Best Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe

Contributor: Sam Ellis

Baked Mac and Cheese is a staple of every household and finding the perfect recipe often can take several tries to find. But look no further, friends, this is a keeper.
Optionally garnish with finely chopped chives.

  • Author: Sam Ellis
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Entrée
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American


Units Scale
  • 8 cups water
  • 8 oz. elbow macaroni
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 7 Tbsp. butter, divided
  • 4 Tbsp. all purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/2 cups half and half
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 8 oz. shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 4 oz. shredded Colby Jack cheese
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. In a large pot, bring water and 1 tablespoon of the salt to boil. Add elbow macaroni and cook for 9 minutes, until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, in a large skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium-low heat.
  4. Whisk in flour until incorporated and no clumps remain. Add in half and half slowly, while continually whisking. Mixture will thicken so keep whisking until smooth.
  5. Add in onion powder, garlic powder, 1/2 tsp. of salt and the pepper and stir until incorporated. Add cheeses a handful at a time and whisk until melted. Pour in pasta and stir to coat.
  6. Add mixture to a 4-quart casserole dish.
  7. In a small bowl, mix breadcrumbs and 3 Tbsp. of melted butter until well coated.
  8. Top pasta with breadcrumbs.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, uncovered until bubbly. If breadcrumbs brown too quickly, top with aluminum foil.
  10. Serve warm.

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