Baked Mac and Cheese

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4.57 from 82 votes
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This baked mac and cheese is the ultimate homemade macaroni and cheese recipe. Perfectly creamy and cheesy, this mac and cheese casserole is sure to become a family favorite.

Elbow pasta with cheese on plate with casserole dish in backgronud

Rather not turn on the oven? This stovetop mac and cheese recipe is for you!

Best Baked Mac and Cheese

Whether you are looking for a comforting dinner recipe, holiday side dish, or potluck recipe, you will love this easy mac and cheese recipe!

While this is a from-scratch recipe, it really is easy to make and has minimal ingredients.

If you have never made homemade macaroni and cheese, this is something you should try. Ultra creamy, cheesy, and the pasta is perfectly cooked.

Want to turn your mac & cheese into a full dinner? Try our buffalo chicken mac and cheese!

How to Make Baked Mac and Cheese

elbow pasta, milk, cheese, butter, seasoning, flour, cream

Cook your pasta as directed on the box until the pasta is al dente. Drain the cooked pasta and return to the pot.

In another pot, you will want to add in your butter and melt. Then whisk in the flour and form a roux. Once it is creamy and well mixed add in your seasonings, milk, and cream. Whisk until it is all smooth.

Pot of elbow macaroni and cheese

Continue to cook for 4 minutes. When you reach that mark pour in the cheese and then once well melted and mixed, pour into your pasta.

Pour your macaroni and cheese into the greased casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese and bake as directed in the recipe below.

Enjoy on its own or pair with your favorite main dishes, and dive in fork first!

What is the Best Cheese For Mac and Cheese?

For me I find that mixing your cheeses together offers layers of flavor. Personally, I reached for sharp cheddar and gruyere. But you are welcome to use whatever you would like.

The biggest thing I recommend is making sure you grate your cheese off the block. Bagged cheese has an extra coating that can make baked macaroni and cheese gooey and stringy.

Spoonful of cheesy baked macaroni and cheese coming out of baking dish

What Goes With Mac and Cheese?

Baked mac and cheese is a classic holiday side dish, along with jiffy corn casserole and green bean casserole.

Truly you can pair serve your mac alongside any main course; air fryer hamburgers, pork chops, smothered chicken, and garlic chicken are some of my favorites.

How Long To Bake Mac and Cheese

You will want to bake your mac and cheese for around 20-25 minutes. The biggest thing you are looking for is to create that golden-brown crust on top. The cheese will become golden and it is so delicious to dig into! Plus, as you bake your mac and cheese it610 becomes a bit thicker in texture.

Mac and Cheese in the Oven

How to reheat mac and cheese

You can reheat in the microwave for a quick reheat or opt for the oven. If you go to reheat in the oven, make sure that you cover the dish with aluminum foil. Or it will dry out too much as it bakes up.

Just heat until your mac is warmed all the way through.

More Easy Side Dish Recipes

  • Creamed Spinach | Fresh spinach leaves are the front and center of this side dish recipe. Tons of flavor, perfect texture, and an affordable and easy side.
  • Creamed Corn | A classic side dish with sweet corn kernels in a cream sauce.
  • No Mayo Coleslaw | Get creamy coleslaw without adding in mayo! Crispy homemade coleslaw in a creamy and delicious homemade sauce.
Recipe
Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe 1200
Recipe
4.57 from 82 votes

Baked Mac and Cheese

Author: Jaclyn
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
The ultimate baked mac and cheese recipe-perfectly creamy and a real family favorite!

Ingredients
 

  • 4 cups elbow macaroni uncooked
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • 6 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 cups cheese shredded and divided (see note below)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease a 9” x 13” casserole dish; set aside.
  • In a large pot, prepare the macaroni al dente according to the directions on the box. Drain well and return to pot.
  • Meanwhile, grab another large pot and melt the butter over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, whisk in flour to form a roux. Add paprika, salt, and pepper, to taste. Add milk and cream, whisking until smooth and well combined. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until thick and creamy, about 4 minutes. 
  • Whisk in 3 cups cheese; continue whisking constantly until cheese has melted.
  • Pour cheese sauce over the drained macaroni. Stir until the macaroni has been evenly coated.
  • Transfer macaroni and cheese into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup of cheese.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese on top is completely melted and golden brown.

Notes

I use a blend of cheddar and gruyere, but you can use your favorite cheese. I do recommend you grate your cheese off the block.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 502kcal
Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe 1200

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Baked Macaroni & Cheese

4.57 from 82 votes (78 ratings without comment)

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9 Comments

  1. Hi! Looking to take this to a friend who lives 2 hours away from me. Would you recommend making it and doing every step, except the baking?

    1. You can prepare the mac and cheese ahead of time and then bake when you arrive at your friends, however will need to keep the dish refrigerated while traveling. It will likely take a few more minutes to bake due to starting for being chilled. Enjoy!

  2. 1 star
    the cheese sauce turned into a dough basically. i followed the recipe to a t. i’m thinking i cooked the mixture too long, but the recipe never told you when to take it off the heat.

    1. It sounds like the cheese sauce was indeed overcooked. At what step in the recipe did the sauce mixture begin to look like a dough rather than a liquid? This will help determine what went wrong.

      Also, you stated that the recipe doesn’t tell you when to take the sauce off the heat. Although it does’t explicitly state it, the sauce is taken off the heat is step 5 when it is poured over the macaroni.

    1. I haven’t tried prepping the mac & cheese ahead of time but I would suggest covering and refrigerating for no longer than a day ahead of time. Then allow it to come to room temperature before baking. If you do decide to go ahead and try making it ahead of time please come back and let us know how it comes out!

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