Perfect Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

By: Jennifer M January 14, 2013 Main Courses 18 Comments
Perfect Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
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I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a bad Macaroni and Cheese. Let’s face it, a plate of pasta and cheese sauce going to be pretty good no matter the recipe you start with. But when I enjoyed a bowl of the famous Beecher’s Macaroni and Cheese when I was in Seattle, I realized that macaroni and cheese could be more than just good – it could be really great. I think it was great for two reasons – it had lots of a wonderful creamy sauce and it was made with a really great cheese (and it makes a huge difference!).

So like all food-obsessed people, I turned to the internet to find a recipe that might be a reasonable facsimile. I discovered not a facsimile, but the actual recipe for Beecher’s Macaroni and Cheese (they had apparently published it in their cookbook). Of course, there was still one problem – I was in Canada and Beecher’s cheese was not. Of course, Beecher’s cheddar is great and you can definitely use it if you can get your hands on some, but the British, Irish and my fellow Canadians make a pretty mean cheddar themselves, so it was just a matter of finding a really great, aged cheddar to fill in.

Coastal CheddarI sampled a number of candidates (all in the name of “research”, of course :) and settled on a mature British Cheddar called “Coastal”. I loved it’s combination of sharp cheddar flavour with a bit of nuttiness. It’s worth seeking out. I found it at my local Walmart, but I believe it’s also available at Costco and probably any place that has a good sized collection of nice cheeses. If you can’t find it, use any great cheddar that you might pick up for a special occasion.

This isn’t the exact Beecher’s recipe, but it is certainly based on it. Of course, the cheese is different, but it is also comes about as a result of a “happy accident” I made when preparing the published Beecher’s recipe for the first time. You see, I failed to properly read the instructions and added all 4 cups of the cheese sauce to the dish, instead of the specified 2 cups. Yes, I accidentally doubled the sauce and found macaroni and cheese heaven! It should be no surprise, of course. If 2 cups of cheese sauce is good, 4 cups has to be great, right? And great it was. The combination of extra, creamy sauce with really great cheddar was perfect.

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Experiment with your favourite cheeses and make your own signature dish. I loved the combination of the nutty Coastal with the sharp Canadian MacLaren’s Imperial cold-packed cheese. (Using two different ones gives a nice depth of cheese flavour). I topped mine off with a bit of Extra Old Balderson Cheddar.

Adapted from Beecher’s macaroni and cheese recipe

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About The Author

Hi! I'm Jennifer, cooking my way through the seasons in beautiful Muskoka, Ontario Canada. Did you know you could sign up to get new posts delivered right to your email inbox? Subscribe to Seasons and Suppers by Email

18 Comments

  1. Liz January 14, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    Wow, this looks great Jennifer! You can never go wrong with good ol’ mac & cheese!

    • Jennifer M January 14, 2013 at 3:44 pm

      Thanks Liz. In this house, mac and cheese is the comfort food of choice. It cures what’s ailing, not matter what that is ;)

  2. belllini January 15, 2013 at 8:52 am

    I have tried this at Pike Place Market and made it at home with their cheeses. I do like the idea of it being extra creamy with the added sauce so I will seek out great cheese here in British Columbia and try my go to recipe once again.

    • Jennifer M January 15, 2013 at 9:32 am

      Enjoy Bellini. I’m sure you’ll find some great cheese options at home, too.

  3. Sophie January 17, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    This is great, Jennifer! I love the research you put into this :) I make a very similar recipe, but I never bake mine — we eat it straight from the pot. I should try baking it! And I should try using a nice cheese instead of just an economical one :) Yumm! It’s lunchtime!

    • Jennifer M January 17, 2013 at 1:22 pm

      I love food research ;) I usually find that the baking part dries out mac & cheese, but not this one. It’s very, very saucy before baking and just perfect after 20 min in the oven. And what a revelation it was for me to find what a difference great cheese makes (I was like you and usually just grabbed the big block of Kraft Old).

  4. Joann February 7, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    This really is the best macaroni & cheese I’ve ever made & it really is about good cheese. I used about 7 oz of sharp & 3 oz of coastal smoked cheese & it was perfect. You had me with the picture alone.

    • Jennifer M February 7, 2013 at 3:38 pm

      So glad you enjoyed it, Joann! I hear you about the picture. Every time I see it, I want to get up and head to the kitchen and make some ;)

  5. Elizabeth February 28, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    I made this last night. It was SO GOOD. I had a stomach ache because I ate too much; it was that delicious. We used about half sharp cheddar and half pepperjack, because it was what was in the fridge! Sprinkled in some mustard and cayenne as well. Yum!!

    • Jennifer M February 28, 2013 at 12:28 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it, Elizabeth.

  6. Abeje March 2, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    The recipe looks great! However, I’m confused about the pasta measurement, is it just 1 2/3 cups or the whole box?

    • Jennifer M March 2, 2013 at 4:43 pm

      Hi Abeje, I always weigh my pasta, but to help people out who don’t have scales, after I weighed it, I put it into a 2-cup glass measure and it measured out to 1 2/3 cups. If your box happens to be 8oz. then the whole box would work, too (as long as it’s macaroni). Hope that helps.

  7. Viv March 31, 2013 at 6:30 am

    Perfect comfort food! looks so rich and satisfying, love the hint of spice too! :)

    • Jennifer M March 31, 2013 at 7:31 am

      Thanks Viv. Yes, my daughter was fond on the chili powder. She puts extra on hers.

  8. sandra November 29, 2013 at 6:10 am

    Amazing page!
    Yummy food!

    • Jennifer M November 29, 2013 at 6:38 am

      Thanks Sandra :)

  9. Josie February 13, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    I just happened to come across this this morning and decided to try it for lunch. I ended up halving it and using Penne pasta (since it was all I had on hand) and it was SO good! I’ve tried a lot of different mac and cheese recipe and this is the first one that I will absolutely be making again:)

    Thanks!

    • Jennifer M February 13, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it, Josie. Beecher’s uses penne for their famous mac and cheese.

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