Recipe VIDEO above. An epic, classic Baked Mac and Cheese! Perfect in every way, this has a glorious cheesy sauce, and a beautiful crunchy, buttery topping. A great one for serving at gatherings because it won't dry out and go stodgy because of the extra step of tossing the macaroni in butter (stops it from bloating) and because it's extra saucy out of the oven.
1. Panko breadcrumbs are larger pieces than normal breadcrumbs which creates a really nice extra crunchy topping. It can be found in the Asian section of supermarkets here in Australia. Can sub with normal breadcrumbs.
2. 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.
The Main Cheese (2 cups) should be a flavoured cheese. My favorites are: cheddar, Monterey Jack, Colby, provolone and Gruyere (I used this in the video). Gruyere is my favourite, you can use any melting cheese.
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.
3. Tossing the cooked pasta with butter provides a light coating that helps prevent it from bloating while baking in the sauce. This is also the reason why I let the pasta cool before mixing in with the sauce. You could just make the sauce while the pasta is cooking.
4. PREPARE AHEAD: Mac and Cheese is best made fresh but if you need to make ahead, this is the best way: Cook pasta and toss in butter, cool. Make cheese sauce per recipe, then cool with LID ON (important, to avoid evaporation). Make topping. Store all components separately in the fridge until required. Mix sauce and pasta, top with topping then bake per recipe.
5. REHEATING LEFTOVERS: Best way is to microwave to make warm then spray top with oil (or butter) and crisp under grill/broiler.
6. Baked Mac and Cheese nutrition per serving (6 BIG servings!).
Baked Mac and Cheese
Amount Per Serving (250 g)
Calories from Fat 261
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 17g106%
Vitamin A 915IU18%
Vitamin C 0.2mg0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
First published July 2017, post refreshed May 2018 - no changes to recipe.