I always knew before I had kids that I would feed them boxed macaroni and cheese occasionally. But can I say that I vastly underestimated just how often I would do so. I had no idea it would be a staple on my grocery list every single week. True confession: I eat it for lunch with him at least once a week. With a side of kale because, balance.
Since Lars is such a mac and cheese enthusiast, I thought I would be mother of the year and make him/us homemade macaroni and cheese. Of course, in true toddler fashion, he was less than enthused. The noodles weren’t “slippery” enough, whatever that means.
Toddler opinions aside – you guys, this is hands down the best macaroni and cheese I’ve ever made. This beer cheese macaroni and cheese has every darn thing you want from a macaroni and cheese recipe. It’s creamy, cheesy, has a crispy topping, and has so much flavor! The secret ingredient? Beer.
I knew beer did magical things in beer cheese soup and beer cheese sauce, but I had no idea it could be so delicious in macaroni and cheese too! But why not? It totally works.
The best part about this recipe is that it’s not even that much more difficult than that boxed version. It takes a little bit more time because I recommend baking it with a crispy Panko breadcrumb topping but believe me – those extra 20 minutes are worth it. You can also make the cheese sauce while the noodles are cooking, to speed things up a bit. But if you can melt butter and stir a whisk, you have the skills to make this cheese sauce!
Even though my toddler wasn’t a huge fan, everyone else who tried this beer cheese macaroni and cheese (i.e. adults with more refined palates) LOVED it. We served it along with a side salad to round it out and it was perfect comfort food on a cold winter night!
- 12 ounces large macaroni noodles about 2 cups
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/3 cups whole milk
- 1 cup beer I used a pale ale
- 16 ounces shredded cheddar cheese I used a combination of sharp cheddar and white cheddar
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons butter melted
- ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Cook macaroni noodles according to package to al dente.
- Meanwhile, heat butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Add flour and stir to combine, and cook for one minute, letting bubbles form.
- Very very slowly, add the milk, whisking constantly to incorporate it with the butter/flour mixture. This should take a couple of minutes.
- Add beer in just as slowly as you added the milk, stirring constantly.
- Add in dijon, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, and stir to combine.
- Add in cheese and stir until melted.
- Combine macaroni noodles and cheese sauce and stir well to combine.
- Pour into a greased 9x13” baking dish.
- In a small bowl, mix together butter and Panko bread crumbs, and then sprinkle over macaroni and cheese.
- Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until macaroni is bubbling and breadcrumbs are slightly golden brown.
- Serve and enjoy!