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Best Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Baked Macaroni and Cheese is the perfect choice when you want a hearty, soul-warming meal! It’s delicious and indulgent with a satisfying combination of two cheeses and a crispy golden crust.

Baked mac and cheese with some on a spoon.


Rich, savory and full of cheesy goodness, double cheese baked macaroni turns everyday ingredients into a creamy, impossible-to-resist meal! It’s a crowd-pleasing favorite of both kids and adults for good reason! 

While I love this homemade stovetop macaroni and cheese, baking the pasta like a casserole results in a bubbly, cheesy dish that has the best flavor. The smooth cheesy sauce fills every inch of the noodles for the best spoonful bite after bite. 

Serve it as a side dish or even as a main dish if you wish! Add some pancetta for a heartier entree like I do in creamy pancetta baked macaroni or serve it vegetarian style, this baked double cheese mac is a dinnertime win! 

Why You Will Love Double Cheese Macaroni

  • Better than boxed: I admit I have eaten and enjoyed boxed mac and cheese growing up in Canada but this homemade double-cheese macaroni recipe is 100% better. 
  • Easy to make: While it’s true that homemade mac and cheese is few more steps than just opening a box, with a prep time of only 20 minutes this two cheese mac and cheese can be on the table in just 45 minutes making it a great choice for weeknight dinners!
  • Real ingredients: No powders or shelf stable Velvetta here, this is the real deal! Baked macaroni cheese is made with freshly grated cheddar cheese and a creamy white sauce. 
  • Ultimate comfort food: This decadent dish with a creamy cheese sauce is a crowd-pleasing favorite that reminds us of something Grandma would make!

Baked Macaroni And Cheese Recipe Ingredients

  • Pasta: While elbow macaroni is a classic mac choice, any small pasta shape works! Just keep in mind that you will need 5 cups of cooked pasta. 
  • White sauce: To make the cheese sauce you will start by making a roux with flour, butter, milk and salt. Mustard is added with the milk as it pairs well with cheddar for an extra flavor boost. 
  • Cheese: I used a combination of freshly grated cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese. Sharp cheddar is a great choice for mac and cheese as it adds a bold flavor. 
  • Topping: Breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and fresh Italian parsley add some texture and fresh taste. 
Ingredients for the recipe.

How To Make Baked macaroni and Cheese

To start, in a small bowl combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.

Making the topping in a white bowl.

Next, make your white sauce by melting butter in a large saucepan over low-medium heat. Add flour and salt, whisk well, then add mustard and milk. Whisk sauce until smooth and thickened.

Making the white sauce in a pan.

Add cheddar and Parmesan cheese, stir until almost completely melted then add cooked macaroni and stir gently to combine.

Adding the cheese and macaroni to the white sauce.

Pour into the prepared baking dish, top with breadcrumb mixture.

The mac & cheese before baking with the topping.

Bake until browned. Let it rest for a few minutes and then enjoy the best mac!

The baked mac & cheese in the pan.

Substitutions And Variations

  • Types of cheeses: For the best flavor choose one melting cheese like cheddar, colby Jack, mozzarella, Monterey Jack or provolone and one flavorful cheese like Parmesan, Romano, gouda or gruyere.
  • Milk: Use whole milk, evaporated milk or even half cream for the best creamy sauce. I would avoid skim milk. 
  • Pasta shape: Other types of pasta shapes can be used. Elbow macaroni is a popular choice but you can try pasta shells, penne or any other type of pasta noodle that has grooves for the cheesy sauce to fill.
  • Mac and cheese recipe add-ins: Add cayenne pepper for some heat! Try some cooked bacon or chopped chicken for some protein. You could even add veggies like broccoli! 
  • Topping: Instead of the breadcrumb or Panko bread crumb topping, you can use Ritz crackers, diced tomatoes, green chilies, jalapenos, bacon bits or even just extra cheese! 

Expert Tips

  • Cook pasta al dente: Or even extra al dente because the pasta will cook more while baking and no one likes mushy noodles.
  • Never stop stirring milk mixture: This helps it from scorching on the bottom and prevents clumps in the sauce.
  • Freshly grated cheese: Not only tastes better but it melts better, too! Pre-shredded cheese contains additives that prevent clumping and unfortunately also prevents it from melting properly.
  • Taste as you go: This makes it easier to adjust the added salt, add more cheese if you like or add a pinch of black pepper if desired. 
  • Let white sauce cool slightly: If the white sauce is too hot, the dairy may separate when adding the cheese and cause a grainy consistency. 
  • Skip baking: While this is a baked macaroni recipe, you don’t have to technically bake it if you want to eat it right away, it will be an extra creamy, gooey macaroni and cheese that way! 
The baked mac and cheese in the pan and some on a plate.

Recipe FAQs

How to know when Mac and Cheese is done?

To prevent dry mac and cheese, once the macaroni is bubbly and the top golden brown remove it from the oven. The baking is only to combine the flavors and brown topping. 

Can I make Macaroni and Cheese ahead of time and bake it later?

Yes! Assemble this easy macaroni and cheese, cover the casserole dish with plastic wrap then store it in the refrigerator up to 48 hours or 2 days in advance. 
When ready to bake, remove from the refrigerator 15-20 minutes before baking. Baking time may increase slightly. 

What to serve with Homemade Baked Macaroni

The possibilities are endless! Start with tomato and cheese puff pastry appetizers and then serve this baked macaroni as a side with Italian stuffed meatloafbaked stuffed peppers or Italian pan fried chicken.

How To Store Leftovers?

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave. Add a splash of milk as needed to rehydrate pasta. 

Can I Freeze Macaroni And Cheese?

Technically you can freeze this mac n cheese recipe but I would only do so before baking it and without the breadcrumb topping. When ready to bake, thaw the macaroni and cheese and bake as directed.

More Baked Pasta Dishes To Try

Macaroni in a plate and some on a fork.

This Homemade Baked Macaroni Double Cheese is a dish that the Italian eats without uttering a peep, so that goes to show just how good it is! Buon Appetito!

Baked mac and cheese with some on a spoon.

Best Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Rosemary Molloy
Baked Macaroni and Cheese is the perfect choice when you want a hearty, soul-warming meal! 
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Main Dish, Pasta
Cuisine American/Italian
Servings 6 servings
Calories 492 kcal


  • 5 cups cooked macaroni (approximately 2½-3 cups dry)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (or firm mozzarella or gruyere)
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  • ¼ cup bread crumbs (or panko crumbs)
  • tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped Italian parsley


  • Pre-heat the oven to 400F (200C). Grease well a medium-sized baking pan 10 x 8 inches (26 x 20 cm) or use an oven safe skillet. At least 2 inches (4½cm) deep.
  • In a large pot of salted boiling water cook the pasta until very al dente, drain well, but do not rinse.
  • In a small bowl mix together the bread crumbs, 1½ tablespoons Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley, set aside.
  • In a large pot over low-medium heat, melt the butter, add the flour and salt,  whisk well together, then add the mustard and the milk, whisk until smooth and thickened, then add the cheddar and Parmesan cheese, stir until almost completely melted, add the cooked macaroni and gently stir to combine, pour into prepared baking pan, top with the crumb mixture, bake until browned, approximately 25 minutes. Let sit 3-5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!



I used sharp white cheddar cheese and it was delicious.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave. Add a splash of milk as needed to rehydrate pasta. 


Calories: 492kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 555mg | Potassium: 228mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 733IU | Vitamin C: 0.02mg | Calcium: 433mg | Iron: 1mg
Did You Make This Recipe?Please leave a comment below or pin it to your Pinterest account!

.Republished from August 26, 2015.                              


  1. 5 stars
    This recipe is neatly identical to my recipe with two exceptions. I use Dijon mustard rather than yellow mustard and add about a teaspoon on onion powder. It’s a great recipe no matter how you make it.

4.32 from 19 votes (17 ratings without comment)

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