How To Make Cheesy Baked Mac And Cheese

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What Can I Add To Mac And Cheese For Flavor

How To Make The Best Baked Mac And Cheese

I love adding seasonings to the roux to amp up my mac and cheese. This one has smoked paprika for yep a smoky note. And I love how dry mustard powder helps emphasize the cheesy flavor. Some readers like to add a hefty pinch of onion powder, others love a bit of nutmeg. If you like heat, adding jalapeños is delicious .

You can also tweak the flavor by varying the cheeses. Readers report using smoked cheese for tons of sultry goodness Other readers have added mozzarella or jack for some stretchy goodness, creamy havarti, parmesan , or prefer to go with extra-sharp cheddar.

How To Make Box Mac And Cheese Better

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We are obsessed with box mac and cheese . Have you ever wondered how to make box mac and cheese better? This is our go-to way to make box mac and cheese. Its so creamy and flavorful youll never go back to the boring way!

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Making It Ahead Of Time

Like most baked pasta dishes, mac and cheese is perfect for making ahead of time. Here are a few tips:

  • The sauce can be made ahead and stored, covered in the refrigerator, for two days. Warm the sauce before mixing with cooked pasta.
  • Mac and cheese can be made ahead, spooned into a baking dish and stored, covered in the refrigerator, for two days. Cold macaroni and cheese may take a little longer than 30 minutes in the oven to be fully heated and cooked through.
  • You can also freeze stovetop or baked mac and cheese for up to two months. To reheat, defrost overnight and bake or warm on the stove until heated through. Or bake from frozen. It will take about 1 hour.

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Special Equipment Used In This Recipe

  • Box Grater remember, the best mac starts with freshly shredded cheese!



Post has been updated in September 2019 with new photos and additional information.

Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @the_chunky_chef on Facebook and Instagram!

Homemade Baked Macaroni And Cheese

Best 21 Cheesy Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

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.

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Can You Boil Macaroni In The Microwave

To boil pasta in microwave, add 4 cups of water in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add the olive oil, salt and pasta, mix well and microwave on high for 10 minutes, while stirring once after 5 minutes. Drain the pasta immediately using a sieve or a colander and refresh it with cold water.

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Can You Freeze Baked Mac And Cheese

If you want to get ahead for a busy weeknight, you can make a dish of this mac and cheese in advance. But don’t bake it. Instead, follow all the steps, assemble it, and cook it completely. Then cover it with aluminum foil, and put it in the freezer.

When you’re ready to bake it, thaw it in the fridge for 24 hours, then bake it. You may need to add 5 to 10 minutes of cook time for the casserole to be completely done. But just monitor it for a bubbly, browning top. That’ll be your cue it’s ready to come out of the oven.

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare pasta according to package directions.


  • Step 2

    Microwave milk at HIGH for 1 ½ minutes. Melt butter in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-low heat whisk in flour until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in warm milk, and cook, whisking constantly, 5 minutes or until thickened.

  • Step 3

    Whisk in salt, black pepper, 1 cup shredded cheese, and, if desired, red pepper until smooth stir in hot cooked pasta. Spoon pasta mixture into a lightly greased 2-qt. baking dish prepped with cooking spray top with remaining cheese. Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

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Do You Need To Bake Mac And Cheese

Creamy mac and cheese recipes that start with a roux-based sauce , do not need to be baked before serving. A creamy stovetop mac and cheese recipe is designed to go straight from the pot to the plate — no oven necessary. You could also serve this mac and cheese without baking — it will just be really saucy. By contrast, Southern-style mac and cheese recipes must be baked in order to cook the egg and help the dish set.

How To Make A Bread Crumb Topping

CHEESY BAKED MAC AND CHEESE | Thanksgiving Sides | Macaroni Pie

Combine the following and sprinkle over your casserole before baking.

  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon parsley

This recipe makes an extra saucy creamy macaroni. Do not over-bake this recipe.You want it creamy and rich, over-baking will cause it to dry out. I find that 20 minutes is perfect in my oven, the cheese sauce will thicken slightly while standing.

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How To Know When Bchamel Sauce Is Done

You know that béchamel sauce is done when it has the right consistency or has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon . To test for doneness, simply coat a spoon with sauce and rub your finger through the spoon as if drawing a path . If it leaves a mark, the béchamel sauce is done! You can add the cheese and finish the sauce. Adding the cheese too early can break the sauce turning it into an oily mess.

Ingredients For Baked Mac And Cheese

You only need 6 ingredients to make this incredible macaroni and cheese recipe! Heres the lineup:

  • Macaroni noodles. We like classic elbow noodles, but feel free to use any favorite short pasta. Gluten-free noodles work too!
  • Butter. A bit of butter is melted in the bottom of the dish and then also layered with noodles and cheese.
  • Cheddar cheese. A must when making mac and cheese!
  • Muenster cheese. The combination of cheddar and muenster makes the best macaroni and cheese!
  • Heavy whipping cream. For ultra decadence!
  • Eggs. We use 3 eggs to hold all of the ingredients together.

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Whats The Difference Between Manwich And Sloppy Joes

Technically Manwich is a pre-made sauce thats used to make sloppy joes. Im not sure exactly whats in it, and have never tried it myself, so I cant say that my recipe tastes similar or not. Manwich is marketed as a easy way to make sloppy joes but in reality, homemade sloppy joes are JUST as easy to make!

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Why You Will Love Tiktok Macaroni And Cheese

Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe: How to Make It

Incredibly thick cheese hack: This trending macaroni and cheese recipe is THICK and SO SO CHEESY. Its what we all love out of a fantastic mac and cheese recipe. This recipe is not the afterschool lunch recipe but the you bring the macaroni and cheese to Thanksgiving dinner recipe honor.

One-pot Mac & Cheese Ok, actually two if you count the boiled noodles. But overall, this cheesy oven-baked pasta goes right into a baking dish with all its ooey-gooey ingredients for a simple kitchen clean-up.

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How To Avoid Grainy Cheese Sauce:

  • The type of cheddar makes a difference. High quality aged cheddar cheese will give you a stronger taste and smoother texture. More mild and inexpensive cheddar cheeses will have less flavor and almost a grittier taste.
  • Use fresh grated cheese. Pre-shredded store-bought cheese will not melt the same as freshly grated cheese, and grating the cheese helps it melt smoothly and evenly in the sauce.
  • Bring the cheese to room temperature. I like to grate the cheese very first, before moving forward with the recipe. That allows it to sit at room temperature while I prepare the white sauce.
  • Use low heat. In order for the cheese to melt properly and smoothly we want it to have gradual changes in temperature . When its time to add the cheese to the white sauce, remove the sauce from heat and let it cool for a few minutes. It only needs to be warm enough to melt the cheese.
  • Dont over-stirthe sauce once the cheese has melted. Add the noodles and quickly assemble in pan and put into the oven.

Crock Pot Mac And Cheese

The Chunky Chef09/05/2019

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Highly requested from my readers, this mac and cheese is made entirely in the slow cooker! No boiling pasta, no making a cream sauce, and no standing over a hot stove. Perfectly creamy and packed with flavor, this dish is great to take to a potluck, have as a holiday side dish, or even a fun family dinner!

Looking for other non-traditional crockpot recipes? Check out my No Boil Crockpot Mashed Potatoes, Crockpot Meatloaf, Crockpot Chicken Lo Mein, and Crockpot Spaghetti Casserole!


Here it is the recipe youve been asking for! Youve LOVED, and continue to love, my Baked Mac and Cheese recipe some of you have even won awards in cooking competitions using that recipe. But we all love a great slow cooker recipe, and Ive been busy developing the PERFECT crock pot mac and cheese recipe. One that yields an ultra creamy sauce, doesnt get too thick, and one that tastes every bit as delicious as the OG baked mac and cheese.

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How Can I Make This Side Dish Ahead Of Time

Easy Cheesy Baked Mac and Cheese can be made ahead. Cook macaroni and toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil and let cool. Place in a sealable plastic bag or air tight container and refrigerate until ready to layer casserole, up to 3 days ahead.

Completely bake the mac and cheese let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate. To reheat, bake at 350F degrees for 25 minutes, loosely covered with aluminum foil or just until thoroughly heated.

How To Make This Shortcut Mac And Cheese Recipe

Macaroni and Cheese Recipe | How to Make Mac and Cheese

Scroll down for detailed, printable recipe.

Crushed saltine crackers, layered with the cooked macaroni, cheese, and cream mixture, thickens the sauce as it bakes. It’s like magic!

Create 3 layers with macaroni, crackers and cheese . Pour the cream and egg mixture over the last layer and bake at 325F degrees for 35 minutes.

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What Type Of Cheese Should You Use

Cheddar is a classic choice for baked mac and cheese, and this recipe adds a bit of zing with an extra sharp version. Some other excellent cheeses include cream cheese, Parmesan, and Swiss, as the mild, buttery flavor and ideal melt make them great for this pasta dish.

Gruyere is a standout favorite for its creamy, nutty, and earthy flavor. Try half Gruyere and half cheddar the next time you’re feeling like switching up your baked mac and cheese recipe.

How To Make Mac And Cheese:

Homemade macaroni and cheese is seriously simple to make! With the help of pre-shredded cheese, it truly is a straightforward process that ends with a gloriously creamy pan of mac and cheese that you will love! Heres how its done:

  • Preheat your oven and place the rack in the centerthis rack placement ensures an even, golden brown crust on top of your creamy mac and cheese!
  • Cook your pasta just one minute shy of al dente. The pasta will continue to cook in the oven, so this keeps it from becoming mushy.
  • Make a two-ingredient roux! Butter and flour is all youll need for this step to make a simple rouxaka, the base of your homemade cheesy cream sauce.
  • Slowly, slowly add some whole milk to your roux, whisking as you go. The more slowly you add the milk the thicker the sauce will be.
  • Add Tillamook Triple Cheddar Shredded Cheese, salt, pepper, garlic powder, mustard powder and stir to complete that luscious, silky sauce!
  • Add the macaroni to the cheese sauce and stir to combine.
  • Top with buttery panko and extra cheese and pop that baby in the oven!

And there you have it, easy mac and cheese! I personally enjoy my serving slathered in sriracha, but it also pairs well with green peas, a big salad or with a few green apple slices on the side! Sometimes I go crazy and sprinkle the finished mac and cheese with a little parmesan as well.

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To Bake Or Not To Bake:

You dont have to bake the mac and cheese in this recipe. Everything gets fully cooked and is essentially ready to eat after the cheese and noodles are added. However, I love the extra gooeyness that comes when the cheese is baked and I think baking it adds a level of sophistication you just dont get without.

How To Make It

Super Cheesy Baked Macaroni &  Cheese

Im going to walk you through how I make mac and cheese in my own kitchen. If you want to watch me do it, theres a quick recipe video above that shows each step.

Step 1, Warm milk in a saucepan or in the microwave. Warm milk helps to make the whole sauce making process go a bit quicker and according to Julia Child, warm milk prevents a lumpy cheese sauce.

Step 2, Make a roux with butter and flour. Basically a roux is a cooked paste made with butter and flour. When milk is added later in the recipe, its this butter-flour paste that helps the cheese sauce to thicken.

Step 3, Whisk in the milk and thicken the sauce. When the roux is a golden color and smells nutty , I whisk in the warm milk. As the milk heats up with the roux, it thickens and turns silky smooth.

Step 4, Adds spices and the cheese. When the milk is a silky thickened sauce, I whisk in a few spices and the shredded cheese. When the cheese has melted into the sauce, I always taste and check for seasoning. Its likely that some salt needs to be added.

Step 5, Stir in slightly undercooked pasta, add to a baking dish, and bake. As I mentioned above, I undercook my pasta by 2 minutes, drain, and then rinse it of excess starches. This makes sure that my sauce stays creamy while it bakes in the oven. The macaroni and cheese bakes for about 30 minutes.

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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.

Should You Give Your Mac And Cheese A Topping

You can certainly top your mac and cheese with some Ritz crackers , or you can leave it ungarnished. But if youâre going to top that mac and cheese, itâs best to leave the dish without a topping in the oven to allow a crispy crust of cheese to form first, and then add the topping a few minutes before itâs done baking.

But to be honest, for this baked mac and cheese, we like it without a topping. The creamy interior is oh-so-satisfying with some crunchy corners and crisp bits.

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Shred Your Own Cheese

I recommend using blocks of cheese that you shred yourself. I know, I know, but it makes a big difference. Pre-shredded cheese has starch on it to keep it from clumping and is dryer than actual blocks of whole cheese.

If you do end up using pre-shredded cheese in this recipe, you may need to add a little splash of whole milk. The added starch from pre-shredded cheese will thicken the recipe, so you may need something else to loosen it again. You will know at the end if you want to add a little milk to yours or not!

Get the Recipe:Uncle Jacks Mac and Cheese

This slow cooker recipe makes for a nostalgic, cafeteria-style macaroni that you can slice and serve like pie. Start with cooked noodles, and then combine heavy cream, evaporated milk, eggs, butter, and cheddar cheese to make a binder. Combine that binder with your noodles, then pour the mixture into a greased slow cooker. Sprinkle cheese over the top, then cook for three hours on high and then for one hour on low. Itll be ready with almost no work at all.

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