Classic Baked Mac and Cheese (+ Video) - Family dinner on the table (2023)

This classic baked mac and cheese with a crunchy buttery crust is absolutely delicious and comfort food at it's finest! With only 7 ingredients, this baked macaroni and cheese casserole is easy to make and sure to leave you satisfied!Classic Baked Mac and Cheese (+ Video) - Family dinner on the table (1)

Today I'm finally sharing a classic family recipe with you.

First, though, I have to admit that I love how fast mine isEasy mac and cheese on the stovetopis that I shared earlier this month. Such a quick fix for dinner on a busy night. And of course,Crock pot mac and cheeseis a great option for a hands-off version.

But when I have the time, I crave so much that crunchy baked topping that comes with oneBaked macaroni and cheeseRecipe.

You know where everyone fights for a corner piece because it's ALL golden brown deliciousness? Well, alright …

Here are a few of the fun baked varieties I've shared so far:

  • Pumpkin Baked Mac and Cheese with Bacon
  • Healthy Chicken Broccoli Mac and Cheese
  • Kale and Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
  • Baked Taco Mac and Cheese Casserole

Today we keep it simple and classic.

Today it's my classicbaked mac and cheese, which consists of tender pieces of pasta coated in a deliciously creamy, cheesy sauce and topped with a buttery crumb crust.

Classic Baked Mac and Cheese (+ Video) - Family dinner on the table (2)

And it has TWO cheeses - Gruyere and Cheddar - for some extra flavor, richness, and simple, delicious flavor.

Absolute feel-good pleasure right here! You will eagerly dive in to eat one bite at a time.

Oh, but read on if you're just using cheddar or want to substitute a different cheese combination for this recipe. Absolutely doable.

Perfect for the cooler weather that's finally upon us, this easy baked macaroni and cheese recipe is a great addition to your Thanksgiving, Christmas, or general holiday table.

Because who can resist a warm, bubbly homemade mac and cheese?!

Not my family, I'm telling you. We devour this! My kiddies especially.

(You might want mine tooEasy chicken and dumplingsfor another comfort food classic the whole family will love!)

Classic Baked Mac and Cheese (+ Video) - Family dinner on the table (3) Classic Baked Mac and Cheese (+ Video) - Family dinner on the table (4)

(They've been exposed to so many of my veggie-filled mac and cheese recipes that they always eye this warily and ask if it's just regular mac and cheese. 😂 It sure is, kids, this it definitely is.)

Bonus, it's easy to make too! Boil your pasta, make the cheese sauce, toss this together and add to the casserole dish. Add your extra cheese and breadcrumb mixture and bake!

Besides, it's easy7 ingredientstoo (or 6 if you're only using cheddar cheese) so it's easy to make anytime!

Well, I have some notes, tips, and FAQs for making baked macaroni and cheese below. I'm just trying to be helpful.

(I've made a lot of mac and cheese in my time, so I have lots of tips and ideas to share.)

If you want to jump straight to the recipe, just scroll straight through the rest of the text. The recipe card is further down the page, above the comments section.

Classic Baked Mac and Cheese (+ Video) - Family dinner on the table (5)

Baked Mac and Cheese Notes:

  • I used medium-shell pasta for this recipe, but you can substitute other types of pasta. (More on that below.)
  • The recipe calls for half Gruyere cheese and half sharp cheddar cheese for the cheese. However, I've made this before with cheddar and it was still delicious, so it's fine if it's all you have on hand.
  • I use 2% skim milk for this recipe as we always have that in the fridge, but whole milk would work great too.
  • As I mentioned in the recipe card, it helps to let the baked macaroni and cheese casserole sit for about 5 minutes after it comes out of the oven. That will help it set up all the way before you scoop it out and serve.

Also, I should note that this makes a lot! You could definitely halve the recipe and bake in a 1-quart casserole dish or 8×8 pan.

Although I have advice on storing leftovers below if you want to have some on hand for another night.

Classic Baked Mac and Cheese (+ Video) - Family dinner on the table (6)

OK, now for some frequently asked questions….

What pasta should I use for macaroni and cheese?

– You can use a small elbow pasta, medium shell pasta, orecchiette or other small pasta shape. (Here's a cool list of all of themdifferent pasta shapesfor a visual guide with a brief description of each.)

– Feel free to choose a whole wheat or whole wheat pasta, regular pasta or even a gluten-free pasta.

– I used a medium shell whole wheat pasta here.

- Be sure to follow the cooking instructions and make sure to stop cooking and drain the pasta when it's just al dente. (It'll cook a little longer in the oven.) So if the package says to cook for 9-11 minutes, stop at 9 minutes.

What cheese should I use for macaroni and cheese?

– A spicy cheddar is the classic for mac and cheese. But a combination of cheese can also be delicious.

– Gruyere is a great cheese for macaroni and cheese. I make this recipe with half Gruyere (melted in the cheese sauce) and half Cheddar (sprinkled over the casserole before baking).

- Cheddar and Monterey Jack are another great combination for making macaroni and cheese.

- American cheese is another favorite for how melty it gets.

Classic Baked Mac and Cheese (+ Video) - Family dinner on the table (7)

And of course I have to share some topping ideas with you guys! I mean, you know how I feel about toppings. (Hint: that they make everything better.)

Here are a few suggestions if you want to dress up and finish off this Homemade Baked Macaroni Cheese Recipe.

Macaroni-Käse-Toppings:

  • Extra Cheese (Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Parmesan, etc.)
  • Cooked crumbled bacon🥓
  • Chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
  • Chopped chives or green onions
  • Hot sauce or Sriracha for some heat🌶
  • Pickled jalapeños
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • Sliced ​​avocado or a dollop of guac

And now that we're done with our pasta dish, let's finish off the rest of the meal!

Classic Baked Mac and Cheese (+ Video) - Family dinner on the table (8)

What should I serve with baked mac and cheese?

- We love this with a large green salad for something fresh and light.🥗

– It also goes great with steamed asparagus or broccoli, roasted or sautéed Brussels sprouts or green beans as a vegetarian side dish.

– Would you like a protein entree to go with it? Grilled or baked chicken or pork would be great here. try myBalsamic pork tenderloin with thymeorseasoned pork chops.15-minute pepper chickenorlightly crispy baked chickenwould be great too.

– Or prepare a grilled or roasted steak to go with it.

Can I prepare baked macaroni and cheese?

Yes! You can cook the pasta, prepare the sauce, combine everything and add to the casserole ahead of time. Put the grated cheese on top.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to bake.

Take the casserole out of the fridge while the oven is preheating so it comes to room temperature.

Make the buttery breadcrumb mixture, spread over the casserole and bake at 400 for 25-30 minutes (slightly longer so everything gets nice and hot).

Ta-da!

OK, now let's talk about any leftovers you might have and what to do with them.

Can I reheat baked macaroni and cheese?

You definitely can and I've done it many times.

The crispy bits on top will soften, but it's still delicious when it's hot and bubbly again.

You can simply reheat individual servings in the microwave, starting at about 45 seconds to a minute, then stir and add additional time until nice and hot. That way everything stays wet.

You can also transfer the leftovers to a smaller casserole dish and heat in the oven. I usually cover with aluminum foil and bake at 325C for 15 minutes, then uncover and bake another 5-10 minutes until heated through. (Be sure to check it out. Sometimes mine takes longer to warm all the way through in the middle.)

Just be careful not to let the dish dry out with the oven method. Honestly, I prefer the microwave because it's faster and gets the dish nice and hot again.

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Let's also talk about long-term storage...

Can I Freeze Leftover Macaroni and Cheese?

Absolutely! Freezing leftovers is a great way to reduce food waste, especially when a dish like this makes a lot. You've got dinner ready for another night!

Simply allow leftovers to cool, then place in a freezer safe plastic bag or container, label and store in the freezer for 4-5 months.

Thaw overnight in the fridge, then reheat in the microwave or in a small casserole dish (details above).

The crunchy breadcrumb topping loses its crunch but is still delicious.

OK, you are now armed with ALL the information.

You're ready to make some seriously delicious, delightful, and downright delicious Baked Macaroni and Cheese.

Do it. Soon.

Enjoy!

XO,

Kathryn

PS You're probably thinking there's no way I can get you any more macaroni and cheese goodness, but you'd be wrong! I've got more coming for you, so stay tuned!

You can sign up for minefree e-newsletterto get all of my new recipes delivered straight to your inbox so you don't miss a thing. I'll even send you minefree e-cookbook, Healthy Weeknight Dinners, as a thank you!

Yield: 8 servings

Classic Baked Mac and Cheese (+ Video) - Family dinner on the table (10)

This classic baked mac and cheese with a crunchy buttery crust is absolutely delicious and comfort food at it's finest! With only 7 ingredients, this baked macaroni and cheese casserole is easy to make and sure to leave you satisfied!

preparation time25 minutes

cooking time20 minutes

total time45 minutes

ingredients

  • 1 (1 pound) box of medium-shell macaroni or pasta
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk of your choice (see notes)
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese (see notes)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a small handful of salt and add pasta. Cook the noodles according to package directions, to the lowest recommended cooking time. (For example, if it says 9-11 minutes, cook only 9 minutes.) Remove the pasta, drain, and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for a minute or two.
  4. Slowly add 2 cups of milk, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth.
  5. Add Gruyere cheese and stir until melted. Add salt and pepper and stir again. Remove from heat and add cooked pasta. Stir well to coat all of the pasta and combine everything.
  6. Transfer the pasta and sauce to a greased 2-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with the shredded cheddar cheese.
  7. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs with the 3 tablespoons melted butter and stir.
  8. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the casserole. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes until hot and bubbly. Let rest 4-5 minutes before serving.

Remarks

Milch:I use 2% skim milk for this recipe as we always have that on hand, but whole milk would also work well.

I've done this before with soy milk (because my daughter used to have a cow's milk allergy) and it worked well. You can substitute a non-dairy butter and cheese and have thisnon dairyorveganExecution.

Cheese:I used a spicy white cheddar and Gruyere cheese for the cheeses in this recipe. You can use any cheddar (plain or white is fine) if you prefer.

Notes on preparation:You can cook the pasta, prepare the sauce, combine everything and add to the casserole ahead of time. Put the grated cheese on top. Cover and refrigerate until ready to bake.

Take the casserole out of the fridge while the oven is preheating so it comes to room temperature. Make the buttery breadcrumb mixture, spread over the casserole and bake at 400 for 25-30 minutes (slightly longer so everything gets nice and hot).

post-heating:You can simply reheat leftover single servings in the microwave, starting at about 45 seconds to a minute, then stir and add additional time until nice and hot. The crunchy bits on top will soften, but it's still delicious. You can also reheat in a casserole dish in the oven, but it will take longer to really warm through.

Freeze leftovers:Extras freeze super! Simply allow leftovers to cool, then transfer to a freezer safe plastic bag or container, label and store in the freezer for 4-5 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge, then reheat in the microwave or in a small casserole dish (details above). The crunchy breadcrumb topping loses its crunch but is still delicious.

Nutritional Information:

Yield:

8

Serving size:

1

Amount per serving:Calories:390Total Fat:26gSaturated Fatty Acids:15gTrans fats:0gUnsaturated Fat:9gCholesterol:76 mgSodium:618mgCarbohydrates:22gPhases:1gZucker:1gProtein:17g

Classic Baked Mac and Cheese (+ Video) - Family dinner on the table (11) Classic Baked Mac and Cheese (+ Video) - Family dinner on the table (12)

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