Macaroni and cheese in a dish in front of a bowl of cheddar cheese and a container of noodles

Zesty Mac & Cheese {Under 30 Minutes}

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A zesty homemade macaroni and cheese recipe that is a perfect side dish for chicken, beef, or pork. Done in under 30 minutes, too! It’s super easy to dress this up as a main dish by adding cooked chicken or pulled pork.

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Homemade mac and cheese is easier than you might think. I think it’s worth the effort to make mac and cheese homemade instead of using a kit from the store, especially because you can use fresh ingredients. I used elbow noodles for this recipe, but you could use any pasta of your choice.

This recipe reheats really well in the oven. To reheat, add a small amount of water to the bottom of a baking dish and heat covered in aluminum foil. I haven’t tried to reheat it in the microwave yet.

Continue reading after the recipe card for step-by-step photos.

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Macaroni and cheese in a dish in front of a bowl of shredded cheddar cheese and a container of elbow noodles
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5 from 1 vote

Zesty Mac & Cheese

A zesty homemade macaroni and cheese recipe that is a perfect side dish for chicken, beef, or pork. Done in under 30 minutes, too! It's super easy to dress this up as a main dish by adding cooked chicken or pulled pork.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: homemade mac & cheese, mac & cheese, mac & cheese recipe, unique mac & cheese
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked pasta recommended: elbow noodles
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp parsley flakes
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp BBQ sauce
  • ¼ tsp white pepper

Instructions

  • Cook pasta according to package instructions.
  • While the pasta is cooking, heat a saute pan on the stovetop over medium heat. (Note: If the pasta finishes cooking while you are working on the remaining steps, just drain it and set it aside.)
  • Once the pan is warm, make a roux by melting the butter and whisking in the flour. Allow the roux to cook, whisking constantly, until it begins to get slightly darker. (Should be blonde in color.)
  • Whisk in the milk, followed by the parsley, garlic powder, mustard, BBQ sauce, and white pepper.
  • Stir in the pasta.
  • Stir in cheddar cheese.
Butter and flour being whisked together in a saute pan

Cook pasta according to the package instructions. While the pasta is cooking, heat a saute pan on the stovetop over medium heat. (Note: If the pasta finishes cooking while you are working on the remaining steps, just drain it and set it aside.) Once the pan is warm, make a roux by melting the butter and whisking in the flour.

Roux being whisked in a saute pan

Allow the roux to cook, whisking constantly, until it begins to get slightly darker. (Should be blonde in color.)

Roux with milk and herbs mixed in, using a whisk, in a saute pan

Whisk in the milk, followed by the parsley, garlic powder, mustard, BBQ sauce, and white pepper.

Pasta mixture in a saute pan with a wooden spoon

Stir in the pasta.

Cheese being stirred into mac & cheese in a saute pan

Stir in the cheddar cheese.

Maraconi and cheese in a dish in front of a bowl of shredded cheddar cheese and container of elbow noodles

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