If there’s one dish that never fails to bring a smile to people’s faces, it’s a piping-hot plate of baked mac and cheese. Creamy, cheesy, and oh-so-comforting, this classic American favorite has been a staple on family dinner tables for generations. But what if I told you that you can whip up a delicious batch of this crowd-pleaser with minimal effort? That’s right, today I’ll be sharing with you my easy baked mac and cheese recipe that’s sure to become your go-to comfort food. So grab your apron, preheat your oven, and get ready to indulge in a mouthwatering symphony of flavors. Let’s dive into the world of cheesy goodness together!

Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe: Easy and Delicious Comfort Food

Indulge in the ultimate comfort food with this easy and delicious recipe for baked mac and cheese. Whether you’re already a fan of this classic dish or new to its cheesy goodness, you won’t be able to resist the creamy texture and flavorful combination of pasta and cheese. With a few simple ingredients and some basic kitchen skills, you’ll have a homemade meal that will impress your family and friends. So, let’s get started!

Ingredients:

– 8 ounces elbow macaroni
– 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
– 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
– 2 cups whole milk
– 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
– 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
– 1/4 teaspoon paprika
– 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
– 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
– 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
– 1/2 cup breadcrumbs

General Information:

– Difficulty: Easy
– Preparation Time: 15 minutes
– Cooking Time: 30 minutes
– Serving Size: 4-6

Instructions:

Step 1: Cook the Macaroni

Start by preheating your oven to 375°F (190°C). Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the macaroni according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain the macaroni and set it aside.

In a separate saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.

Step 2: Make a Roux

Add the flour to the melted butter and stir constantly until the mixture becomes smooth and bubbly, creating a roux. Cook the roux for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Slowly pour in the milk while stirring continuously. Continue cooking and stirring until the sauce thickens, usually takes about 5 minutes.

Step 3: Add Cheese and Seasonings

Reduce the heat to low and gradually add the shredded cheddar cheese and Gruyere cheese, stirring until melted and smooth. The combination of these two cheeses adds a delightful balance of flavors to your mac and cheese.

Season the sauce with salt, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. Give it a taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.

Step 4: Combine the Sauce and Macaroni

Add the cooked macaroni to the cheese sauce and stir until the pasta is evenly coated.

Pour the mac and cheese mixture into a greased baking dish.

Step 5: Add Toppings

Sprinkle the grated Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs over the top of the mac and cheese. These toppings will create a deliciously crispy and golden crust.

Step 6: Bake in the Oven

Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and bubbling.

Step 7: Serve and Enjoy

Remove the baked mac and cheese from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before serving. This gooey, cheesy masterpiece is best enjoyed straight from the oven, but make sure not to burn your tongue!

Serve your baked mac and cheese as a main dish or as a side with your favorite protein. Pair it with a simple green salad for a complete and satisfying meal.

Now that you know how to make an easy and delicious baked mac and cheese, you can treat yourself and your loved ones to this classic comfort food anytime. Remember to get creative and customize your mac and cheese with additional ingredients like bacon, caramelized onions, or even roasted vegetables. Enjoy the ooey-gooey cheesy goodness and relish in the joy of homemade comfort food at its finest!

baked mac and cheese recipe easy

Important Things to Keep in Mind When Making This Easy Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe

Are you ready to embark on a cheesy, comforting journey with a classic baked mac and cheese recipe? Look no further! This easy-to-make dish is a crowd-pleaser and perfect for those cozy nights in. However, before you put on your apron and dive into the world of melted cheese and pasta, here are some important things to keep in mind to ensure your mac and cheese turns out absolutely delicious.

1. The Cheese Matters: When it comes to mac and cheese, cheese is the star of the show. Choosing the right cheese will make a world of difference in your final dish. Opt for a combination of cheeses like cheddar, Gruyère, and Parmesan to create a rich and flavorful blend. Be sure to grate the cheese yourself for maximum meltability and avoid pre-shredded varieties, as they often contain additives that can affect the texture of your mac and cheese.

2. Cook the Pasta Al Dente: One of the common mistakes people make when preparing mac and cheese is overcooking the pasta. Remember, the pasta will continue to cook in the oven, so you want to slightly undercook it on the stovetop. Cook the pasta until it is just al dente, as it will absorb some of the cheese sauce while baking, ensuring a perfect, tender bite.

3. Don’t Skimp on the Seasoning: Mac and cheese is not the time to be shy with the salt and pepper. The cheese sauce can dull the flavors, so be generous with your seasoning. Use a pinch of nutmeg to add a subtle warmth, and don’t forget to taste the sauce as you go along, adjusting the seasoning to your liking. Additionally, consider adding a dash of hot sauce or Dijon mustard for an extra kick of flavor.

4. Experiment with Toppings: While classic mac and cheese is delightful on its own, don’t be afraid to get creative with toppings. From breadcrumbs for extra crunch to crispy bacon or caramelized onions, there are endless possibilities to take your mac and cheese to the next level. Feel free to let your imagination run wild and find your signature topping that will make your dish truly unique.

Now that you are armed with these crucial tips, it’s time to bring your dreamy, cheesy creation to life. Remember, mac and cheese is all about personal preference, so feel free to play around with different cheeses, seasonings, and toppings until you find the perfect combination that satisfies your taste buds. So, grab your favorite pot, preheat your oven, and prepare for a meltingly delicious adventure into the world of baked mac and cheese!

Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to our FAQ section on delicious and easy baked mac and cheese recipes! Whether you’re a mac and cheese enthusiast or a beginner in the kitchen, we’ve got you covered with some commonly asked questions and their answers. Let’s dive in and discover the secrets to creating the perfect baked mac and cheese!

1. Can I use any type of cheese for baked mac and cheese?

Yes, absolutely! One of the beauties of mac and cheese is that you can experiment with different cheese combinations to find your favorite flavors. The most common and widely loved choices include cheddar, mozzarella, Gruyere, and Parmesan. Feel free to mix and match for a unique taste. Just remember to shred or grate the cheese before using it in the recipe for even distribution and quick melting.

If you prefer a more mild and creamy flavor, you can use American cheese or Velveeta, which melts smoothly. Mac and cheese is all about personal preference, so don’t be afraid to get creative with your cheese choices!

2. Can I make baked mac and cheese ahead of time?

Absolutely! Baked mac and cheese is a perfect make-ahead dish. You can prepare it a day in advance, refrigerate it, and then bake it when you’re ready to enjoy. Simply follow the recipe instructions up until the baking step, cover the dish with aluminum foil or plastic wrap, and store it in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to bake, allow the dish to come to room temperature for about 20-30 minutes, and then follow the baking instructions as specified. The end result will still be a deliciously gooey and cheesy mac and cheese!

If you have any leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, simply place the desired portion in the microwave or oven until heated through. You may need to add a splash of milk to restore the creamy consistency.

3. Can I use different types of pasta for baked mac and cheese?

Definitely! While elbows are the classic choice for mac and cheese, you can experiment with different pasta shapes to add variety to your dish. Penne, shells, cavatappi, or rotini all work well and can provide a nice textural variation. It’s important to keep in mind that different shapes may require different cooking times, so adjust accordingly to ensure the pasta is cooked al dente before baking.

Additionally, if you want to make a gluten-free version, there are plenty of options available, such as gluten-free macaroni or rice-based pasta. Just be sure to check the cooking instructions and adjust the baking time accordingly, as gluten-free pasta may cook faster than traditional pasta.

4. Can I add vegetables or protein to my baked mac and cheese?

Absolutely! Adding vegetables or protein can elevate the nutritional value and flavor of your baked mac and cheese. Some popular options include steamed broccoli, sautéed spinach, diced cooked ham, crispy bacon, or grilled chicken. For vegetables, blanch or steam them before adding them to the mac and cheese to ensure they are cooked to the desired tenderness. As for proteins, cook them separately before incorporating them into the recipe. Feel free to get creative and tailor the additions to your taste preferences!

Keep in mind that adding additional ingredients may slightly alter the cooking time or require adjustments to the seasonings, so be sure to taste and adjust as needed.

5. Can I make a gluten-free version of baked mac and cheese?

Absolutely! You can easily make a gluten-free version of baked mac and cheese by using gluten-free pasta. Many brands offer gluten-free macaroni that cooks and bakes just as well as traditional pasta. Additionally, ensure that your cheese, breadcrumbs (if using), and any other ingredients you add are also gluten-free to maintain the integrity of the dish.

When preparing the gluten-free version, follow the same recipe instructions, adjusting the cooking time for the pasta if necessary. Once baked, you’ll have a delicious gluten-free baked mac and cheese that everyone can enjoy!

How to make the EASIEST Creamiest and Cheesiest Oven-Baked MAC & CHEESE


In conclusion, the baked mac and cheese recipe is a true crowd-pleaser that combines simplicity with incredible flavors. As a professional chef, I can confidently say that this recipe is not only easy to follow, but it also delivers a delicious and comforting dish that will satisfy any mac and cheese lover. Whether you’re preparing a family dinner or hosting a gathering with friends, this recipe will surely impress everyone at the table. So, don’t hesitate to try this easy baked mac and cheese recipe and indulge in a cheesy, creamy, and utterly irresistible dish that will leave everyone craving for more. Happy cooking!