This creamy baked macaroni and cheese recipe is the best baked mac and cheese I’ve ever had! If you’re looking for comfort food, the great flavor of this easy mac and cheese is sure to please!!
I’m sure you can remember the first few items you learned how to make. For me, it was how to make homemade macaroni and cheese. I think I was under 10 when my mom taught me how to make macaroni and cheese. And trusted me to use the stove to cook it, lol!
I can’t even imagine the number of times I’ve made homemade mac and cheese, and it’s still my absolute favorite! I’m not talking about as a side dish, it’s hands-down my favorite meal!! My family kind of teases me about it, but that’s ok. There’s no shame in a large bowl of macaroni and cheese for a meal, lol!!
I hosted my whole family for Thanksgiving this year, and one of the sides was this great recipe! Don’t be afraid to make it for any of your special occasions too!! The great flavor of this dish made it a hit with all of my family!!!
Now don’t get me wrong, I like the boxed macaroni and cheese too but elbow macaroni baked with a cheesy sauce can’t be beat!
The full recipe for this homemade macaroni and cheese baked dish is included below! Trust me, this is the best macaroni and cheese you’ll ever have! I’m sure you’ll enjoy this great recipe as much as we do!
Ingredients in this Creamy Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Living in Wisconsin we always have different cheeses on hand! If you’ve never tried the difference types of cheese from Wisconsin, you need to! From Colby cheese to sharp cheddar cheese to Gouda cheese to Monterey jack and pepper jack, Wisconsin’s award-winning cheese is some of the best cheese in the world!
I even know that lady whose grandfather patented Colby cheese! The special process to make this cheese was invented right here in central Wisconsin!!! When I was teaching 4th grade our entire year was spent studying Wisconsin. It was so cool that she was able to bring in a copy of this original patent to show the 10-year-olds in my class. History right before our eyes, so cool!
This recipe calls for a cheesy sauce made from 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese and 2 cups shredded Gouda cheese.
I don’t recommend you substitute the sharp cheddar, but you can substitute the Gouda cheese for another cheese that melts well like Swiss or Monterey Jack. But for best results you want to make sure to use cheese that will melt well. Other substitutes could include Gruyere, Muenster, Parmesan, fontina, or Havarti. You can mix it up and use several different cheeses. The only thing you’ll need to remember is that the cheese used needs to melt well for this yummy recipe!
This recipe also calls for macaroni noodles. I think the best macaroni to use is a fun one like DaVinci Signature Twists or some other fancier macaroni pasta. But in a pinch you can use just regular elbow macaroni too!
Whole milk, heavy cream or half and half, flour, unsalted butter, salt and black pepper, and paprika are also needed. If you want a little extra snap cayenne pepper is optional!
The topping requires Panko bread crumbs or regular bread crumbs, more butter (melted), garlic powder, paprika, and grated Parmesan cheese.
Preparing the Ingredients for this Recipe
Before you begin to prepare the ingredients preheat the oven to 350° F. and grease the inside of a 9- x 13-inch baking pan with a little melted butter.
Cook macaroni to al dente by following the directions on the package. Drain. Place cooked pasta in a large bowl. The best way to keep the pasta from sticking together is to stir in 2 tablespoons butter with it!
While the macaroni is cooking you can prepare the white sauce! Melt butter (6 Tablespoons) in a large skillet over medium heat. Add flour and whisk to combine well. Cook for about a minute or so. Slowly add in the milk and cream. Also add in the salt, pepper and paprika.
The best way to make sure the sauce stays creamy is to continually whisk for about 5 minutes until the sauce is thickened to a creamy texture.
Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the cheeses until its all ooey and gooey!
Pour cheese sauce over macaroni and stir it all together! Pour it into the prepared baking pan.
If you want to get really cheesy crazy you can sprinkle more cheese on the top!
In a medium bowl mix together the bread crumbs, melted butter, garlic powder, paprika and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle this topping mixture all over the top of the macaroni and cheese mixture in the pan.
Bake uncovered for 20 minutes until the topping starts to lightly brown. You want to make sure not to overbake the dish or it won’t be as creamy as you’d like!
Warning: You may not be able to stop at just one helping of this creamy baked macaroni and cheese!! Leave room for an extra serving, you’re going to want it, lol!!
And if you’re a real cheese lover, check out my post on making a Charcuterie Board!!!
Creamy Baked Macaroni and Cheese
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- 16 ounces macaroni noodles 1 box
- 1/2 cup butter, divided
- 1/3 cup flour
- 2 cups cream or half and half
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
- 1 1/2 cups Gouda cheese or substitute
- 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese 2 cups for sauce, 1 cup for topping
- 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
- 4 tablespoons butter melted
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/3 cup graded Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 350° F. and grease 9- x 13-inch baking pan.
- Cook macaroni to al dente by following the directions on the package. Drain. Place drained pasta in large bowl and stir in 2 tablespoons butter to prevent sticking.
- Melt butter (6 Tablespoons) in a large skillet over medium heat. Add flour and whisk to combine well. Cook for about a minute or so. Slowly add in the milk and cream. Also add in the salt, pepper and paprika. The best way to make sure the sauce stays creamy is to continually whisk for about 5 minutes until the sauce is thickened to a creamy texture. Remove from heat.
- Stir in shredded cheeses and pour over buttered macaroni.Pour into prepared baking pan and sprinkle additional cheese over the top.
- In a medium bowl mix together the bread crumbs, melted butter, garlic powder, paprika and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle this topping mixture all over the top of the macaroni and cheese mixture in the pan.
- Bake uncovered for 20 minutes until the topping starts to lightly brown. You want to make sure not to overbake the dish or it won’t be as creamy as you’d like!