The Best Baked Mac and Cheese

On nights when you’re in a hurry, mac and cheese can be your best friend. With a recipe like my Instant Pot Mac and Cheese, you can have it ready in under 20 minutes. And the kids are always happy to eat it.Spoon scooping out some mac and cheese from a baking dish

But on nights when you’re not in a hurry, mac and cheese can be even better. Because then, you can put in a little extra effort and make it into something really special.

You can take your time making a smooth, creamy cheese sauce with a mixture of good, sharp cheddar and real Gruyere. You can mix it lovingly into noodles cooked to a firm tenderness. You can pour this noodle and cheese mixture into a baking pan, alternating layers with noodles and grated cheddar. And you can bake it for 20 to 25 minutes until the cheese is hot, golden, and bubbly.

Served up with a sprinkle of fresh, green parsley, this extra-special mac and cheese is much more than a quick and easy dinner. It’s a lavish, creamy, cheesy extravagance that the whole family will savor. In other words…it’s simply The Best Best Baked Mac and Cheese.baked mac and cheese in a small white dish

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Recipe Tips:

  • While I used classic noodles for this recipe, you can use any pasta shape you like! Just make sure you cook it 2 minutes less than package directions to prevent it from over cooking.
  • It’s important to cook the rue for 2 full minutes before adding the cream. That will help prevent the raw flour flavor from coming through the sauce.
  • Have fun with toppings! Feel free to add breadcrumbs, bacon or chives to make this dish your own.
  • For a crunchy topping, bake at 375 degrees F and use the broil setting for a couple of minutes at the finish.
  • This dish warms up great! You can store it covered in the fridge for 3 days.

The Best Baked Mac and Cheese

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9×13 baking pan. Cook noodles according to package directions, taking two minutes off the recommended time.uncooked pasta in a glass bowl
  2. While the noodles are cooking, melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add flour and whisk. Cook for two minutes.
  3. Slowly add the milk and half and half, whisking constantly. Add about ½ cup at a time, until it thickens before adding more. Cook until the sauce is nice and thick.
  4. Add 1½ cup of the Gruyere and 1½ cup of cheddar into the mixture and stir until melted. Stir in salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika. Remove from heat.
    Drain noodles.whisking together butter, milk, and flour
  5. In a large bowl, mix the noodles with the cheese sauce. Mix together until well combined.
    mixing together mac and cheese in glass mixing bowl
  6. Pour half of your noodle mixture into your baking dish and top with half of your shredded cheese.shredded cheese on a wooden spoon, held over casserole dish
  7. Pour the remaining noodles mixture on top.
  8. Finish the dish by topping with the rest of the shredded cheese.shredded cheese sprinkled on top of mac and cheese
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is nice and bubbly. Garnish with fresh parsley before serving, if desired.baked mac and cheese in a casserole dishspoon with a scoop of mac and cheese

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5 from 1 vote

The Best Baked Mac and Cheese

This recipe is a creamy, cheesy extravagance that the whole family will savor. In other words…it’s simply The Best Baked Mac and Cheese.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes

Ingredients
 

  • 1 lb elbow macaroni noodles
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 5 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese - divided
  • 2 cups shredded Gruyere -divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • Optional: Fresh Parsley for garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9x13 baking pan. Cook noodles according to package directions, taking two minutes off the recommended time.
  • While the noodles are cooking, melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add flour and whisk. Cook for two minutes.
  • Slowly add the milk and half and half, whisking constantly. Add about ½ cup at a time, until it thickens before adding more. Cook until the sauce is nice and thick.
  • Add 1½ cup of the Gruyere and 1½ cup of cheddar into the mixture and stir until melted. Stir in salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika. Remove from heat.
  • In a large bowl, mix the noodles with the cheese sauce. Mix together until well combined. 
  • Pour the remaining noodles mixture on top.
  • Finish the dish by topping with the rest of the shredded cheese.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is nice and bubbly. Garnish with fresh parsley before serving, if desired.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 763kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 46g | Saturated Fat: 28g | Cholesterol: 169mg | Sodium: 924mg | Potassium: 263mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1717IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 979mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutritional Disclaimer: Family Fresh Meals is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

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2 Comments

  1. Chris Swoll says:

    When are you supposed to add the seasoning and spices? Did I miss something? Cant wait to try it!

    1. Hi Chris. I hope you love it. Spices go in on step 4.