As a professional chef, I have always believed in the power of comfort food. And when it comes to comfort food, there is one dish that never fails to satisfy: mac and cheese. But not just any mac and cheese – today, I want to share with you my secret recipe for a truly unforgettable baked mac and cheese. Picture a golden, crispy crust enveloping creamy, velvety macaroni, oozing with melted cheese. Are you ready to take your mac and cheese game to the next level? Let’s dive in and discover the magic of this mouthwatering dish!

Deliciously Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe

Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food, and when it’s baked to perfection, it becomes a true indulgence. This recipe takes the classic mac and cheese and adds a twist of oven-baked goodness. With its creamy texture and golden crust, it’s just the dish you need to satisfy your cravings. So, let’s dive into the world of deliciousness and learn how to prepare this mouthwatering baked mac and cheese!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs

General Information:

  • Making Difficulty: Easy
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 30 minutes
  • Serving: 6

Instructions:

Step 1: Cook the Macaroni

Start by cooking the macaroni according to the package instructions. It should be cooked al dente, so it has a slight bite to it. Once cooked, drain and set it aside.

Step 2: Prepare the Cheese Sauce

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted, add the flour and whisk until smooth, creating a roux. Cook the roux for about a minute, stirring constantly. Gradually pour in the milk while whisking continuously until the mixture thickens and becomes creamy.

Add the Dijon mustard, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper to the sauce, whisking them in. Next, add the shredded cheddar, Gruyere, and Parmesan cheeses. Stir until the cheeses melt completely and the sauce is smooth and velvety.

Step 3: Combine the Sauce and Macaroni

Add the cooked macaroni to the cheese sauce and gently stir it until every noodle is coated with the luscious cheese mixture. Adjust the seasoning if needed, adding more salt and pepper to taste.

Step 4: Prepare the Topping

Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs with a tablespoon of melted butter. Mix until the breadcrumbs are evenly coated.

Step 5: Assemble the Dish

Transfer the mac and cheese mixture to a greased baking dish, spreading it out evenly. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top of the macaroni, ensuring all corners are covered. This will give a crispy and golden crust to your baked mac and cheese.

Step 6: Bake to Perfection

Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the edges are bubbling. Keep a close eye on it to prevent the breadcrumbs from burning. Once done, remove from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before serving.

Step 7: Enjoy!

Now comes the best part – grab a spoon and dig into the warm and cheesy goodness of your baked mac and cheese. Serve it as a main dish or as a comforting side to accompany your favorite meal. This dish is perfect for cozy gatherings, family dinners, or any time you’re craving a taste of nostalgia.

Remember, this recipe is just a starting point. Feel free to experiment with different cheeses or add your favorite mix-ins like crispy bacon or sautéed mushrooms. The possibilities are endless, so let your creativity shine and make this baked mac and cheese your own!

mac and cheese recipe baked

Important Things to Keep in Mind When Making a Baked Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese is the classic comfort food that never fails to hit the spot. But when it comes to taking this indulgent dish to the next level, making a baked mac and cheese is the way to go. The combination of ooey-gooey cheese, crispy golden edges, and a rich, flavorful sauce is hard to resist. However, achieving mac and cheese perfection requires attention to detail and a few key tricks. Here are some important things to keep in mind when making a baked mac and cheese that will leave your taste buds cheering for more.

First and foremost, the type of cheese you choose plays a crucial role in the overall flavor and texture of your baked mac and cheese. While cheddar is the tried and true classic, don’t be afraid to experiment with other varieties like Gruyere, Fontina, or even a sharp Parmesan. Mixing different types of cheese can add depth and complexity to your dish. Be sure to grate the cheese yourself, as pre-shredded varieties often contain additives that can affect the melting properties. Additionally, opting for a combination of cheeses that melt well will result in a silky smooth sauce that coats every strand of pasta.

When it comes to the pasta, opt for a shape that can hold up to the rich and creamy sauce. Macaroni is the traditional choice, but other shapes like penne, cavatappi, or shells can also work well. Be sure to cook the pasta until it is al dente, as it will continue to cook during the baking process. Overcooking the pasta can lead to a mushy final product. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it well and rinse it under cold water to prevent it from becoming sticky. Toss it in a little olive oil to keep it from sticking together while you prepare the sauce.

Creating a deliciously creamy sauce is the key to a memorable baked mac and cheese. Begin by making a roux, which is a mixture of equal parts flour and butter cooked together to form a paste. This will serve as the base of your sauce and help thicken it. Be sure to cook the roux for a few minutes to eliminate any raw flour taste. Slowly whisk in warm milk, a little at a time, to ensure a smooth sauce without any lumps. Gradually adding the cheese to the sauce will help it melt evenly. To enhance the flavor, consider adding spices like mustard powder, cayenne pepper, or nutmeg. And don’t forget to season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.

Once you have your pasta, cheese, and sauce prepared, it’s time to assemble your baked mac and cheese. Start by mixing the pasta and sauce together until fully coated. Pour the mixture into a greased baking dish and top it with an extra layer of cheese. This will create a deliciously crispy and golden crust. To take it up a notch, you can also sprinkle a generous amount of breadcrumbs or panko on top. Lastly, bake the mac and cheese in a preheated oven until the top is bubbly and golden brown. Keep an eye on it to prevent the cheese from burning.

Remember, making a baked mac and cheese is a labor of love that requires attention to detail and a few special touches. From the choice of cheese to the creamy sauce and golden crust, each step contributes to the overall success of this comforting classic. So, gather your ingredients, follow these important tips, and get ready to enjoy the ultimate mac and cheese experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to our guide on making delicious baked mac and cheese! Whether you’re looking for a comforting weeknight meal or a crowd-pleasing side dish, we’ve got you covered. Below are some commonly asked questions about baking mac and cheese:

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

Yes, you can use any type of pasta you prefer for baked mac and cheese! While elbow macaroni is the classic choice, feel free to experiment with shapes like shells, fusilli, or penne. Just keep in mind that different pasta shapes might have varying cooking times, so adjust accordingly.

Another tip is to slightly undercook the pasta since it will continue to cook while baking. This helps prevent the macaroni from becoming too mushy and ensures a perfect al dente texture.

2. How can I make a creamy cheese sauce for my baked mac and cheese?

To make a creamy cheese sauce, start by melting butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until well combined to create a roux. Gradually pour in milk while whisking constantly to avoid lumps.

Once the milk is fully incorporated, add shredded cheese of your choice, such as cheddar, Gruyere, or a blend of cheeses. Continue whisking until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Season with salt, pepper, and any other desired spices to enhance the flavor of your mac and cheese.

3. Should I pre-cook the cheese sauce before baking?

No, pre-cooking the cheese sauce is not necessary for baked mac and cheese. The sauce will cook and thicken as the dish bakes in the oven. Pre-cooking the cheese sauce can lead to a drier consistency in the final result.

However, if you prefer a thicker sauce, you can simmer it on the stovetop for a few minutes before combining it with the cooked pasta. Just be mindful not to overcook it, as it will continue to thicken while baking.

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

Absolutely! Baked mac and cheese is a versatile dish that can be customized to suit your taste preferences. You can add ingredients like cooked bacon, sautéed onions, roasted vegetables, or even diced tomatoes for extra flavor and texture.

Feel free to get creative and experiment with different mix-ins and toppings like breadcrumbs, herbs, or even a sprinkle of hot sauce to give your mac and cheese a unique twist.

5. How long should I bake mac and cheese for?

The baking time for mac and cheese will depend on various factors, such as the type of pasta used and the desired level of crispiness. As a general guideline, most baked mac and cheese recipes call for baking at 350°F (175°C) for about 25-30 minutes.

If you prefer a golden and crispy top, you can broil the dish for an additional 2-3 minutes at the end. Just be sure to keep an eye on it to avoid burning. Remember, the key is to achieve a bubbling, hot center and a nicely browned top.

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


In conclusion, the baked mac and cheese recipe is a true comfort food that brings joy to both children and adults alike. With its creamy and cheesy goodness, this classic dish never fails to satisfy cravings and warm hearts. Whether you’re looking for a quick weeknight meal or a crowd-pleasing dish for special occasions, this recipe is a winner. So, grab your apron and get ready to create a mouthwatering masterpiece that will have everyone asking for seconds. Happy cooking!