Macaroni Nonie - A Family Favourite Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Easy homemade macaroni and cheese is my kids' favourite. It's my mom’s recipe and is still the best I have ever tasted. It has just enough cheese sauce (isn’t dry or too rich) and it has an irresistible buttery crunch thanks to a handful of crushed crackers sprinkled over top before baking.
This homemade macaroni and cheese recipe is the best I have ever tasted. And it's a surprisingly speedy meal to prepare.

I love how food can almost assume a personality and how family favourites sometimes end up with endearing names that help anchor them to your childhood. I grew up in a food family and we have lots of dishes with silly or special names but the mother of them all is Macaroni Nonie. 

Growing up, Macaroni Nonie was the ultimate in comfort food and all the more fun to eat because of the name.

It was my eldest brothers who named it, more than 50 years ago, when they were toddlers. Nonie was our nickname for my grandmother and one evening during a supper of mac ‘n cheese my brothers were delighted to discover that Nonie rhymed with macaroni. An hour of chanting “Macaroni Nonie!” launched a family food tradition that my sisters and I have passed along to our children, who cheer at the mere mention of the meal.
It takes more than a name to make a dish memorable and enduring. (My friend Gordon once lamented about growing up with “complementary casserole,” a dish combining the complementary proteins in lentils and rice. It was memorable alright but for different reasons entirely and I bet he won’t be serving it to his little girl.)
My mom’s mac ‘n cheese recipe is the best I have ever tasted. It has just enough cheese sauce (isn’t dry or too rich) and it has an irresistible buttery crunch thanks to a handful of crushed crackers sprinkled over top before baking.

Macaroni Nonie - Family Favourite Macaroni and Cheese

  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of Dijon or mustard powder
  • ½ t onion powder
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (extra old cheddar and a bit of grated parmesan)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • ¾ of a pound of macaroni noodles (or another shape)
  • 2 handfuls of soda crackers, crushed
  • A few dabs of butter


  1. Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour and continue to stir for a few minutes (‘til it starts to smell a little toasty). 
  2. Stir in mustard and onion powder. Using a whisk, add about ¼ cup of the milk, stirring well. 
  3. Still using the whisk, add the rest of the milk. 
  4. Keep stirring until it comes to a gentle boil and starts to thicken (about five minutes). Let it thicken a bit more and then stir in the cheese. Keep stirring until the cheese melts and remove from heat.
  5. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Combine in a casserole with the cheese sauce. Sprinkle with paprika, crushed crackers and a few dabs of butter.
  6. Bake at 350 for 20 to 30 minutes. Serve immediately.



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