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Bacon Mac and Cheese

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close up shot of bacon mac and cheese in a bowl
This simple, hearty bacon mac and cheese is loaded with extra cheese, tender noodles -- and plenty of bacon.
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Table of Contents
  1. Bacon Mac and Cheese Ingredients 
  2. How To Make This Bacon Mac and Cheese Recipe 
  3. How To Serve
  4. Storage 
  5. More Recipes You’ll Love
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

Bacon mac and cheese is a great way to upgrade dinner with plenty of extra flavors. Making mac and cheese is usually on the menu for most homes, especially if you have kids, and all that creamy, cheesy goodness plus bacon will be a guaranteed winner.

close up shot of bacon mac and cheese in a spoon

Bacon Mac and Cheese Ingredients 

bacon mac and cheese raw ingredients that are labeled

You’ll need: 

For the Roux

  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 3 tablespoons of flour 
  • 2 cups milk 
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder 
  • ¼ teaspoon salt 
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper 

For the Casserole

  • 1 (16-ounce) package of smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled, divided 
  • 1 (16-ounce) box elbow macaroni pasta, cooked to al dente according to the package directions
  • 8-ounce block parmesan cheese, divided 
  • 8-ounce block of 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 the bacon yourself. You could even swap it for something like pancetta if you love the smoky flavor.  

JALAPEÑO: If you like things spicy, transform this into a bacon jalapeño mac and cheese by adding 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 1½ 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 a preservative on it, which means it doesn’t melt as well.

shredded blocks of cheese combined in a bowl

STEP THREE: In a medium saucepan, melt butter (3 tablespoons) over medium heat. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of flour.

butter and flour whisked together to make roux in a pot

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 1½ cups of the grated cheese mixture. Stir until melted and smooth. 

cheese added to the flour mixture and stirred together in a pot

STEP SEVEN: Remove from the 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 of bacon crumbles. Spread the remaining bacon evenly over the cheese.

bacon and cheese sprinkled over the macaroni in a baking dish

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.

topping sprinkled over the mac and cheese in a baking dish

STEP ELEVEN: Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. 

PRO TIP:

Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to keep a close eye on your macaroni as the suggested baking time approaches.

How To Serve

This is the ultimate comfort food and can be served on its 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.

If this has you wanting to try more upgraded ideas for your favorite pasta dish, why not try chili mac? Or, for an even spicier version, you could try buffalo chicken mac and cheese.

Storage 

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 it 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 it in an airtight container. Make sure you defrost it thoroughly, then pop it in a baking dish in the oven and reheat.

close up shot of bacon mac and cheese in a bowl

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.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I freeze the baked macaroni and cheese?

This easy mac and cheese recipe can be frozen for up to three months in an airtight container.

Are there other meats that I could add to this recipe?

You could add pancetta or prosciutto as they are very similar to bacon and would give you the same smoky flavor.

How do I spice up my bacon mac and cheese?

Adding hot peppers such as jalapeños or a dash of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper would be great ways to make your dish spicier.

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close up shot of bacon mac and cheese in a bowl

Bacon Mac and Cheese

5 from 4 votes
This simple, hearty bacon mac and cheese is loaded with extra cheese, tender noodles — and plenty of bacon.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 7

Ingredients
  

Roux

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

Casserole

  • 16 ounces bacon, cooked and crumbled, divided
  • 16 ounces elbow macaroni pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • 8 ounces parmesan cheese, divided
  • 8 ounces mild cheddar cheese, divided
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, divided

Topping

  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted

Instructions
 

  • 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 1½ 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 1½ 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 of 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.

Video

Notes

  • 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.
  • It’s best to grate your own cheese rather than use the pre-grated version in the bag. That’s because it usually has a preservative on it, which means it doesn’t melt as well.
  • Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to keep a close eye on your macaroni as the suggested baking time approaches.

Nutrition

Calories: 979kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 63g | Saturated Fat: 30g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 20g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 148mg | Sodium: 1591mg | Potassium: 328mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1134IU | Vitamin C: 0.001mg | Calcium: 876mg | Iron: 2mg
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  1. Kristin says

    Can I prepare this early and leave in fridge until ready to bake? Or will the breadcrumbs become soggy?