Homemade Mac and Cheese {Possibly the World’s Best}

by Allison @ Alli 'n Son on March 6, 2011

It’s been almost two months since I’ve been to Seattle. And even though it was rainy and dreary {but still warmer than Wisconsin in January} I miss it. Partly because I know that the summers can be beautiful. Or at least it was almost two years ago. But also because of the food. Specifically, the mac and cheese.

Yes, I traveled all the way from Wisconsin, home of the best cheese on the planet, and fell in love with Mac and Cheese in Seattle. I know, it doesn’t make much sense to me either. But @mamachaplin pointed me in it’s direction long before I was on my flight. How could I miss a Seattle favorite from a Seattle native?

And also, something with this much cheese can’t be wrong.

Mac and Cheese Sauce

When I found out that Beecher’s, the brilliant creators behind this fabulous dish had shared their recipe, I may have uttered a silent scream. Let’s just say that I was over joyed that I could have this tasty little dish back home, in the comfort of my kitchen.

I’d like to say that it’s exactly the same as the original. But it isn’t. Only because I can’t get the exact same cheeses here. But I can come close. We do have some pretty fantastic cheeses here. Have I mentioned that before?

And so, here’s my version of the very cheesy, very gooey, oh-s0-delicious World’s Best Mac and Cheese.

Best Homemade Mac and Cheese

Homemade Mac and Cheese {Possibly the World's Best}

Homemade Mac and Cheese {Possibly the World's Best}


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3-1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk {or 3/4 cup evaporated milk and 3/4 cup water}
  • 1-3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup Jack cheese, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt {or sea salt}
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pasta
  • 3-1/4 cups penne pasta
  • 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup Jack cheese, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder


  1. Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat and whisk in the flour. Continue whisking and cook for 2 minutes.
  2. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly. Cook until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Add cheeses, salt, chili powder and garlic powder. Stir until cheese is melted and all ingredients are incorporated, about 3 minutes. Set aside.
  5. Pasta
  6. Preheat oven to 350º F. Butter or oil an 8-inch baking dish.
  7. Cook penne for 2 minutes less than package directions. (It will finish cooking in the oven.)
  8. Rinse pasta in cold water and drain well.
  9. Combine pasta and sauce in a medium bowl; mix carefully but thoroughly.
  10. Scrape the pasta into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle top with cheeses and then the chili powder.
  11. Bake, uncovered, 20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Meal Plan


Monday: Taco Soup
Tuesday: World’s Best Mac and Cheese {recipe above}
Wednesday: Grilled cheese on sourdough with pesto {suggested by so many readers}
Thursday: Slow cooker lasagna
Friday: Homemade pizza on beer battered crust and homemade sauce {AllRecipes.com}
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday: German pancakes



Last week’s Sweet Tooth Friday linky is still active. It will be up until Thursday. Pop over and check out the 70+ recipes linked up and add your own. Get your recipes ready for this week’s Sweet Tooth Friday linky.

This post was included in Presto Pasta Nights hosted this week by Debbi Does Dinner Healthy.
This post is proudly linked up to Mouthwatering Mondays, Made By You Monday, Simply Share It, This Week’s Cravings, Tuesdays and the Table, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, It’s a Blog Party, My Sweet and Savory, What’s Cooking Wednesday, Works for Me Wednesday, Ultimate Recipe Swap, It’s a Keeper Thursdays, I’m Loving It, Foodie Friday, Grocery Cart Challenge, Friday Firsts, Food on Fridays, Friday Pot Luck.

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1 Robin March 6, 2011 at 7:01 pm

I just made this recipe a couple of weeks ago after I first saw your link to it. I made a post about it, too! So yummy.
I added ham and broccoli to it to make it a one dish meal.

2 Allison March 11, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Great idea adding ham and broccoli. Fantastic recipe isn’t it?

3 Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect March 6, 2011 at 8:37 pm

YUM. This looks delicious. I’m linking to you tomorrow, because I had great intentions of making your beer batter pizza dough. Didn’t exactly work out, but I’m hoping to do it soon…

4 Allison March 11, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Ha, your post was so funny. I hope you get to make the dough soon. It’s really not as much work as it sounds.

5 Mary @ Delightful Bitefuls March 7, 2011 at 12:06 am

If it’s possibly the world’s best I’m going to have to try it out! It looks and sounds divine!!

Great blog; happy I found you!

Mary xo
Delightful Bitefuls

6 Jessica March 7, 2011 at 7:42 am

Okay, not even fibbing when I say making this for Grant (us all) this week. He loves mac and cheese ( just recently) and so do we! It looks divine girl! Positively wonderful!

7 Allison March 11, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Oh, let me know what you think. I actually couldn’t get my son to try it, but I’m hoping the next time I make it that I can convince him. If not, that just means more left for me!

8 TheKitchenWitch March 7, 2011 at 8:22 am

If I made this, I bet I’d end up devouring the entire bowl.

9 FromTheHeartsOf March 7, 2011 at 9:54 am

Oh wow!! This looks so good I am salivating!! I can’t wait to try this recipe, thanks alot!

10 KLZ March 7, 2011 at 10:07 am

I think I could actually make this!!

11 nicole March 7, 2011 at 11:03 am
12 Tina @ MOMS CRAZY COOKING March 7, 2011 at 10:38 pm

I LOVE LOVE Macaroni & Cheese. Thanks so much for linking to THIS WEEK’S CRAVINGS ROMANTIC DINNERS! We appreciate it! Don’t forget to come back next week for a St. Patrick’s Celebration “GREEN FOOD”!


13 Katie March 8, 2011 at 10:50 am

Oh wow. This looks awesome! I must make immediately.

14 Kirstin March 8, 2011 at 1:41 pm

oooo I love this idea. I’ve been wanting to make homemade mac and cheese and I happen to have a couple boxes of penne pasta, so I think payday I will buy the cheeses and make it! I grew up just east of Seattle and now live in SW Washington!

15 Allison March 11, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Wahoo! I hope you enjoy it.

16 Debbie March 8, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Shared this on Facebook! This really looks good…can’t wait to give it a try. I would love for you to join me for What’s On the Menu Wednesday whenever you can. Thanks again for sharing.

17 Allison March 11, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Thanks for sharing it Debbie!

18 Jan at Jewelry4Change March 8, 2011 at 11:10 pm

Mmmmmm, this looks so good! Thanks for sharing!

19 Kayla March 9, 2011 at 12:38 pm

This sounds so yummy, I’m going to bookmark this one!! Thanks for sharing!

20 Sarah March 10, 2011 at 12:01 pm

You were featured on Simply Step Back today! Stop by and grab a feature button! http://simplystepback.blogspot.com/2011/03/simply-share-it-link-party-8-features.html

21 Allison March 10, 2011 at 12:47 pm

This looks so good, I can’t wait to try it!

22 Miriam Barton March 11, 2011 at 10:25 am

Homemade mac n’ cheese is a family favorite at my house. This verson of it looks fabulous!! Well done ! Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

23 angie March 11, 2011 at 4:01 pm

certainly sounds like it would please my cheese loving family

24 Lulumusing March 11, 2011 at 10:32 pm

It looks like chili powder is the magic ingredient. I thinking I will try this and throw in some lobster. My mouth is already watering!

25 Debbi Does Dinner Healthy March 12, 2011 at 2:07 pm

I love when someone calls something “the world best”, that makes me REALLY want to try it!

Hey, do you want to submit this to Presto Pasta Nights this week? I am hosting and there are details on my blog. I’d love to add it to the round up on Friday, thanks!

26 Krista Jorstad March 18, 2011 at 1:37 pm

As a midwesterner, I’m shocked that a dish in Seattle came up with such a cheesy and delicious-looking dish (just teasing of course)! With all the cheese involved, there’s no way this could go wrong. I’ve also been on a mac and cheese streak lately– must be the winter weather. Thanks for some new ideas for my next batch!

27 Rachel August 27, 2011 at 10:53 pm

All I have to say is YUM! I made this tonight and it was absolutely delicious!!! I’ve been looking for a mac ‘n cheese recipe with a little more kick to it and I found that with yours. This had to be the best mac ‘n cheese EVER! I used elbow macaroni and I added some chicken to it (canned, yes, but delicious!). I’m definitely going to both share this recipe and make this again! Thank you!

28 Allison @ Alli 'n Son November 8, 2011 at 2:40 pm

I’m SO glad that you liked it! Great idea adding chicken.

29 Amanda October 3, 2011 at 10:47 pm

Just made this for dinner! Turned out amazing! I think I cooked the sauce too long, though because it came out kinda dry. Fantastic recipe, though!! LOVE LOVE LOVE

30 Allison @ Alli 'n Son November 8, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Yay! I’m so glad to hear that you liked it. I bet you could have added a little more milk to give it a little more moisture.

31 Ann October 17, 2011 at 4:18 pm

This sounds amazing! I used to think I didn’t like mac ‘n cheese. But then I realized it was the stuff in the blue box that I didn’t care for–even as a kid. I have since had some home made mac ‘n cheese (my dad’s; I wonder why he didn’t make it when I was growing up…) that made me a fan. And now this recipe makes me want to make it. I’d like to know which cheeses Seattle has that you weren’t able to get in Wisconsin. I live near Portland, Oregon so maybe we have the cheeses here.

32 Allison @ Alli 'n Son November 8, 2011 at 2:42 pm

I’m sure that we have very similar cheeses here, but because they are made by individual shops, it’s hard to know which are the same, since they often give them unique names. I hope you have a chance to try it!

33 olivia walker October 18, 2011 at 9:50 pm

This was an awesome recipe, i’ve never made home made mac and cheese and this was my first time. We liked it so much we were nibbling on it before it gone fully done…lol we didn’t have whole milk so we used 2% and it turned out great. We added chicken in this recipe and i think thats what did us in…we are officially hooked…Good bye Kraft it was good while it lasted but we won’t be needing your mac and cheese anymore…lol :)

34 Allison @ Alli 'n Son November 8, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Ha! You totally made my day. I’m so glad that you enjoyed it.

35 Ann October 25, 2011 at 5:01 am

I just clicked on your “Shared their recipe” link (don’t know why I didn’t see that the first time I saw this blog. Maybe I was rendered blind by the sight of all the cheesy goodness. ) Now I see why you can’t get the cheese in Wisconsin. I could order Beecher’s “World’s Best” Mac & Cheese Kit… or maybe make an approx. 3 hour road trip to Seattle. I’ve been meaning to take my niece there. Amazing mac ‘n cheese sounds like a perfectly good reason. And it doesn’t hurt that they’re at Pike’s Place Market. Love that place!

36 Fernando October 27, 2011 at 9:27 am

This looks awesome! My wife and I will make it for our son’s 13th birthday!

37 Allison @ Alli 'n Son November 8, 2011 at 2:43 pm

I hope everyone enjoys it!

38 Fernando November 8, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Not only did we enjoy it, I made it again for a Halloween party and it was a hit, not a macaroni was left! I’ve found my Mac n Cheese recipe!Thanks!

39 Tammy November 8, 2011 at 2:19 pm

The day after Thanksgiving we are going to a mac and cheese cook off challange. You better beileve I will be making this one. This looks amazing. I cannot wait to try it out on my family!!! I love the idea of adding the chicken or the ham and brocc, one pot meals I’m all about that!!!

40 Allison @ Alli 'n Son November 8, 2011 at 2:39 pm

What a fun idea! Please stop back and let me know how it turned out.

41 Ana November 16, 2011 at 8:17 pm

How many servings does this make??
Looking forward to making this on thanksgiving!

42 Allison @ Alli 'n Son December 14, 2011 at 11:03 pm

I have no idea! I think my husband and I polished this off in three meals. 6-8 servings would be my guess.

43 dave December 2, 2011 at 7:41 pm

This mac and cheese looks really creamy and looks delicious. I am planning on making a macaroni and cheese dish this christmas and hope I can make it as good as this one. Yummy stuff!

44 Allison @ Alli 'n Son December 14, 2011 at 11:03 pm

I hope you and your family enjoy it!

45 Andrea December 9, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Yummy I cant wait to try this!!! I have not had man n cheese in probably 3 yrs after I started a no carb diet then went to a low carb. But i have recently found a pasta including spaghetti, elbow, and rotini made by Dreamfields. They have a patent pending formula and unique manufacturing process that creates a matrix within the pasta, protecting 31 grams of carbs from being digested! (as said by them) So for the first time I can have a pasta with only 5g of digestible carbs per serving!!! It aslo has a 65% lower glycemic index then regular pasta! And I do have to say, it taste just as good as any other pasta! Just thought I would share a little of my good news!

46 Allison @ Alli 'n Son December 14, 2011 at 11:04 pm

Awesome! Enjoy your pasta and the mac and cheese.

47 danilee December 14, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Can this be made ahead of time? Like 3-4 hours?

48 Allison @ Alli 'n Son December 14, 2011 at 11:02 pm

I think that would be fine. Just cover it and store it in the fridge until you are ready to bake it. The baking time may increase a little, since it will be cold from the fridge. Let me know if you try it and how it turns out.

49 Joe April 10, 2012 at 9:17 am

Hey….I will share my little secret. You can make this ahead of time and it will still be hot to the touch in 3 hours just like it came from the oven. You see I have a large family so I am always going to two to three dinners or events during the holidays. We have some good recipes that we are always asked to bring but makes it hard when you are not at your house. So I have devised up this little bit of help for anyone who decides to read it or pass it along. It is so simple you will say why didn’t I think of that.

You take your dish once done and wrap it in tin foil. If you are doing something cheesy like this lay wax paper over top so it don’t stick. Then wrap it in a towel. place in a cooler and do not open it till you are there and ready to eat. The first time I did this was for my cheesy potato recipe and I made 3 hours early and it still burnt my tongue when I had my first bite. Enjoy I am making this recipe tonight.

50 Teri January 15, 2012 at 8:45 pm

This Mac and cheese recipe is insane. So delicious. 5 stars.

51 Allison @ Alli 'n Son January 15, 2012 at 10:03 pm

Teri, you totally made my night. I’m SO glad that you enjoyed it.

52 Jennifer November 19, 2012 at 11:53 am

Which Jack cheese am i suppose to use?

53 WEEE January 15, 2012 at 11:35 pm

I was salivating too,

54 Marilyn January 22, 2012 at 1:23 pm

So love that your recipes are able to be added to Zip LIst–my favorite new app for my new iPhone. Thanks for linking your recipes to this app.

55 Jamie January 30, 2012 at 11:52 am

Trying to get my kids off as much boxed food as I can. We just moved back to the states from Germany (active military) Now that we’re in our new house, I figured it was about time to try my hand at homemade mac and cheese (I have 4 kids ages 1-6, mac and cheese is a staple in our household). I will be trying this tonight – so excited!!!!

56 jason March 8, 2012 at 9:09 pm

This mac and cheese was awesome! All the flavor was there but mine was a little grainy from the chedder, i’m guessing. any suggestings how to remedy that or what i did wrong? I would love to serve this at my daughter’s birthday partyand want it to be creamier.

57 Lynn March 19, 2012 at 11:10 pm

My kids love that boxed mac and cheese and I told them homemade is best. Well a neighbor brought us some last month and they loved it. Been wanting to make some ourself and so glad we found your recipe. The kids even helped make it and gave me lots of compliments. We will be putting this one in our file. Yay for real food!

58 Herva April 2, 2012 at 9:30 am

This sounds awesome. Thinking of doing it for a bowling convention here in a few weeks. How many does this recipe serve and can I use regular elbow macaroni instead of the penne, although I truly love penne pasta? Thanks for this great recipe.

59 Genesis June 17, 2012 at 2:14 pm

how many does it serve?

60 Stephanie August 7, 2012 at 1:28 pm

I’m going to make this ahead of time and then stick it in my fridge until a half hour before dinner. I’m adding a 1/4 cup more milk to make sure it doesn’t dry out and I’m going to sprinkle just a little more cheese on top (just because I had so little left that I figured there was no point saving it). I’m hoping it will still turn out even if it sits in the fridge for a couple hours!

61 Tina August 30, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Hi Allison,

I happen to find your blog post recipe through a Google search. I made this recipe for my husband who loves Mac-N-Cheese. You are right, it is the best in the world. We absolutely LOVED it!!!! Thanks so much for posting it! :-)

62 Catherine September 7, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Ist is 3.25 cups non-cooked penne pasta or cooked past?

63 Ashley September 9, 2012 at 10:18 am

I am going to make this tonight I love Mac n cheese recipes. I am going to add chicken and diced tomatoe to it! I’m also using elbow macaroni that is low carb, the brand is dreamfields it’s only 5g of carbs per serving, I substitute it in every pasta dish! I fully intend this to be amazing:-) I also might substitute fresh parm instead of mjack cheese do you think that will work? Also is it 3.25 dry or cooked.. I’m assuming dry ?

64 jenn November 1, 2012 at 6:19 pm

I am making this tonight for my family, it looks fantastic!!

65 Cody November 16, 2012 at 10:39 am

Craving a little homemade Mac and Cheese and went searching for a new recipe. Came across this gem with a pretty bold claim (World’s Best – I must make…NOW!) and just so happens that I had all of these ingredients on-hand. I’m not sure that words really exist to describe how incredible this dish actually is but I can tell you that I’ve just eaten my weight in the “World’s Best Macroni and Cheese.”

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

66 Jennifer November 19, 2012 at 11:51 am

Hey Cody i am wanting to make this recipe and I know I use Sharp chedder and the recipe calls for Jack cheese? What Jack cheese is it i am suppose to use?

67 Jennifer November 19, 2012 at 10:48 am

This mac and cheese looks so good! The recipe says Jack cheese? Would that be Monterey Jack, Colby jack, or Pepper jack? Can you please let me know which one it is cause i am for sure making this for Thanksgiving?

68 Cody November 19, 2012 at 12:14 pm


Rather than sort it all out, I used a Mexican Cheese blend of Cheddar and Monterrey Jack. Combined ingredient total and didn’t worry too much about exact measurements of individual cheeses.

69 Heather November 20, 2012 at 7:48 pm

I love this recipe and I use it all the time :) perfect combination of spices cheese and pasta EVER

70 Kat January 6, 2013 at 4:36 pm

Delicious. Making this for the 2nd time tonight. I just use whatever cheese I have and used medium shells instead of penne and it still comes out yummy.

71 Sue January 15, 2013 at 10:17 am

Is it Monterey jack or Colby jack used in the Mac and cheese?

72 kathie April 30, 2013 at 3:52 pm

Great recipe, but Vermont’s got the best cheese in the world :-)
Why is the cheese orange?!!!

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75 Martha Gioiello September 17, 2013 at 3:55 pm

I am making this recipe now, just waiting for the macaroni to finjsh cooking. My whole family goes crazy for mac and cheese and this one really looks yummy,yummy good. Can’t wait till it’s done. Thanks soooo much M G

76 jennifer November 25, 2013 at 8:16 pm

Thank you SoOOOOOOOO much for sharing this recipe. I use to live in Seattle and loved Beechers at the Market. Although I do not miss the dreary winter weather (spoiled in San Diego now), I do terribly miss the yummy food Seattle has to offer. I was asked to make mac and cheese for Thanksgiving this year, and I feel so lucky to have found your website! I am excited to have a little taste of Seattle at my San Diego Thanksgiving this year 😉 Thank you again!

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Try using extra-sharp white cheddar and gruyere cheese instead.

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