No matter if you’re making stovetop mac and cheese or baked mac and cheese, this is the best mac and cheese sauce on the internet!
Made with simple ingredients such as a mac and cheese roux, cheddar cheese, salt, and pepper, this cheese sauce for mac and cheese is creamy and scrumptious.
Obviously, if you’re on this site you are a cheese lover. I mean, we are The Cheese Knees after all!
Every cheese website deserves to have a signature mac and cheese sauce that’s easy to make, creamy, and perfect on any noodle! PS: if you haven’t tried our classic mac and cheese, you need to now!
Why THIS Mac and Cheese Sauce?
Out of all the recipes on the internet, why choose this cheese sauce for mac and cheese?
- 7 simple ingredients
- ready in less than 15 minutes
- oh-so CHEESY
Homemade Mac and Cheese Sauce with 7 Ingredients
Like we mentioned above, you only need 7 simple ingredients to make the creamiest, cheesiest mac and cheese sauce on the internet. Check it:
- all-purpose flour
- 2 % milk
- shredded cheddar cheese
- granulated garlic (or garlic powder)
- buffalo hot sauce (we used Franks)
Technically the hot sauce is optional, but I promise it makes this cheese sauce SO GOOD. A little vinegar really does bring out the flavor of the cheese sauce.
Are you a cheese connoisseur? Try mixing things up and use your favorite cheese. Here are some ideas:
- Colby Jack
- Mexican Cheddar Blend
- White Cheddar
Before we jump into how to make mac and cheese sauce, I thought we’d chat about the importance of a roux and why you shouldn’t skip it for this sauce!
What is a mac and cheese roux and why do I need it?
A roux is essentially a way to thicken a sauce or liquid. You need a fat (such as butter or olive oil) and a flour in order to make this thickening agent and then you need to heat it to activate it.
The reason why you don’t want to skip the roux for this mac and cheese sauce recipe is that the roux is what helps make it thick and luscious.
How to Make a Roux
First time making a roux? No problem! Check out this super simple tutorial:
- Start by heating a large pot or dutch oven over medium/high heat. Then add butter, and allow it to melt fully.
- When the butter is melted add the all-purpose flour and whisk (consistently!) until the butter and flour form a crumble or paste.
- Slowly add milk to the pot by pouring slowly, and whisking constantly. Continue to whisk the roux over medium/high heat for about 4-6 minutes or until the roux thickens.
- When the roux is thick, remove from heat, and then it’s time to melt the shredded cheese!
Congrats, you’ve made your roux! This will give your mac the thick and creamy texture you’re looking for.
Easy Roux Swaps
Butter –> olive oil – like we mentioned above, you need a fat in order to make a roux. We’ve use olive oil many times in place of butter and it works like a charm!
All-purpose flour –> white whole wheat flour – looking to make your homemade mac and cheese sauce a bit healthier? Try using white whole wheat flour instead.
How to Make Mac and Cheese Sauce
Step 1: Make Roux – by this point, you already know the ins and outs of a roux and how to make it (re: above), so we’re going to skip to step 2.
Step 2: Whisk in Milk – slowly add milk to the roux, whisking constantly so it doesn’t burn. Continue to whisk for around 4-6 minutes, or until things begin to thicken.
Don’t rush this process. we PROMISE things will thicken!
Step 3: Remove from Heat – once things are thick, turn the heat off.
Step 4: Whisk in Shredded Cheese – then, add shredded cheese, garlic, hot sauce, salt, and pepper and whisk until the cheese melts.
Give your cheese sauce a taste and add more hot sauce, as desired.
Step 5: Enjoy! – mix mac and cheese sauce with macaroni noodles and serve immediately.
How many does this serve?
This easy mac and cheese sauce recipe is enough for 1 lb. of macaroni noodles. That should serve around 6-8 people…unless you’re really hungry 😀
Mac and Cheese Sauce Versatility
Love this sauce and want to mix things up? Here are some ideas on how to repurpose this sauce for something other than mac!
Use on any noodle – all out of macaroni noodles? You can literally use 1 lb. of any noodle under the sun!
Nachos – we love using this sauce on top of nachos. Think – loaded nachos with all the fixings + this cheese sauce.
Burgers/Sandwiches – how good would this easy mac and cheese sauce be on top of a burger or sandwich?! I’m drooling.
Chili Mac and Cheese – mix this cheese sauce with 1 lb. of noodles and a batch of homemade beef chili for some chili mac! Check out our sister site’s Chili Mac and Cheese recipe!
Dip – when I dip you dip we dip. Grab your favorite tortilla chip and dip away!
Homemade Mac and Cheese Sauce
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups 2 % milk
- 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
- 1-2 tablespoons buffalo hot sauce we used Franks
- First, prepare a roux by heating a large pot or dutch oven over medium/high heat. Add butter. When the butter is melted, add flour and whisk until the butter and flour form a crumble or paste.
- Slowly add milk to the pot, whisking constantly. Continue to whisk the roux over medium/high heat for about 4-6 minutes or until the roux thickens.
- When the roux is thick, remove from heat and add the shredded cheddar cheese. Whisk until the cheese has melted.
- Add granulated garlic, hot sauce, and salt and pepper to the cheese sauce. Mix well.
- Finally, mix your mac and cheese sauce recipe with 1 lb. of noodles and enjoy!
Tips & Notes
- If you would like a thinner cheese sauce, add 2 tablespoons of milk at a time, whisk it into the cheese sauce, and add more until the cheese sauce reaches your desired consistency.
- This mac and cheese sauce is for 1 lb. macaroni noodles.
- Nutrition information does NOT include noodles.