preshredded bags of cheese. They just don't melt well, and the taste is not as good!
  • Whisk whisk whisk. Have everything measured out ahead of time, because you'll be whisking the entire cooking process so the sauce doesn't burn or stick!
  • See blog post for more recipe tips and tricks.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 527Total Fat: 39gSaturated Fat: 23gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 114mgSodium: 803mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 20g

Did you make this recipe?

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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on May 27, 2020

Comments & Reviews

  1. I’m not sure what went wrong… I followed the recipe to the letter (whew! my arm was weak from whisking)
    The bake turned out very well, but it lacked any creaminess that I always love in mac and cheese. Do you have any ideas for the next time? (btw, everyone loved it)

  2. This mac and cheese is SO GOOD! My family could happily make a meal of just this. It is incredibly cheesy and scrumptios!

  3. I may have snuck a little before it was baked, and even that was tasty! But the crunchy topping makes it seriously delish! I’m thinking of trying it next with a some pepper jack cheese to give it a little kick. 🙂

  4. I have been making this Mac and cheese recipe for years. It is always a big hit. I am now required to make it for every family party because everyone loves it so much! One of my all time favorite recipes. Just ate some leftovers of it today!

  5. I tried this tonight for a special carby treat; i’m so nostalgic for this mac and cheese i’d have at a winter camp i’d go to. The lunch ladies always added a crunchy topping, and it was so good! Your recipe was great 🙂 loved the crunchy topping. Thanks for sharing!

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