Baked Mac and Cheese – This recipe is the definition of comfort food! The macaroni is smothered in a silky, rich, creamy aged cheddar and gruyere sauce, then baked to perfection with a crunchy panko topping. What more could you ask for?
This tried-and-true recipe has been a staple in my cooking repertoire for as long as I can remember. My favourite food has always been pasta. I used to live for boxed mac and cheese when I was growing up, but once I tried this recipe, I never went back! The combination of cheddar and gruyere packs such a flavourful punch.
Now, this isn’t a recipe to try out while you’re on a diet. There are ways to make it healthier, but the star of this dish is its buttery, rich, cheesy flavour. This is exactly what I need to get me through the last twists and turns of winter! I am a huge fan of gruyere. I could probably eat a whole block if you let me. If that type of cheese isn’t really up your alley, then try Monterey jack or even some parmesan if you’re looking for an extra zesty punch!
This is such a delicious, easy, kid friendly recipe! After softening the onions for a few minutes in the butter, add the flour to create a roux. Toast the mixture until fragrant, and begin slowly whisking in your milk. Once all your milk has been incorporated, it’s time for the cheese! Now all you have to do is combine the sauce and noodles, and assemble your glorious creation with its crunchy topping. Pop it in the oven until it’s nice and toasty, and voila! You have the world’s best mac and cheese ready to be served.
Using a couple bay leaves while cooking the pasta is totally optional, but I highly recommend using them. They add such wonderful peppery depth of flavour to the pasta, and (in my personal opinion) are integral to how awesome this recipe is!
Now go make some mac and cheese, fellow pasta lovers! Make sure to rate this recipe and leave a comment if you’ve tried it out!
Baked Mac and Cheese
- 2 1/4 cup macaroni noodles dry, not cooked
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 tbsp butter unsalted
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 3 tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk 3.5%
- 2 1/4 cups aged cheddar shredded
- 3/4 cup gruyere shredded
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 3 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese shredded
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- In a large pot, cook your macaroni noodles with the bay leaves in the water. Remove the bay leaves after straining the noodles.
- In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium to medium-high heat and cook the onions until softened. About 3-5 minutes. Slowly sprinkle in the flour, whisking well until completely incorporated. Let it cook until fragrant and toasty, about 2 minutes.
- Stir in the dijon mustard, and very slowly pour in the milk, whisking vigorously, making sure to keep the mixture smooth. Stir in the cheese and mix until completely melted. Pour the sauce over the macaroni noodles and mix well.
- In a separate bowl, mix the panko topping ingredients well, massaging with your hands, to ensure the oil is dispersed evenly in the mixture.
- Pour the noodles into a 9x9 baking dish. Top the noodles with the panko topping and spread evenly. Bake in the oven at 400F for 12-15 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs turn golden brown.