Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Baked macaroni and cheese is a classic comfort food dish loved by people of all ages. Here’s a recipe for making a delicious homemade baked macaroni and cheese!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups elbow macaroni (or your favorite pasta shape)
  • 4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cups milk (preferably whole milk)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (optional, for extra flavor)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, for a bit of heat)
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (for topping)
  • Cooking spray or butter (for greasing the baking dish)

Instructions

1
Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray or butter.
2
Cook the elbow macaroni according to the package instructions until it's al dente. Drain and set aside.
3
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted, add the flour and whisk continuously for 2-3 minutes until the mixture turns golden. This creates a roux, which will thicken the sauce.
4
Gradually pour in the milk while whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Continue to cook and whisk until the mixture thickens and comes to a simmer.
5
Reduce the heat to low and stir in the shredded sharp cheddar cheese and grated Parmesan cheese. Keep going until the cheese is completely melted and the sauce is smooth.
6
Season the cheese sauce with salt, black pepper, paprika, dry mustard powder, and cayenne pepper (if using). Adjust the seasonings to taste.
7
Add the cooked and drained elbow macaroni to the cheese sauce. Stir until the pasta is well coated with the creamy cheese sauce.
8
Pour the cheesy macaroni mixture into the prepared baking dish, spreading it evenly.
9
Mix the breadcrumbs with a bit of melted butter (about 1-2 tablespoons) to moisten them slightly in a small bowl. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the top of the macaroni and cheese.
10
Bake in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the cheese bubbles around the edges.
11
Remove the baked macaroni and cheese from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before serving.
12
Serve your homemade baked macaroni and cheese as a comforting side dish or a main course. Enjoy!

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