Baked macaroni and cheese is a comforting classic that never goes out of style. Whether you're whipping up a family meal, hosting a dinner party, or simply craving some cheesy goodness, this dish is sure to hit the spot.

baked macaroni and cheese

Ingredients You'll Need for a Delicious Mac and Cheese

Before we get started, let's gather all the ingredients you'll need:

  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (optional)

Step-by-Step Instructions on Making the Cheese Sauce

1. Cook the Macaroni

Begin by cooking the elbow macaroni according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside.

2. Prepare the Cheese Sauce

  • Melt the Butter: In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  • Make a Roux: Add the flour to the melted butter and stir continuously for about 2 minutes until it forms a smooth paste.
  • Add the Milk: Gradually pour in the milk, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Continue to cook and stir until the mixture thickens and starts to bubble.
  • Add the Cheese: Reduce the heat to low and stir in the shredded cheddar cheese until completely melted. Season with salt, pepper, and paprika.

Preparing the Macaroni and Assembling the Dish

3. Combine the Macaroni and Cheese Sauce

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked macaroni with the cheese sauce. Stir until the macaroni is evenly coated.

4. Assemble the Dish

  • Grease a Baking Dish: Lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with butter or cooking spray.
  • Pour the Mixture: Pour the macaroni and cheese mixture into the prepared baking dish.
  • Top with Breadcrumbs (Optional): If you like a crunchy topping, sprinkle breadcrumbs evenly over the top.

5. Bake

Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Bake the macaroni and cheese for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden and bubbly.

Tips for a Perfect Baked Macaroni and Cheese

  • Cheese Selection: Feel free to mix different types of cheese like Gruyère, mozzarella, or Parmesan for added flavor.
  • Breadcrumbs: For an extra crispy topping, toss the breadcrumbs in a little melted butter before sprinkling them on top.
  • Seasoning: Taste the cheese sauce before mixing it with the macaroni. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Serving Suggestions and Variations to Try

  • Add-ins: Try adding cooked bacon, caramelized onions, or sautéed vegetables for a twist.
  • Protein Boost: Mix in shredded chicken or ground beef to make it a complete meal.
  • Spicy Kick: Add a dash of hot sauce or a sprinkle of cayenne pepper to the cheese sauce for some heat.


Now that you know how to make baked macaroni and cheese, it's time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. This dish is perfect for any occasion and is sure to be a hit with family and friends. Happy cooking!


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