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I’ve been making this Homemade Macaroni and Cheese recipe for over 25 years and it’s always a hit. It’s creamy and full of sausage for extra flavor, plus you can make it on the stove top for a simple dinner or as a casserole for a potluck or meal train. It’s the perfect easy recipe!
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Easy Homemade Mac and Cheese
This easy homemade macaroni and cheese with sausage is like medicine for the soul. Macaroni and cheese has a healing quality that only comfort food can deliver. This easy homemade sausage mac and cheese will deliver all of that down-home flavor without the hassle. With just a handful of ingredients and the leftover cheese you’ve got hiding in your fridge, you can whip up the cheesy goodness your soul craves.
Ingredients Needed for Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
- Pasta – you’ll want to start with dry pasta, any shape. I prefer elbows or shells but really, any small pasta shape will do.
- Italian sausage – We love adding sausage to this. Use hot or sweet Italian sausage without the casing (or squeeze it out of the casing). You can even use Turkey sausage.
- Milk – regular, low-fat, or non-fat, although regular milk will make a thicker sauce.
- Cheese – Cheddar cheese is my gold standard for mac and cheese, but I usually do a mixture of cheeses. I’ll often clean out my cheese drawer for this – I also love using Monterey Jack and even gouda!
How to Make Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese with Sausage
- Cook pasta: Bring a pot of water to boil, salt the water, and cook the pasta as directed on the box.
- Cook sausage: As the pasta cooks, use a large pot to cook the sausage over medium heat. Break the sausage into small pieces using a wooden spoon or cooking utensil of your choice. Remove the sausages from the pan once cooked and put it to the side.
- Make roux: In the same pan that you cooked the sausage, melt the butter over medium heat, Add your diced onion and cook for two to three minutes, until softened. Add the minced garlic and cook it for one minute, then add the flour. Completely stir the flour in and cook for about one minute. Then, add the milk to your mixture and stire to combine. Finally, add the pepper, dry mustard, and Italian seasoning. Over medium heat, continue to stir the mixture until it has thickened up – this should take about ten minutes. This should result in a creamy, soup-like consistency.
- Stir cheese into roux: Once the the desired consistency has been achieved, stir in the cheese until the it has melted entirely. Take a taste of the cheese sauce and salt and pepper to taste.
- Combine ingredients: Pour the sausage and pasta into the cheese sauce and combine all of the ingredients together.
- Serve: Remove from the heated burner once combined and serve while hot.
- I’ve used both nonfat and whole milk for this recipe in the past, and both worked great. However, if you want an even thicker, creamier, richer texture, opt for the whole milk.
- If you’re looking ahead at a busy schedule, feel free to make this mac and cheese a day ahead of time. Reheat it in the oven just before serving and you’ll be ready to go!
- Pre-shredded cheese is a big no-no when it comes to homemade mac and cheese. Packaged shredded cheese will never melt down the way freshly shredded cheese does, and believe me, you can tell the difference.
- I avoid adding salt to the recipe because the sausage and cheese typically adds just enough. Once you oversalt, it’s hard to go back.
The best cheeses to use for mac and cheese are monterey jack, gouda, swiss, and cheddar. Using cheddar as the base cheese is always a great place to start.
Sure! Boil the pasta until al dente and then combine the cheese, sausage, and noodles, leaving about a quarter of the cheese sauce to spare. Pour the assembled mac and cheese into a baking dish and top it with the remaining cheese sauce, adding bread crumbs if you wish. Topping the pasta with extra cheese keeps the moisture from escaping the noodles, preventing the dish from drying out. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 400°F.
Allow your mac and cheese to cool before placing the leftovers in an airtight container such as tupperware or ziploc bag, then refrigerate for up to five days.
Sausage Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
- 14-16 ounces dry pasta (any shape; I like using elbows)
- 1 pound bulk Italian sausage (mild, sweet, or hot, or even turkey sausage)
- 1 medium (134g) onion , diced (about 1 cup)
- 2 cloves (9g) garlic , minced
- 4 tablespoons (57g) butter
- 4 tablespoons (31g) all-purpose flour
- 4 cups milk regular, lowfat, or nonfat
- ½ teaspoon dry Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon dry mustard (optional)
- 5 cups shredded cheese (see note)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Cook pasta according to package directions – be sure to salt the boiling water. Drain well.
- While the pasta is cooking, cook the sausage over medium heat in a large pot (at least 5 Qt). Use a wooden spoon to break up the sausage into small bits. This takes about 5-10 minutes. Once the sausage is cooked through, remove it to a plate or bowl and set aside.
- Melt the butter in the sausage pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute. Stir in the flour completely and cook for 1 minute, then add the milk. Stir to combine the mixture, then add the italian seasoning, pepper, and dry mustard.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes or so. It should be the consistency of a creamy soup. Stir in the cheese until melted. Add salt to taste (and more pepper, if desired).
- Add sausage and pasta into the cheese sauce and stir until combined. Remove from heat and serve hot.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. This can be made one day ahead and reheated in the oven as well.
- I prefer using whole milk but nonfat or 2% will work too. I have not tested this with nondairy milk.
- I love the kick of hot italian sausage but use your favorite. It’s easiest if you use bulk sausage but you can also use links and squeeze the sausage out of the casing.
- Cheese: I always use cheddar cheese in this, at least 3 cups. I love mixing other cheeses too for extra flavor (my favorites are sharp cheddar, grueyere, and mozzarella) but use anything you have. I recommend shredding your own cheese for ultimate meltiness.
- Because of all the salt in the sausage and cheese I do not salt the cheese sauce until after it’s done. Taste and adjust seasoning before adding the pasta.
- If you want, use one large pot and make the pasta first, drain, then continue. Takes longer but less cleanup.
Last Updated on March 3, 2023