How To Cook Baked Macaroni And Cheese

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How To Make The Crispy Topping

CHEESY BAKED MAC AND CHEESE | Thanksgiving Sides | Macaroni Pie

I decided to use panko breadcrumbs for this crispy topping because the texture of them cant be beat. Theyre so light!

But they also need a little help to get nice and golden.

Grab a skillet and melt a couple more tablespoons of Challenge salted butter. Add in the panko and toast, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes until the panko is golden brown.

Keep a close eye on the panko, though, and definitely dont walk away we want the breadcrumbs to be golden, not burnt!

As soon as the panko is beautifully golden, immediately remove the pan from the heat and sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the mac and cheese. Bake the whole thing for about 30 minutes or until the tops and edges are golden brown and delicious.

Creamy Baked Mac And Cheese

The Chunky Chef09/30/2019

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

This baked mac and cheese is a family favorite recipe, loved by both children and adults. It uses a combination of cheeses, layered in the dish as well as melted into a rich and creamy cheese sauce, for the ultimate in cheesy deliciousness! Perfect for a comforting dinner or as a holiday side dish!

Looking for other comfort food dishes? Check out my Homemade Sloppy Joes, Creamy Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Crockpot Meatloaf, and Homestyle No-Boil Mashed Potatoes!


Baked mac and cheese. Its nearly the universal comfort food, and there are SO many variations! In fact, I almost didnt post this recipe, as there are SOOOO many mac and cheese recipes available, and most people already have their favorite way of making it.

Of course, theres no right way or wrong way, so Im here sharing the way I like to make my mac and cheese .

Southern Baked Macaroni And Cheese

Creamy baked southern-style macaroni and cheese, a cheesy baked casserole and soul food classic.

Ive lived in St. Louis for some time now, and as Ive said before, its very southern here in terms of cooking. One of our favorite soul food restaurants had the best mac and cheese, and that would be Sweetie Pies. Miss Robies recipe is easily found on the web and the local paper has published a paired down recipe for the home cook.

Im pretty sure the location we went to in The Grove neighborhood has closed and I dont understand all the drama surrounding the closing. It was the subject of a reality TV show at one point. I just know we went often and always, always had her macaroni and cheese.

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Easy Baked Macaroni And Cheese

Nothing beats a delicious family favorite baked macaroni and cheese recipe as a side dish. Its a dish that both kids and adults love. We have this baked macaroni and cheese at almost every family gathering. Its perfect for picky eaters and just screams comfort food.

We start off by making this recipe on the stovetop but we love to add an extra crispy topping of bread crumbs to the top of the macaroni and cheese and bake it till its a perfect crisp. My husband prefers it straight from the stovetop, so feel free to make it however you and your family like it best. We also like to add a touch of seasoned salt to our macaroni and cheese. It adds an extra pop of flavor and really brings out the cheesy-ness of this dish.

Homemade Baked Macaroni And Cheese

Perfect Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Heres the thing about a good Baked Macaroni and Cheese: It has to be both crispy and creamy.

I want a super crispy topping and crispy baked edges , but I want the noodles inside to still be super cheesy and creamy.

I am not here for a dry mac and cheese. Thats just a disappointment.

But I am proud to say that this recipe hits that balance.

Creamy and super cheesy noodles? Check!

Crispy, buttery panko topping? Check!

And while this recipe does take a bit more time than making a stovetop mac, the extra step of baking it is well worth it.

Also Check: Sweet E’s Bake Shop

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. Its coated and wont 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 dont want soggy macaroni.
  • I used elbow pasta but really, any tubular past will work.
  • This mac and cheese recipe starts with a roux. The roux is super important to getting the creamiest cheese sauce of your life. Here is what you need to look for:
  • The roux 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.

Why Is Southern Baked Macaroni And Cheese So Important To Black Culture

For one, black people hold macaroni and cheese in high regard, and it’s the pinnacle of black culinary accolades. It’s bestowed upon only those who can be trusted with the responsibility of making mac and cheese, because you are not messing up Thanksgiving with bland, overcooked, sad mac and cheese. Our mac and cheese is just as important as any main dish at every holiday it shows up at. Which is every holiday: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Memorial Day, Juneteenth, 4th of July, birthdays, marriages, births, funerals. Everything.

If you bring any type of mac and cheese recipes made from a box or in a store, you will be ragged on and not allowed to bring food again. Possibly exiled from all cookouts, depending on how bad you’ve disrespected the mac and cheese.

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Tru Bahamian Must Eat: Bahamian Style Macaroni & Cheese

Our love for Bahamian style mac and cheese knows no bounds, as we proudly feature it everyday on our signature Bites of Nassau Food & Cultural Walking Tour from our expert friends at Bahamian Cookin. If youre thinking that this sounds like the ultimate comfort food, then youre absolutely correct. More often than not, its found on the dinner table as a side dish for Sunday meals as well as on restaurant lunch and dinner menus any day of the week. Its also a keystone for all of our specialty holiday meals during the Christmas and Easter seasons, and celebratory feasts for milestone birthdays, graduations, large family gatherings, or Mothers Day and Fathers Day feasts. For Bahamians that live abroad, this dish is one that we often carry with us in the form of a sacred family recipe. After some time away, digging into a creamy square of this national icon when returning to the islands is an experience we would describe as close to heavenly.

Bahamian Style Macaroni and Cheese is undoubtedly a Tru Bahamian Must Eat.

Can I Freeze Macaroni And Cheese


I get asked that a lot and my answer is always no. As the pasta and cheese sauce sit, it will thicken and when you thaw it and bake it, the creamy consistency is just gone. Its thick and gloppy. Plus if you freeze it and its still a bit warm, water crystals will form and then thaw into your dish and could make it separate when you bake it. Besides, its so fast to make, theres not really a reason to freeze your macaroni and cheese.

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Making Mac And Cheese Ahead Of Time

  • Make as directed , transfer to baking dish and cool completely. Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate 1-2 days ahead.
  • Before baking, let dish sit on counter for 30 minutes.
  • Bake at recipe temperature for 25-35 minutes, until hot and bubbly.

As a caveat, this recipe, as with most mac and cheese recipes, loses some of its creaminess when made ahead. This dish has been tested when made right away, which yields the best results.

I would increase the amount of sauce slightly if you need to make this recipe ahead of time.

Can I Make This Macaroni And Cheese Ahead And Bake It When Im Ready

Yes you sure can. Just let it cool down, put some plastic wrap right against the surface of the mac and cheese and stick it in the fridge. If you have a few minutes to bring it out and let it warm slightly before you bake it, do that. But if you cant, just bake it till the center is hot and the edges are bubbling.

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The Best Homemade Baked Mac And Cheese

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 take this macaroni and cheese recipe over the top. Love cheesy recipes? Make sure to try this Lazy Day Lasagna and Cheesy Kielbasa Rice and Broccoli Skillet next week for dinner!

This post is sponsored by Walmart and SheKnows Media.

Homemade Macaroni And Cheese: What Kind Of Cheese Should I Use

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

I honestly use different cheese combinations almost every time I make this mac and cheese recipe but the one I always come back to is sharp cheddar and Gruyere. If you cant find Gruyere, Jarlsberg Swiss cheese is the best substitute. Other cheese that work: mozzarella, jack cheese or pepper jack for a little zip, American and Velveeta as well for a creamier cheese sauce. This baked mac and cheese uses 6 cups of cheese so just

To add even more flavor to my homemade mac and cheese, I add Parmesan to the Panko topping so good!

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How To Make Baked Macaroni And Cheese

To make this Baked Macaroni and Cheese, start by cooking your noodles. I like to go with the traditional elbow macaroni, but you could use any other small shape you like.

Just be sure to cook your pasta just shy of al dente. Since the macaroni is getting baked after we add the sauce, the pasta will finish cooking in the oven. Leaving it just slightly undercooked now will make sure its not completely mushy later.

While the pasta cooks, make the cheese sauce.

Start by melting some Challenge salted butter in a saucepan, then whisk in some flour to make a roux, which will thicken the sauce.

Using Challenge butter will add both flavor and richness to the sauce. Because Challenge butter is churned daily from the freshest milk and without any artificial preservatives, fillers, or dyes, it adds the best butter flavor possible to this recipe. Thats why we will use Challenge butter in the panko topping later, too!

Slowly whisk in the milk and whisk constantly until the sauce just starts to bubble and has thickened. Then its time for the cheese!

Whisk in first the cream cheese, then the cheddar and the parmesan cheese a handful at a time. Make sure each addition is totally melted before you add more.

Once you combine the cooked macaroni with the cheese sauce and pour it all into your casserole dish, its time to make that crispy topping.

What To Serve With Creamy Baked Mac And Cheese

Old-fashioned baked macaroni and cheese is a hearty, delicious and satisfying casserole on its own. Serve it as a dinner entrée and your family will be thrilled! Just add a simple green salad, roasted broccoli, or Southern Collard Greens on the side, or mix in chicken, ham or veggies with the pasta.

The homemade mac and cheese is also an easy side dish that goes well with any of these meals:

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Creamy Macaroni And Cheese With Bacon And Peas

The Chunky Chef03/19/2015

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

Okay guys, let me guess one of your kids favorite meals probably chicken nuggets, and Id guess macaroni and cheese too. Am I right? Thought so lol. My kids LOVE mac and cheese. Of all forms, all flavors, even the Kraft easy mac that you microwave. They go nuts. So over the years Ive made several varieties of homemade mac and cheese, to try to get them to please for the love of all things holy, eat something I cooked for you!!.

This macaroni and cheese dish isnt just for the kids it has some grown up flavors, and its a little bit healthier. Although, as youre eating it, you wont be able to taste that its healthier all youll taste is a deliciously creamy sauce and some amazing flavors. Want to know the secret?

Yep, almond milk! Do you guys drink this stuff? Its actually pretty good and its really good for you

You can choose any pasta shape that you like for this macaroni and cheese classic elbows, some penne, rotini, anything! I love the curly and fun shape of cavatappi Part of the unique flavors of this dish comes from the cheeses used the white cheese you see there is gruyere. It. Is. Amazing! Its rich, nutty, and delicious. I paired it with a sharp cheddar.

I chose to garnish mine simply with just a few extra crumbles of bacon, but it would also be delicious with some fresh chopped chives or just some minced parsley.

I hope you all try this one

Best Cheese For Baked Mac And Cheese


Dont be scared when using cheese for this recipe. I used three types of cheeses to grace every noodle of this dish. For the best flavor, I highly recommend adding a sharp cheddar to your baked mac and cheese. Just a warning though, dont use the pre-shredded bagged cheese as it has preservatives that make it drier compared to fresh-grated cheese.

Sharp cheddar cheese, mozzarella, jack cheese, are my top fave. Or you can also use pepper jack cheese, gouda, fontina, and Gruyere.

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Southern Baked Mac & Cheese

There are three major takeaways from Millie Peartree’s famous baked mac & cheese.

  • Make sure your pasta is super al dente. Boil it for too long and your baked macaroni will be mushy.
  • Layer it like a lasagna! Millie puts an entire layer of pure cheese in between two layers of macaroni. Game. Changer.
  • Make a custard. Whisking together eggs and milk and pouring it over the mac & cheese will make it extra creamy, saucy, and decadent.
  • whole milk

    Salt and pepper, to taste

  • Preheat oven to 350° and butter a large, deep baking dish. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook macaroni according to package instructions until just al dente. Drain and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine cooked pasta and butter and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in 2 cups cheddar cheese.
  • Add half of the macaroni mixture to prepared baking dish. Sprinkle Colby-cheddar cheese blend over pasta mixture, then top with another layer of pasta .
  • In a medium bowl, beat together eggs and milk then pour evenly over pasta.
  • Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 25 to 35 minutes. Do not overbake! It may be a bit jiggly when you take it out of the oven.
  • Turn on oven broiler. Top with the remaining cheddar cheese. and broil until golden! It will firm up as it cool.
  • If you dont like sharp cheese please feel free to use mild or any other cheese you like

    About This Easy Baked Macaroni And Cheese:

    This baked macaroni and cheese is made like Grandma used to make it, the old fashioned, baked in a casserole dish style. If youre looking for a creamy, non-baked recipe, youll probably love this copycat Panera mac and cheese or Instant Pot macaroni and cheese.

    I just love this baked macaroni and cheese, though. Its a little bit chewier, with lots of great cheddar cheese flavor, and I especially love the way the top crisps up in the oven.

    Plus its so easy! You just boil pasta, mix with grated cheese, a couple tablespoons of flour, and seasonings, put it in a casserole dish, and pour the milk over it. Thats it! No messing with white sauces or tricky steps. No getting four pots and pans dirty!

    You can prep this macaroni and cheese ahead of time and keep it in the fridge overnight. Its ready to bake when you want it!

    Baked mac and cheese is a total crowd pleaser. This is a great recipe for busy weeknight meals but also for entertaining. Perfect for potlucks!

    Enjoy one of our familys favorite meals! I grew up eating this macaroni and cheese and it was always a special day when my mom prepared it. Now I love serving it to my family and I especially love how easy it is to prepare. Im sure you will too!

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    How To Make Delicious Baked Macaroni And Cheese

    • Begin by boiling your elbow or favorite shaped pasta. We use 1 full pound for this recipe. Make sure to cook it just to al dente as it will continue to bake in the oven and you dont want mushy noodles.
    • In a separate sauce pan being making a roux with butter and flour.
    • Freshly grated cheddar cheese tastes bests and melts easier but we have used pre-shredded cheddar cheese thousands of times and it still turns out great!
    • For a delicious cheesy twist swap some of the cheddar cheese for some freshly shredded cooper cheese! Most of our family members prefer it with the cooper cheese!

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