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Making mac and cheese is usually on the menu for most homes, especially if you have kids. All that creamy, cheesy goodness is always a winner. But with this recipe, you can upgrade your traditional dish into a Bacon Mac and Cheese – the same great dish with all that extra flavor.
If this has you wanting to try more upgraded ideas for your favorite pasta dish, why not try Chili Mac and Cheese? Or for an even spicier version, you could try Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese. For an original cheese version, try our Baked Mac and Cheese.
BACON MAC AND CHEESE INGREDIENTS
You will need:
For the Roux
- 3 tablespoons of flour
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- 2 cups milk
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
For the Casserole
- 1 16-ounce package smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled, divided
- 1 16-ounce box elbow macaroni pasta, cooked to al dente according to package
- 8-ounce block parmesan cheese, divided
- 8-ounce block mild cheddar cheese, divided
- 8-ounce block mozzarella cheese, divided
For the Topping
- ½ cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
PRO TIP: Al dente is the ideal consistency for pasta. The pasta will be tender and will still have a slightly firm texture when you bite into it.
SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS
PASTA: You can use classic elbow macaroni or if you like something a little thicker and more substantial, swap it for corkscrew pasta, known as cavatappi or cellentani.
BACON: Pre-cooked bacon works just fine if you like or just cook bacon yourself. You could even swap it for something like pancetta if you love a smoky flavor.
JALAPEÑO: If you like things spicy, transform this to a Bacon Jalapeño Mac and Cheese by adding some thin slices of jalapeño pepper to the dish once you are ready to serve. You can add even more spice by adding a dash of cayenne pepper into your roux.
HOW TO MAKE THIS BACON MAC AND CHEESE RECIPE
STEP ONE: Preheat the oven to 375°F.
STEP TWO: Grate the blocks of parmesan, mild cheddar, and mozzarella cheeses and place in a medium bowl. Mix to combine and set aside. Reserve 1 ½ cups of the cheese mixture for the roux.
PRO TIP: It’s best to grate your own cheese rather than use the pre-grated version in the bag. That’s because it usually has an anti-caking agent on it that means it doesn’t melt as well.
STEP THREE: In a medium saucepan, melt butter (3 tablespoons) over medium heat. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of flour.
STEP FOUR: Slowly add 2 cups of milk to the saucepan, stirring constantly. Add the garlic powder, salt, and pepper and continue stirring until smooth.
STEP FIVE: Reduce the heat to low and whisk periodically until the sauce has thickened.
STEP SIX: Add the reserved 1 ½ cups of the grated cheese mixture. Stir until melted and smooth.
STEP SEVEN: Remove from heat. Fold in the cooked macaroni pasta until well coated in the cheese sauce.
STEP EIGHT: Next, coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with non-stick spray. Pour the cheese sauce and macaroni mixture into the pan.
STEP NINE: Spread the remaining grated cheese mixture over the macaroni. Reserve and set aside ¼ cup bacon crumbles. Spread the remaining bacon evenly over the cheese.
STEP TEN: In a small bowl, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add ½ cup of Panko bread crumbs and ¼ cup of the reserved bacon. Stir to combine. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the macaroni and cheese.
STEP ELEVEN: Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
HOW TO SERVE
This is the ultimate comfort food and can be served on it’s own or on the side of an entree. If you are serving this as the main course, add pull-apart garlic bread and caesar salad on the side. Or add a spoonful to the side of grilled chicken breast and simple sauteed vegetables.
IN THE FRIDGE: Pop the cooled creamy bacon mac and cheese in the fridge in an airtight container and it will keep for up to three days. To reheat, just add to a baking dish in the oven and cook until bubbling.
IN THE FREEZER: You can freeze homemade mac and cheese and keep it there for up to three months. Wait until it is fully cooled then store in an airtight container. Make sure you defrost it thoroughly then pop it in a baking dish in the oven and reheat.
Adding crispy bacon flavor to mac and cheese is a simple and delicious way to upgrade the classic pasta dish. You can make a gourmet version using something like pancetta or a quick option with pre-cooked bacon – it will always taste perfect. Upgrade your pasta with this simple Bacon Mac and Cheese recipe. It includes making homemade creamy cheese sauce, adding three kinds of cheese and using your favorite bacon to transform the flavor of the simple pasta recipe and take it to the next level.
This easy mac and cheese recipe can be frozen for up to three months in an airtight container.
You could add pancetta or prosciutto as they are very similar to bacon and would give you the same smoky flavor.
Adding some hot peppers such as jalapeños or a dash of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper would be great ways to make your dish spicier.
MORE RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
- The Best Meatloaf Recipe
- Oven Beef Stew
- Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- The Best Crockpot Mac and Cheese (Easy Recipe)
- Million Dollar Mac and Cheese
Bacon Mac and Cheese
- 3 tablespoons ﬂour
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 cup milk
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 package Applewood Smoked Bacon 16 oz., cooked and crumbled, divided
- 1 16-oz box elbow macaroni pasta cooked according to package
- 8 ounce block parmesan cheese divided
- 8 ounce block mild cheddar cheese divided
- 8 ounce block mozzarella cheese divided
- 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon butter melted
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Grate the blocks of parmesan, mild cheddar, and mozzarella cheeses and place in a large bowl. Mix to combine and set aside. Reserve 1 ½ cups of the cheese mixture for the roux.
- In a medium saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of flour.
- Slowly add 2 cups of milk to the saucepan, stirring constantly. Add the garlic powder, salt, and pepper and continue stirring until smooth.
- Reduce the heat to low and and whisk periodically until sauce has thickened.
- Add the reserved 1 ½ cups of the grated cheese mixture. Stir until melted and smooth.
- Remove from heat. Fold in the cooked macaroni pasta until well coated in the cheese sauce.
- Next, coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with non-stick spray. Pour the macaroni and cheese sauce mixture into the pan.
- Spread the remaining grated cheese mixture over the macaroni. Reserve and set aside ¼ cup bacon crumbles. Spread the remaining bacon evenly over the cheese.
- In a small bowl, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add ½ cup of Panko bread crumbs and ¼ cup of the reserved bacon. Stir to combine. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the macaroni and cheese.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.