This kid-friendly baked mac and cheese recipe is easy to make and a tasty alternative to processed boxed macaroni and cheese. Even picky kids love it!
Mac and cheese is a favorite food in our household, but I try to avoid the boxed kind. All those artificial ingredients…you know what I mean. I’m okay with it once in a while, but not often.
Of course, the kids love the boxed stuff and haven’t been fans of the much-better homemade baked mac’ n cheese. Believe me, I’ve tried a lot of different recipes. There are many good recipes out there – that I like, but are they kid-friendly? That was the question.
And then I found this recipe for Homemade Macaroni and Cheese in one of my cookbooks.
I’ve adapted it slightly and this is the result: Kid-Friendly Baked Mac and Cheese.! My kids loved it; they ate it up and asked for more. Now I’d be lying if I said they’d pick this over the boxed stuff (I swear they put addictive stuff in the boxed version), but I’m happy I found a homemade recipe that works for my whole family.
And since you can use whatever type of cheese you like (mix and match, make it different each time – it’s up to you) in this simple macaroni and cheese, it’s versatile too, another plus in my book.
My kids call this the best mac and cheese recipe ever and I have to agree.
So try it out. Hopefully, you and the kids enjoy it!
Related: Check out my Gluten-Free Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese recipe.
Why This Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe is So Good:
- it’s simple and easy-to-make
- kids love it
- you can use different combinations of cheese if you prefer
- no fancy ingredients required
- deliciously creamy
- one batch makes a lot so you’ll have plenty of leftovers
Ingredients in Kid-Friendly Mac and Cheese
- elbow macaroni noodles
- all-purpose flour
- shredded cheese – any kind you prefer – we usually do cheddar
- dry bread crumbs
Supplies you might need…
Baked Mac and Cheese Video Tutorial
How to Make Homemade Mac and Cheese for Kids
Cook the noodles in boiling water according to the package directions.
Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the flour.
Whisk in the milk gradually as you stir.
Continue whisking until the mixture comes to a boil.
If you stop for a minute to rescue your toddler from your 3-year-old sitting on him, that’s ok, but don’t leave it for too long.
Cook and whisk the boiling milk mixture for about 2 minutes.
By now it should have thickened. Remove from the heat.
Stir in the cheese.
Add the salt and pepper and stir until the cheese is melted.
Add the macaroni noodles to the cheese mixture and mix.
Dump your homemade mac and cheese mixture into a casserole dish or 9×13″ rectangle pan (your choice).
In a separate small bowl, stir together melted butter and bread crumbs with a dash of pepper.
Sprinkle this breadcrumb mixture over your mac and cheese.
Doesn’t this homemade mac and cheese look yummy?
Homemade Mac and Cheese for Kids Tips:
This recipe is very easy and it’s hard to mess up. I’ve received emails from hundreds of moms who have successfully made this simple macaroni and cheese recipe for their families. Just follow the directions and make sure you cook and stir until the mixture is boiling and thickened.
Cheese types – I often use shredded cheddar cheese with a couple of slices of American cheese tossed in. But we have also tried and enjoyed Cheddar Jack, Mozzarella, and other types of cheese.
Sometimes if I have a specialty cheese on hand, I will cube a little and throw that in for more flavor variety. The kids like it “plain” though so I try not to overdo it.
It’s really up to you and your kids.
I won’t make any promises that your kids will love this baked mac and cheese with breadcrumbs – they are kids after all. But I will tell you that this is one of the most popular posts here on Living Well Mom and I’ve received hundreds of emails from moms telling me just how popular this easy meal is with their children.
Try this kid-friendly mac and cheese out and let me known what you – and your kids – think! I hope you love it just like my family does!
Even More Easy Kid-Approved Meals:
- Easy Southwestern Casserole
- One-Pot Turkey Enchilada Casserole (we usually make this for dinner once a week!)
- Kid-Friendly One-Pot Jambalaya
- Tasty Chicken and Rice Casserole
- Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes
This favorite baked macaroni and cheese is easy to make and a tasty alternative to processed boxed mac ‘n cheese. Even picky kids love it!
- Cook macaroni noodles and drain.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a saucepan, melt 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter over medium heat. Stir in flour. Slowly add milk, stirring. Bring to a boil and stir for 2 minutes. Turn off the burner and add the cheese, salt, and pepper, stirring until the cheese is melted. Add the elbow macaroni noodles and mix well.
- Turn into a 2 quart casserole dish or 9×13″ pan.
- Mix together 2 TB melted, butter, 4 TB bread crumbs, and a dash of pepper. Sprinkle over the mac ‘n cheese.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
Note: this recipe makes about 12 servings or more, so you can halve it if you don’t need that much.
- Serving Size: 12
- Calories: 391
- Sugar: 4g
- Sodium: 372mg
- Fat: 21g
- Saturated Fat: 13g
- Unsaturated Fat: 7g
- Carbohydrates: 36g
- Fiber: 1g
- Protein: 15g
- Cholesterol: 60mg
Keywords: baked casserole, homemade macaroni and cheese, with bread crumbs