This Easy Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe with Bread Crumbs is the ultimate comfort food for every occasion. Imagine this: macaroni smothered in a rich and creamy white sauce that has 3 types of cheese: cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan, then topped with buttery breadcrumbs, and baked in the oven for the final touch. The very best homemade meal!
The simple things in life! It might sound like a cliché, but when it comes to the good old mac and cheese, simplicity really is the word. And carbs, but that’s another story. It’s cold, it’s dark and miserable out there, so we are allowed to make carbs our best buddies to make it through the harsh winter. And with the holidays fast approaching, the healthier food can wait for its time to shine in January.
And since we are talking about holidays, Thanksgiving is now just around the corner. Sure, we’ll have turkey, pies, and enough sides to feed an army, but there is always room for some cheesy heaven, right? And this delicious baked mac and cheese is the very best comfort food I can think of.
Now, the classic macaroni and cheese can be ready in about 15 minutes if cooked on the stove top only. And that’s amazing! But, how about we take the humble dish to the very next level, and make it even better? Forget about instant mac and cheese in a packet that has way too many dodgy ingredients.
Make your own cheesy white sauce, top the macaroni with some yummy buttery bread crumbs, and you get the most delicious, and super easy mac and cheese. I’ll show you how!
WHAT IS THE BEST CHEESE FOR MAC AND CHEESE
While I always like to add some mozzarella cheese to make the cheese sauce creamier and stretchy, what really brings the flavour is a sharper kind of cheese.
Cheddar cheese always tops my list, but even here it’s best to go for the mature cheddar, rather than the mild version. Parmesan, again, it’s a classic, even if you add a little bit you will feel the difference straight away.
Other good options are gruyère, which has a delicate nutty flavour, which adds richness to the dish, red leicester cheese, for a bit of colour, or gouda. Now, I am not one to go for the smelly kind of cheese, or blue cheese in particular, but it you like it, why not.
HOW TO MAKE THE white CHEESE SAUCE
My homemade cheese sauce is by far the best option when it comes to a good macaroni and cheese. You use 100% natural ingredients, and the sauce is as good as you can possibly get. I used this sauce for my Mary Berry’s Creamy Chicken Pasta Bake, and it was just perfect.
- melt the butter in a large saucepan
- add the flour and whisk well to get a smooth paste
- gradually add the milk, whisking well to avoid lumps forming, and continue to stir until the sauce beings to thicken
- add the black pepper, salt and dijon mustard, then in go the mozzarella, cheddar and parmesan
- stir well until you get a creamy sauce, then remove it from the heat
THIS IS THE ONLY CHEESE SAUCE RECIPE YOU NEED FOR ANY KIND OF CHEESY PASTA DISHES. It’s simple, it’s quick, and it’s pure heaven.
BREAD CRUMB TOPPING
Once the pasta is cooked and smothered in the cheese sauce, transfer everything to an oven-proof dish that had been buttered. You can keep the crumb topping as simple or as fancy as you like. The simple version is just melted butter and bread crumbs either plain or golden bread crumbs.
For a more flavourful topping, you can add parmesan, or fresh or dried herbs. You can also use panko breadcrumbs, or, if you have any stale bread around, add it to a kitchen aid and wizz until you get crumbs.
Spread the topping over the macaroni, and bake in the preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit) for about 10-15 minutes until bubbly hot. And that’s it! Enjoy it, it’s a dish of a kind!
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This Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe with Bread Crumbs is the ultimate comfort food for every occasion. Imagine this: macaroni smothered in a rich and creamy white sauce that has 3 types of cheese: cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan, then topped with buttery breadcrumbs, and baked in the oven for the final touch. The very best homemade meal for kids and gown-ups alike this Thanksgiving or any other celebration.
- 2 cups macaroni
- 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 1/2 cup full-fat milk
- 1/4 cup butter (50 g)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 cup golden bread crumbs
- 2 tbsp plain flour
Cook the macaroni according to the packet instructions.
While the pasta is cooking, add half of the amount of butter to a large pan, and melt on a low to medium heaat.
Add the flour and whisk well to get a smooth paste.
Gradually add the milk, whisking well to avoid lumps, and continue to whisk until it thickens into a sauce.
Season with salt and pepper, add the dijon mustard and cheeses, and stir well to get a creamy sauce.
Remove from the heat.
When the macaroni is cooked, drain the water, and add them to the sauce. Mix well.
Butter an oven-proof dish, then add the cheesy macaroni to it.
To make the topping, melt the remaining butter in a pan, add the bread crumbs and mix well.
Spread the crumbs all over the macaroni.
Bake in the pre-heated oven at 180 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit) for 10-15 minutes or until bubbly hot.