HOW TO TOP BAKED MAC AND CHEESE
- Grated cheese (my personal favorite – and what I’ve done here in these photos)
- Buttered panko breadcrumbs (feel free to add some herbs to this as well)
- Bacon pieces/panko breadcrumb combo
HOW LONG DO YOU BAKE MAC AND CHEESE
This recipe doesn’t bake long at all, but I’ve actually baked it longer before, and it’s still every bit as delicious! Most baked Mac and cheese recipes call for it to be baked 15-30 minutes. My kids aren’t huge fans of the cheesy “crust”, so I bake mine at 325, but 350 or even 375 work as well. It’s a very forgiving dish!
Of course, you could alternately not bake this mac and cheese at all, and just combine the pasta with the cheese sauce if that’s what you prefer
I really hope you all give my family favorite mac and cheese a try… I’m sure you’ll love it as much as we do!
WHAT CAN I ADD TO MAC & CHEESE?
If you’re looking for an extra special way to serve this easy mac and cheese recipe, here are some suggestions for delicious add-ins:
- cooked & crumbled bacon
- hot dogs (a kid favorite, as mentioned above)
- Vegetables (broccoli, peas, carrots, etc.)
- Minced garlic and diced onions (cook them in the butter before adding the flour when making the roux, you may need 1 extra TBS butter if you’d like to add this)
- Hot sauce, ketchup or BBQ sauce
Tips for the Best Homemade Baked Mac and Cheese
- Use block cheese and shred, do not buy the pre-shredded cheese. The pre-shredded cheese is great for so many things but not macaroni and cheese. It’s coated and won’t melt properly. You need to shred it yourself for the best result.
- Cook your pasta to slightly less than al dente, about one minute shy is perfect. The reason is that this is baked mac and cheese so the pasta will continue to cook in the homemade cheese sauce in the oven. You don’t want soggy macaroni.
- I used elbow pasta but really, any tubular past will work.
- This mac and cheese recipe starts with a roux. The roux is super important to getting the creamiest cheese sauce of your life. Here is what you need to look for:
- The roux (equal parts butter and flour) is whisked together until bubbly and golden.
- Whisk in cold milk – not warm – to prevent the flour from clumping.
- Cook the roux until you see bubbles on the surface and then continue cooking for an additional 2 minutes before adding the cheese.