Baked mac and cheese with 3 types of cheese doesn’t skimp out on flavor! Make this comfort food recipe for dinner or to share at a potluck.
Recipes like Baked Mac and Cheese
Tender pasta with an ooey-gooey cheese sauce always seems to hit the spot no matter what time of year it is.
The combination is so comforting, and there are so many favorite comfort foods to choose from!
The epitome of comfort food is my Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings. Just get everything started in the slow cooker, then add simple homemade drop biscuits during the last hour of cooking.
Cheesy Potato Casserole is fully loaded with 3 types of cheese, tangy sour cream, and lots of bacon.
Or, keep it simple with a bowl of Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup to warm you up on chilly nights.
Plus, it’s ready in just 25 minutes!
Tips For Making Baked Mac and Cheese
- Shred Cheese By Hand: The secret to a silky smooth sauce is freshly shredded cheese. Pre-bagged shreds contain a preservative that gives them a waxy texture and prevents them from melting properly. You’ll get bolder flavor from the fresh kind as well.
- Add More Kick: Increase the amount of cayenne pepper or add a few red pepper flakes to make this baked mac and cheese recipe a bit spicier.
- Panko vs Regular Breadcrumbs: I like to use panko for the topping because it doesn’t absorb liquid or clump together like more traditional breadcrumbs. Plus, it browns nicely, and the flaky texture adds a little crunch for interest.
Other Cheese Options
There are so many combinations you can use for oven baked mac and cheese, depending on your flavor preference.
Just be sure to use varieties that melt well so your dish comes out nice and creamy. It also helps to use a combination of young cheese which melts smoother and aged cheese which has a stronger flavor.
- Cream cheese
- Monterey Jack
What You’ll Need To Make This Dish
- 9×13 Baking Dish – This set is one of my favorites! The 9×13 is perfect for casseroles and the smaller size is awesome for making half a casserole recipe.
- Box Grater – As much as I love buying shredded cheese because I’m lazy, freshly grated cheese melts down so much better and creates a smoother recipe.
- Heavy Bottom Skillet – To help the sauce cook evenly, a wide skillet works best.
Recipe Notes + FAQ
Storage and Reheating
Keep covered in the refrigerator or transfer to a separate container with a lid. Use within 3 to 4 days.
To reheat, pop it back in the oven until warmed through or warm on the stove with a splash of milk.
Can I freeze oven baked mac and cheese?
To freeze, allow it to cool completely before transferring to a sealed plastic bag or container. Use within 6 months for best results.
Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating, and add more milk for moisture.
Will this recipe work with different pasta?
You can easily substitute another type of noodle, but choose one with plenty of nooks and crannies for the sauce.
Some other popular choices are medium shells, rotini, penne, and even ziti. If you can find campanelle, it’s got a unique shape that adds a fancy looking touch to the plate.
With love from our simple kitchen to yours.
Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe Video
Watch our video at the top of this post to see how to make this comfort food recipe from start to finish!
Baked Mac and Cheese + Video
- 16 ounces macaroni noodles
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups half and half
- 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded gouda cheese
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped fine, optional
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. Cook the noodles per the directions on the back of the box and drain well, set aside.
- In a heavy bottom skillet over medium-low heat, add 4 tablespoons of the butter and melt. Add the garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, cayenne, and flour to the pan and whisk to mix into the butter. Cook for two minutes, whisking occasionally. Slowly add the half and half to the pan whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Bring to a simmer to thicken. Take off the heat and add the cheddar and gouda cheese, whisk to combine and melt the cheese into the sauce.
- Mix the cheese sauce with the noodles and pour everything into the baking dish. Smooth out the top so it cooks evenly.
- Melt the remaining butter in a microwave-safe dish by microwaving in 15-second intervals until melted. In a medium-sized bowl add the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and melted butter, stir to combine. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top of the casserole. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. Serve with a parsley garnish, optional.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published October 2020
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