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Baked Mac and Cheese
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4.75 from 4 votes

Creamy Baked Macaroni and Cheese

This easy Baked Mac and Cheese recipe is the ultimate family favorite comfort food dish.  Made with a sharp homemade cheese sauce, every day spices and tender elbow macaroni pasta, this Creamy Mac and Cheese is everyone's homemade macaroni and cheese favorite!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10
Calories: 419.5kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 3 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper .. optional but suggested
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 16 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded .. divided
  • 16 ounces elbow macaroni pasta

Instructions

  • Easy! To make Baked Macaroni and Cheese, start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9 x 13 pan with non-stick spray.
  • While you are making your cheese sauce, start a large pot of salted water to boil. Once boiling, cook your elbow macaroni pasta per your package instructions, minus 2 minutes. Once cooked, drain your pasta and set aside.
  • To make your cheese sauce, add your butter to a large skillet and melt over medium high heat and once your butter is melted, add in the flour.
  • Whisk together and continue whisking while your flour cooks for  1-2 minutes before slowly pouring in the milk and chicken stock. Whisk together to combine and break up any flour clumps.
  • Add in spices, salt and pepper and bring to a low boil, stirring often. Once boiling, turn heat down to medium and stir in the Parmesan cheese and 3/4 of the sharp cheddar cheese and continue to stir until all of your cheese has melted.
  • Pour your cooked pasta into your cheese sauce and stir to combine. Move your macaroni and cheese to your prepared baking pan, sprinkle the top of your mac and cheese with reserved cheddar cheese and bake for 25 minutes.
  • Remove your baked mac and cheese from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. I know waiting is hard but that molten lava cheese sauce needs time to cool a bit and set up :)  Trust me, wait the 10 minutes!

Notes

PRO TIPS FOR THE BEST MACARONI AND CHEESE

  • Not a fan of the darkened cheesy crust on top of baked macaroni and cheese?  That's OK.. we can still be friends! Simply reduce your bake time by a few minutes and keep your eye on it. Remove it from the oven before the top browns.
  • Questioning the cayenne in the mac and cheese recipe instructions?  Feel free to leave it out if you are not a fan or if you are worried your friend and family (aka KIDS) won't enjoy it.
  • Have some leftover cooked ham or chicken in the fridge?  Add it in to this baked mac and cheese recipe to clean out your fridge and add in some extra flavor :)
  • Don't stress over what cheese to use.. get creative! Mix and match your favorite cheeses .. when I was taking this posts pictures, I had some Monterey Jack cheese leftover in the fridge and shredded it on top of my mac n cheese because... YUM!!
  • When you add your flour to the butter, be sure to continuously whisk them together to make a roux and to ensure your flour will not stick to your pan.
  • Be sure to remove your pasta from cooking 2 minutes prior to the time stated on your pasta box. This helps the pasta from getting mushy when cooked in the oven.
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Nutrition

Serving: 10g | Calories: 419.5kcal | Carbohydrates: 9.5g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 32.1g | Saturated Fat: 20.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9.4g | Cholesterol: 102.5mg | Sodium: 745.2mg | Potassium: 277.5mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 5.9g | Vitamin A: 1040IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 722mg | Iron: 0.6mg