Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese

Indulge in the ultimate comfort food with our irresistible Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese recipe. Perfect for a cozy family dinner or a crowd-pleasing potluck, this dish combines tender pasta smothered in a rich and velvety cheese sauce, topped with a crunchy breadcrumb crust. Get ready to elevate your mac and cheese game to new heights!


  • 12 ounces elbow macaroni (or any pasta shape of your choice)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish, optional)


  1. Preheat and Prep: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with butter or non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Cook Pasta: Cook the elbow macaroni according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  3. Prepare Cheese Sauce: In a large saucepan, melt 1/4 cup of unsalted butter over medium heat. Add all-purpose flour and whisk constantly until smooth and bubbling, about 1-2 minutes. Gradually pour in whole milk and heavy cream, whisking constantly until thickened, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add Cheese and Seasonings: Remove from heat and stir in shredded cheddar, mozzarella, Parmesan cheeses, Dijon mustard, and garlic powder until melted and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Combine Pasta and Sauce: Add cooked macaroni to the cheese sauce, stirring until evenly coated. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish.
  6. Prepare Topping: In a small bowl, mix breadcrumbs and melted butter. Sprinkle evenly over the mac and cheese.
  7. Bake: Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.
  8. Serve: Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped parsley if desired.

Nutritional Information:

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Servings: 8
  • Calories: Variable per serving


  • For extra flavor, add cooked and crumbled bacon, diced ham, or sautéed vegetables before baking.
  • Use freshly shredded cheese for optimal melting and texture.
  • Experiment with different cheese combinations such as Gruyère, fontina, or provolone for a unique twist.

Serving and Storage Tips :

Whether you’re serving up this delectable dish for a cozy family dinner or bringing it to a potluck gathering, here are some tips to ensure your Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese shines every time:

Serving Tips:

  1. Garnish Creatively: Before serving, sprinkle some freshly chopped parsley over the mac and cheese for a pop of color and a hint of freshness.
  2. Serve Hot: Mac and cheese is best served hot and fresh out of the oven. Be sure to let it cool for a few minutes after baking to allow the flavors to meld together before digging in.
  3. Pair with Complementary Sides: Serve your mac and cheese alongside a crisp green salad, steamed vegetables, or garlic bread for a well-rounded meal that will please everyone at the table.
  4. Customize to Taste: Set out additional toppings such as hot sauce, crispy bacon bits, or extra grated cheese so everyone can customize their serving to their liking.

Storage Tips:

  1. Refrigerate Leftovers: If you have any leftovers, allow the mac and cheese to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  2. Reheat Properly: To reheat, transfer individual portions to a microwave-safe dish and microwave on medium power, stirring occasionally until heated through. Alternatively, you can reheat larger portions in a covered baking dish in the oven at 350°F (175°C) until warmed to your liking.
  3. Freeze for Later: If you want to freeze leftovers, portion them into individual servings or airtight freezer-safe containers. Label with the date and freeze for up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  4. Revitalize Before Serving: When reheating leftover mac and cheese, you may want to add a splash of milk or cream to help restore its creamy texture. Stir well and adjust seasoning as needed before serving.

By following these serving and storage tips, you can ensure that your Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese remains a crowd-pleasing favorite, whether served fresh from the oven or enjoyed as leftovers.

Variations :

Looking to add a twist to your classic mac and cheese recipe? Here are some creative variations to tantalize your taste buds and keep things exciting:

  1. Spice it Up: Add a kick of heat by mixing in chopped jalapeños, diced green chilies, or a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes to the cheese sauce. For an extra fiery punch, drizzle with sriracha or hot sauce before serving.
  2. Bacon Lover’s Dream: Take your mac and cheese to the next level by stirring in crispy bacon pieces or crumbled bacon bits before baking. The smoky flavor of bacon pairs perfectly with the creamy cheese sauce for an indulgent treat.
  3. Loaded Mac and Cheese: Amp up the flavor and texture by incorporating your favorite loaded baked potato toppings. Think sour cream, chives, diced tomatoes, and even a dollop of guacamole for a decadent twist on traditional mac and cheese.
  4. Buffalo Chicken Mac: Combine two comfort food classics by mixing in shredded cooked chicken tossed in buffalo sauce to the mac and cheese mixture. Top with crumbled blue cheese and chopped celery for a buffalo chicken-inspired delight.
  5. Italian-Inspired: Give your mac and cheese an Italian flair by adding diced tomatoes, fresh basil, and a sprinkle of Italian seasoning to the cheese sauce. For an extra savory touch, mix in cooked Italian sausage or pepperoni slices before baking.
  6. Veggie Delight: Incorporate an array of sautéed vegetables such as spinach, mushrooms, bell peppers, or caramelized onions for a colorful and nutritious twist. You can also mix in roasted broccoli florets or diced butternut squash for added flavor and texture.
  7. Seafood Sensation: For a luxurious twist, add seafood such as cooked shrimp, crab meat, or lobster chunks to the mac and cheese mixture. Finish with a sprinkle of Old Bay seasoning or chopped fresh herbs for a taste of the sea.
  8. Truffle Mac and Cheese: Elevate your mac and cheese with a touch of luxury by drizzling truffle oil over the finished dish before serving. Alternatively, stir in a dollop of truffle butter or a sprinkle of truffle salt for an irresistible earthy flavor.

By experimenting with these creative variations, you can customize your Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese to suit your taste preferences and impress your guests with exciting new flavor combinations. Enjoy exploring these delicious twists on a beloved classic!

FAQs :

  1. Can I use a different type of pasta for this recipe? Absolutely! While elbow macaroni is traditional, feel free to use any pasta shape you prefer. Fusilli, penne, or rigatoni all work well with this recipe.
  2. Can I make this dish ahead of time? Yes, you can assemble the mac and cheese ahead of time and refrigerate it before baking. Simply cover it tightly with foil and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before baking as directed.
  3. Can I freeze leftover mac and cheese? Yes, you can freeze leftovers for up to 2-3 months. Portion the mac and cheese into airtight containers or freezer-safe bags, making sure to remove as much air as possible before sealing.
  4. How do I prevent the cheese sauce from becoming grainy? To ensure a smooth cheese sauce, make sure to gradually add the milk and cream while whisking constantly. Additionally, using freshly shredded cheese and not overcooking the sauce can help prevent it from becoming grainy.
  5. Can I make this recipe gluten-free? Yes, you can use gluten-free pasta and a gluten-free flour blend in place of all-purpose flour to make this recipe gluten-free. Just be sure to check all other ingredients for hidden gluten.
  6. What can I substitute for heavy cream? If you don’t have heavy cream on hand, you can substitute it with an equal amount of whole milk or half-and-half for a slightly lighter sauce.

Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese is a timeless comfort food favorite that never fails to satisfy. With its rich and velvety cheese sauce, perfectly cooked pasta, and golden breadcrumb topping, this dish is sure to become a staple in your recipe repertoire. Whether enjoyed as a cozy weeknight dinner or served at a special gathering, its versatility and irresistible flavors make it a hit with both kids and adults alike. So gather your ingredients, follow our easy-to-follow recipe, and treat yourself to a deliciously indulgent dining experience. Happy cooking!