Baked Mac And Cheese
I’m going to make a quick confession. I love Baked Mac And Cheese. It’s one of my favorite comfort foods, and whenever I try it by following this recipe, it never fails to make me happy. But there are actually quite a few steps to getting the dish just right. And the good news is that these steps aren’t very hard or complicated – any beginner cook can complete them in no time, leaving you with delicious baked mac and cheese that looks like it came out of an expensive restaurant!
If you also love Baked Mac And Cheese, then try this simple recipe when making your next batch of baked mac and cheese. Trust me; the incredibly smooth cheesy juiciness will earn this recipe the number one spot on your family’s favorite homemade meal!
So, what are you waiting for? Put your aprons on and start making delicious Baked Mac And Cheese with us!
What Kind of Cheese Should I Use?
Let your tastes run free! We have used a combination of Gruyere and cheddar cheese in this recipe, but you can experiment with any type of cheese that you like, such as:
- Smoked gouda,
- Monterey Jack,
- Colby Jack,
Should I add cream?
No! You really don’t need it. Butter and cheese are used, which are rich enough to get a creamy texture and taste. And adding cream makes it so rich you can’t eat more than a few spoonfuls.
Does mustard go well with cheese?
I have used yellow mustard in the recipe because mustard and cheddar cheese are a solid match. Mustard help bring out some of the more floral and subtle notes found in cheese. It intenseifies the flavor or cheese without the flavor of mustard. You won’t taste it at all!
How long to bake mac and cheese?
The cooking time will depend on how much liquid is in the dish as well as the size of the pasta. Normally baking elbow pasta takes about 25-30 minutes at 350 °F. You’ll want to monitor your baked macaroni carefully so that it doesn’t overcook. Remember, you’re baking this dish in the oven, which is quite hot! Be sure to check on your macaroni every five minutes or so after the first 20 minutes of baking time.
I like to boil elbow pasta for 1-2 minutes less than you would normally boil it because the pasta will continue to cook in the oven.
Do you cover baked mac and cheese with foil?
I haven’t covered my baked mac and cheese with foil. But if you think your mac and cheese has less sauce and you will cut it like cake, place a piece of foil over the top of the pan halfway through cooking to prevent some of the excess moisture from evaporating too quickly. The foil will:
- Keep your dish moist.
- Prevent the cheese from browning
- Keep the cheese from drying out
- Keep the cheese from getting too crispy
To get a crispier and crunchier top layer, remove the foil and bake uncovered for 10-15 minutes to get a crunchier top layer.
Can you make baked mac and cheese without eggs?
Yes, you can!! Mac and Cheese do not typically require eggs. However, adding eggs creates an emulsion that simplifies the process of creating a smooth and creamy sauce. Moreover, eggs also give the dish a better texture, add a depth of flavor, and make the dish creamier.
Can you bake mac and cheese in an aluminum pan?
The cheese tends to adhere to the edges and bottom of aluminum pans, so it might be challenging to get a smooth, creamy texture when you bake mac and cheese in them. The aluminum may also react with the acid in the cheese, causing the mac and cheese to have a metallic flavor. To prevent this, we recommend cooking the mac and cheese in a nonstick pan or ceramic dish.
Can you freeze baked mac and cheese
If you want to make this dish ahead of time for a family gathering or work event, you can freeze baked macaroni and cheese. To do this:
- Prepare the dish as usual but don’t bake it.
- Pour the mixture into an airtight container and freeze it.
- The next day, remove the frozen mac and cheese from the freezer, thaw fully in the fridge
- Put it on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes.
How to reheat baked mac and cheese?
Baked mac and cheese is always a win. But if you have leftovers, reheating it can be tricky. To ensure that your mac and cheese doesn’t dry out or get overcooked and rubbery, stir in a little bit of milk or cream and microwave partially covered with plastic wrap.
What goes with baked mac and cheese
I’ve found that the best dishes to serve with baked mac and cheese are simple ones. I love getting creative with vegetables. Classics like Southern Style Collard Greens or Maple Roasted Vegetables are tasty as side dishes. Add in some fresh herbs for extra flavor! You can also turn your mac and cheese into an unforgettable meal with some meat dishes such as Caribbean Fried Chicken, Crispy Fried fish, Slowcooker Pineapple BBQ Ribs, etc.
Some Tips & Tricks
- You can adjust this recipe easily depending on the amount of people you’re cooking for and what’s in your pantry or refrigerator—you can even add meat if you want extra protein!
- Elbow pasta is perfect for this recipe, but any short pasta penne, ziti, twirls will work just fine.
- Grate your own cheese for cheese sauces. Store-bought shredded cheese contains anti-caking agents that don’t melt, leaving the sauce powdery.
- To prevent lumps, keep stirring your sauce as you pour in the milk slowly and after all the milk has been poured in.
- Adding crispy crumbled bacon to the topping or even inside the mac and cheese is a great idea if you love bacon!
Get the Recipe BAKED MAC AND CHEESE
- 1 lb Macaroni cooked according to directions on the package
- 2 lb sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 8 oz gruyere cheese or smoked gouda, grated
- 8 oz white cheddar, grated
- 4 cups whole milk
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 tsp Dijon or yellow mustard
- ¼ tsp black pepper or pepper sauce
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 egg beaten
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13 x 9 baking dish then set aside.
- In a large heavy bottom sauce pot over low heat melt butter. Add flour and stir until smooth.
- Add milk and cook until milk is warm and sauce has thickened a bit. Set 1 1/2 cup of grated cheese aside, this will be for the top.
- Add reminder of cheeses, black pepper, Dijon mustard, salt and egg then stir until smooth. Add macaroni to the cheese sauce, stir making sure the macaroni is well coated.
- Pour into a large baking dish, sprinkle with remaining cheese.
- Place into oven and cook for 25-30 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown.
- Remove from oven. Allow to cool before serving.
In the Caribbean when making Macaroni Pie they typically don’t make a cheese sauce. Instead all of the ingredients minus the flour and butter are combined with the macaroni. I find that I prefer this version.
Soooo- since I have tried, and loved so many of your recipes, I’m going to use this recipe for my Mac and cheese this year. I have one pan in the oven right now (using all small disposable pans this year). I trust you, so I know it’ll turn out great. Happy Thanksgiving!
I live you Mac n cheese! Thanks so much. I have subscribed and am now a follower of your food videos. Again thanks so much for being so transparent.
Thanks Pat and I’m glad you enjoyed it!
I made this recipe for Thanksgiving yesterday. & me and my family LOVED it. I will definitely be using this as my go to baked Mac and cheese dish for life. Thank you so much. & mustard and cheese really do go together!!
You are so welcome! I’m so happy to hear that your family enjoyed it!
I made your mac & cheese but my husband said it was chessy enough but not creamy enought. What can I add to make it creamier?
Maybe use heavy cream along with milk.