Baked Macaroni & Cheese with a secret ingredient!

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Baked Macaroni and Cheese is the quintessential American family favorite. It is super cheesy, creamy and delicious, chock full of shredded cheddar cheese and a surprise ingredient – sour cream! Adding just enough sour cream really blends all the flavors together making this dish scrumptious without being overly rich!

This is the best homemade baked mac and cheese recipe you’ll ever use! Great to serve with nearly anything. Try serving on top of  Sloppy Joe Tacos, or with a slice of jalapeno cornbread to soak up all the leftover cheesy goodness!

closeup of Baked Macaroni and Cheese on a plate

Macaroni and Cheese


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Let’s Prepare Some Macaroni and Cheese!

This oven baked mac and cheese is so easy to make with just a few ingredients from your pantry and fridge…just combine and bake!

  1. Cook the macaroni and then drain and cool.
  2. In a large stockpot, melt the butter. Add enough of the flour to create a roux. Stir over medium heat for about a minute until it is thickened and caramel colored.
  3. Whisk a cup of milk at a time into the roux, making sure there are no lumps. Keep adding milk and turn up to high.
  4. When sauce is thick and bubbly, remove from heat and stir in 3 cups of the shredded cheese.
  5. When the cheese is melted, add the sour cream and stir well. Season with salt and pepper.

steps for making Baked Macaroni and Cheese, sauce and adding sauce to macaroni

How to Bake It

The key to baking this oven mac and cheese is to keep the casserole dish in the middle of the oven and remove once the cheese on the top is bubbly and just a little browned.

  • Stir in the cooked macaroni and pour the mixture into the greased casserole dish.  Sprinkle on the remaining cheese.
  • Bake until the cheese on top is fully melted and slightly browned.

Once baked you can serve nearly anything with this mac and cheese, or simply top with crispy crumbled bacon. Try adding a cold, crisp spinach strawberry salad, some roasted cauliflower, or even some crispy carrot fries!

overhead of Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Reheat it Perfectly!

Keep the mac and cheese in a sealed container in the fridge until it’s ready to be reheated. Simply stir the mac and cheese, add a little milk, and reheat in the microwave or in a pot on the stove. Adjust the salt and pepper and serve!

plate of Baked Macaroni and Cheese with a fork

Must Try Macaroni Recipes

closeup of Baked Macaroni and Cheese on a plate
3.87 from 51 votes
Servings: 8 servings
Baked Macaroni & Cheese with a secret ingredient!
Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
35 mins
Author: Holly
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Baked Macaroni and cheese is an absolute favorite for both kids and adults alike. This recipe is super cheesy, creamy and delicious with sour cream as it's secret ingredient!

  • 16 ounces macaroni noodles cooked and drained
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 cups cheddar cheese shredded, divided
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  1. In large pot melt the stick of butter. Add flour and stir to create a roux. Stir over medium heat for one minute to let flour and butter settle together.
  2. Slowly add about 1 cup of milk at a time. Stir in milk and turn up heat to med-high, just until sauce is thick and bubbly.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in 3 cups of shredded cheese. Once cheese is incorporated, now it's time for your secret weapon!!
  4. Remove from heat and add the sour cream. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Stir in cooked macaroni.
  5. Pour mixture into a greased 9x13 pan and top with remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese.
  6. Bake at 350˚F for about 15 minutes or until cheese has melted on top.

Nutrition Information
Calories: 670, Fat: 38g, Saturated Fat: 23g, Cholesterol: 109mg, Sodium: 519mg, Potassium: 371mg, Carbohydrates: 55g, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 8g, Protein: 27g, Vitamin A: 1205%, Vitamin C: 0.2%, Calcium: 576%, Iron: 1.5%

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

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Baked Macaroni and Cheese on a white plate close up

overhead of Baked Macaroni and Cheese in casserole dish, and a plate of Baked Macaroni and Cheese
closeup of white plate of Baked Macaroni and Cheese


31 comments on “Baked Macaroni & Cheese with a secret ingredient!”

  1. 5 stars
    Super good! I ran out of cheddar cheese so used up my grated pepper jack, monterey jack and a tiny bit of Mexican whilte cheese. It was delecious with just a hint of pepper hot. My family loved it and so do I!!

  2. Added more cheese in sauce and on top. Yum. Used organic cheese and whole wheat noodles and a bit more butter. It was GREAT!! Thank u

  3. What type of milk would you recommend? Some recipes say evaporated is best, some say whole milk. I have 1% milk and evaporated can I mix them? And can I mix the cheeses? I have mozzarella and sharp cheddar, is that ok? I want to make today. Hoping I can get a quick response. Thanks!

    • I really hope you did! This is Genius

      • 5 stars
        This was really good! I made a couple changes. Instead of sour cream, I used plain Greek yogurt. I also added panko breadcrumbs to the top. I kept it in the oven for about 45mins to make sure the whole thing was bubbly. Make sure to undercook your pasta because it will cook more in the sauce and soak up all the goodness.

  4. Great recipe but definitely gonna add more cheddar to the sauce and topping

  5. 5 stars
    Sounds delicious. Can you freeze or does it not freeze well

  6. 5 stars
    My secret ingredient for my mac n cheese is 4 Oz of Philadelphia Cream Cheese!
    Sour Cream is my secret ingredient for deviled eggs, to make the yoke mixture more creamy … I can’t wait to try your sour cream trick in my next mac n cheese!

  7. 3 stars
    Okay, I give up…what’s the secret ingredient?

  8. 5 stars
    Made this many times now, everyone who has ever tried it says it’s the best they’ve ever had. Easy and sooooo good! In fact, just finished making it for thanksgiving brunch!

  9. I add bacon, a few slices cooked and crumbled to this recipe! Yummmy!

  10. Sounds so tasty cant wait to try this…..

  11. This looks mouth tempting…Can`t wait to try this week…Thanks for sharing…

  12. Sour cream is a great secret ingredient in a lot of things, I have discovered…even scrambled eggs! Good find!

  13. I always use sour cream in my mac and cheese.Love it.

  14. I have been using Sour Cream since 1997 for my Mac. and Cheese.

  15. When you say to turn the heat off, I am assuming you also need to let it cool some before you add the sour cream (not just turn the heat off and add sour cream, I would think it would still be too hot). Please let me know as I am thinking of making this tomorrow.

  16. Can this be made earlier in the day and then baked when needed? It will be great to make when my in-laws come for family Christmas, but I want it done ahead of time.

  17. Quick question….If the sour cream will curdle if the mixture is to hot when you first add it to the creamy mixture then will it curdle when you put it in the oven to bake it?

  18. No, it means 3 to 4 cups. Maybe 3, maybe 4, maybe in the middle. You be the judge.

    This recipe looks tasty! I’d probably add some sort of meat, just habit. I’m looking forward to trying it!

  19. Im confused of the amount of milk. Is it 3/4th cups of milk. Or 3..4 cups of milk. If thats the case that would be.. 12 cups?

  20. This is ONE of my secret weapons in my baked macaroni and cheese! I know this is good because it’s very close to mine!!

  21. Great recipe! Super easy to make, quick and tastes amazing! I added bread crumbs on the top to add a little crunch on top of everything! Thanks! 🙂

  22. Cannot wait to try this recipe

  23. I made it, and it was SO good! Best mac & cheese I have ever done! Thank you 🙂

  24. OH My…That looks delish!!!

  25. Looks delicious! Thanks!

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