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Baked Mac and Cheese

A plate of food, with Casserole
This creamy, baked mac and cheese is made from scratch with a delicious sauce and tender noodles, topped with breadcrumbs in this simple, homemade dinner recipe.
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Table of Contents
  1. INGREDIENTS FOR BAKED MAC AND CHEESE
  2. HOW TO MAKE THIS BAKED MAC AND CHEESE RECIPE
  3. STORAGE
  4. MORE RECIPES YOU'LL LOVE
  5. JUMP TO RECIPE

There’s nothing simpler than mac and cheese but sometimes you want a bit of an upgrade. With this recipe, there’s all that creamy goodness you get with a classic recipe but there’s also a touch of crunch. Baked Mac and Cheese is the perfect way to make the simple pasta dish into something even more delicious.

Plus, there are so many other ways you can upgrade the classic mac ‘n’ cheese! Check out this idea for a chili mac for starters. Or if you want a recipe to pop in the crockpot while you are at work, this crockpot mac and cheese will be just what you need.

close up shot of baked mac and cheese

MORE MAC AND CHEESE RECIPES:
Cauliflower Mac and Cheese | Bacon Mac and Cheese


INGREDIENTS FOR BAKED MAC AND CHEESE

baked Mac and cheese raw ingredients that are labeled

You will need:

Mac and Cheese

  • 2 ½ cups large elbow macaroni
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 (12 ounce) cans evaporated milk
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 ½ cups mild cheddar cheese, shredded (freshly grated if possible)
  • 2 ½ cups white sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Topping

  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup herb panko bread crumbs

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

Cheese: you can swap the cheddar cheese for something like mozzarella or even Monterrey Jack if you prefer. Or you can go for a stronger cheese but remember, this will make the cheesy sauce taste stronger.

Breadcrumbs: if you can’t find any herb flavored breadcrumbs, use normal panko breadcrumbs, and add dried mixed herbs. Mix the two then use as per the instructions.

Additions: you can also add some meat or fish to the recipe to make it a little more filling. Something like chicken, shrimp or mac and cheese with bacon are great ideas. You can also add extra nutrition by including something like broccoli.

Text

HOW TO MAKE THIS BAKED MAC AND CHEESE RECIPE

STEP ONE: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray. Set aside.

STEP TWO: In a large 5 QT pot, cook the macaroni according to package directions but cook it 1 to 2 minutes UNDER. It will continue cooking as it bakes later. Drain the pasta and drizzle the olive oil over it and toss it to keep it from drying out while you prepare the sauce. Set aside.

Food on a table, with Cheese and Cook

STEP THREE: In the pot you just cooked the pasta in, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Once butter is melted add in the flour and whisk for a minute whisking constantly so to not to burn the flour.

STEP FOUR: Pour in the 2 cups of whole milk and whisk until all lumps are gone and mixture is smooth. About 1 minute

STEP FIVE: Over medium-high heat, add the 2 cans of evaporated milk, salt, and pepper. Whisk until mixture is smooth and starts to boil and to thicken, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir often so it doesn’t burn to bottom of pot.

STEP SIX: Stir cheeses together in a large bowl.

STEP SEVEN: Stir in 4 cups of cheese into the pot and stir until cheese is melted.

STEP EIGHT: Remove from heat and stir in the cooked macaroni shells.

STEP NINE: Pour into the prepared baking dish. It will look a bit soupy but it will thicken as it cooks.

STEP TEN: Sprinkle the remaining one cup of shredded cheese over the top of the mac and cheese.

STEP ELEVEN: In a small bowl mix together the Panko bread crumbs and melted butter. Sprinkle over the top of the macaroni and cheese.

A tray of food on a plate, with Cheese and Cook

STEP TWELVE: Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until cheese is bubbly and top is golden brown.

STEP THIRTEEN: Serve hot.

STORAGE

IN THE FRIDGE: You can store mac and cheese in the fridge for 2 to 3 days, but it can be best to do it before the breadcrumbs have been added. Otherwise, they tend to go a bit soggy. If you want to store, stop at step five and cool down the pasta. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge.

IN THE FREEZER: the same applies to freezing the recipe. Stop at step five and allow the pasta to cool. Store it in an airtight container in the freezer for 1 to 2 months. Lift out and allow to defrost. Reheat in the pan then resume the recipe to add the breadcrumbs and bake in the oven.

overhead shot of baked mac and cheese in a clear pan with a serving placed in a white bowl by a large spoon

You’ll love this baked version of this classic recipe. It still has the creamy sauce we all love but adds extra flavor and crunch with the breadcrumbs. That’s why it has become a Southern comfort food favorite!

MORE RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE

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A plate of food, with Casserole

Baked Mac and Cheese

5 from 14 votes
This creamy, baked mac and cheese is made from scratch with a delicious sauce and tender noodles, topped with breadcrumbs in this simple, homemade dinner recipe.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 10

Ingredients
  

Mac and Cheese

  • 2 1/2 cup large elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 2 cup whole milk
  • 2 12 ounce cans evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 1/2 cup mild cheddar cheese shredded (freshly grated if possible)
  • 2 1/2 cup white sharp cheddar cheese shredded

Topping

  • 4 tbsp butter melted
  • 1 cup herb panko bread crumbs

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  • In a large 5 QT pot, cook the macaroni according to package directions but cook it 1 to 2 minutes UNDER. It will continue cooking as it bakes later. Drain the pasta and drizzle the olive oil over it and toss it to keep it from drying out while you prepare the sauce. Set aside.
  • In the pot you just cooked the pasta in, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Once butter is melted add in the flour and whisk for a minute whisking constantly so to not to burn the flour.
  • Pour in the 2 cups of whole milk and whisk until all lumps are gone and mixture is smooth. About 1 minute.
  • Over medium-high heat add the 2 cans of evaporated milk, salt, and pepper. Whisk until mixture is smooth and starts to boil and to thicken, about 8-10 minutes. Stir often so it doesn’t burn to bottom of pot.
  • Stir cheeses together in a large bowl.
  • Stir in 4 cups of cheese into the pot and stir until cheese is melted.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the cooked macaroni shells.
  • Pour into the prepared baking dish. It will look a bit soupy but it will thicken as it cooks.
  • Sprinkle the remaining one cup of shredded cheese over the top of the mac and cheese.
  • In a small bowl mix together the Panko bread crumbs and melted butter. Sprinkle over the top of the macaroni and cheese.
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until cheese is bubbly and top is golden brown.
  • Serve hot.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 501kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 88mg | Sodium: 847mg | Potassium: 216mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 927IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 485mg | Iron: 1mg
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Proudly Prepared by the Spaceships Kitchen

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  1. Jennifer says

    Is there a way to make this only a half of the pan size? This is always a hit in my house we just seem to always have to many leftovers 😂.

  2. lisa c says

    5 stars
    This was very good, owing, I believe to the use of evaporated milk along with regular milk, giving it extra richness, as well as the panko crumb topping. I did wing it a bit (using approximate quantities to sort of halve the recipe and using whatever cheese I had available), and everybody really liked it.

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