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4.94 from 63 votes

The BEST Homemade Baked Mac and Cheese

The BEST Homemade Mac and Cheese of your LIFE. Outrageously cheesy, ultra creamy, and topped with a crunchy Panko-Parmesan topping, this mac and cheese recipe is most definitely a keeper. I used three different cheese and a homemade cheese sauce to take this macaroni and cheese recipe over the top. 
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cheese, dinner, kid friendly, mac and cheese, macaroni and cheese
Servings: 12
Calories: 642kcal
Author: Trish - Mom On Timeout

Ingredients

  • 16 oz elbow macaroni, cooked (or other tubular pasta)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded
  • 2 cups Gruyere cheese shredded
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups panko crumbs
  • 4 tbsp butter melted
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese shredded
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika (or regular paprika)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a large 3 qt or 4 qt baking dish and set aside.
    Combine shredded cheeses in a large bowl and set aside.
  • Cook the pasta one minute shy of al dente according to the package instructions. Remove from heat, drain, and place in a large bowl.
  • Drizzle pasta with olive oil and stir to coat pasta. Set aside to cool while preparing cheese sauce.
  • Melt butter in a deep saucepan, dutch oven, or stock pot.
  • Whisk in flour over medium heat and continue whisking for about 1 minute until bubbly and golden.
  • Gradually whisk in the milk and heavy cream until nice and smooth. Continue whisking until you see bubbles on the surface and then continue cooking and whisking for another 2 minutes. Whisk in salt and pepper.
  • Add two cups of shredded cheese and whisk until smooth. Add another two cups of shredded cheese and continue whisking until creamy and smooth. Sauce should be nice and thick.
  • Stir in the cooled pasta until combined and pasta is fully coated with the cheese sauce.
  • Pour half of the mac and cheese into the prepared baking dish. Top with remaining 2 cups of shredded cheese and then the remaining mac and cheese.
  • In a small bowl, combine panko crumbs, Parmesan cheese, melted butter and paprika. Sprinkle over the top and bake until bubbly and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 642kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Cholesterol: 125mg | Sodium: 550mg | Potassium: 256mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1325IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 650mg | Iron: 1.4mg