Best baked mac and cheese recipe
Imagine your baked mac and cheese with a melted combination of cheeses layering in a creamy and rich sauce. This is a certified drool fest. We’re here to help and not make you hungry. For the incredible cheesy deliciousness of your baked mac and cheese, we’ll cut it down for you, so here’s how!
- Elbow macaroni
- Butter (unsalted or not)
- Shredded cheese (you can use a combination of Gruyere, cheddar, and pepper jack)
- Mozzarella cheese
- Seasonings (Optional – garlic powder, onion powder, or mustard powder)
- In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add macaroni, then cook. Reduce 1 minute of recommended cooking time if you like it al dente.
- Drain, return the pasta to the pot.
- Add butter and mix until melted. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 350 Fahrenheit.
- Using a large saucepan on medium heat, melt your butter. Add flour and stir for a minute.
- Also, add 1 cup of milk, then mix to dissolve the paste. Add remaining milk if needed until the mixture is lump-free.
- Add salt and pepper or seasonings.
- Whisk until smooth for 5-8 minutes as it thickens.
- Remove from the stove. Feel free to add more cheese and stir.
- In your prepared baking dish, pour pasta mixture and bake for 25 minutes.
What cheese melts best for macaroni and cheese?
Most of us commit a big mistake when making macaroni and cheese is using the wrong kind of cheese. Choosing the right kind of cheese is vital to achieving that perfect texture and taste of your baked mac and cheese sauce. The goal you’re aiming for is to have that cheese melt nicely, as not all cheeses can melt in a perfect gooey way.
You may not know it, but Gouda is also great to use when cooking and not just on your deli sandwiches. The sophisticated taste plus its perfect melt will give your baked mac and cheese an exquisite taste.
This cheese is your best friend when it comes to any pasta dish, as it can coat your noodle evenly without losing the taste. Cheddar, unlike any other cheeses, can melt smoothly even at just low heat. Of all the cheddar cheeses, sharp is the most ideal as it has the strongest flavor that will give you that classic baked Mac and cheese flavor.
Tip: Buy it in blocks and shred on your own as it’s tastier than the pre-shredded variant.
The thick and spreadable consistency will give your baked mac and cheese that extra creaminess. Aside from it producing a silky texture, the extra tanginess can brighten up your pasta’s flavor. It can also melt perfectly and keep the texture smooth and creamy.
This cheese’s subtle nutty flavor will add a unique flavor to your baked mac and cheese. Known as naturally hard cheese, its saltiness can help sustain the taste and cut through the heavy fats.
Get lavish once in a while and incorporate this cheese in your baked Mac and cheese. Like the other cheeses mentioned above, this can also give you the same creamy smoothness to make the best sauce for your noodles.
If you think this cheese is just for toppings, think again. This could be your next favorite cheese when making baked mac and cheese. Just as it’s perfect for your wine, its nutty flavor and saltiness are a great partner with your noodles. Just don’t always go for the cheapest ones, as the higher the quality, the better flavor will be produced.
Even if this cheese is flavorful enough to go solo on your baked Mac and cheese, its flavor becomes subtle when mixed with other ingredients. Its rich flavor with a hint of tanginess will stick to your noodles even when combined with cream and milk.
The worst cheese for your baked mac and cheese
If you want to prepare your baked mac and cheese to its ultimate perfection, steer clear from these cheeses below and save yourself from making another set of mac and cheese.
- Feta – This dry cheese isn’t ideal as it won’t melt properly due to inadequate moisture.
- Any pre-shredded cheese – These have added preservatives to keep them fresher and keep them from melting easily.
- Monterey Jack – Straight truth? This doesn’t taste good even if it melts quickly. Also, it leaves a bad aftertaste.
Baked mac and Cheese FAQs
Should you put eggs in mac and cheese?
Adding egg to your mac and cheese sauce will make it more creamy and delicious. Never pour a whisked egg yolk into a hot sauce as it will form into a scrambled egg. You have to let it cool a bit first before throwing your eggs in. You can even combine evaporated milk with your eggs for a more saucy baked Mac and cheese.
What kind of milk do you use for baked mac and cheese?
Opt for any creamy or milk-based product for your mac and cheese recipe instead of just plain milk. If you’re vegan, you can also use plant-based milk. You can also use sour cream and yogurt.
For plant-based options, almond, coconut, and soy milk will work well with your mac and cheese. Although using your whole milk can also produce a creamy sauce, trying other milk variants can help you experiment with which milk goes best with your recipe.
Nobody likes a dry-baked Mac and cheese, so try to incorporate some of the aforementioned ingredients to make it more creamy and saucy. As with any other comfort food, you should cook according to your preferred taste, same with the choice of cheese.
This dish has been a family favorite for ages, and with the right recipe and ingredients, you can whisk up this family favorite that’s sure to be present in all holidays.