The Best Baked Macaroni and Cheese is creamy, cheesy, and the perfect addition to your table!
How many times have you been to a buffet, restaurant, or a family members home for a holiday or big meal, and have baked mac and cheese?
Ok, now how many of those times was the mac and cheese the best ever? Yea, that’s what I thought.
Baked macaroni and cheese is hard to get perfect. It’s too dry, the pasta is too soft, the sauce is too runny, or the pasta is dry and crusty.
You get the picture right? Yuck!
This recipe is life changing. Um, yea, the right recipe for macaroni and cheese can be life changing! When I made this my family said that this would be a part of our holiday dinners.
Oh, be warned, once you’ve made this, it doesn’t matter how good that boxed stuff was, this is gonna put it to shame.
For this recipe you will find the perfect pasta to sauce ratio. Just the right amount of cheese taste with that bread crumb topping is just the icing on the cake, so to speak.
I have probably made one dozen different baked macaroni and cheese dishes over the years.
Sadly only a couple have been good enough to make a second time. Of course that second time was the last, and the reason that another recipe happened.
Did you see the stringy cheesy goodness? Oh my gosh! This recipe came from two that I melded together from the couple that were up to par.
You know the ones that made it a second round. I went with the best of those, put them together, and prayed. It worked, and the best macaroni and cheese was born!
Can I make this ahead of time?
Yes! Just let it cool completely, place some plastic wrap or foil against the surface to keep it from forming a skin, and place it in the fridge.
Pull it out about 30 minutes prior to baking, to help it warm up a little. If you used plastic wrap, pull it off and toss it before baking!!
Can I make this and freeze it?
I actually hate to tell you this, but no. It will not turn out right at all. It will have a funky texture because of the cheese sauce. And let’s not even discuss what happens when water crystals have formed.
Why so many ingredients?
It does require a lot of ingredients and attention, but don’t get overwhelmed. Most of the ingredients listed are most likely already in your fridge and pantry. If not, they should be – as many recipes call for them.
For this to turn out perfect you want those spices, seasonings, and you need others to help thicken and make it creamy. Cheese alone can’t give it the creaminess that the milk, evaporated milk, and sour cream give. Just try the process.
And guess what y’all…it’s not dry as a leftover either! Well, that is if you have leftovers. 🙂
Dishes to serve alongside The Best Baked Macaroni and Cheese:
- 8 oz elbow macaroni pasta - cook two minutes less than what the directions call for!
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 4 slices smoked provolone cheese non-smoked is fine, cut into tiny strips
- 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese - fresh is best here not that jarred stuff
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 ½ cups milk
- 6 oz evaporated milk
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ tablespoon corn starch
- ½ tablespoon dijon mustard
- ½ tablespoon chicken bullion crumbles
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
- ½ tablespoon Italian seasoning
- dash of salt
- 2 tablespoons butter melted
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8X8 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large pan over medium heat.
- Turn the heat to low and whisk in the flour.
- Slowly whisk in the milk and evaporated milk.
- Once incorporated, whisk in dijon mustard and spices.
- Bring to a low boil, whisking constantly. Once a boil is reached, remove from the heat and continue whisking.
- At this point your sauce should start to really thicken up. Once it coats the back of a spoon, stir in all the cheeses, except the parmesan, a little at a time. Making sure that each cheese has melted and incorporated before adding the next.
- Once all the cheese is incorporated, stir in the macaroni noodles and sour cream.
- Stir to coat.
- Pour into your prepared dish and top with the parmesan cheese.
- Mix together all of the ingredients for the topping, and sprinkle evenly over the top of the parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbly around the edges and the top is browned.
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 487Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 89mgSodium: 825mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 24g