Creamy Five-Cheese Mac and Cheese Recipe (Without Eggs)

This creamy, comforting baked mac and cheese has the perfect combination of five delicious cheese and is packed with flavor from a blend of seasonings. This extra kick makes this recipe PERFECT for dinner, especially during the holidays.  

If you are looking to wow your family or guests with a recipe, this is it! 

What Ingredients do I need to make good Mac & Cheese?

  • Elbow Macaroni – This pasta shape is a staple in many macaroni and cheese recipes, highly suggested. 
  • Unsalted Butter – Opt for unsalted butter so that you can control the salt content overall. 
  • All-Purpose Flour – Good old all purposes flour to make the roux. 
  • Chicken Bouillon – I used to boil my pasta in chicken broth, but adding chicken bouillon to the cheese sauce is better. 
  • Garlic Powder – Just enough garlic in the background adds flavor to any pasta dish, including macaroni and cheese. 
  • Black Pepper – What’s a good recipe without this peppery flavor?
  • Paprika – Paprika adds a little bit of smokey flavor. But, we all know that it’s really for color.  
  • Mustard Powder – Mustard powder is KEY. It’s the secret ingredient to a lot of excellent macaroni & cheese recipes. Mustard powder helps to enhance all of that cheesy flavor. 
  • Parsley – This ingredient is optional, but I love the flavor of parsley, along with the color it adds. It makes your mac & cheese pretty!
  • Evaporated Milk – Evaporated milk is deliciously thick and has the slightest sweetness that really melds all of the cheeses together. 
  • Cheddar – The most popular cheese for mac & cheese, cheddar is known to add that signature yellow tinge, especially to the top.
  • Smoked Gouda – This cheese is going to set your macaroni apart! The smoky, rich, buttery flavor adds yet another layer of flavor to your pasta. 
  • Gruyere – This cream salty, almost nutty cheese is such an excellent accompaniment to the smoked gouda. 
  • Pepper jack – I switched over from Monterrey jack because pepper jack cheese works so much better in this recipe. Pepper jack is flavored with spicy habanero chilies and jalapeno, along with some sweet peppers. It’s going to add just a tiny kick in the background notes for this cheesy pasta dish. 
  • Mozzarella – Mozzarella has one job; to deliver the cheese pull! 

Directions: How to make Mac and Cheese Without Eggs

Step 1 - Boil the Elbow Macaroni 

Start by boiling your elbow macaroni. Fill a pot with water, then place it on a stove on medium/high heat. Once the water comes to a boil, salt it heavily, then add in the pasta. Cook the pasta till al denté, meaning it should be just slightly undercooked. This is important because you will be cooking it for an additional 30 minutes in the oven. Cooking al dente pasta will prevent mushy results at the end. 

While the pasta is boiling, work on your cheese sauce.

Step 2 - Make a Béchamel Sauce

A Béchamel is a slightly thick, white sauce made from added milk to a white roux. A roux is simply a combination of flour and fat cooked together. For this macaroni and cheese, we will be making a light roux with butter and all-purpose flour. 

Heat the butter in a large pot, then slowly stir in the raw flour to form a slurry. Keep going continuously to prevent the flour from burning. After about 5 minutes of stirring consistently, you should have your blonde roux! I also like to add my seasonings in this step the bring out their flavor even more. 

Next, slowly pour in the evaporated milk while stirring. And, there you have your béchamel! 

Blonde roux for mac and cheese in a large pot
Keep your roux pretty light or "blonde" before adding seasonings and milk.

Step 3 - Add in the Cheeses EXCEPT for the Mozzarella 

Grated cheeses in a bechamel sauce in a large pot
Grate the cheese yourself for easier melting and better texture!

Once you’ve made your béchamel, slowly add in your freshly grated cheeses (all except the mozzarella, which I will explain later). Grating your own cheese is vital because the pre-shredded versions are coated with a substance that prevents them from sticking together in the package; for that reason, they are harder to melt and are not as smooth. 

Step 4 - Stir in the Macaroni and Layer in  Baking Dish 

Mac and cheese in a large pot
Stir the cooked macaroni into the cheese sauce. It should have a nice velvety texture!

Once the macaroni is finished boiling, strain it, then slowly stir it into the pot until the cheese sauce is well incorporated. Then, pour half of the macaroni into a 9X13 baking dish, layer your mozzarella cheese in the middle, then pour the rest of the macaroni on top and layer with cheddar for a beautiful topping. 

I like to add my mozzarella separately because adding a layer of it in the middle of the mac and cheese gives the best cheese pulls!

Step 5 - Bake at 375 for 30 minutes 

Mac & Cheese in a casserole dish
I like to add some parsley and paprika on top to make it pretty!

Finally, cover your mac & cheese with foil and bake in the oven at 375 for 25 minutes. Then, the foil off for about 5-10 minutes to get some nice color on top. Remove from the oven and let it rest for at 10 minutes before cutting into it. 

Common Mistakes and Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Best Pasta for Mac and Cheese?

Any short hearty pasta will work, but my preferences are the classic elbow macaroni shape and small shells because they hold the cheese sauce almost like mini cups. 

What Cheese Should I use in My Mac and Cheese? 

The best types of cheese to use in mac & cheese include cheddar, gouda, gruyere, pepper jack, and mozzarella. However, you can be creative and add in your favorite cheese combinations.

Why is my Mac and Cheese grainy? 

One of the biggest causes of grainy mac and cheese is heat! High heat and overcooking can cause your cheese sauce to be grainy and from little balls in the pan. The key to preventing this starts with your cheese sauce. When whisking in your cheeses, turn your heat down to the lowest setting, then turn it off as soon as the cheese is melted. Also, be careful not to overcook in the oven. 

How do I Fix Mac and Cheese that's Too Thick?

If your mac and cheese sauce is too thick, add in milk a little bit at a time until you are satisfied with the texture.

How to fix Watery Mac and Cheese.

If your mac and cheese is liquidy or runny, add more cheese! The cheese will help to thicken up the sauce. 

What to Serve with Mac and Cheese? 

Mac and cheese goes well with a vegetable side and a protein. For vegetables,  I love brussels sprouts, green beans, or broccoli. For protein, short ribs are my favorite, but of course, you can try roasted chicken, turkey, or ham!

How to Reheat Mac and Cheese. 

The best way to reheat mac and cheese is in the oven pouring just a tiny bit of milk to rehydrate it. But, of course, the microwave still works and is what I use most often. 

Variations of Mac & Cheese

How to make vegan mac and cheese

To make this recipe vegan, consider making a cashew cream sauce in place of our creamy cheese sauce. Then, stir in the macaroni and layer with vegan mozzarella!

How to Make Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese

It’s easy to make gluten-free mac and cheese as there are so many gluten-free pasta options on the market today. First, swap out the elbow macaroni for a gluten-free version. For the roux, replace the all-purpose flour with something like rice flour. 

Do I have to use evaporated milk? 

Evaporated milk is fantastic in pasta, but you can also use the same amount of half and half. 

Mac & cheese green beans and short ribs on a plate
Mac & Cheese goes well with so many dishes. Be creative!

If you enjoyed this recipe, let me know by leaving a comment, and don’t forget to follow Seasonthatish on Instagram and Tik Tok. 

Print

Creamy Five-Cheese Mac & Cheese Recipe (without eggs)

  • Author: Stephanie
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp chicken bouillon
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground mustard powder
  • Parsley to taste (you can leave this out if ya want)
  • 2 cans of evaporated milk
  • 1 cup cheddar
  • 1/2 cup smoked gouda
  • 1/2 cup gruyere
  • 1 cup Pepper jack
  • 1 cup mozzarella

Instructions

  1. Boil elbow macaroni till al dente. Look at the back of your boxed macaroni for exact timing.
  2. While macaroni is boiling, start making a roux with 1 stick of butter and 1/4 cup of flour. Stir the flour constantly to prevent burning. Add in your seasonings. After 3-5 minutes, slowly stir in the 2 cans of evaporated milk.
  3. Slowly add in all of your grated cheese except for the mozzarella. Make sure that the heat is turned low so that the cheese doesn’t separate. Turn the heat all the way off once the cheese is melted.
  4. Stir in the cooked macaroni, then pour half of it into a 13×9 baking dish. Layer the mozzarella cheese on top, add the second layer of macaroni, and finally top it with cheddar cheese.
  5. Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 25 minutes, then remove foil and bake for 5-10 more minutes. I like to add parsley and paprika on top for color, but this is optional.
  6. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before serving, and enjoy!

Keywords: mac & Cheese recipe, how to make macaroni and cheese, holiday side dish

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