The ultimate classic Baked Mac and Cheese, with an insane cheesy sauce and topped with an irresistible golden, buttery breadcrumb topping. This is the Macaroni Cheese recipe of your dreams!!
Prepare yourself for the heart-stopping moment in the recipe video when I pull this bubbling beauty out of the oven…..and the stretchy cheese shot!
Baked Mac and Cheese
I don’t want to be morbid, but if I had to choose a Last Meal, this Baked Mac and Cheese may possibly be it. I know, I know, it’s not very Aussie or Japanese of me to say that. I should probably say sushi or sausage rolls or roast lamb.
Put me in a room with Macaroni Cheese, and neither of us stand a chance. Said Mac and Cheese would be ravaged.
And of all the Mac and Cheeses in the world, this is my very favourite.
About this Macaroni and Cheese
This is not an insanely fully loaded Mac and Cheese. I know you’ll see some with many types of cheeses and made really rich with cream. Topped with bacon, with lobster and crab.
This is not one of those versions. But if you want a buttery, cheesy, creamy Macaroni and Cheese with perfectly cooked macaroni, plenty of sauce and a crunchy buttery top, this is a Mac and Cheese for you. ❤
What goes in Baked Mac and Cheese
Here’s what you need. Cheese. Butter. Pasta.
All the essential food groups covered!?
How to make Baked Mac and Cheese
It’s a straightforward recipe, starting with a basic butter-flour roux that is used to thicken milk to make the cheese sauce. For first timers, I think the short video below will help give you the confidence that you’ve got this!
What to serve with Baked Mac and Cheese
Mac and Cheese is worthy of serving as a meal in its own right, served with just a fresh green salad or simple vegetable side. Nothing heavy because Macaroni Cheese is so rich as it is!
As a side dish, it will compliment virtually any non-Asian main dish. From simple Baked Pork Chops to Steak, a Roast Chicken to Crispy Garlic Chicken Thighs, the only things I probably would not serve with Mac and Cheese would be very light summery mains such as a Tuna Tartare – just a little too much contrast.
And of course, festive gatherings! Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter – alongside a grand Roast Turkey or your Herb & Garlic Butter Slathered Turkey Breast, the juicy Roast Pork with impossibly Crispy Crackling or your Prime Rib that’s so perfectly blushing pink all the way through, it makes you want to weep.
Holidays would not be the same without this Mac and Cheese!! – Nagi xx
Baked Mac and Cheese recipe
Watch how to make it
Baked Mac and Cheese recipe video! Don’t miss the ending when it comes out of the oven….
Baked Mac and Cheese
- 250g / 8 oz macaroni (elbow pasta)
- 1 tbsp (15g) unsalted butter (or 2 tsp oil)
- 2/3 cup (40g) panko breadcrumbs (Note 1)
- 2 tbsp (30g) unsalted butter
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp (60g) unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup (50g) flour , plain / all purpose
- 3 cups (750 ml) milk , warmed (low or full fat)
- 2 cups (200g) shredded cheese (favourite is gruyere, next is cheddar and Colby) (Note 2)
- 1 cup (100g) shredded mozzarella cheese , or more other cheese of choice (Note 2)
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp mustard powder
- Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add macaroni and cook per packet directions MINUS 1 minute.
- Drain, return pasta to pot, add butter and toss until melted. Set aside to cool while making the Sauce (Optional - Note 3).
- Mix together Topping. Set aside.
Sauce (video is helpful):
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.
- In a large saucepan or in an ovenproof skillet (I use my 26cm/9" Lodge cast iron skillet), melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
- Add about 1 cup of the milk and mix to dissolve the paste into the milk. Then add remaining milk and mix until lump free (use whisk if required).
- Mix in salt and Seasonings if using.
- Cook, stirring/whisking regularly, for 5 - 8 minutes until thickened to a cream consistency. When the Sauce coats the back of a wooden spoon, you should be able to draw a path with your finger.
- Remove from stove, add cheese and stir - cheese doesn't need to melt.
- Adjust salt to taste.
- Pour Sauce into pot with Macaroni. Stir quickly, then pour back into the skillet (I did this) or a baking dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumb topping.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until top is light golden. Don't bake too long otherwise you'll bake away the Sauce!
- Serve immediately! I sprinkled mine with a bit of fresh parsley.
- Main Cheese (2 cups) - my favourite is gruyere (used in video), for flavour and melting quality. Can use any flavoured melting cheese. Other cheeses I like for this include: cheddar, Monterey Jack, Colby, provolone. (Australia/NZ: Tasty cheese works & super tasty but sauce is not quite as smooth);
- I like to use mozzarella for the 2nd cheese (1 cup). It melts really well into the sauce, has that nice stretch, and isn't as oily like other cheese can tend to be. However, you can just use more of the Main Cheese.
- Always grate your own cheese for cheese sauces. Store bought shredded cheese have anti caking agents which don't melt so can give the sauce a slight powdery texture.
Recipe first published July 2017. Updated a few times since then with better photos, addition of recipe video. No changes to recipe – readers would never forgive me!!
The RecipeTin Eats MAC & CHEESE COLLECTION
- Baked Mac and Cheese – this recipe, huge reader favourite!
- Stovetop Mac and Cheese – one pot, 20 minutes
- Chili Mac
- Shrimp Mac and Cheese – outrageously delicious!
- Chicken and Broccoli Mac & Cheese
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