A very quick and easy fix to a tasty side-dish. Fancy, designer mac and cheese often cost forty or fifty dollars to prepare when you have so many exotic and expensive cheeses, but they aren’t always the best tasting. This recipe is cheap and tasty.
HOW TO TOP BAKED MAC AND CHEESE
- Grated cheese (my personal favorite – and what I’ve done here in these photos)
- Buttered panko breadcrumbs (feel free to add some herbs to this as well)
- Bacon pieces/panko breadcrumb combo
HOW LONG DO YOU BAKE MAC AND CHEESE
This recipe doesn’t bake long at all, but I’ve actually baked it long before, and it’s still every bit as delicious! Most baked Mac and cheese recipes call for it to be baked 15-30 minutes. My kids aren’t huge fans of the cheesy “crust”, so I bake mine at 325, but 350 or even 375 work as well. It’s a very forgiving dish!
Of course, you could alternately not bake this mac and cheese at all, and just combine the pasta with the cheese sauce if that’s what you prefer
I really hope you all give my family favorite mac and cheese a try… I’m sure you’ll love it as much as we do!
WHAT CAN I ADD TO MAC & CHEESE?
- If you’re looking for an extra special way to serve this easy mac and cheese recipe, here are some suggestions for delicious add-ins:
- cooked & crumbled bacon
- hot dogs (a kid favorite, as mentioned above)
- Vegetables (broccoli, peas, carrots, etc.)
- Minced garlic and diced onions (cook them in the butter before adding the flour when making the roux, you may need 1 extra TBS butter if you’d like to add this)
- Hot sauce, ketchup or BBQ sauce
Tips for the Best Homemade Baked Mac and Cheese
- Use block cheese and shred, do not buy the pre-shredded cheese. The pre-shredded cheese is great for so many things but not macaroni and cheese. It’s coated and won’t melt properly. You need to shred it yourself for the best result.
- Cook your pasta to slightly less than al dente, about one minute shy is perfect. The reason is that this is baked mac and cheese so the pasta will continue to cook in the homemade cheese sauce in the oven. You don’t want soggy macaroni.
- I used elbow pasta but really, any tubular pasta will work.
- This mac and cheese recipe starts with a roux. The roux is super important to getting the creamiest cheese sauce in your life. Here is what you need to look for:
- The roux (equal parts butter and flour) is whisked together until bubbly and golden.
- Whisk in cold milk – not warm – to prevent the flour from clumping.
- Cook the roux until you see bubbles on the surface and then continue cooking for an additional 2 minutes before adding the cheese.
- To Make this Recipe You’Il Need the following ingredients:
The BEST Homemade Mac and Cheese of your LIFE. Outrageously cheesy, ultra-creamy, and topped with a crunchy Panko-Parmesan topping, this mac and cheese recipe is most definitely a keeper. I used three different cheese and a homemade cheese sauce to make this macaroni and cheese recipe over the top. Love cheesy recipes?
- 12 oz dry macaroni
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 cup light cream about 10-12% MF
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 can condensed cream of cheddar soup optional
- 10.75 oz
- 4 cups sharp cheddar divided
- 1/2 cup fresh parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Cook macaroni according to package directions.
- Drain and run under cold water.
- Melt butter over medium heat in a large saucepan.
- Whisk in flour and let cook 2 minutes while stirring.
- Slowly whisk in cream, milk, mustard powder onion powder, salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook over medium heat while stirring until thickened.
- Remove from heat and stir in parmesan cheese & 3 cups cheddar cheese until melted.
- Add soup if using. Toss cheese sauce & macaroni noodles together.
- Pour into a greased 9×13 pan.
- Top with remaining cheese.
- Bake 18-24 minutes or until bubbly.
- Do not overcook.
- Cool 10-15 minutes before serving.