Are you ready to take your macaroni and cheese game to the next level? Look no further, because today I’m sharing with you my secret recipe for the ultimate baked macaroni and cheese. As a professional chef, I’ve spent years perfecting this dish, and trust me, it’s worth every gooey, cheesy bite. Get ready to indulge in a symphony of flavors, with a crispy golden crust that will make your taste buds dance. So, put on your apron and let’s dive into the world of homemade baked macaroni and cheese. You won’t believe how easy it is to create this comfort food classic with a gourmet twist. Get ready to impress your family and friends, because this recipe is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

The Perfect Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Indulge in the ultimate comfort food with this delicious baked macaroni and cheese recipe. Creamy, cheesy, and with a crispy golden top, this classic dish is sure to satisfy your cravings. Plus, it’s easy to make and perfect for sharing with family and friends. So, let’s grab our aprons and get cooking!


  • 16 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika

General Information:

  • Making Difficulties: This baked macaroni and cheese recipe is not overly complicated, but it does require some time and attention to get the perfect creamy texture. So, be prepared to spend around 45 minutes in the kitchen.
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 30 minutes
  • Servings: 6
  • Calories: 600 per serving


Step 1: Cook the Macaroni

In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.

Pro tip: Don’t overcook the macaroni, as it will continue to cook when baked in the oven.

Step 2: Prepare the Cheese Sauce

In a separate saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute to make a roux. Slowly pour in the milk and heavy cream, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Add the dijon mustard, salt, black pepper, and paprika, and continue whisking until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.

Pro tip: Using freshly grated cheese will give your sauce a smoother and creamier texture.

Step 3: Combine the Macaroni and Cheese Sauce

Add the cooked macaroni to the saucepan with the cheese sauce. Stir well until all the macaroni is coated with the sauce. Remove from heat.

Step 4: Layer and Bake

Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a baking dish with butter or cooking spray. Spoon half of the macaroni and cheese mixture into the dish, spreading it evenly. Sprinkle half of the shredded cheddar cheese over the top. Repeat the layering process with the remaining macaroni and cheese mixture and cheddar cheese.

Pro tip: For an extra crunchy topping, mix together 1/2 cup of bread crumbs and 2 tablespoons of melted butter and sprinkle over the final layer of cheese.

Step 5: Bake Until Golden

Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the top is golden and bubbling. Allow it to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Step 6: Serve and Enjoy

Scoop out generous portions of the baked macaroni and cheese onto plates or bowls. Garnish with a sprinkle of paprika or chopped fresh herbs, if desired. Serve hot and savor each bite of this comforting dish.

Step 7: Store or Reheat

If you have any leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, place a portion in the microwave or oven until warmed through. Add a splash of milk to restore its creaminess, if needed.

Now that you have conquered the recipe for the perfect baked macaroni and cheese, it’s time to gather around the table and enjoy this comforting and delicious dish with your loved ones. Whether it’s a cozy family dinner or a potluck gathering, this classic mac and cheese recipe is always a crowd-pleaser. So, go ahead and indulge in this cheesy delight, and create lasting memories with every bite!

baked macaroni and cheese recipe

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

Welcome to the world of comfort food heaven! If you’re looking for the ultimate gooey, cheesy delight, then this baked macaroni and cheese recipe is about to become your new favorite. But before you dive into the kitchen and start whipping up this classic dish, there are a few important things to keep in mind. From choosing the right noodles to achieving the perfect cheese-to-pasta ratio, let’s get into the details of creating the most mouthwatering baked mac and cheese ever.

First and foremost, the star of any mac and cheese is, of course, the cheese. While it’s tempting to just grab whatever cheese you have in the fridge, choosing the right combination is crucial for achieving that perfect balance of flavors. A mix of sharp cheddar, Gruyere, and a touch of Parmesan can take your mac and cheese to a whole new level. The sharpness of the cheddar adds depth, Gruyere brings a nutty undertone, and Parmesan adds a delightful tanginess. So, make sure you stock up on these cheeses before you start!

When it comes to pasta, not all noodles are created equal. To ensure that your baked macaroni and cheese turns out tasty and not mushy, it’s important to choose the right kind of pasta. Opt for elbows or shells that have grooves and ridges, as these nooks and crannies will catch all that cheesy goodness, ensuring each bite is packed with flavor. And don’t overcook the pasta! Al dente is the way to go, as it will continue to cook when baked in the oven.

Now, let’s talk about the sauce. The key to a velvety, creamy mac and cheese lies in a well-made sauce. It’s essential to start with a roux—a mixture of flour and butter cooked together—and then slowly whisk in warm milk, creating a smooth base. As the mixture thickens, add your shredded cheese little by little, allowing each batch to fully melt before adding more. This technique ensures a silky, lump-free sauce that will coat your noodles perfectly. To elevate the flavor, feel free to add a pinch of nutmeg or a splash of hot sauce to the sauce.

Lastly, the crowning glory of any baked macaroni and cheese is the golden, crispy topping. To achieve that irresistible crunch, sprinkle a layer of breadcrumbs mixed with melted butter on top of your mac and cheese before baking. Panko breadcrumbs are ideal for achieving a light and crispy texture, but if you prefer a heartier crunch, try using crushed crackers or even crushed cheese crackers for an extra cheesy twist.

So, now that you have these important tips in mind, it’s time to get cooking! Just remember to choose the right cheeses, pasta, and create a dreamy sauce. With a crispy breadcrumb topping, your baked macaroni and cheese will be a dish that will have everyone coming back for more. Get ready to indulge in cheesy satisfaction!

Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to our FAQ section on baked macaroni and cheese recipes! Here you’ll find answers to some common questions to help you create the perfect cheesy and comforting dish.

1. How can I make my baked macaroni and cheese extra creamy and cheesy?

To make your macaroni and cheese extra creamy and cheesy, there are a few tricks you can try. First, make sure you use a combination of rich and flavorful cheeses, such as cheddar, Gruyere, and Parmesan. You can also add a splash of cream or milk to the cheese sauce before mixing it with the cooked pasta. Another tip is to layer extra cheese on top of the macaroni before baking, which will create a melty and gooey crust.

Additionally, adding a touch of mustard or a sprinkle of nutmeg to the cheese sauce can enhance the flavor and give your dish a little something extra. Lastly, avoid overcooking the pasta before baking, as it will continue to cook in the oven and may become mushy. Cook the pasta until it is al dente, or slightly firm, so it retains its shape and texture after baking.

2. Can I prepare the baked macaroni and cheese recipe ahead of time?

Yes, you can definitely prepare the baked macaroni and cheese recipe ahead of time. One option is to assemble the dish completely, cover it tightly with foil or plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours before baking. When you’re ready to bake, simply remove the dish from the refrigerator, let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes to take the chill off, and then bake as directed in the recipe.

If you prefer to prepare the components in advance, you can cook the pasta and make the cheese sauce separately. Store the cooked pasta in an airtight container and refrigerate it. As for the cheese sauce, let it cool to room temperature, place it in a resealable bag or container, and refrigerate until needed. When it’s time to bake, combine the cooked pasta and cheese sauce, assemble the dish, and bake as directed.

3. Can I freeze baked macaroni and cheese?

Yes, you can freeze baked macaroni and cheese for future enjoyment. The best way to freeze it is to prepare the dish but skip the baking step. Once you’ve assembled the macaroni and cheese, cover it tightly with foil or place it in an airtight container. Label it with the date and freeze for up to 3 months.

When you’re ready to enjoy your frozen macaroni and cheese, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator. Once thawed, you can bake the dish following the original recipe instructions, or you can simply reheat it in the microwave or stovetop in individual portions for a quick and easy meal.

4. Can I add additional ingredients to my baked macaroni and cheese?

Absolutely! Baked macaroni and cheese is a versatile dish that can be customized to your liking. You can add additional ingredients such as cooked bacon, diced ham, sautéed vegetables, or even chunks of lobster or shrimp to elevate the flavors. Just make sure to cook any additional ingredients before incorporating them into the macaroni and cheese.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also experiment with different herbs and spices to give your dish a unique twist. Some popular choices include parsley, thyme, paprika, or even hot sauce for a spicy kick. Don’t be afraid to get creative and add your favorite ingredients to make your baked macaroni and cheese truly one-of-a-kind.

5. Can I make a healthier version of baked macaroni and cheese?

Absolutely! While baked macaroni and cheese is typically indulgent and rich, there are ways to make a healthier version without sacrificing taste. First, opt for whole wheat or whole grain pasta instead of traditional white pasta to increase the fiber content. You can also use reduced-fat cheeses or a combination of regular and reduced-fat cheeses to reduce the overall fat content.

Another option is to incorporate vegetables into your macaroni and cheese, such as steamed broccoli, spinach, or even roasted butternut squash. This adds nutritional value, vitamins, and minerals to the dish. Lastly, consider using low-fat milk or Greek yogurt as a substitute for cream in the cheese sauce, which can help reduce the calorie and fat content while still maintaining a creamy texture.

AMAZING Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe

In conclusion, the baked macaroni and cheese recipe is a beloved classic that never fails to impress. Its creamy, cheesy goodness combined with a crispy breadcrumb topping makes it the ultimate comfort food. Whether you’re cooking for a family gathering, a dinner party, or simply indulging in a cozy night in, this dish is sure to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. So, gather your ingredients, preheat that oven, and get ready to create a mouthwatering masterpiece that will leave everyone craving for more. Happy cooking!