This creamy, baked mac and cheese is made from scratch with a delicious sauce and tender noodles, topped with crunchy breadcrumbs.
Prep Time20 minutesmins
Cook Time20 minutesmins
Total Time40 minutesmins
Course: Main Course
Keyword: Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe
Mac and Cheese
2½cupslarge elbow macaroni
24ouncesevaporated milk(12-ounce cans)
2½cupsmild cheddar cheese,shredded (freshly grated if possible)
2½cupswhite sharp cheddar cheese,shredded
1cupherb panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Spray a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick spray. Set aside.
In a large pot, cook the macaroni according to package directions, but cook it for 1 to 2 minutes UNDER al dente. It will continue cooking as it bakes later. Drain the pasta, 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 you don't burn the flour.
Pour in the 2 cups of whole milk and whisk until all lumps are gone and the mixture is smooth, about 1 minute.
Over medium-high heat, add the 2 cans of evaporated milk, salt, and pepper. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and starts to boil and thicken, about 8-10 minutes. Stir often so it doesn’t burn to the bottom of the pot.
Stir cheeses together in a large bowl.
Stir 4 cups of cheese into the pot and stir until the cheese is melted.
Remove from the 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 the cheese is bubbly and top is golden brown.
If you’re serving a crowd, this recipe easily doubles or triples.
Make sure you whisk constantly so that you don't burn the flour.
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 check your mac and cheese at the lower end of the recommended baking time.