Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese

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My favorite Macaroni and Cheese — baked with panko on top to lend it a wonderfully crusty exterior. Rich, creamy, crunchy, making it the epitome of comfort food.

macaroni and cheese recipe

I am sitting here tonight trying to make my meal plan for the week and write my shopping list, but really all I can think about is this macaroni and cheese. I don’t eat macaroni and cheese very often, it is not exactly what one would call a “light” dish, but if I am going to eat it, this is the kind that I want. Rich, creamy, crunchy. All of the good things that you want going on when you are eating something bad for you.

The thing about macaroni and cheese in my opinion, is that it is either really, really delicious or really, really disappointing. So what can you do to guarantee that you are gonna sink your teeth into something delicious? Use more than one kind of cheese and use a lot of salt and pepper. If you’re looking for a twist on the classic, why not try Spicy Corn and Bacon Macaroni and Cheese?

Want to make the best macaroni and cheese ever? Let’s go.

Ingredients

The Macaroni:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lb pasta shells (or any kind of noodle that you like)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 12 oz of cheese (I used a combination of Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Mozzarella, Provolone, Asiago, Fontina, and Parmesan)
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

The Crumb Topping:

  • 3/4 cup Panko crumbs
  • 4 tbsp melted butter
  • salt and pepper
  • chives for garnish
macaroni and cheese recipe

How To – The Steps

Step 1: Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain it 2 minutes before it should be done; you want al dente pasta.

macaroni and cheese recipe

Step 2: Melt the butter in a large saucepan over MEDIUM heat. Add the flour and mustard.

macaroni and cheese recipe

Step 3: Whisk together for at least one minute.

macaroni and cheese recipe

Step 4: Pour in the milk. Whisk in the milk and let it come to a boil. When it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to MEDIUM/MEDIUM-LOW and simmer until the sauce is thickened. It should coat the back of a spoon, maybe 3 minutes more.

macaroni and cheese recipe

Step 5: Remove the sauce from the heat.

macaroni and cheese recipe

Step 6: Whisk in the cheeses.

macaroni and cheese recipe

Step 7: Add the Worcestershire sauce and season generously with salt and pepper.

macaroni and cheese recipe

Step 8: Add the pasta, give it a toss in the cheese sauce and check for seasoning.

macaroni and cheese recipe

Step 9: Put the macaroni and cheese in a buttered dish (or in single serving dishes, if you would like).

macaroni and cheese recipe

Step 10: Add the 4 tablespoons of melted butter to the panko crumbs and season with salt and pepper. Toss until the crumbs are coated.

macaroni and cheese recipe

Step 11: Sprinkle the crumbs on top of the macaroni and cheese.

macaroni and cheese recipe

Step 12: Bake in a preheated 400°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the top is golden and bubbly.

macaroni and cheese recipe

Step 13: Garnish with some chopped chives and serve.

macaroni and cheese recipe

It will totally be worth the run the next morning. I promise.

macaroni and cheese recipe

FAQs

Do you think it could be prepped a day in advance without the panko? Add the panko topping to it the next day and then bake it?

I absolutely think you could prep this a day ahead of time. Add the panko before baking and you should be fine. I would just bake it off before serving, I would skip the microwave.

Do you think not adding it will ruin the recipe? Or if I buy it is it an overwhelming mustard flavor?

If you do not like it, leave it out. It will be fine.

Does the pasta HAVE to be al dente?

No, it’s a matter of preference. That said, it helps the pasta hold its shape and texture when combined with the creamy cheese sauce.

How To Store Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese

First, let the mac and cheese cool completely. I find it useful to divide up the portions now before storage. Place the servings in airtight containers and refrigerate them for up to 4 days. You can also freeze mac and cheese for up to 3 months. Let it thaw in the fridge overnight before you eat it. You can reheat it in the oven at 350°F. Cover with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until heated through. The microwave is also an option for reheating, but it can sometimes result in uneven heating.

If you are looking for alternatives, consider trying the Chili Mac and Cheese or the Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese.

macaroni and cheese recipe

Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese

bakedbree
My favorite Macaroni and Cheese — baked with panko on top to lend it a wonderfully crusty exterior. Rich, creamy, crunchy, making it the epitome of comfort food.
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Course pasta

Ingredients
  

The Macaroni:

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pound pasta shells or any kind of noodle that you like
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 12 ounces of cheese I used a combination of Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Mozzarella, Provolone, Asiago, Fontina, and Parmesan
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

The Crumb Topping:

  • 3/4 cup Panko crumbs
  • 4 Tablespoons melted butter
  • salt and pepper
  • chives for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain it 2 minutes before it should be done, you want al dente pasta.
  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and mustard.
  • Whisk together for at least one minute.
  • Pour in the milk. Whisk in the milk and let it come to a boil. When it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium to medium low and simmer until the sauce is thickened. It should coat the back of a spoon, maybe 3 minutes more.
  • Remove the sauce from the heat.
  • Whisk in the cheeses.
  • Add the Worcestershire sauce and season generously with salt and pepper.
  • Add the pasta, give it a toss in the cheese sauce and check for seasoning.
  • Put the macaroni and cheese in a buttered dish (or in single serving dishes if you would like).
  • Add the 4 Tablespoons of melted butter to the Panko crumbs and season with salt and pepper. Toss until the crumbs are coated.
  • Sprinkle the crumbs on top of the macaroni and cheese.
  • Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the top is golden and bubbly.
  • Garnish with some chopped chives and serve.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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