Baked Mac and Cheese is the ultimate comfort food! It is perfect for a pot luck, dinner party, barbecue or just as a great easy side dish! Creamy, cheesy and only takes 20 minutes to pull together this delicious weeknight dinner!
We love an easy pot luck dish and we can help you pair this with the perfect potluck dessert! Try our quick and easy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars, Monkey Bread or our Brownie Batter Dip. All three are total crowd pleasers!
The Best Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe
There are very few people I know who can resist the temptation of a rich and creamy baked macaroni and cheese topped with crunchy panko! I know I can’t!
There are many versions of mac and cheese, we have a crockpot mac and cheese and our famous mac and cheese in a bread cone (copycat Disney recipe). But our all time favorite is our baked mac and cheese.
The one thing I promise you is that once you try our baked mac and cheese from scratch you will never go back to the boxed version with the powdered cheese or the cheese sauces in the packets!
The tender perfectly cooked pasta, the smooth and creamy texture, the over the top deliciousness of the gooey cheese and the crisp and crunchy panko topping, you will forever be converted!
Easy Homemade Mac and Cheese
Homemade mac and cheese honestly doesn’t take that much longer than making the boxed mac and cheese and the results are well worth the few minutes extra and little bit of effort!
Some versions will take more than an hour to make, but our prep time is only 15 minutes and your dinner will be on the table in well under 30 minutes!
Ingredients to Make Mac and Cheese with Panko Topping
To make our easy Mac and Cheese you will only need a few simple ingredients:
- Elbow pasta
- Evaporated Milk
- Sharp Cheddar Cheese
- Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
For the panko topping:
- Panko bread crumbs
- Melted butter
- Garlic salt
How to Make the Best Homemade Mac and Cheese
How to Make the Crispy and Crunchy Panko Topping
The crunchy bread crumb topping is one of the parts of the recipe that my family loved the most! It is super easy to make a panko topping and it is literally the icing on the cake!
First, you want to melt the butter. Then, in a small bowl combine the butter, bread crumbs, garlic salt, and paprika. That’s all there is to it! Just sprinkle the mixture over the top of the casserole and place it under the broiler to crisp up! Easy Peasy!
Pro Tips for Making Homemade Mac and Cheese
- Block cheese! Don’t buy the packaged shredded cheese. Take a few extra minutes and take a block of cheese and shred it. I promise it will be worth the time investment!
- Can you skip baking the mac and cheese? Well, then it isn’t really baked mac and cheese, but yes, you can. If you don’t have time to throw it in the oven, I would skip the toppings. It is still super yummy and won’t affect the overall taste, but take the extra five minutes and put the panko toppings on and throw it under the broiler – you will thank me!
- Add in’s – Try these amazing add in’s and throw them into your mac and cheese to up the make and cheese game: Crab, lobster, parmesan cheese, bacon, chicken, broccoli.
- Try different combinations of shredded cheeses – some others that we really love are Monterey jack cheese, pepper jack cheese, mozzarella cheese, and gouda cheese.
Baked Mac & Cheese
Baked Mac and Cheese is perfect for a pot luck, dinner party, barbecue or just as a great easy side dish! Creamy, cheesy and only takes 20 minutes to pull together this delicious weeknight dinner!
- 1 pound Macaroni
- 3 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups evaporated milk
- 8 ounces Sharp Cheddar Cheese grated
- 8 ounces Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese grated
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 3 tablespoons butter melted
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- Add macaroni, water, and salt to a large skillet. Place over high heat and bring to a boil for about 5 minutes or until the water has cooked down. Stir consistently.
- Add evaporated milk and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add cheese. Stir until the cheese has melted completely.
- Pour into a greased baking dish.
- In a small bowl, mix topping ingredients until well combined. Generously sprinkle over macaroni.
- Place dish under a low broiler for 5 minutes or until golden brown and serve immediately.
Nutrition per serving
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