There are few comfort foods better than Mac And Cheese, and this Baked Mac And Cheese is the best I have ever had. One gripe I always have with Mac And Cheese is that it tends to be too "samesy", cheesy and boring without having depth of flavor and texture. So I developed this recipe to fix all of that. This Mac And Cheese is easy to make, flavorful and balanced without being overpowering. The baked layer of cheese on top adds a much needed crunch. And the result is *perfection*!
Here are the ingredients you will need for this recipe (exact recipes are provided at the bottom of this post):
- Elbow macaroni - you can also use other types of pasta like cellentani or rigatoni
- Unsalted butter - this does not have to be at room temperature
- All purpose flour
- Whole milk
- Heavy cream - you can replace this with more milk if needed
- Cream cheese - ideally at room temperature
- Black pepper
- Garlic powder or fresh minced / chopped garlic
- Onion powder
- Shredded cheddar, gruyere and mozzarella cheeses - the type of cheese you use will be the main factor impacting the taste of the Mac And Cheese. I highly recommend using freshly grated cheeses. If you can't find gruyere, you can replace it with gouda. This mixture will be divided into two parts, one that is added to the cheese sauce, and one that is layered before baking
- Freshly chopped parsley
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST BAKED MAC AND CHEESE
Now let's go over the steps to make this Baked Mac And Cheese. It is really simple and fuss free!
1. Boil the macaroni
First, boil the macaroni according to the instructions on the packet, bringing them to al dente. I like to add a generous pinch of salt to the water as well. Drain, wash with cold water, and set aside.
2. Make the cheese sauce
Preheat your oven to 350F before getting started.
Now let's make the cheese sauce! Start by melting butter in a large saucepan / Dutch oven pan on medium-low heat. Once the butter is melted, add the flour and stir for 1-2 minutes to toast the flour.
Add the salt and spices, and stir for another minute or so to cook the spices. Now, add the milk and cream. Stir until the mixture comes to a boil.
Then add the cream cheese and whisk it in. At this point, you can turn off the heat. Now, just stir in the cheese mixture, adding them a little at a time and mixing until they are melted in.
You should have a creamy cheese sauce. It should not be too thick, as it will thicken up more during baking.
Stir in the boiled macaroni. Taste and adjust the spices and salt as needed.
In a casserole dish (I use a 7x11" ceramic dish), add half of the Mac And Cheese mixture and spread it out. Sprinkle over a layer of cheese.
Then cover with the remaining Mac And Cheese, and top off with the remaining cheese. Sprinkle over chopped parsley, and a little paprika.
Now it's time to bake! Place the dish in the oven and bake for ~15 minutes. Then switch to broil, and broil until the cheese on top is melted and golden.
5. Serve and enjoy!
That's it. It is now time to enjoy this delicious Baked Mac And Cheese! 🙂
If you enjoy this recipe, I have many more simple and comforting recipes for you to try next! Check out these:
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
You can store this Baked Mac And Cheese in the fridge in an airtight container, and reheat in an oven (covered with aluminum foil) or microwave before serving.
Yes! You can make this Mac And Cheese all the way till assembly, then cover the casserole dish with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for up to 1 week. Bake when ready to serve.