Pioneer Woman Mac And Cheese is known for its thick creamy texture and cheesy goodness. This mac and cheese was created by the Pioneer Woman but it is loved by all! From the youngest little tummies to the heartiest appetites in the house, this is the dish that makes them giddy with excitement.
Pioneer Woman Mac And Cheese recipe is one of my favorite pasta recipes to serve for dinner because it is wholesome and to the point. Plus, I can have it on the table in under an hour which is great on busier nights.
Let me show you what all the hype is about!
Let’s be real, there are hundreds of recipes for mac and cheese out there but this one really is special. It’s a thick blend of cheesy goodness with a golden-brown topping that hides the creamy gooey yumminess underneath. I love that this is a wholesome unrefined dish for the ages, favored by young and old!
- Ready in under an hour
- Wholesome and unrefined
- Gooey and cheesy loveliness
- Great as a main dish or a side
- Flexible serving options
- Hearty and satisfying
Making this Pioneer Woman mac and cheese recipe means you have serving options. Yep, that’s right! What I mean is you can serve as soon as you mix the pasta and cheese sauce for a delectably creamy and super rich mac and cheese delight.
Or you can spread it in a prepared baking dish and cover it with more cheese that will turn a bubbling golden brown in the oven. It is so scrumptious! I actually love this creamy mac and cheese both ways.
Sometimes I’ll just scoop myself a bowl when I’m pouring the mac and cheese into the baking dish, then I get to enjoy it both ways! (Really, I’m just taste-testing to make sure it’s gonna come out creamy and delicious).
Be sure to cook your elbow macaroni al dente so it doesn’t get mushy in the cheese sauce. It should still be a little firm in the middle. Salting your pasta water generously will also give it additional flavor before you even add the cheese sauce.
This is a hearty recipe that serves 6-8 people conservatively, so its not a little box of mac and cheese. This is a savory, creamy mac and cheese that can be served as the main dish!
**Just a side note but this ultimate cheese sauce can also be served over broccoli or cauliflower to help get some extra veggies in the kiddos.
Stovetop Mac and Cheese Ingredient Notes
Making stovetop mac and cheese just means you don’t put it in the oven and that is purely a personal choice. If you don’t miss that slightly salty golden-brown cheesy topping that hides the surprise of gooey cheesy smiles underneath, then, by all means, make it on the stovetop.
Using whole milk gives this Pioneer Woman mac and cheese a creamy, velvety texture that is out of this world. Whole milk has a little more than three percent fat giving it that rich moist consistency you just can’t get with low-fat milk.
This wholesome mac and cheese also call for 16 ounces of grated sharp cheddar cheese but your favorite shredded cheese will do. Some people prefer Colby or mozzarella and that’s fine too.
Storing your Pioneer Woman mac and cheese recipe in a covered container in the fridge is best. I like to divvy it up into single-serve portions so I can just grab it and go.
If you don’t have room for that casserole dish, then put your Pioneer Woman mac and cheese into a 1-gallon Ziploc bag. It will stay fresh and great tasting in the fridge as long as it is protected from air.
Can You Freeze This?
Yes!! Pioneer Woman mac and cheese recipe freezes great! You can freeze the entire dish or you can portion it out into single servings for easy lunches.
Here’s a little trick. If you butter the dish (or container), then add your mac and cheese before putting it in the freezer it will come out of the dish easier. Otherwise, freezer bags and vacuum sealers work just fine.
Make Ahead Tips
Getting this Pioneer Woman mac and cheese ready for an easy dinner is simple and you have multiple options. You can prepare it and put in into a prepared baking dish, then toss it in the fridge until you need it.
You can also cook the macaroni noodles ahead of time and store them in the fridge until you are ready to make your cheese sauce.
How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge?
According to the USDA, your Pioneer Woman mac and cheese recipe should stay good in the fridge for 3-4 days if it is properly stored. Hopefully, your fridge is set at or below 40-degrees Fahrenheit, which is recommended by the FDA for food safety. You’ll also want to observe the 2-hour rule for serving, just to be on the safe side.
Changing this recipe is simple. Some people like to make Pioneer Woman mac and cheese recipe with shells or spiral noodles and using multiple kinds of cheese is an option as mentioned before.
Adding different herbs and spices is another way to change the flavor of your mac and cheese. Paprika, thyme and cayenne pepper are all flavorful options. Sometimes adding chopped hotdogs or bacon bits is a nice treat for the kiddos (of course, just about everyone loves bacon).
What Other Types of Cheese Can I Use In This Recipe?
Cheese is the name of the game and you can have a ball if you’re brave! Making mac and cheese with cream cheese is pretty common and it has a super creamy texture with a rich flavor to boot.
Making Velveeta mac and cheese is another fun option. I absolutely loved this growing up and I still like it today. There is just something special about that Velveeta cheese. People either love it or they hate it (I happen to love it).
How Much Cheese Can I Add To This?
Well, the only correct answer to this question is as much cheese as you want! I’m a cheese lover so I may be a little partial! I guess it also depends on if you count the cheese you use for that golden-brown topping, too!
If you ask me, 3 cheese mac and cheese is pretty darn good, but 5 cheese mac and cheese is just down-right awesome!
Can I Cook This In An Instant Pot or Crock-Pot?
Making crock pot mac and cheese gives you a decadent savory dish that is ready when you get home. I love walking into the house after a long hard day and smelling all that savory goodness that has permeated the house, knowing that the food in the crock pot tastes even better than it smells.
For that same incredible experience in a fraction of the time try making instant pot mac and cheese. It is every bit as delicious and ready in the blink of an eye (well, practically).
Can I Cook This Differently?
You can do lots of unbelievable things with Pioneer Woman mac and cheese recipe if you get creative! I have a recipe for mac and cheese bites that are so delicious its hard to eat just one. Fried mac and cheese is another wildly creative dish that is out of this world good. I mean, what would you expect from frying one of the world’s most sought after and adored foods?
What Other Ingredients Can I Add?
You can add anything your little heart desires to your Pioneer Woman mac and cheese recipe. Hot dogs and bacon bits are at the top of the kiddo list but there are some other tasty options, too. Lobster mac and cheese is one of my absolute favorites and it’s just so decadent.
If you prefer something with a little kick, try making jalapeno mac and cheese or add a little of your favorite salsa to your Pioneer Woman mac and cheese. This is the adult version of yummy!
Pioneer Woman Mac And Cheese
- 4 cups dried macaroni
- 1 large whole egg beaten
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 2 heaping teaspoons dry mustard more if desired
- 16 ounces sharp cheddar cheese grated
- 1/2 teaspoon salt more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- cayenne pepper
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese grated
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
- If baking, preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9X13 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Follow the pasta's package instructions and cook pasta, in well-salted water, until al dente. Drain. Set Aside.
- Beat the egg in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Melt butter in a large pot, then evenly sprinkle the flour over the melted butter. Whisk together, over medium-low heat, and cook for about 2 minutes or until the mixture becomes a nice golden color, whisking constantly. Don’t allow it to burn.
- Remove from heat add milk and mustard, and whisk until smooth. Return to medium heat and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring constantly, until sauce is thick about 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat to low.
- Remove 1/4 cup of the sauce and slowly whisk it into beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking eggs. Whisk together till smooth.
- Add the egg mixture to sauce, whisking constantly. Stir in the cheese and stir until sauce cheese is melted. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and any of the optional seasonings. Taste sauce and adjust seasonings.
- Add the drained pasta and stir until evenly combined.
- Serve immediately (very creamy) or pour into prepared baking dish, top with additional 2 cups of shredded sharp cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the casserole is bubbly. Sprinkle top with fresh parsley and serve!
Making macaroni and cheese isn’t just for kids anymore! There are multiple recipes to suit every taste and lifestyle. Whether you want to bake it in the oven or make it on the stovetop, there is an awesome cheesy recipe that will bring you happiness.
Try the mac and cheese recipes below and see how they compare with my Pioneer Woman mac and cheese, then put the ones you love most on the weekly menu.
- One Pot Mac And Cheese
- Macaroni Soup
- Baked Mac and Cheese
- Tuscan Chicken Mac and Cheese
- Southern Mac And Cheese
Pioneer Woman mac and cheese is a warm dreamy wonder with a creamy cheese sauce and optional golden topping. This is comfort food in its truest form. Prepare to be amazed and then sit back and get comfortable so that you can slowly enjoy every single bite.
When you’re ready, you can share (if that time comes). The best part is that this decadent mac and cheese is hearty enough to satisfy even the hungriest appetites and cheesy enough for young palates.
Source: Ree Drummond