Macaroni and Cheese for a crowd is the deliciously creamy macaroni and cheese recipe you need to try for your family and friends!
Macaroni and Cheese for a crowd is one of those recipes you need in your “toolkit” at all times.
When you’ve got an AMAZING recipe that is incredibly cheesy, you’ll be the house everyone wants to come to for the holidays, big dinner parties, or just a simple dinner idea.
How to Make Macaroni and Cheese for a Crowd
Let’s start with the ingredients you’ll need:
- Elbow Macaroni
- Onion Powder
- Garlic Powder
- Ranch Seasoning
- Cheese Blend
- Cream Cheese
I know that is a laundry list compared to my usual recipes that only have a few ingredients. It’s worth it though!
Watch below to see how I made this recipe!
First, you’ll want to boil your noodles. A full 16-ounce box of pasta! Of course, I prefer elbow macaroni, but use whatever shape you like best.
It’s best to cook the pasta a few minutes shy of what your package says – that way, the noodles can finish cooking in the cheese sauce.
Next, you’ll want to make your cheese sauce.
In a big pot, melt your butter, and whisk in your equal parts flour. Whisk this around until there are no lumps.
Allow the roux to cook for a few minutes, then slowly stream in your milk. I like to do this in parts, so I don’t get any lumps, and the milk incorporates evenly each time.
Once this mixture is thickened, you’ll begin adding your 4.5 cups of cheese.
Slowly take a handful of cheese, and plop it into the bechamel. Whisk until it’s fully melted, then add another handful. This helps the sauce not to break, or get gritty.
Skim off a cup of pasta water, and add it to your cheese sauce. This will help it to stick to the noodles better!
Once your cheese sauce is made, turn off the heat and let it sit while you drain the noodles.
After you’ve drained your noodles, mix them with 8 ounces of softened cream cheese. Don’t worry about getting it perfectly mixed. When you pour the cheese sauce over, you’ll get it all combined evenly.
Next, pour your cheese sauce over your cream cheese and noodles, and mix mix mix.
Spray a (large!) baking dish – I prefer to use an aluminum pan so I can toss it after! And plop half the cheesy noodles in the bottom of the pan.
Sprinkle half of the leftover cheese, then layer the rest of the macaroni.
Top with the remaining cheese.
If you want a crunchy topping, add some smashed ritz crackers or french’s onions on top!
Bake for 40 minutes until bubbly and golden brown on top!
Let it sit a few minutes before digging in — this allows everything to set up just a bit.
- 16 ounces Elbow Macaroni - cooked as per package, minus 3 minutes
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup flour
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 cup pasta water
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 TBS ranch seasoning
- 8 oz sharp cheddar, shredded
- 8 oz Monterey jack, chreded
- 8 oz comté, shredded
- 8 oz mozzarella, shredded
- RESERVE 1.5 CUPS OF THE CHEESE BLEND
- Boil your pasta according to the package's instructions -- but, drain 3 minutes shy of cook time. RESERVE 1 CUP PASTA WATER BEFORE DRAINING.
- In a large pot, melt 1/2 cup butter with 1/2 flour over medium heat. Whisking until combined and no lumps.
- Pour in 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 TBS ranch powder. Whisk this into the roux, and "bloom" the spices for a minute.
- Slowly pour in 3 cups of milk, one cup at a time, whisking until smooth each time.
- Once the milk is fully incorporated, add 1 cup of pasta water. Whisk until smooth.
- Mix your shredded cheeses together, and turn your stovetop down to medium-low.
- Then slowly add 3.5 cups in, one handful at a time, to your bechamel. Whisking until fully melted and incorporated each handful.
- Once the cheese sauce is finished, turn the heat off.
- Drain your pasta, and in a large bowl, mix the pasta with 8 ounces of softened cream cheese.
- Pour your cheese sauce over your noodles, and mix very well, until every noodle is coated in the sauce.
- Using a sprayed baking dish, or aluminum pan (13x9 size) layer half the cheesy macaroni into the pan.
- Sprinkle half the remaining cheese, then add the final layer of cheesy pasta.
- Top the entire casserole with the rest of the cheese.
- Bake at 350˚ for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly on top.
- When removing from the oven, allow setting for 3 minutes before serving.
Use a sheet pan underneath the casserole dish (whether it's a real dish or a throw-away one!) to avoid spilling in the oven!
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Serving Size:3/4 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 358Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 72mgSodium: 665mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 19g
This information is not from a real, certified nutritionist or doctor. This is for informational purposes only.