close up photo of creamy baked mac and cheese on a serving plate

Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese

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Classic comfort foods are nice, but this Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese will take your comfort food level expectations to the top! 

Macaroni and cheese is classic comfort food, enjoyed by people of all ages. This recipe for Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese is sure to please everyone at your next gathering!

Creamy baked mac and cheese with a bread crumb topping

Most Amazing Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Creamy, rich, and satisfyingly cheesy – this mac and cheese is sure to be a crowd-pleaser at your next gathering! Gone are the days when you need someone else to make the mac and cheese for the party, you can make it yourself with this delicious recipe.

This macaroni with cheese recipe is made with a combination of cheeses, giving it a robust flavor that will have everyone coming back for more. This mac and cheese will also have a beautiful golden color when it’s baked.

Ingredients Needed for Mac and Cheese

  • Elbow Macaroni
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Unsalted Butter
  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Whole Milk
  • Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Gruyere Cheese
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Panko Breadcrumbs
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Paprika

How To Make Baked Mac and Cheese

1-Cook pasta according to package directions to al dente. Drain and toss with extra virgin olive oil. Set aside to cool.

2-Preheat oven to 350F and spray a 3-4 quart baking dish with cooking spray.

3-Melt butter in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat until golden and bubbly.

4-Slowly whisk in milk and heavy cream until smooth. Continue whisking for 2 minutes.

5-Add 2 cups of shredded cheese and whisk until smooth. Add 2 more cups shredded cheese, salt, and pepper and continue whisking until all ingredients are combined and cheese sauce is smooth and creamy.

6-Stir in cooled pasta until fully coated with cheese sauce.

7-Pour half of the mac and cheese into prepared baking dish, top with remaining 2 cups shredded cheese, and then add the rest of the mac and cheese.

8-In a medium size mixing bowl combine panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, melted butter, and paprika.

9-Sprinkle bread crumb mixture evenly over mac and cheese.

10-Place in a preheated oven for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

how to make creamy baked mac and cheese

Cooking Tips for Making Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese

  • High-quality mac and cheese – Use high-quality cheese for the best flavor. A good rule of thumb is to use 1/2 cup of cheese for every 1 cup of macaroni.
  • Cook the noodles just right – Cook the macaroni noodles until they are al dente, or just slightly undercooked. This will help them hold their shape and not turn into mush when baked.
  • Big enough baking dish – Be sure to use a baking dish that is big enough to accommodate all of the macaroni and cheese. A 9×13-inch pan is a good size.
  • The perfect crust – To get that perfect golden-brown crust on top, sprinkle some extra grated cheese over the top of the casserole before baking.

Variations of Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese

This recipe for Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese is delicious as is, but there are many ways to change it up to suit your taste.

  • Add some protein – Cooked bacon, crumbled sausage, or chopped ham make great additions to mac and cheese. Stir in 1/2 to 1 cup of cooked meat before baking.
  • Make it veggie-packed – Stir in some chopped veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, or peppers.
  • Change up the cheese – Use a different type of cheese, or a combination of cheeses, for a different flavor. Sharp cheddar, Gruyere, and Gouda are all great options.

Storing the Mac and Cheese

If you have any leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The mac and cheese will keep for up to four days. Reheat it in the oven, covered, until warmed through.

Freezer: Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese can be frozen if you’d like to save it for later. Store in a freezer-safe container or wrap well with foil. Thaw before reheating in the oven.

close up photo of baked mac and cheese on a fork

How to Make This Recipe for Mac & Cheese Ahead of Time

To make Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese ahead of time, cook the noodles according to the recipe instructions. Allow them to cool completely, then store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them.

Mix up all of the other ingredients and assemble the casserole as directed by the recipe. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to two days. When you are ready to bake, remove the plastic wrap and bake as directed.

Whether you make it ahead of time or not, this Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese is sure to be a hit at your next party!

FAQ

Do you need to bake macaroni with cheese?

You can bake macaroni with cheese, but it’s not necessary. If you’re short on time, you can simply boil the noodles and mix them with the cheese sauce. However, baking gives the dish a nice crispy top.

How can I make my mac and cheese extra creamy?

There are a few different ways to add more creaminess to your mac and cheese. First, you can use full-fat milk or cream in place of regular milk. You can also add some butter or extra cheeses, like cheddar or gruyere, for an ultra-creamy dish.

What else can I add to mac and cheese?

There are endless possibilities when it comes to adding mix-ins to mac and cheese. Some popular options include bacon, ham, sausage, vegetables, and different types of cheeses. Get creative and mix in your favorite ingredients! 

Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese is a delicious recipe that everyone will love. The combination of cheeses gives this dish a robust flavor, while the noodles are cooked just right to hold their shape. Be sure to sprinkle some extra grated cheese on top for a beautiful golden crust. This recipe is perfect for any party!

Other Delicious Pasta Recipes

close up photo of creamy baked mac and cheese on a serving plate

Creamy Homemade Baked Mac and Cheese

April King
Classic comfort foods are nice, but this Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese will take your comfort food level expectations to the top! 
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 12

Ingredients
  

  • 16 oz. elbow macaroni
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese,
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika

Instructions
 

  • Cook pasta according to package directions to al dente. Drain and toss with extra virgin olive oil. Set aside to cool.
  • Preheat oven to 350F and spray a 3-4 quart baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Melt butter in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat until golden and bubbly.
  • Slowly whisk in milk and heavy cream until smooth. Continue whisking for 2 minutes.
  • Add 2 cups of shredded cheese and whisk until smooth. Add 2 more cups shredded cheese, salt, and pepper and continue whisking until all ingredients are combined and cheese sauce is smooth and creamy.
  • Stir in cooled pasta until fully coated with cheese sauce.
  • Pour half of the mac and cheese into prepared baking dish, top with remaining 2 cups shredded cheese, and then add the rest of the mac and cheese.
  • In a medium size mixing bowl combine panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, melted butter, and paprika.
  • Sprinkle bread crumb mixture evenly over mac and cheese.
  • Place in a preheated oven for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
Keyword baked mac and cheese, mac and cheese
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