How To Make Easy Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Our macaroni and cheese recipe is incredibly cheesy, mixed with sharp cheese and cream cheese for a creamy sauce then topped with breadcrumbs for crisp!
- 1lbdry elbow pasta,or pasta shells
- 6tbspbutter,unsalted, divided
- 3tbspall-purpose flour
- 3cupswhole milk,720ml
- 3½cupscheddar cheese,shredded
- ½tspgarlic powder
- dashhot sauce,optional
- 2ozbrick-style cream cheese
- 1cupPanko breadcrumbs
- parsley,fresh, finely chopped, optional, to serve
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large pot of boiling water, add a pinch of salt and the pasta. Cook the pasta for about about 1 to 2 minutes, less than the package cook time, until al dente.
Drain the cooked pasta, pour into a large bowl, and stir in 2 tablespoons of butter. Set the pasta aside.
In a large saucepan or a 12-inch oven-safe skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in the flour to form a thick paste. Cook and whisk the paste for 1 minute, then slowly whisk in the milk.
Once all of the milk is added, continue to whisk. Bring to a simmer. Once simmering, whisk in the cheese until smooth. Whisk in the salt, ground mustard, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and hot sauce (if using). Cook for 2 to3 minutes until thickened.
Pour the sauce over the buttered pasta. Add the cream cheese and stir everything together until the pasta is completely coated and cream cheese is melted. Scoop pasta back into skillet or a greased 9×13-inch pan.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and mix with the Panko breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over pasta.
Bake the pasta for 30 minutes or until it is lightly browned on top and the sides are bubbling. Cover the pasta halfway through the bake time to prevent the top from burning.
Allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving with a little fresh parsley.
Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: To make ahead of time, simply prepare the dish through step 5. Cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 days before continuing with step 7. It is also okay to freeze the macaroni and cheese after step 7 for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then continue with step 8. Add about 5 minutes to bake time. It is also fine to freeze the fully baked macaroni and cheese for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bake at 400 degrees F for 40 minutes.
- Calories: 640.23kcal
- Fat: 34.74g
- Saturated Fat: 19.90g
- Trans Fat: 1.03g
- Monounsaturated Fat: 8.58g
- Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.78g
- Carbohydrates: 55.66g
- Fiber: 2.29g
- Sugar: 6.82g
- Protein: 25.82g
- Cholesterol: 98.75mg
- Sodium: 551.41mg
- Calcium: 533.37mg
- Potassium: 325.69mg
- Iron: 1.30mg
- Vitamin A: 306.21µg
- Vitamin C: 3.13mg
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