My husband is known for making the best macaroni and cheese. Every time we bring it to an event, he’s asked for the recipe. Creamy, baked macaroni and cheese that has a secret ingredient…

best macaroni and cheese in a blue bowl

Mac and Cheese with Cheddar Cheese Soup

Over the years I’ve shared many mac and cheese recipes like twisted macaroni and cheese, stovetop creamy mac and cheese, slow cooker mac and cheese, and even macaroni and cheese flatbread.

Oh, and mac and cheese in a mug for when you’re short on time.

This particular version is one of the first recipes I posted back in 2009 and I called it Mr. Williams’ Mac & Cheese. Bob is well known for it. Every time we go to a gathering, everyone raves about it and asks for the recipe. 

It has a secret ingredient that I’ll bet you won’t expect – cheddar cheese soup. 

spoonful of macaroni in a casserole dish

If you’ve ever been browsing the soup aisle at the market and seen Campbell’s Cheddar Cheese Soup and wondered what to do with it (like I used to), I’ve got an idea for you.

Adding it to your mac and cheese makes for a really creamy, cheesy sauce that bakes up beautifully.

Tools you’ll need

  • Colander – I used to think a colander with a handle with unnecessary but I really do love mine.
  • Casserole Dish – You’ll want to bake this recipe in a 9 x 13 casserole dish. If you use one with a lid, it makes it really easy to store leftovers.
  • Box Grater or Cheese Grater – I don’t always grate my own cheese, but every time I do I appreciate that I did. The cheese is creamier and melts better without the preservatives & anti-caking agents they put on shredded cheese.

Ingredients

Below is a list of the ingredients you’ll need to gather to make this recipe, why you need them, and possible substitutions. Scroll all the way down for the full recipe card with measurements.

  • Noodles – We usually use cavatappi noodles in this recipe, but we happened to use regular macaroni noodles for this batch.
  • Cheddar Cheese Soup – Two cans of Campbell’s Cheddar Cheese Soup.
  • Shredded Cheese – We generally mix mild cheddar with mozzarella. Use your favorite.
  • Butter – To add to the top before you bake it.
cans of cheddar cheese soup with noodles

What is cheddar cheese soup?

Condensed Cheddar Cheese Soup is basically a very thick cheddar béchamel sauce, which would be made with butter, flour, milk, cheddar cheese and salt.

How do you keep mac & cheese creamy?

No one wants dried out macaroni and cheese, which can happen when you’re baking it. Adding canned cheddar cheese soup to this recipe helps to keep it really creamy.

Which cheeses should I use?

We typically use shredded mild cheddar and shredded mozzarella cheese when we make this recipe, but you can use all cheddar or mix up sharp cheddar cheese or white cheddar. Sometimes we use pepper jack to spice it up.

I always recommend shredding your own cheese from a block over a bag of pre-shredded cheese. Those have anti-caking agents on them that prevent them from melting nicely. You’ll get better results when you grate it yourself.

closeup of spoonful of the best macaroni and cheese

How to make Cheddar Cheese Soup Mac and Cheese

This recipe is so easy, you’re gonna love it.

  1. STEP ONE: Boil the noodles in well salted water until al dente. Drain and return the noodles to the pan. Pour the cans of cheddar cheese soup over the noodles and stir to evenly distribute.
overhead shot of a pot of macaroni noodles
  1. STEP TWO: Butter a casserole dish (or spray with non-stick spray) and start layering – noodles & shredded cheese – repeating until you’re out and ending with shredded cheese.
layer of cheese and noodles in a casserole dish
  1. STEP THREE: Once you’re done making layers, add a few pats of butter and bake at 325°F just until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
melted cheesy macaroni and cheese

That’s it! Serve and enjoy.

What to serve with Mac & Cheese

What doesn’t go with macaroni and cheese?!

Here are some of my favorite pairings:

How to store leftovers

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

close up of mac and cheese in a bowl

Need more cheesy recipes? Try these:

Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese with Ham

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese

Slow Cooker Chili Mac

best macaroni and cheese in a blue bowl
4.66 from 79 votes

Best Macaroni & Cheese

Servings: 12 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
My husband is known for making the best macaroni and cheese. Every time we bring it to an event, he’s asked for the recipe. Creamy, baked macaroni and cheese that has a secret ingredient…cheddar cheese soup!

Ingredients
 

  • 1 pound macaroni noodles or another short pasta
  • 21 ounces Cheddar Cheese Soup two 10.5 ounce cans
  • 3 cups cheddar cheese shredded
  • 4 Tablespoons butter

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and grease a 9 x 13 baking dish. Set aside.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the noodles until al dente. Drain the noodles, return to the pot, and pour the cans of soup over the noodles. Stir to evenly distribute.
  • Layer the noodles into the prepared pan alternating noodles & cheese, until out of ingredients, ending with shredded cheese.
  • Slice up the butter and place pats over the top of the macaroni.
  • Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly, approximately 10 minutes.
  • Serve & enjoy!

Notes

Use your favorite noodle shape – we usually opt for cavatappi or macaroni noodles.
Use your favorite blend of shredded cheeses. We like mild cheddar. Sometimes we add mozzarella to the mix or pepper jack to spice it up.
Store covered in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 329kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 477mg | Potassium: 341mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 604IU | Calcium: 229mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Did you make this recipe?

Tag me on Instagram @melissa_pplates so I can see!

Originally published December 3, 2009



4.66 from 79 votes (72 ratings without comment)

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20 Comments

  1. 2 stars
    My husband and I didn’t care for this at all – rather tasteless ! I ended up throwing away the leftovers ( and was glad I only made half a recipe for the 2 of us)
    I will say it was certainly easier and faster than my usual Mac & cheese recipe

  2. How do you feel about adding ground meat and making a beefy mac.and cheese? Any suggestions? I was thinking of adding some cream of.mushroommsoup.to meat then combining it with this recipe.

  3. 4 stars
    was pretty darn good and easy. added a bit more cheese and whole stick of butter and stired in before baking. cut up some lea ada and lightly fried it and added in also before baking , turned out good!

  4. 5 stars
    I made this mac & cheese for a birthday party. There was two other mac & cheese that was brought also but mine was devoured. This recipe is simple, easy to prepare. The flavor is great and especially moist.
    Give this recipe a try I promise you won’t be disappointed, and they will come back for more.