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Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese

This creamy baked mac and cheese is the ultimate classic comfort food. It combines some of my favorite things: pasta, lots of cheese, and golden brown breadcrumbs to top it off!

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword baked mac and cheese, easy homemade mac and cheese
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 12 oz elbow macaroni noodles
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (i used a combo of sharp cheddar and pepper jack)
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Begin making your noodles. Liberally salt your water, bring it to a boil and add in the noodles. Cook al dente, using the directions on the box. 

  2. Strain your noodles when done. Set aside. Begin making your sauce in a large pot. Add in your butter. Let it melt on medium heat. Once melted, add in your flour and stir to make a roux. Cook for 1 minute. 

  3. Whisk ⅓ of the milk in until thick (about 2-3 minutes) whisk in another 1/3 of the milk and whisk until thick (another 2-3 minutes), slowly whisk in last 1/3 bit of milk. Total whisking time should be 10 minutes of constantly whisking. This will provide you with the creamiest sauce ever!

  4. Once the sauce is thickened, turn the heat to low and add in the cheese. Slowly stir it with a large spoon until melted. Add in your noodles, stir to combine and season with salt, pepper and cayenne if you would like. 

  5. Grease a baking dish and add in your finished macaroni and cheese. Mix breadcrumbs with salt, pepper, garlic and cayenne. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the baking dish to cover the mac. Bake for 25 minutes. Broil for an additional 2-3 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately!