Pasta, sharp white cheddar, smoked gouda, and parmesan cheese are what make this The Best Baked White Macaroni & Cheese.
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The holidays are quickly approaching, and one dish that is usually on everyone’s menu is, macaroni and cheese.
It’s a favorite, and most everyone loves it, especially the kids.
The Best Baked White Macaroni & Cheese is sure to be a hit this holiday season. It’s loaded with white sharp cheddar cheese, smoked gouda, and parmesan cheese.
This simple white cheddar mac and cheese will be perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas!
Let’s talk mac & cheese…shall we…
Macaroni and cheese is made using a type of pasta, usually elbow, with a creamy dairy based cheese sauce.
What is the best pasta for macaroni and cheese?
You want a shape that has a large surface area, with nooks and crannies. I used a rotini in the best baked white macaroni and cheese, but you could use any of these:
- classic elbows
You want to stay away from spaghetti and linguine styles, as they won’t hold much sauce.
Do I have to bake this baked white mac and cheese recipe?
No way – you can totally just make the pasta, according to your directions, and sauce it right then. Omit the bread crumbs, and call it a day.
It’s delicious for a weeknight on the stove top. (I do that often)
Why is my cheese sauce clumpy?
There are several reasons this may be…
- You used pre-shredded cheese. Pre-shredded cheese is coated with an anti clumping powder, which doesn’t melt away in sauces. Always shred the cheese yourself. A classic boxed grater is a must have in all kitchens.
- When pouring the liquid into your roux, do so slowly. I like to whisk in less than ¼th of a cup at a time. This helps the roux accept the liquid easier. If you just pour it all in, you risk the roux making clumps, that form up like dumplings. Not what you want in your sauce. You need to start over if this happens.
Can I use other white cheeses?
Sure. By all means, change this to accommodate your tastes.
We love sharp white cheddar, smoked gouda, and parmesan, and they happen to pair very well together.
Optional add ins?
Bacon – jalapeno slices – smoked sausage
What are some ideas for leftover macaroni and cheese?
- Mac and cheese grilled cheese sandwich’s
- Put it on a pizza
- Fry it
How do I fry mac and cheese?
When storing your leftover macaroni and cheese – place it into a small sheet pan – and store in the fridge.
When ready to make your fried mac and cheese, heat about 2 inches of oil in a pan with high sides. Grab some flour (about ½ to 1 cup, depending on how much your frying), and season with salt and pepper.
In another dish, whisk an egg. In another dish, place seasoned bread crumbs. Again ½ to 1 cup, depending on how much your frying.
Slice the cold macaroni and cheese into small cubes, place the cubes into the flour, then egg, then bread crumbs. Fry on both sides until golden brown. Sprinkle with salt, and serve warm.
CAN I MAKE THIS AHEAD OF TIME?
Yes! Just let it cool completely, place some press and seal wrap 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.
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.
Looking for more holiday meal ideas?
- The Best Southern Cornbread
- Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apple, Bacon, and Cranberries
- Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Cranberries
- 8 oz pasta - cook two minutes less than what the directions call for!
- 2 cups shredded white sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup smoked gouda cheese
- 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 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: 455Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 91mgSodium: 797mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 22g