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Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese

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This creamy baked mac and cheese recipe is the ultimate comfort food. Rich, gooey, and irresistible, every bite is a blend of cheesy goodness.

Main image for Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese

Homemade Gruyere Mac and Cheese is one of my all time favorite recipes. The flavors are incredible!

First it combines different types of cheese to give you a blend of sharp and nutty goodness.

And then it uses bacon grease to give more flavor to the homemade creamy sauce that sinks into every corner of this dish.

And it is perfectly creamy inside with the classic crispy cheese topping everyone loves.

It is one of those easy recipes that adults and children love to eat.

So whether you need a tasty side dish on a busy weeknight or are looking to feed a crowd, this creamy baked mac and cheese is a perfect choice.

All ingredient laid out on counter for Creamy Baked Macaroni and Cheese

What Ingredients are in Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese?

  • Elbow Macaroni: gives the classic pasta base to hold the creamy cheese sauce
  • Bacon Grease: gives a rich, smoky flavor to this creamy macaroni
  • All-Purpose Flour: thickens the sauce to a perfect texture in this mac and cheese recipe baked
  • Whole Milk: this secret ingredient gives a luscious, velvety texture to the cheesy sauce 
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese: this real cheese has excellent bold flavor to cut through the creamy sauce
  • Gruyere Cheese: using 2 different cheese will blend as good melting cheeses, and this is the best cheese to add a nutty, melty flavor
  • Salt and Black Pepper: seasons the creamy baked macaroni to perfection, balancing all the other flavors

Pro Tips:

  • If preferred, you can substitute butter for bacon grease, but don’t skip it! You don’t want to miss out on that extra layer of flavor.
  • For best results, do not use pre-shredded cheese. You don’t want the anti-caking agents in those cheeses to affect your sauce. Buy blocks of cheese and cut or shred them yourself before mixing into this Gruyere cheese mac and cheese.
milk added to bacon grease and flour to create a roux

How to Make Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese:

  1. Cook macaroni in a large pot of salted water according to the package directions to just less than al dente.
  2. Melt bacon grease and whisk in flour to make a roux.
  3. Slowly add milk, stirring until thickened.
  4. Stir in cheddar and Gruyere until melted, then remove from heat.
  5. Add cooked macaroni, season with salt and pepper, then pour into a baking dish.
  6. Top with remaining cheddar on top for that irresistible cheesy crust.
  7. Bake until golden brown and bubbly, cool, then serve!

Pro Tips:

  • Use a Dutch oven for cooking the noodles and making the sauce to streamline cleanup.
  • For added flavor, sprinkle crumbled bacon on top before baking. Or for old fashioned baked mac and cheese, add some panko bread crumbs or crushed cereal to give a crunchy topping.
Cheese added to flour mixture to create cheese sauce

Is There Velveeta in this Easy Baked Mac and Cheese?

No, this creamy baked mac and cheese recipe does not include Velveeta. It uses a combination of cheese (sharp cheddar and Gruyere) to make its signature creamy, cheesy goodness.

Do You Cover Baked Mac and Cheese?

No, you don’t need to cover Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese while baking. Allowing the cheese on top to brown creates a deliciously crispy crust that enhances the dish’s texture and flavor.

Cooked Elbow noodles added to cheese sauce

How to Store Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese:

Store leftover creamy baked mac and cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave until heated through before serving.

Can You Freeze Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese?

Yes, you can freeze Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese. Allow it to cool completely, then transfer to a freezer-safe container or zip-top bag covered in plastic wrap. Freeze for up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating or add extra time and cook from frozen.

Pro Tip: Freeze in containers that you will use more often. If you use this as a side dish, freeze it in an aluminum foil casserole tray. Sometimes my kids like single serving mac and cheese bowls, so I freeze them in individual portions they can pull out and heat on their own.

wooden spoon scooping out a portion of macaroni and cheese from pot

How Long Does Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese Last?

Creamy Mac and Cheese will last for 3-4 days in the refrigerator when properly stored. Enjoy it as leftovers or freeze for longer-term storage.

What Goes with Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese?

Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese is the perfect side dish since it goes with almost anything! My favorite way to serve it is with a crisp green salad, steamed vegetables, or a side of bread. 

A few of our favorite salads are: Chef Salad with this Naturally Fresh Buttermilk Ranch, Avocado Melon Salad, and Farro Arugula Salad.

Try one of these vegetables: 4 Bean Salad, Carrot Noodles, Chipotle Cauliflower Rice, and French Lentils Recipe.

Favorite bread recipes you should try are: Crazy Bread Recipe, Banana Cornbread, Old Fashioned Dinner Rolls Recipe, and Garlic Bread with Garlic Paste.

You can also add it to your barbecue since the creamy mac balances the acidic bbq sauce perfectly. Or serve southern baked mac and cheese on your holiday table as a perfect comfort food dish.

If you’re a fan of Macaroni and Cheese try this Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese, Baked Mac and Cheese with Ritz or Mac and Cheese with Egg.

macaroni and cheese added to casserole dish, unbaked

Can I Add Protein to Mac and Cheese?

Yes you can add protein to this creamy baked mac and cheese! Consider adding cooked and diced bacon, ham, or grilled chicken to amp up the protein content and add extra flavor to your mac and cheese creation.

Pro Tip: Use a combination of flavors for a fun twist. My personal favorites are buffalo chicken mac by adding rotisserie chicken tossed in buffalo sauce. I also love shredded pork smothered in barbecue sauce. Whatever combinations you love, feel free to try.

Fresh baked macaroni and cheese in pan

Is Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese Healthy?

While this Mac and Cheese is indulgent and rich, it can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet when consumed in moderation. Opt for whole-grain pasta and use quality cheeses for a healthier twist.

But even if you don’t make it healthier, you can balance anything using portion control and serving it with a lot of vegetables.

wooden spoon scooping a portion of baked mac and cheese from casserole dish

Whether you need a perfect recipe to feed a crowd or are just looking to make easy homemade macaroni, this creamy baked mac and cheese has everything you love in this dish: a combination of cheeses, tasty sauce, and a delicious crispy top.

Yield: 12 Servings

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

Bowl full of baked macaroni and cheese

This creamy baked mac and cheese recipe is the ultimate comfort food. Rich, gooey, and irresistible, every bite is a blend of cheesy goodness.

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F
  2. Cook elbow macaroni according to package instructions.
  3. In a Dutch oven, melt bacon grease.
  4. Whisk flour into bacon grease to create a roux. Cook for a few minutes until color slightly darkens.
  5. Slowly add milk while whisking continually to avoid any clumps. Cook for around 5minutes until mixture thickens.
  6. Add in 3 cups of shredded cheddar and all shredded Gruyere cheese and stir until melted. Immediately remove from heat.
  7. Add cooked macaroni noodles.
  8. At this point, you can taste to see how much salt and pepper you would like to add. Be careful with the salt, the bacon grease adds a lot of saltiness!
  9. Pour into a large baking dish (9x13 or 10x15)
  10. Top with remaining 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.
  11. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cheese on top has browned.
  12. Let cool and enjoy!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 550Total Fat: 40gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 105mgSodium: 657mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 28g

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Tisha

Friday 12th of July 2024

This recipe is the epitome of comfort food, with its rich, gooey texture. Each bite delivers an irresistible blend of cheesy deliciousness.

Catalina

Friday 12th of July 2024

Your Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese is the best I’ve ever had! It was so rich and cheesy, with the perfect amount of crunch on top. Comfort food at its finest!

Melissa

Friday 12th of July 2024

My family truly enjoyed your recipe. Easy to make and so delicious!

Erin | Dinners, Dishes and Dessert

Friday 12th of July 2024

Always a favorite at our house! Definitely making this again!

Sandra

Thursday 11th of July 2024

This is now my go to recipe for baked mac and cheese! My kids really loved it because it's so good!

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