Baked Mac And Cheese Recipe

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Southern Mac And Cheese Ingredients

Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe

How to Make Southern Mac and Cheese

Preheat oven to 325ºF.

Grease a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Set aside.

In a large stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat.

Meanwhile, in a separate pot, prepare the macaroni according to package directions, but cook just under your preferred level of doneness to ensure the mac and cheese doesnt end up overcooked and mushy.

Once the butter is melted, whisk in flour to form a roux . Add the seasoning, to taste.

Whisk in the milk and cream and set heat to medium-high.

Whisk in 3 cups of the cheese and continue whisking as the mixture cooks and thickens.

Drain the pasta but do not rinse.

When the cheese has completely melted into the sauce, pour the sauce over the cooked macaroni.

Fold the macaroni and cheese into the prepared casserole dish.

Top with remaining 1 cup of cheese.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until the cheese on top is browned and completely melted.

Allow the mac and cheese to sit for about 5-10 minutes before serving, so the cheese sauce has time to set up.

Baked Macaroni And Cheese September 16 2021pasta And Pizza Recipes Sides

Baked macaroni and cheese has been a staple across dining room tables for as long as I can recall.

With that said, for most of my life growing up our macaroni and cheese came out of a box.

In fact, one of the things that remind me of my childhood was my favorite dish: macaroni and cheese with hotdogs in it. Is that weird? My wife thinks so.

When we got together for the holidays there would always be real baked macaroni and cheese. It was always a treat.

I would respond with the wow, the real deal. Invariably, while good, it always seemed drier and less gooey cheesy than the standard Velveeta mac and cheese.

We decided to set out with creating our own mac and cheese that offered up that gooey goodness. Leigh was adamant that this would have to be accomplished without using processed American cheese. I wasnt convinced that it could be done.

We also wanted to make this dish using simple ingredients. No fancy cheeses or toppings. Just straight up macaroni and cheese.

There is always room to get fancy but we wanted to start with a super creamy and yummy version that anybody would be wanting to make.

Well, we did it. Honestly, this baked macaroni and cheese is gooey. It is cheesy. And most importantly it is NOT dry.

It is the best homemade baked macaroni and cheese I have ever had.

If you were like us, kind of off-put by attempting a deliciously creamy and cheesy homemade baked macaroni and cheese because of past failures, rest easy.

Special Equipment Used To Make This Recipe

  • Slow Cooker I prefer using a smaller slow cooker for this recipe, as I think it cooks the pasta more evenly, and this is the model I have and love. The exact slow cooker used in the photos is this one, but its pretty pricey!


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

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    Best Cheese For Mac And Cheese

    A combination of Gruyere and mozzarella cheese. Gruyerefor the most superior flavour with the best melting qualities for creamy sauces such as this theres no contention in my view. And mozzarella for stretch nothing does the cheese pull like a good mozzarella!

    But honestly, any cheese that melts well works is excellent with Mac and Cheese, such as cheddar, tasty, Colby, Swiss, Pepper Jack, Emmental.

    Tips For The Best Mac & Cheese

    Baked Macaroni and Cheese
    • Freshly grated cheese dont use pre shredded. They have anti caking agents that can make the sauce grainy.

    • No bloated overcooked pasta Cool macaroni slightly and lightly coat in butter. This stops the macaroni from absorbing more liquid while baking, resulting in bloated overcooked pasta and less sauce.

    • To avoid lumps in your sauce, stir constantly as you slowly pour the milk in and keep stirring once the milk is all added. If necessary, switch to a switch to get rid of stubborn little lumps!

    • Plenty of sauce Because I like my Mac and Cheese saucy, not dried up so you can cut it like cake!

    • Can you make Mac and Cheese ahead of time? Most recipes are not suitable for making ahead, but this recipe is! The best way is to cool pasta then toss with sauce and adding breadcrumb topping. Cool, refrigerate or freeze then bake on the day of .

    • How long can Mac and Cheese stay in the fridge? Unlike most, this Macaroni Cheese recipe is good for 3 to 5 days in the fridge. Most Mac and Cheese will not keep well because theres not enough sauce so it gets absorbed by the pasta and youre left with dry, sauceless pasta.

    • Freezing? Yes! Assemble, cool, do not bake, just freeze it. Thaw then on the day of, bake per Note 5 in the recipe.

    • Add ins? This recipe is great as it is, but theres tons of add-in options. Add shredded chicken, sautéed onion and bell peppers/capsicum, bacon, hot sauce , dried herbs of choice.

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    How To Make Crock Pot Mac And Cheese

    • Add pasta and liquids to the slow cooker. Sprinkle in seasonings and stir.
    • Cover and cook 1 hour. Stir. Cover and cook another 10 minutes.
    • Stir in cream cheese and grated cheese. Cover and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Stir and serve.

    How easy is that?! No fancy cream sauce to make just hands-off cook time so you can go relax!

    Ultimate Macaroni And Cheese

    This recipe is featured on:

    If comfort food is what you’re after, nothing beats a generous helping of creamy, oozy mac and cheese. This recipe is the yummiest version and the only one you’ll ever need.

    • Prep time25 minutes
    • 3 cups elbow macaroni
    • 3 tablespoons butter
    • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
    • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
    • pinch cayenne pepper
    • 1 1/2 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
    • 1 1/2 cup shredded extra-old Cheddar cheese
    • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
    • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
    • 1 tablespoon butter diced and softened

    Nutritional facts per serving: about

    • Fibre2 g
    • Vitamin C2.0


    Nutritional facts per serving: about

    • Fibre2 g

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    Find Tons Of Other Dreamy Cheesy Meals In Ree’s Bestselling Cookbooks

    And stir together until its all melted. Go ahead and turn off the heat.

    Now its time for seasoning! Add about 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt If youre sensitive to salt, start really low and work your way upand remember that the cheese imparts quite a bit of salt to the mix.

    BUTand this is importantbe careful not to UNDERSALT the mac & cheese. It really needs ample salt to put the flavor over the top.

    *I also use paprika, cayenne pepper, even ground thyme every now and then. Play with different ground spices and see what you like best.

    And finally, add plenty of black pepper, of the Black Dust variety. Honestly, I love freshly ground pepperbut not in homemade Mac & Cheese. For me, it has to be the powdery stuff.

    Now THATs what Im talkin about.

    And guess what? You can just steam some fresh broccoli and spoon some of this over the top. Kids from all over the land will show up at your doorstep.

    Did you know a single serving of broccoli is positively loaded with Vitamin C?

    Now just dump in the drained, not-fully-cooked macaroni!

    And stir the mixture together.

    I use a little less than the full amount of cooked macaroni, because I love it extra creamy and coated. Just add it according to how you like it.

    Now, you can either dish it up as it is right now, which makes for an ultra-creamy love fest

    OR you can pour the macaroni into a buttered baking dish. This is a 2-quart dish, but a 9 x 13 pan would work just fine.

    Kinda like this.

    Hello, lover.

    Variations Of This Recipe

    Baked Macaroni & Cheese Recipe
    • PROTEIN Feel free to add in some shredded chicken, pulled pork, or some crispy bacon for an extra protein punch.
    • VEGGIES Trying to get your veggies in? Stir in some steamed broccoli or cauliflower.
    • TOPPINGS If you love a topping on your mac and cheese, transfer the cooked cheesy mac to a baking dish and top with either some extra cheese, buttered panko breadcrumbs, or buttered crushed Ritz crackers. Broil a few minutes until crispy.
    • COOKING LIQUID If you prefer to use all chicken broth, or all water feel free to do that. Just make sure there are 4 total cups of liquid.
    • DIFFERENT CHEESES Gruyere, Gouda, Fontina, Mozzarella, Monterey Jack, Colby, or all Cheddar. These are all good melting cheeses and will give you a smooth sauce. However, feel free to play around with different combinations that you like!

    Read Also: Cooking With Toddlers Easy Recipes

    About This Easy Baked Macaroni And Cheese:

    This baked macaroni and cheese is made like Grandma used to make it, the old fashioned, baked in a casserole dish style. If youre looking for a creamy, non-baked recipe, youll probably love this copycat Panera mac and cheese or Instant Pot macaroni and cheese.

    I just love this baked macaroni and cheese, though. Its a little bit chewier, with lots of great cheddar cheese flavor, and I especially love the way the top crisps up in the oven.

    Plus its so easy! You just boil pasta, mix with grated cheese, a couple tablespoons of flour, and seasonings, put it in a casserole dish, and pour the milk over it. Thats it! No messing with white sauces or tricky steps. No getting four pots and pans dirty!

    You can prep this macaroni and cheese ahead of time and keep it in the fridge overnight. Its ready to bake when you want it!

    Baked mac and cheese is a total crowd pleaser. This is a great recipe for busy weeknight meals but also for entertaining. Perfect for potlucks!

    Enjoy one of our familys favorite meals! I grew up eating this macaroni and cheese and it was always a special day when my mom prepared it. Now I love serving it to my family and I especially love how easy it is to prepare. Im sure you will too!

    Making Instant Pot Mac And Cheese Ahead Of Time

    Some recipes are great, and even better, when made ahead but mac and cheese just isnt one of them.

    As the pasta sits, it absorbs more and more of the sauce, making the mac and cheese dry, and the noodles mushy.

    In my opinion, this is a recipe that just tastes the best when made right before you eat it.

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    How To Make Instant Pot Mac And Cheese

  • Add pasta, liquids, butter, hot sauce and seasonings.
  • Dont stir. Just gently press down with a wooden spoon to make sure all the pasta is submerged. This ensures the pasta will cook and not be hard. Stirring could result in a burn notice on your Instant Pot.
  • Pressure cook for 4 minutes.
  • Quick release. I tested performing a natural pressure release, and it usually resulted in overcooked pasta, so I prefer to do a quick release.Be aware, this recipe is starchy, and can sputter quite a bit when venting. I usually place a folded paper towel loosely over the vent to prevent any kitchen messes. Keep in mind, this isnt recommended by Instant Pot, just something I do do this at your own risk.
  • Turn off your Instant Pot. This prevents any possible overcooking by keeping it on keep warm.
  • Stir in heavy cream, and cheeses. Add in the cheese a handful or so at a time, stirring really well after each addition. Keep stirring until a creamy sauce forms.
  • Easiest Baked Macaroni And Cheese

    Baked Macaroni and Cheese

    Rachel GurkPosted:

    This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

    Easiest ever baked macaroni and cheese this is a go-to recipe of many of my readers and it will become the same for your family!

    No, really.

    This is the easiest ever macaroni and cheese! And so delicious!

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    Special Equipment For This Recipe

    • Instant Pot I recently upgraded to this model and I love it!



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

    Making Mac And Cheese Ahead Of Time

    • Make as directed , transfer to baking dish and cool completely. Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate 1-2 days ahead.
    • Before baking, let dish sit on counter for 30 minutes.
    • Bake at recipe temperature for 25-35 minutes, until hot and bubbly.

    As a caveat, this recipe, as with most mac and cheese recipes, loses some of its creaminess when made ahead. This dish has been tested when made right away, which yields the best results.

    I would increase the amount of sauce slightly if you need to make this recipe ahead of time.

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    Homemade Baked Mac And Cheese

    There is absolutely nothing I love more than cheese. And when you add pasta to it? Fuggetaboutit.

    Mac and cheese is one of those recipes that can take on so many different forms. I love it anyway I can get it but baked mac and cheese is my very favorite and Ill tell you why The topping. I use breadcrumbs for my topping occasionally, but, a Panko topped mac and cheese is just that much better.

    I mix in Parmesan, butter, and paprika with the Panko so it crisps up beautifully and gets a nice golden brown color when this amazing homemade mac and cheese is baked.

    Im going to be honest here. When I make mac and cheese, its the mac to cheese ratio that I am most concerned about. I love it when the mac and cheese is oeey gooey and the cheese sauce is just so creamy. GIMME.

    With all this cheese going on in this macaroni and cheese recipe, I need a little help from my KitchenAid Deluxe Stand Mixer and its handy dandy Fresh Prep Slice/Shredder attachment. I picked up this beauty at Walmart this past week and I am in LOOOOOVE. I was torn between the options: SILVER | COBALT | PISTACHIO. But, when I pictured them in my kitchen, I knew I had to go with the cobalt its just stunning!

    I use my stand mixer about 954 times each week. Being a food blogger and mom means Im in my kitchen a lot baking up goodies and whipping up amazing dinners like this homemade baked mac and cheese. I am always, always looking for help in the kitchen and the Kitchen Aid Deluxe Stand Mixer is the answer.

    What Can I Add To Mac And Cheese For Flavor

    The Best Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe

    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.

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    The Best Homemade Baked Mac And Cheese

    The BEST Homemade Mac and Cheese of your LIFE. Outrageously cheesy, ultra creamy, and topped with a crunchy Panko-Parmesan topping, this mac and cheese recipe is most definitely a keeper. I used three different cheese and a homemade cheese sauce to take this macaroni and cheese recipe over the top. Love cheesy recipes? Make sure to try this Lazy Day Lasagna and Cheesy Kielbasa Rice and Broccoli Skillet next week for dinner!

    This post is sponsored by Walmart and SheKnows Media.

    Other Side Dishes You Will Enjoy

    • Grate both the cheddar and sharp cheddar cheeses and combine together in a bowl.

    Cheese Division Divide into three groups

    • One group will make up the sauce 3 cups
    • One group will be added in between layers of the macaroni and cheese 1 1/2 cups
    • Last group will top the dish 1 1/2 cups
    • Set groups of cheese aside.

    Pasta Cook And Prep

    • Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot.
    • Add the pasta and cook until al dente, usually about 1 minute less than the package directs to cook pasta.
    • While the pasta is cooking, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
    • Grease a 3-quart baking dish and set it aside.
    • Drain the pasta and set it aside.

    Cheese Sauce

    • Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
    • Slowly add the flour in and whisk to combine. Continue to whisk and cook for about a minute.
    • Combine the milk and half and half into a large measuring cup.
    • Slowly pour in 2 cups of the half and half, whisking constantly. Whisk until smooth.
    • Slowly pour in the remaining half and half and the whole milk, whisking constantly, until smooth.
    • Slowly pour in the remaining half and half and the whole milk, whisking constantly, until smooth.
    • Whisking very often, continue to cook until the sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes.
    • Remove from the heat and add salt and pepper.
    • Add the cheese portion that makes up 3 cups. First, add half of it and mix to combine.
    • Once melted, add the additional 1 1/2 cups and continue to stir until melted and smooth.

    Putting It Together

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