A family favorite, Baked Mac & Cheese is easy to make and loved by both kids and adults. This comfort food is something that will have you coming back for seconds!
Baked Mac & Cheese – A centuries-old dish!
A simple yet delicious dish, the Baked Mac & Cheese is an all-time favorite in the UK, US, and Canada.
One of the earliest known records of the dish was under the name ‘makerouns’ in the Forme of Cury cookbook from the 14th century. Made with freshly cut pasta, it was covered with cheese and melted butter. Another Parmesan cheese and pasta casserole from the same time was recorded in the Italian cookbook Liber de Coquina.
Later in 1769, a more modern version of macaroni cooked in a bechamel sauce and covered with cheese was found in The Experienced English Housekeeper cookbook by Elizabeth Raffald.
Over the centuries many more books have recorded versions of mac and cheese in Europe, but it was first brought to the US by President Thomas Jefferson, and the rest as they say is history.
Nowadays, mac and cheese can be found in packaged form or made from scratch. However, you eat it, it’s one of the best comfort foods that both kids and adults enjoy.
Recipe Pointers For Making Baked Mac & Cheese
- Instead of buying pre-grated cheese, it’s better to shred cheese from a block.
- Add more breadcrumbs to make the top crustier.
- You can also use gluten-free Panko breadcrumbs if you like.
- To make the topping extra crunchy, skip the aluminum foil.
- Do not overbake the macaroni and cheese or it will get too dry.
- Smoked paprika can be replaced with pepper, tabasco, or any hot sauce of your choice.
FAQs about Baked Mac & Cheese
Which cheese should I use to make mac and cheese?
You can use a mixture of Gruyere and cheddar for the tastiest mac and cheese. If you can’t find these, use parmesan, gouda, monterey jack, or any other aged cheese of your choice. A mix of aged cheese and melting cheese such as mozzarella is also tasty.
Can I make baked mac and cheese in advance?
Yes, you can make baked mac and cheese upto 2 or 3 days in advance. If you do this, cook the macaroni and add the sauce to it. You can then store it in a covered pot in the refrigerator. But leave the baking till the day you plan on serving it.
Can you store leftover mac and cheese?
Yes, leftover mac and cheese can be covered with foil and stored in the refrigerator. When reheating to serve, add in some milk or cream so that it doesn’t get dry.
What to serve with mac and cheese?
Baked mac and cheese is absolutely yummy as it is. But if you want it yummier, serve with fried pork bacon , ham, caramelized onions, or scrambled eggs. It also goes really well with roast chicken, cauliflower wings, or pork chops.
- 8 oz of elbow pasta
- 1/3 cup of butter (softened)
- 1.5 cups of whole milk
- 1/2 cup of heavy cream
- 1/4 cup of flour
- 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese (freshly grated)
- 1.5 cups Gruyere cheese
- 1.5 cups panko crumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon of smoked paprika
- Preheat oven to 350F while cooking macaroni to al dente on the stovetop.
- Melt butter in a deep saucepan on the lowest option. Stir in flour and whisk it together. Add milk and heavy cream along with salt, and keep mixing until smooth and thickened a bit.
- Turn off the gas and add shredded cheese, but save about 1/3 cup of cheddar cheese for later.
- Pour the drained macaroni into a casserole or baking dish and top with the cheese sauce. If necessary, mix it with a spoon making sure the cheese reaches it all. Sprinkle the remaining cheese along with breadcrumbs and smoked paprika on top.
- Bake for about 20 minutes covered under a lid or aluminum foil, then take out the lid and bake for an additional 8 minutes.
- Don't overbake - it should be jiggly.